Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Good Question

Beware: because whenever someone says, "Good question," as some of you did in response to my Fodder's Day post, you're likely to get a lousy answer. But, you did ask about geocaching, so I'll attempt to tell you although I am a rank (but not an odiferous) novice.


First off, you need a GPS. Does that sound geeky and highfalutin to you? Let me tell you how and why we got our little unit, and let me start by revealing that my Cuppa has no sense of direction. She can sit in a house and neghbourhood that she has lived in for donkey's years (whatever they are, but my mother used to say that) and point to (or try to point to) something familiar, like the corner store. Almost without fail, she will point in the wrong direction.


So it was that when we finally replaced our ancient but wonderful Corolla a few years ago that she nigh unto demanded that we purchase an in-car compass as one of our options. Our in laws had one in their vehicle, and Cuppa's sister, who is almost as directionally challenged, swore by it (I said 'by' not 'at'). For whatever silly reason, Honda couldn't supply one with our model, and we thought to have a third party unit installed. It would cost around $300, but Cuppa would feel better about life.


Then it came to me. Why not buy a GPS that would cost the same amount? A GPS would provide more information than a compass and would have the advantage of being portable. I had become slightly familiar with this technology because the geography department of my high school had purchased several, and we had borrowed one for our trips: out west in 2000 and down east in 2001. But, being a painfully honest soul, I returned it to the department when I retired.


So, that's how we came to own one of these newfangled devices. It's not a fancy one that talks to you, and we pretty well use it as a glorified compass, but it does come with basic map information, and you can purchase and upload more. We have yet to do that but may do so at some point. Cuppa even takes it with us when we bike. It tells us how fast we are going, how far we've gone, our speed at any given moment, elevation, and, of course, direction.


So, what is this Geocaching all about? It's fairly simple. Someone will hide a cache that generally contains a notepad on which the visitor can document his find. It usually has a few trinkets, and you may take one and leave another. It's something to do: a hobby, a challenge. We have done very little of it and have kept it simple, but the great adventurers can go to great lengths — hide their caches in difficult, barely accessible spots.


You can find caches listed at Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site. If I type in my postal code and the radius which interests me, I get a list a caches. For example: there are 14 caches hidden within a five mile radius of our house, and 29 within a ten mile circle.


When you click on a cache listing, you will get the co-ordinates and a brief description. If others have looked, they can log their experience, sometimes giving additional clues. Then, you go out and search. We have looked for three, found one, pretty well given up on another, and need to have another look for the third now that we have figured out which side of the river to look on.


So, how was the answer?

12 comments:

PBS said...

We did a little geocaching as part of work when we were in Utah last year. It was very fun and I see where it would be a great hobby!

Rainypete said...

I keep trying to find some justifaction for splashign out on on of those because I'm sure all that I'd use it for is geocaching.

methatiam said...

I love it! Kinda like a “global” scavenger hunt. On those few and far between times called “vacation” we like to drive long distances, this would be kinda fun to do on a trip too.

Dale said...

Ahhh! So THAT'S geocaching! Sounds like a hoot! Thank you.

Simply Coll said...

Geocaching .. I had never heard of this before.. but what an amazing idea.

Cathy said...

Oh! I identify with Cuppa. I get lost headed for the bathroom. I love to forage for and photograph fungus and more than once I've wandered into a wood and looked up to find myself disoriented. Apparently men have some innate directional abilities we gals don't. Drats.

megz_mum said...

This looks like fun! I used your link and found quite a few near to us - this could be a great new interest!

Karla said...

Now THAT'S pretty cool!

mreddie said...

Sounds like a fun challenge - one of our neighbors did a modified version of this for his grandkids in the woods nearby. ec

Loren said...

Have you seen the Degree Confluence Project? It's pretty cool, and another fun application of GPS technology.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

Friends of mine do this with their grand kids. I think it sounds fun.

Sue said...

Wow, I'd never heard of this. What an interesting idea. I looked at the site and was amazed to find 64 listings in Cyprus, including several within a couple of miles of where we live.

Only problem is, we don't have a GPS... and right now it's far too hot to do anything like this. But perhaps one day.

(BTW I too am directionally challenged. Extremely so. I don't even know right from left naturally and get utterly confused when I look in a mirror)