Saturday, February 04, 2006

A New Hobby

It was a perfect day to start our new hobby - geocaching. If you're not familiar with geocaching, here's the basic idea. A person owns a GPS unit. They got to an area (in the woods, at a park, in a field, etc) and hide some sort of container. The container has log book inside and then whatever else they want to put (coins, deck of cards, McDonald's kids' toys, etc). This container is called a "cache". The cache owner uses the GPS to get a reading of where the cache is. He/she then goes to www.geocaching.com, registers themselves and records where the cache is hidden. Other people may then go to the web site, search by zip code and find caches hidden in the area they want to search. Each listing has a map to the general location, the GPS coordinates and usually some sort of description and possibly a few clues. (There are different kinds of caches and levels of difficulty, but I'll let you read about that at www.geocaching.com if you are interested). The searcher uses his/her GPS unit to get close to the coordinates, and then the challenge is finding the cache hiding in a tree, partially buried under a log, etc. Once the cache is found, the searcher signs the log book and then may swap something he/she brought for one of the "treasure pieces" (that is how Amanda sees it) in the cache.

So it was in the 70's today and a perfect day for Amanda and I to give it a try. We started with easy, beginner caches at a park right down the street from us (Cliff Nelson 1). It was a "micro" cache...it was a film container strapped to a tree (see picture). We signed the log and Amanda traded the plastic ring she had on her finger for the colored stone inside.

The second cache (Cliff Nelson 2) was a little more challenging for us, but we found it. Here Amanda traded a rubber ball for a pink hair scrunchy.

Next, we were off looking for the Unwanted Toys cache which was report to be a large one. Amanda was particularly excited about this one. I didn't know where to park, so it ended up being a long way away from the cache. We followed the signal down a long street only to find out we hit a dead end at a fence and could not get any closer without going through somebody's property. So we turned around, followed a different road and finally got there. Amanda's trade this time was a pink ball for a green "Mike" toy (from Monster's Inc.).

The last cache we searched for was called Tyler's Ear Plugs. I did not notice this a "micro" cache until we got home, so we were looking for the wrong thing. Besides that, the place was FULL of briars and thorns. Being newbies, we gave up and came home. 3 out of 4 for our first day made us happy.

So Amanda and I have a new hobby together and we are looking forward to next weekend so we can try it again.

- Rob

1 comment:

Dawn Irons said...

oooohhhh! That sounds fun...can you pass the tradition on to our family?

Teach us! Teach us! Can we tag along some time?

Dawn