Monday, October 17, 2011

My Geo Love Affair

So my BFF in New York got me hooked on this thing called Geocaching. Ever heard of it?

In it's simplest definition, Geocaching is a high-tech adventure game which uses the combination of satellites and GPS devices to locate small containers (caches) hidden in the great outdoors. In other words, Geocaching is akin to treasure hunting where the "treasures" are the caches themselves and the object of the game is to find them, document the find by signing the log inside and then returning the cache to its hidden location for others to find. Membership is free and it is all managed on the website There are millions of geocaches hidden all over the world - and probably a bunch within a mile of where you are right now.

I own a pricy geocaching-friendly Garmin handheld GPS device, but for convenience, I prefer using my iPhone. It's not quite as accurate as the Garmin, but close enough and super easy to use with access to the all the features. And it's dirt cheap by comparison... For $10 you can download the Geocaching App by Groundspeak directly to your iPhone from the iTunes store and, boom, you're ready to go! Totally worth the one-time investment and it's always with you for those times the geo spirit moves you.

Some people consider geocaching a geek sport, but I've found it to be quite agreeable. Geocaching can get dirty, sweaty, and occasionally, risky - but mostly it's just a great way to spend time outdoors exercising the body, mind, and spirit in a wholesome way. It can be done alone or in groups. And you can even attend Geocaching events where you meet other cachers in a social environment. I'm not going to lie... as in any hobby, some people take Geocaching to extreme Star-Trekian proportions, going to conventions and living for the cache. Me? I cache when I feel like it. Finding them is fun, but recently I have really gotten into hiding caches. Here's a list of my current hides:

All Geocaches

By Username (Hidden) - User: wicked247
Total Records: 20 - Page: 1 of 1 - < Prev   <<   <[1]>   >>   Next >
Direction and Distance*XDescriptionInfo(D / T)PlacedLast FoundSend to GPS
1Traditional CacheCalamari Safari
by Wicked247 | GC360VZ | Florida 
10/15/2011 New!3 days ago*Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheEnchanted Forest
by Wicked247 | GC35Y30 | Florida 
10/13/2011 New!3 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheDearly Departed Series: Rest My Sole
by Wicked247 | GC35ND1 | Florida 
10/09/20112 days ago*Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheSQT
by Wicked247 | GC35H4J | Florida 
10/07/20114 days ago*
0Traditional CacheNumbskull
by Wicked247 | GC35GNY | Florida 
10/07/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheSanderson Sisters
by Wicked247 | GC34YTT | Florida 
09/27/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheWar And Peace
by Wicked247 | GC34R1R | Florida 
09/24/201110/01/2011Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheLonesome Dove
by Wicked247 | GC34DR8 | Florida 
09/18/20112 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheConjoined Triplets
by Wicked247 | GC3473B | Florida 
09/14/20114 days ago*Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheLip Lock
by Wicked247 | GC34715 | Florida 
09/14/201110/02/2011Send to GPS
4Traditional CacheSomething Wicked Is Afoot
by Wicked247 | GC33YY0 | New York 
09/10/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheDearly Departed Series: Kris Cross
by Wicked247 | GC33YNQ | Florida 
09/10/20114 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheDiamondback
by Wicked247 | GC33YKK | Florida 
09/10/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
2Traditional CacheFootloose
by Wicked247 | GC33YJ8 | Florida 
09/10/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheSkin Deep
by Wicked247 | GC33YH8 | Florida 
09/10/20114 days ago*Send to GPS
2Traditional CacheDearly Departed Series: Hands Off The Body!
by Wicked247 | GC33WZ0 | Florida 
09/10/20113 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheSilverfish
by Wicked247 | GC33W23 | Florida 
09/08/20114 days ago*Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheEat It Raw
by Wicked247 | GC33VYK | Florida 
09/08/201109/11/2011Send to GPS
0Traditional CacheBetween A Rock And A Hard Place
by Wicked247 | GC333GX | Florida 
08/27/201109/10/2011Send to GPS
1Traditional CacheAll Bark And No Bite
by Wicked247 | GC333FK | Florida 
08/27/20112 days ago*Send to GPS
When you decide to hide a cache, it's something that requires a bit of planning, time and creativity. You must 1) scout for an interesting location, 2) choose an appropriate cache vessel, cache name, and cache description, 3) print off a log sheet to place inside your cache along with some trinkets if the cache will accommodate them, 4) place your cache and record the precise GPS coordinates so that when you submit your cache for publication on the website, they can be downloaded into the GPS devices of fellow cachers, and finally 5) key all the necessary information into the online form to submit your cache for approval by a Reviewer. Once approved, the cache is published to the geocaching website and is immediately available for download by any interested cachers. Sometimes this process can be frustrating because there are many rules and regulations as to where caches can be placed and how far away from other caches they must be as to not over-saturate an area. Parks are popular places to hide caches, but often come with permitting requirements - or at the very least, require prior authorization from park officials. In the end, however, hiding caches is a lot of fun. Especially if you have a Reviewer who is down with the game and is helpful and eager to get your caches approved quick. Mine, sadly, is not.

My Reviewer is a bit of a... shall we say... stickler. He is the Sergeant Carter of Reviewers. He is, for lack of a better description, a total pain in the ass. He goes over cache submission with a fine tooth comb and kicks them back for the slightest infractions. I once placed a cache inside a preserve which was 20 feet shy of the 528-foot requirement between caches - as the crow flies. Meaning if you drew a straight line to it's nearest relative the distance between the two caches was 508 feet. To physically get from one cache to the other, however, you had to hike a trail through dense forest that meandered around and was much much farther than 528 feet from cache to cache. Didn't matter. My cache was kicked back and I was told to remove it or find another spot. I could go on and on telling you stories about the nit-picky things my Reviewer has done to complicate my hides. I could tell you about all the times he has gummed up the works by requiring me to get permission to place caches that didn't require authorization at all. Still I press on.

This past week I placed two new caches near my home. One was a log that I embedded inside a hollow rubber squid fishing lure that I suspended from monofilament line inside a storm drain. Another was placed inside a big red artificial apple which I attached to tree limb in a spooky forest that reminded me of the Apple Scene in the Wizard of Oz. I was especially excited about that one and submitted it first.

Two days went by and I saw that my squid cache was published but not my apple cache. That was fine. I was happy that one didn't get bounced back to me. I checked my apple cache for any Reviewer Notes just in case there was a problem. Nope. The next day the apple cache didn't get published either, even though many others had been published by my Reviewer. Next day, same thing... my apple cache still went ignored. I was beginning to wonder what was up. Which brings me to this funny little anecdote...

My husband and I were driving past the apple cache location and I was lamenting about the fact that it was still unreviewed. I was getting frustrated because the weekend was gorgeous and I wanted it to be published for the cachers I knew would be out in throngs. I kept saying, "Why isn't my apple cache getting reviewed?" To which my husband answered, "Your Reviewer probably had to go to The Wizard to get approval."

Now that's funny.

I am happy to report that the apple cache finally got approved Sunday afternoon and was found a few hours later by two cachers. I think I am beginning to get a reputation for unique hides because I always seem to get really awesome comments on my field notes and many of my caches have received "Favorite" votes from fellow cachers.

I have to say, I owe this all to my dear friend, my BFF, Ross. Not only has he introduced me to a hobby I really love and enjoy, but he's taught me to think outside the box and to use thought and creativity when planning caches. He's not only my mentor, but the best cache buddy a girl could ever have. Thank you, thank you, thank you.