You asked for it, the story of a typical day caching. This morning the day dawned bright and sunny, with some time to spare I decided to head out caching, along with my camera.
The first stop was at my computer, logging into Geocaching.Com to see what was new today.
The next step was to look at the description of this cache.
Following that I look at the Google Map of the cache location. In this case the cache was in the woods, so even the satellite image wasn’t not much help, but it did show me which park this cache was located it.
And then my next step was to load the coordinates and description, copied from the Cache Description page to my GPSReceiver and my iPod. Using the Notes in my iPod I can take the entire text description with me without using paper. “Paperless” caching saves the trees in the forests we all like caching in. I also made sure the batteries were charged, and my “caching’ stick (a hiking stick) was in the car – it always is.
And out the door I went. After a quick stop at the grocery store, and a stop at a local Great Harvest Bread Company for some coffee and a sample slice. Today’s special was a Peperoni Piza Bred – one of my favorites. I arrived in the parking lot for the park where the cache was hidden, and soon I was on the trail.
Once on the trail it was just a matter of following the “Needle”, looks like the cache is about 0.4 miles ahead.
What a beautiful day for a walk in the woods. Sorry the deer didn’t pose for this photo, but on the way out I did spot a couple off the trail watching me, till I stopped to take their picture. Then they scampered off.
Hmm, getting close, the trail turns and the cache seems to be a few hundred feet to the right.
Ok, I’m just about there, and the search begins. Though the needle says I’m only 4 feet from my target, I still have to search every hiding place around.
The GPS can get me within a few meters, in wet forest it can be off by as much oa 100′, but the best place to start looking is right at GZ (Ground Zero). Though the GPS said I was 4′ from the cache, it was about 30′ away and well hidden.
Out in the woods in the autumn it all looks about the same.
I won’t give away too much ‘spoilers’ but “camouflage” isn’t always the brown/tan/green of Army uniforms, but it can also mean to look like something it’s not, to look like it should be there. That ‘rock’ in the leaves isn’t a rock at all, but a cache container. No, sitting out in the open by the fallen tree isn’t where it was hidden.
On the way out I took my time to find a second cache, Believe me, it is almost visible in this picture.
Ok, I shouldn’t say that this one looks more like the ‘typical’ cache, but of the 8 or 9 in this park, this was the only one that was in a “lock-n-lockl” (brand) container. Cachers use many different containers.
At each cache I opened it, found the log book (the yellow book in the picture of the second cache, signed and dated it, then returned the cache to it’s hiding place. One of the great thrills of caching is to be the first cacher to find a new cache. On this set of caches I was second to find each of these caches. But then I have logged a few dozen FTFs as they are known. Two recent FTFs were both “Hydrocaches” one on a lake, the other on the Chesapeake Bay and accessible only by kayak (or other boat).
Now that I was done for today’s outside ‘work’ I still had one more step to go. When I got home I went back online at Geocaching.com and logged my finds.
Where are caches? All over the world, I took a look last week and found that there are some on both Easter and the Galapagos Islands. There most probably are a few within a few miles of you. The closest when I started caching was 0.16 mile, about 850′ from home.
Want to hear more about caching? There are a few excellent podcasts. Two, of many, that I lestn to are Podcacher.com, a weekly podcast by Sunny and Sandy in Sunny San Diego, Ca., Geocaching Podcast Another weekly podcast ‘aired’ live on Tuesday evenings then posted to their RSS feed later in the week.