Friday, August 19, 2011

Geo-what? GeoCACHING!

This summer has been particularly tough to find time to explore with each other. It seems that when Josh is working, I'm not and when I'm working, he's not. We have come to realize that though we can't seem to get too far from home, there are still plenty of small adventures close to home. So, we dusted off the GPS and started to investigate the geocaching possibilities.

Geocoin & Travel Bug
I first started geocaching in 2007. I can't remember who told me or where I came across the game but it sparked an interest immediately. Basically, it's a worldwide treasure hunt played with GPS units. Cachers navigate to specific coordinates and then try to find a small camouflaged containter (the geocache). Then the Cacher logs their find online.

In the geocache are various trade objects; marbles, keychains, fishing tackle. You never really know what you are going to find but the coolest things are Travel Bugs and Geocoins. A Travel Bug is a dog-tag that's attached to an object and a geocoin is unique coin, both are numbered. They travel from cache to cache around the country and people log them so everyone can see where they've been. It's a little dorky. We know. But it's also kinda fun!
50cal Ammo Box cache, Located off Maitland Rd.

When we logged into we were surprised to see that within 10 miles of our house were 64 caches. It's kind of amazing to think that within that distance there were that many treasures to try and find. So we started looking. 30 days later and we've attempted about 25 caches.

Last night we tried out first Night Cache. It was located off of Mt. Roosevelt Rd., not too far from home. We took an old two-track that we hadn't known about before. We drive Roosevelt Rd. all the time and still had missed that road. We drove down to the coordinates and waited for the sun to set. The pines rose up all around us and for being so close to town it somehow seemed like we were in our own world. We heard the insects begin their night songs as the forest came alive around us. It was very cool.

Once the sun set we started up our flashlights and began to look. It didn't take us to spot the reflectors and after a short walk we found the camouflaged cache. We signed the logbook, took a 35mm film container with a trash bag in it (to pick up trash with on your hike out) and left, in it's place, a key-chain bottle opener.

On our way home we realized how nice it was to be out caching in the evening, especially in the dark. Now that we've found a night cache we are going to start looking for more to do. Maybe even put one out ourselves. Wouldn't that be fun?!

Only part of geocaching is finding the cache. The most important part are the places that you'll see and the experience that you'll have. It's about going somewhere you may have overlooked or had never known about and exploring it with fresh eyes.

If you are interested in finding out about geocaching near your home than visit and put in your zip code. A list of caches will appear but you can also look at them on a map. If you want more of an idea of what you may be getting into watch What is Geocaching? If you'd like to go out with us than leave us a note! Either way look for us, BackroadsAdventures, on the trail!


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