As part of my resolutions this year, I have been trying to find more ways to be active. I joined a gym, I have been trying to find different trails on the weekends to walk, and just generally get out of the house more. I am a home body by nature. I am most comfortable in my little apartment. I could stay in and read all weekend and wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, but that means not being active and getting in the exercise I need to lose all this dreaded weight I have put on and I really need to lose the weight. A few weeks ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had found her first Geocache. She looked so excited, but I had no clue what she was talking about. I had heard the word Geocache before, but I had never looked it up to see what it was. I backed out of Facebook and over to Safari on my phone and looked up Geocaching and instantly I knew I had found a new hobby. In case you are just as clueless as I was, the definition of Geocaching as listed on Wikipedia.org is “Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity , in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.” So basically, you can download the “Geocaching” app and it shows you all the Geocaches near you or where you are planning to travel to. Each Geocache has a description by the owner who placed it. The descriptions usually include why the people decided to hide a Geocache and the reason they decided to place it where they did as well as the size of the cache and what’s in it. Geocache’s come in all shapes and sizes and go from easy to find to almost impossible depending on the challenge you are looking for and they can be literally found all over the world. I have since started following different Geocachers on Instagram around the world to see what people are finding in other countries and I have been awed by the creativity that people have put into the caches they place as well as being amazed by the places people trek to find them.
When I first started reading about Geocaches, I envisioned that they were all out in the woods somewhere that I would have to hike to and yes, there are those, but there are also many in just random places around town. I had quite a few within a mile of where I live. That meant I could go hunting when I go on my walks around my neighborhood or I could make a plan to go hunting on a trail or anywhere I travel to. There are so many to find, this hobby is going to keep me busy for quite some time. Once you start finding them, it gets addictive. It’s like solving a mystery. The GPS only gets you so far, the rest is up to you in deciphering clues when given and seeing through the camouflage.
There are quite a few that I haven’t found, but I haven’t given up. As like many other Geocachers, I plan to go back with a fresh set of eyes and try again. Though there have been a couple of times where there were just too many Muggles, non-geocaching folk. (Another reason to love this hobby. It borrows the word Muggles from my favorite Fandom.) Part of the rules of Geocaching is to not draw too much attention to yourself or the cache itself while hunting. I am currently honing my skills at finding caches in town before I head out into the forest or other harder caches. I am getting better at spotting them for sure. People can be really creative when hiding their caches. Many of the caches only contain a log for you to sign proving that you found it, but many are big enough to hold Geoswag. What is this you may wonder? Geoswag can be anything from a rock or a coin to little toys left in the cache. When a Geocache description states Geoswag is present, you have the choice to bring something small with you and you can trade for something in the cache. As I have found, many cachers keep the things that they trade for in a jar or shadow box as souvenirs from their caching adventures. I am still in the process of figuring out what I am going to do with my Geoswag. I only have a few things so far and they are currently in a sandwich baggy waiting for their permanent home. Another type of Geoswag are Trackables. These you have to purchase and register. A Trackable is Geoswag you can track as it travels from geocache to geocache. I have heard that people set a goal on their trackable for it to reach a certain destination and it’s up to the Geocachers who find it to keep it moving toward it’s goal. I haven’t found any Trackables yet, so I haven’t researched this part of it as of now. I know there is much more for me to learn, but at least I know I will be having fun while I do it. I think next, I might actually start making my own Geoswag to take with me on my hunts. I will keep you posted.