Geocaching: A Lovely Way to Spend a Sunday

Joe and I discovered geocaching from an episode of the How Stuff Works podcasts. I sounded cool, and we really wanted to try. Well, about 6 months later we finally got around to it.

Geocaching is a sort of treasure hunt for grown-ups with fancy phones. What you do is go to the geocaching website, or use the smart phone app, to find geocaches in your area. A cache is a small package of sorts. Some are tiny, smaller than a thimble, and some are larger. There size determines what you will find inside, the smallest contain only a log on which to write your name and date of discovery.

This is a shot of the first cache we successfully found. It is right across the street from our house in Rochester. Geocaching uses GPS to point you toward the cache. It’s a little like the orienteering we were forced to do at many a summer camps growing up, but without all the math and compasses. The first cache we attempted to find was last week in Miami Beach. It had a high difficulty rating, but we thought we’d give it a shot. I was in the beautiful and hidden Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, but unfortunately we didn’t find it.

Alas, our second trip out was much more successful. This morning we got up early, or what we thought was early, daylight savings time was a surprise. We ventured out and found 6 caches! We didn’t get more than a mile from home!

The caches were in parks, along trails, under bridges and hanging from trees. They were magnetic key holders, mint tins, peanut butter jars wrapped in camo tape and old Vietnam war ammo cases. The biggest one contained stuff you can exchange. We left behind a Joe’s original mixed CD, and took a DVD about preventing falls in the eldery. I just wrote a paper on this topic for my gerontology class, so I thought I’d try to bring it in for a little extra credit.

Geocaching has its own little culture. There are certain rules to follow in order to protect the purity of the sport. You must be careful to not do anything that would ruin geocaching for others. If you take something you must leave something. If there are muggles (non-geocaching pedestrians) in the area, you must be careful to not draw attention to yourself. You also must never move a cache from its found location.

We found 6, but didn’t scratch the surface of what is around in Rochester. It’s amazing, these things are right under our noses, but we don’t even notice them. The only thing that brought us in from the great weather was the dead iphone battery. The weather is amazing, maybe we will be out again tomorrow!

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