Geocaching!

Yes, geocaching. Thanks to my friend Kiri’s bad influence (actually just a ‘blog post on her part, but…) I am now interested in geocaching. …and when I say ‘interested’, I mean this could become an obsession like so many other things in my world.

Geocaching, also referred to as a global positioning or GPS stash hunt, is a recreational activity in which someone “buries” something for others to try to find using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The pursuit can be thought of as a GPS-enabled treasure hunt. Usually, a geocache consists of a small, waterproof container that holds a logbook and inexpensive trinkets. Participants are called geocachers. (Definition from Information Technology at Johns Hopkins Institutions).

I have already found 3 geocaches in the Moab area, and there are many, many more. I have one that I can’t seem to locate, even though it is extremely close to my house, and I am very frustrated by this. I put the coordinates into my GPS, and it leads me to where I am supposed to be, but there doesn’t seem to be a geocache there, though the website has assured me that there IS one there.

The very first geocache I found was GC19B4X (aka ‘A Simple Cache’). It is located in Moab. Geocaches are a secret thing, and you aren’t supposed to let people see you finding/digging/uncovering one. This one was difficult in that respect, because it is a pretty easy one to find, and is close to a road. I can’t tell you where it is or what it’s near, but here are a couple pictures of the cache itself:

GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_1 GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_2 GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_3

This picture is after I ‘left my mark’ on the log. I believe this is called a ‘microcache’. There is really no room in it for any trinkets, or even a writing utensil. The website description usually tells you if you should bring your own pen. There is always a log, sometimes big enough to write your thoughts, but the 3 I have found so far have only been big enough to write your name.

GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_4

The website I joined is www.geocaching.com, and I like it. It gives fairly detailed maps, with all the geocaches logged with them listed on the map. You can download the coordinates and information right to your GPS, which is very handy (they only support Garmin GPSs at this time, however).

You can participate in geocaching even if you don’t have a GPS. In fact, when I told my mom about it, she said that she and my dad had accidentally stumbled upon one while visiting a waterfall in Idaho last spring. Rich also says he has found several accidentally around Moab while out bicycling. Barb joined the geocaching website, and found her first geocache last night, without the aid of a GPS.

I think it is a really great thing to do, it’s fairly safe, it’s fun, and it’s free. If any of you are already members of geocaching.com, or feel like joining now, my username is katemail13, and I’d love to be your friend!

Thanks for reading! Join me in my newest obsession!

11 Responses to Geocaching!

  • If you’re planning an outing anyway, geocaching definitely gives you purpose. We had a great walk, lots of exercise too, before we found what we were looking for. I’m afraid this activity could become addictive.

  • Welcome to the world of geocaching and yes, it will become an obsession. Like Sonja says, no matter where I’m going I always check for caches on the way. Earlier this year I was in Bella Vista, Arkansas, which is near the borders of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma so I set out one day on a 200 mile four-state cache run. The one in OK was attached to a bush that had survived a direct hit by a tornado. So have fun out there. Happy Trails!

  • I happened upon one at Camp Mosey Wood, my old summer girl scout stomping grounds, this August in PA. Oh, and one on a river trip, and one in a cool secret spot. Katie I think you should create your own new one to direct people to somewhere YOU think is cool…

  • Sonja (AKA ‘mom’) – Thanks. I will be sure to ask you along when I go looking for the next one! πŸ™‚

    Sergeant Homer – I am really looking forward to doing that same thing. My husband and I are traveling this weekend, and I already have all sorts of coordinates in my GPS for the area we will be visiting! Thanks for the kind comments!

    Hillary – Somehow I knew this would be something that you would be interested in. I have been trying to think of the perfect place to put my own cache for people to find. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

    -K-

  • Kate,
    We’ve done Geocaching off and on for years. I love it! I know you’ll enjoy it!
    We launched a “Travel Bug” in honor of adopting our girl Sophia and it traveled over 1000 miles! I launched 2 more for her 4th birthday and one is moving around the country already.
    I have another travel bug ready to launch when we successfully adopt again (searching for a baby now).
    It’s a great way to do something else if you’re out already and a good motivator to get off the couch on a beautiful day. I launched the 2 recently because Sophia is old enough now to have fun with it. She is beginning to understand maps and likes to be outdoors. She’s also fascinated by the Internet. It ties all these together. You can usually find fun stuff for kids in the bigger caches.

  • Great things will come your way when you are Geocasching…Virginia has lots of them and in Virginia Beach there are parks and recreation areas that you might not visit if it were not for the “Love of the Hunt”…I am going to buy some Geocoins to place in my hide …what a great way to use your GPS and see neat places and places where history was made…in fact some Geocaching is part of the history of the site and you have to report some of the history before you can claim you “found it”
    Walter

  • That sounds like so much fun! I’ve heard about geocaching before, and the thought has intrigued me, but the last thing I need is one more hobby. Of course, the ones that are well off the road would encourage me to get some much-needed exercise…

  • Hi again, all.

    Dan – I have been loving it, and I think that’s a GREAT thing to commemorate important events! It’s great that Sophia is old enough to (maybe) understand, too!

    Walter – Thanks for your comments! I am really looking forward to traveling around and looking for them!

    Caryn – That’s what I thought about getting out there to find them…all the ones so far have been easy, close to civilization ones, but I will progress…

  • Cool!! Was it fun doing that?

  • Congratulations on your finds and welcome to geocaching! As the others have said, it’s a great excuse to get out and explore areas you’d otherwise not find a reason to visit. (And, now that I’m addicted, I try to look for caches in areas I’m visiting πŸ˜‰

    I have one that I canΒ’t seem to locate, even though it is extremely close to my house

    The one *two blocks* from my house (rated 3/1) confounded me for almost a month before I found it. Underneath the weathered, green plastic cover was a faucet on/off knob that lifted out, revealing the camouflage-taped cache underneath. The cover and the knob underneath all blended in with the surroundings.

    If you get really stuck, log a DNF and consider sending the cache owner a polite note asking for a nudge or hint. (Or, if it’s the proverbial four-star micro, maybe look elsewhere for a while πŸ˜‰

  • Just checking in –

    Chris: Thanks for the comment! You’ll have to come with me for a couple of them, and you’ll see what they are, and how much fun it is. Sometime when I am not working and you’re not in school.

    Jim: The one that is so frustrating (I just tried AGAIN about 30 minutes ago) is supposed to be super easy…apparently a 5-year-old hid it. This makes it all the more frustrating!! I think I will be looking elsewhere for a while. GRRR… πŸ˜€

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