Friday, May 5, 2006

We discover Geocaching!

The Wilsons came for a visit in May this year, and when we got to thinking about what we might do, Tucker suggested we take a hike down the nearby Aldridge Creek greenway. It turns out a friend of his had shown him the locations of some hidden caches of trinkets that are part of an activity called "Geocaching". Tuck showed us where the caches were as we walked along the greenway, and we got curious about how many more might be near our house.

When we got home we went to the Geocaching web site and found out more about the sport. Well, one thing led to another, and before you know it, both we and the Wilsons had acquired GPS units, and were becoming consumed by the sport!

The following Saturday, our family went back out and found five other caches! It was so much fun that we decided to create our own cache to hide up the mountain behind our house. By the next weekend, we were up to 14 finds and it was reaching obsession status (at least for Dave) :-)

So what is it all about? Basically someone hides a container with a log book and perhaps a few interesting things, then they note the location on their GPS and upload the information to a site like .

Other folks find the locations for caches near them by using their zip code or home coordinates, and then they go searching.

The caches can be so small that they contain only a strip of paper for logging your visit, or they can be large enough to hold various trinkets. The idea is that you can take anything, but you should leave something of equal or greater value. Once you get home, you go back to and log your visit. For more information you can visit the information page.

The beauty of Geocaching is that it can be done anywhere in the world, and it adds another layer onto just about any trip or activity. Going on a vacation to Colorado? Just look up the caches in the area by plugging in the area code. Away ball game in another town? Same thing.

As with any sport, the more you get into it, the more there seems to be to it. What's nice about geocaching is that it seems to be easily picked up by someone new to it, yet it provides enough of a challenge to keep it interesting for veterans. The cache locations are often used to bring attention to special places with great views or historical significance of some sort.

Our first cache documented the history of our street, which is rather awkwardly split in half because early residents feared it would become a throughway for folks traveling to the south. Since that one we've placed a total of 10 more around the Huntsville area, and somewhere along the way we've managed to find over 1000 caches in three countries and 11 states!

No comments:

Post a Comment