Geocaching

Geocaching

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I know I’ve talked a bit about it before, but…

Geocaching, in its barest, simplest form, is a real-world treasure hunt.

Armed with a set of GPS coordinates and a device of some kind to tell you how close you are to those coordinates, you go out into the world and find the secret treasure, the geocache. It could be very large. It could be very small. It’s likely small and quite probably camouflaged in some way. Not always. It may have little things to trade inside. Probably, but there’s no guarantee, there’s a slip of paper or a small book or something for you to sign and date.

The whole point of the hobby is that there’s something hidden in plain sight that most people don’t know is there, but you do.

If you can find it.

At least, that’s the point of the hobby for me.

It’s also a great way to get outside when just going outside doesn’t hold a lot of appeal on its own.

My youngest daughter and I used to go caching fairly regularly, or as regularly as I could get her to come with me. I had permission, when she was younger, to find a cache or two if I was traveling significantly away from home some. Last year, recognizing that it was something that she only like to do occasionally, but I wanted to do a lot more, it became much more my honey than just our hobby. My wife, who’d been joining in occasionally, had started to get more interested in it, and is now happy to go caching with me once or twice a week, a little more often with short trips. Me, I might be turning into an addict. Last summer, I decided I wanted to step up my geocaching game and go for a real Streak.

The basic Streak is to find at least one cache every day for some determined amount of time. I started with the idea for three months and quickly rounded that to 100 days. As I got closer to 100, I thought, well, 100 days isn’t too hard, really, because I live in a cache-rich area with big event every year and lots of people who are actively involved. So, maybe, I could go longer. Maybe, just maybe, I could keep it up for six months.

Caching in the winter is harder in southern Ontario, but not impossible, and a lot of things are hidden above the likely snow levels. Still, the shorter daylight hours make things more difficult. You have to work and plan a little bit to keep the Streak alive. Twice during the winter, I found myself looking for a cache not just in the dark (which happened regularly) but during a heavy snowfall, refusing to go home until I had the cache in hand.

As this publishing on March 28, I haven’t been out yet today, but I’ve found a cache every day since the 5th of August last year. That’s 236 days in a row.

Things are getting harder now, with Covid issues, but even with the limits we’re setting on ourselves because of that, outside of full isolation, I’m starting to think it might be possible to make 365 days. Or maybe 366 because it’s a leap year. That will take me to the first week of August, deep into the caching season, and maybe it can go farther.

I’m also trying to get more involved in other aspects of the hobby. I recently finished placing a series of quick and easy to find caches close together along country road in the small town I live in. At the moment, I have 39 active hides and three that have been retired.

And I have plans for more.

I’ve also offered myself as a possible volunteer to help out with big event that happens every summer. If they need an extra pair of hands, or someone to put out a few extra caches for this is, I’m absolutely available. And I’ve thought about hosting a small themed event of my own.

Yeah, addicted is a good word. In combination with my wife and youngest daughter, I’ve found 2,211 geocaches as I write this, but that number will only go up. Last year, and mostly because of the Streak, was my biggest caching year to date with 577 finds. This year will, I hope, be bigger.

How much bigger depends on a lot of things, some of which are personal and some societal.

It’s a fun hobby. It gets me to go outside, exploring places around me in nearby, even in the dead of winter. I found myself on a trail walk in January when the temperature was -15 Celsius with a windchill warning not too many weeks ago. Yes, I was cold, but there’s no such thing as bad weather (to a point), only bad clothing. It was fun.

And right now, it’s helping me keep focused and active, and getting me outdoors.

Be well, everyone.

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