Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year, New Adventures

New year, new ambitions, new adventures, new experiences, new places, new interests, new friends. New blog.

I wanted to start 2011 off on the right foot, so I kissed the snow farewell and headed south to spend New Year's with the family. Having the coolest family ever, it wasn't long before they had me jumping into an adventure of which I had never even heard. Hint: Where I'm at right now this trek includes hiking, exploring, crawling, and sometimes wading. It requires expert ninja detection-evading skills, along with a morale that is not easily defeated. Think adult scavenger hunt. If you haven't guessed it, or think I'm a crazy person, here's the scoop:

Now this is a really groovy hobby. Geocaching is quite literally a scavenger hunt that takes place in the real world rather than your grannie's backyard. It's very easy to get into... one can choose to spend an hour or two at it, or it can become an all day adventure. It requires no expertise, no level of fitness, and minimal gear. Gather a pen and your sense of adventure, and you're all set.

So the deal is, caches hidden by avid geocachers are the subject of the search. These caches almost always include a logbook to be signed, and sometimes include small trinkets such as beads, toys, and stones. The caches are hidden, well, anywhere... along hikes, in parks, beside rivers, sometimes even at publicly populated locations. To get started, you can invest in a GPS geocaching device (starting at roughly $60), or just hop online, google "geocaching," and record directions to a cache near you (though you may have to search a little harder.) And there probably is one near you. Whilst searching, I was surprised to find a myriad of caches right under my nose!  In fact, over 100 countries harbor caches, and that includes all seven continents!

Our adventure began when we hopped in the car, and drove to a nearby location we suspected to be the home of a cache. While many caches are hidden in watertight or ammo boxes, our tip led us to believe that this was no ordinary cache. Our geocache device led us down to a river bank that also seemed to be an excellent fishing spot. The search began and we looked high and low for something just a little out of the ordinary. Success came when my aunt spotted an old fishing bobber that seemed to be tangled in some nearby brush. When closer scrutinized, the bobber (which donned a smiley face) popped open to reveal a tightly rolled logbook. We happily signed it, and were off to discover our next find.

An island hunt that we had embarked on ended in success when my eight year old cousin crawled out from under some brush with an ammo box in her hands. This cache was different... it was home to some beaded necklaces and a few small stuffed animal friends. My cousin decided to adopt a small dog, while replacing it with a few beautiful polished stones, like any honest geocacher knows to do. However, we soon heard some muggles approaching (non-geocachers) and therefore replaced the cache with haste. It's important not to blow one's geocaching cover.

It turned out to be an excellent day filled with successful discoveries and adventure. It's important for aspiring geocachers to remember that not everyday ends in success. Sometimes leaving a goal for another day isn't so bad. Just remember to leave no trace, respect the earth, and HAVE FUN!! It's all about the adventure.


  1. You should also checkout letterboxing!

  2. Thanks Sandi!
    So I did a little research on letterboxing. It looks really cool, and like geocaching, it seems to combine orienteering with treasure hunting. I get the impression that it has a much more die-hard fanbase, probably because it has been around much longer. Letterboxing also seems to be very cryptic... some letterbox locations are only disclosed by word of mouth. Other letterboxes (hitchhikers) pass from person to person, or location to location.

    Thanks for the heads up Sandi! This might possibly be a future adventure...