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Life is not about getting to the destination, life is what happens to you on the way there. 

Monday, November 22, 2004

Geocaching

Geocaching is like a digital treasure hunt. It's a lot like letterboxing, but far more widespread. To letterbox, you just need pen and paper and a good head on your shoulders. To geocache, you need a GPS device (but if the clues are good enough, sometimes you don't) and a willingness to go for a hike.

The basics of Geocaching are like this: someone plants a goodie box, takes down the coordinates of it's hiding spot, and then posts the coordinates to the Geocaching website. You - the hunter - log into the website and search for nearby caches. Print out the page (which often contains valuable clues) and make a trek to the coordinates. When you find the goodie box, you sign and date the log, record any interesting anecdotes of your trip, and swap an item out for something you brought with you. You replace the goodie box and trek on outta there.

There are some very simple rules to Geocaching:
1 - Do not bee seen by "muggles" (non-geocachers) when you look for, retrieve, sign or replace the goodie box. Not easy in some cache locations! If you are seen by muggles, there is a good chance that someone will retrieve the cache and it will not be there for the next cacher to find.
2 - Cache in- trash out. This rule means you bring a bag with you and pick up trash on the way to and from the cache.
3 - No bushwhacking. This rule means you find the path to the goal, don't cut cross country and ruin the plants/wildlife.
4 - No Caching on State land or private property without the endorsement of the local/state government or the property owner. If your path takes you over this type of land, ,find an alternate route.
5 - Be safe, don't cache alone!

I like geocaching because it takes me to places that I would not have normally gone to visit. Here in Florida, there is a cache located in a park that has trees of HUGE girth. We are talking easily 8-10 feet in diameter. I never would have seen these wondrous trees if it weren't for that cache. I have found a wonderful nearby campground that offers camping for free, I have collected pinecones at least a foot long. I have seen wild boars and walked through part of the woods that felt like it was otherworldly. I have gotten muddy and ankle deep in sludge, walked headfirst into a spiderweb, seen a hawk regally sitting in a tree, and seen my children's faces when they are the ones to find the prize box. (First finder gets first pick of the goodies!) Everyone has a new respect for nature and my kids understand that even a fallen leaf can be beautiful. I get hundreds of priceless photographs on every hunt.

Geocaching is extremely rewarding. I miss it. (Can't cache in the summer down here - too dang hot for those kinds of hikes).

1 Comments:

Blogger Cate said...

Karry, thanks for the explanation. Sounds like fun. I went to the site and added it to my favorites so that when the gkids get a little older (or I get a little braver)we can discuss it.

11/23/2004 08:59:00 PM  

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