A few months ago a friend of mine mentioned Geocaching to me. And I confess I tried to block it out of mind because it sounded enticing enough that I knew if I went down that road I’d probably become hooked and it might become an obsession. I didn’t succeed and a couple of hours after reading this article I coughed up the $12.99 to download the iPhone application and tentatively entered the Geocaching sub-culture.
More than most things, Geocaching is very much like entering a parallel universe. To set the scene I am going to do a bit of cut and paste from Wikipedia, save re-inventing the descriptive wheel.
Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity 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.
Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. After 10 years of activity there are over 1.2 million active geocaches published on various websites devoted to the activity.
For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container containing a log book (with pen or pencil) and trade items then record the cache’s coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a listing site (see list of some sites below). Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from that listing site and seek out the cache using their GPS handheld receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook, pencil, or stamp) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value.
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