Geocaching

It’s a fun treasure hunt game using a GPS.

Geocaching is:

an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called “geocaches” or “caches”) anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and “treasure,” usually toys or trinkets of little value.

Geocaching started when selective availability of the GPS system was turned off in May 2000, increasing the accuracy of consumer GPS units by ten-fold. You can read more about its history here.

My friend Wayfarer got me into geocaching in April 2006. I became a member of the Geocaching.com and was off finding caches. My first find was one my daughter and I found together in a park that we visited often.

My best day was when Wayfarer and I found 14 geocaches together in April last year. May 2007 was my best month when I found 22 caches.

At times, geocaching has been a lot of fun. It’s especially fun to hunt for them in the wilderness. However, sometimes geocachers hide microcaches (those that are very small) in parks etc, and those can be difficult to find. In the city, some hiding places are so crowded that one arouses suspicion during the search. At times, the bomb squad is called.

The houses were evacuated, the bomb squad called to disarm the suspicious device that was found in a quiet Tustin neighborhood. A member of the bomb squad placed an explosive device to detonate the offending object and BAM!

The lid blew off the rectangular ammunition box and revealed … some notes and a few pieces of candy.

Bounty from what turned out to be nothing but a high-tech scavenger hunt.

On the other hand, some tourist destinations, like Jekyll Island or Callaway Gardens, have hidden geocaches all over the place as a way to attract visitors with another activity.

So why write about it more than two years later? Because I passed a milestone: On July 9, I finally got to 100 geocache finds.

I use the GPS receiver Garmin GPS60CSx for navigation/finding the cache and Treo 650 smartphone for storing all the info about the caches from the Geocaching website. GSAK is the software on my PC which keeps a database of caches I might be interested in and Cachemate runs on the Treo for the same purpose. I also use Garmin MapSource (I have the Topo maps, Google Earth (on the PC) and Google Maps (on the Treo) for mapping.