Thursday, December 30, 2010

Geocaching: A North of Beautiful Experience

We have decided to go on a series of bookish adventures in order to both promote these things and make the best of our free time. And where best to find adventures than in books? :) So, inspired by Justine Chen Headly's North of Beautiful, today SM and I went geocaching!

What is Geocaching?

Our Tools:
  • Two SmartPhones with GPS apps (we used the free iPhone app GPSLite Motion X -- seemed fairly accurate, if finicky at times)
  • Boots, jackets, gloves
  • A pen
  • A trinket to exchange
Our Experience:

It was a cool winter day when we went to the park with some coordinates plugged into our phones. We found the site without trouble in a copse of trees just off the trail, but locating the actual cache, said to be a glass jar, was far more difficult than we had anticipated.

The brush was thick, the ground was covered with a thick blanket of leaves, and there were brambles like you wouldn't believe. After an hour of searching and poking and digging and being attacked by angry thorns...

We gave up on the copse of trees and searched for a different cache. This one was supposed to be a 1.5-star (one is the easiest), located on the rocky underside of a bridge.

However simple it seemed, we could not find it, and, on the verge of giving up, we decided to go urban and find one located not far away in a parking lot, which was probably the easiest geocache in the world, but we are novices. :) So, after much frustration, we finally located an active cache behind a bush.
We took a Parasite Pal...

And left a monkey...

And the owners of the business near it, just recently introduced to geocaching, heard us whooping and celebrating, and came out to congratulate us. Absolutely adorable!

What We Learned/Tips for You:
  • Get a account.
  • Bring friends!
  • Make sure you go in full trekking gear, and be prepared to bushwhack and dig. BEWARE OF THORNS!
  • Bring a trinket that is small enough to fit in a pill bottle, yet cool enough to be desirable to other geocachers.
  • If you live in a place that has lots of trees, beware that fallen leaves may make it more difficult to spot a cache in the fall and wintertime.
  • Don't be discouraged -- start off easy your first time, and try several caches before giving up. There are caches for all levels of adventurousness.
  • Beware of Muggles (non-geocachers) ;)

LINKS: - official site for the worldwide treasure hunt!

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