November 23, 2009

In Which We Go Geocaching

 A classic geocache—an old ammo box full of trinkets plus a log book.

Late this morning I broke off from editing a journal article on new religious movements in Ukraine and rousted M. from the sofa (where she was reading Julia Child's My Life in France) to go geocaching.

After all, we own a low-end GPS gadget (Garmin Geko 201), and I knew from the main geocaching web site that there are a couple dozen caches near our home. That comes of living near national forest just off a designated "scenic byway."

M. had not heard of geocaching before, but she likes treasure hunts and tromping through the woods.

We found four caches in short order, picking off the low-hanging fruit, so to speak—sites near roads.

This being America, there is a book to tell you how: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocaching. And Google Earth is your friend.

Geocaching's older Anglophile cousin is letterboxing. I know a couple of people who do that too, chiefly in urban areas. From my perspective,  letterboxing seems a little club-ier, more concerned with aesthetics (carving your own rubber stamps!) and mental puzzle-solving.

Does that make letterboxing more like fly-fishing, while geocaching is like cruising the lake with a sonar fish-finder? Either way, you still have to catch a fish.

At least both get you outside and moving around, more or less.


otowi said...

Yay, I enjoy geocaching!

jason said...

Are you allowed to tell us what is inside? Treasure maps, human toe bones, photos?


Chas S. Clifton said...

Most people leave trinkets: key rings, little plastic animals, toy soldiers, novelty coins, postcards--stuff like that.

There are also people who leave coins and objects with serial numbers, making it possible to register and track the objects' movements online as they are carried from cache to cache.

That's a little obsessive for me, but to each his own.