Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Hunting down Geocaches, and making our own

Have you ever heard of a Geocache? It's an outdoor activity where you use a GPS to go to a particular set of coordinates, then search that area for a particular object, a cache, that someone has hidden there.   

One of the benefits of this pandemic is that being at home all the time helps us follow a schedule. That makes it easier to have time every night after dinner to go for a walk. We've walked all the streets in our neighborhood multiple times, and we're looking for something to spice it up a little. I remembered from years ago that I was into Geocaching and thought it would something fun to try. It's always fun to go for a walk with a goal in mind.


And I don't remember nearly this many geocaches when I did it before. There's millions of caches hidden all around the world. All those points marked on the map are some form of geocache nearby. 
I was surprised to see that I still had an active account on Geocaching.com. They've kept track of my progress, since I opened my account in 2005. That graph at the bottom is pretty crazy. That's a pretty long dry spell of 5525 days without a find. 

After finding a few nearby during our walks, we started going on bike rides, for the purpose of finding geocaches further away. 

Geocaches will give you a set of coordinates, but those are typically good to narrow it down to a 15' area. You'll need to use your intuition to figure it out from there. 

If you really get stuck, there's often a "hint" that you can access. This one's hint was "Magnetic". 

Depending on the size, inside there is a logbook, and sometimes a pencil, or a knick-knack that you can exchange. Knick-knacks might include stickers, buttons, small toys, or the like. 

One of the fun ways that Geocache hiders can get creative is to make the container blend into the environment. Some use fake rocks where you might normally hide a house-key. Others get even more creative, doing something custom. Like this wooden post that has been around for a while. 

This "bolt" totally looks like it could be a part of the post, but it was placed later. On the end was a container that unscrewed with a small piece of paper rolled up in a scroll as a log book. 

This water valve looks normal enough. 

But on the end, this beat-up cover slides to the side to reveal a hidden container. 

Just a normal street sign. That reflector doesn't particularly stand out, but I'm not used to seeing them on street signs either. 

Sure enough, inside there's a hidden compartment with a log book. We found it!

A random rock in the crook of a tree? There's no other rocks anywhere in this area. Looks suspicious. 

Found it! The kids like the ones that are big enough the leave treasures in. This one they left a marble and took nothing. 

Just an ordinary fence post. 

With a geocache hidden underneath. 

They're getting pretty close to it! Altoids tins are pretty popular as hidden containers. 

It's made our regular bike rides even more fun!

It's pretty quiet, without a lot of other people around when we go on our nightly walks. 
Those people we do see though seem to love our light-up vests. Many ask where we got them, and Ian's heard me say it so many times that he repeats along with me "They called NoxGear. N-O-X. And we got them from Amazon."

There's one category of geocache that we're seeing a whole bunch of. These magnetic nano geocaches are so small! They can stick to anything metal, like utility boxes or street signs. They even have a lid that unscrews to reveal a cavity that has the tiniest paper scroll logbook. 

The kids love the nightly walks even more now. Plus we're expanding our range, just because we've already hit all the ones close by. We're having to limit ourselves to 1 or 2 a night so there are more left for future nights. 

We even hit find #100 together!

Inspired by all the geocaches they've found, the kids decided that they were going to make geocaches of their own! They had Theresa and I stay out and not look at they built them and hid them. Then in lieu of GPS coordinates, they gave us a description of where we might find it. 
"Find the shoe, you found the geocash."

We keep shoes in a couple places, but eventually went to the closet. 

And there it was, hidden in the back under a few shoes. 

Inside is a logbook, pencil, and an eraser. Awesome! We'll count this as a FTF "First to Find". 

"Near Water" was under the sink in the bathroom. 

And the last one is "Which room is it in. Look in the closet and there it is."

There's lots of closets in the house, but we found this in their closet on the bookshelf. 

Great job guys! Good hiding!
Ian asked me if anyone has found all the geocaches in the world?
No, not yet. 
Ian - What about the Country? State? City?
Maybe the city. 
Ian - Can we? 
Whew, that would be a big goal. 

1 comment:

  1. What a fun activity with lots of movement and searching...reminds me of a scavenger hunt. Alli & Ian had a lot of fun creating their own geocache game...wouldn't be surprised to see more of their geocache ideas materialize. That Caching Chronology gives some interesting info. EOM

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