Technology-Headlines

by George Heymann

Where’s the Cache?

by Deb Grymkoski (aka Grymreaper)

techeadlines@gmail.com

I look all around, and check once more to see if anyone is coming up behind me. The coast is clear, for now. Only one young woman walking her dog about 100 yards away, and she’s not paying me any attention. Got to move quickly, before anyone else comes by. Quietly, slowly, I reach around behind the stone wall and find what I came for. With another quick glance to assure I’m alone, I quickly make the swap and jot down a few words. One more time I reach around the wall, and just as a laughing couple comes pouring out of a door onto the sidewalk, I casually get back on the path and walk away, smiling.

What I have just done is not illegal, illicit, or criminally-minded, however it does require stealth and secrecy, as well as a

Grymreaper enjoying a rest

GPS receiver. It is part of a very fun and family-friendly hobby/sport called Geocaching. Geocaching has been described as being the perfect union of nature and technology, and that is a very accurate description. Starting out as a game for some serious outdoorsmen, Geocaching has taken the world by storm and is now an urban hobby too. In fact, you don’t really have to travel outside of the city and you can find hundreds of Geocaches hidden all over town. You probably drove or walked past one on your way into work today.

Geocaches most often consist of a small container hidden in some location that is out of the way, but accessible. They are rated by difficulty of terrain (1 is handicap friendly, 5 is extreme) and difficulty of locating (1 is easy – you can usually find in a couple of minutes, 5 is something well-camouflaged and can take hours or even several visits). The listing also shows the size (micro to large) of the cache. All of these listings can be found on the website www.geocaching.com. It requires a login and password, but access is free and available to anyone. When you find a cache, you write your Geocaching name on a log, and swap trinkets if you like, but that part is not necessary. Then you log your finds on the website to keep track of how many you have found. You may also find Travel Bugs, Geocoins, or other trackables in the cache.

measuring bronto tracks for Earth cache

Geocaching can be a very fun way to see places around town (or out of town) that you are not familiar with, but that have some history behind them. Since picking up the hobby in 2007, I have found over 440 geocaches in 8 states as well as several outside of the country. I have found caches on ski slopes in the middle of winter (what my friend and I like to call “ski-o-caching”), in forests in the middle of summer, on the top of some of the tallest mountains in Colorado, and on well-traveled city streets. Many of these have some sort of historical information associated with them, making it not only fun but educational (don’t tell the kids!). I learned more about Pueblo after I started Geocaching than I would have if I’d just tried to look up the information online or in the library, and it got me out to places I never would have thought to go on my own.

Geocaching is a great way to get to know any place you might visit, too. When I travel out of the area, I always go armed with information on what Geocaches are nearby, so that I can learn a little bit about the place I am visiting. Cache owners will not place caches in locations that are considered unsafe, so you don’t have to worry about that. There are also many Geocaches in National Parks, museums, and historical sites, although they may not be a physical cache, which are not allowed in certain areas. In those cases, you might find a “virtual cache”, which requires you to find the coordinates and then answer specific questions, take a photo, or solve a puzzle to be able to get the “find”.

An unlikely pair of travel bugs

Get out of the house this summer, take the family and go locate some Geocaches around town. Take a drive up to

the

mountains and find some Geocaches on your hike. Just think, you might have fun, give the kids something to do, and learn something about the Pueblo area to boot. There are not many games/hobbies that can get the whole family involved in such a fun activity that you can do so close to home, so check it out! Just be very, very sneaky when you do. We wouldn’t want anyone else to find out about us!

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  1. […] Where’s the Cache? (technology-headlines.com) […]

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