What Is It All About?

The GPS was telling me I was 4.91 feet from the cache located WNW from where I set the GPS Unit down .  It is laying on top of the information about the cache downloaded from the website.

Geocaching is essentially a great treasure hunt utilizing GPS (global positioning satellites) that start in 2000 when the military let civilians use the signals from the satellites to determine where they were on earth.   A hand-held GPS unit is the first piece of essential equipment needed for Geochaching.    The second is a computer that has internet access so you can go to:  www.geocaching.com.    This is where you will find information on caches that are nearby, how to locate them, how to log your finds, and how to put out caches, if you are so inclined.

Why do we do it?   Because it is FUN.   And it is a natural for someone who is a full-timer RVer.   You get out, get some exercise and see wonderful areas that you won’t see if it weren’t for geocaches.
  For example, here I am at the new Hummingbird Garden in Yuma, Arizona.   Probably would not have gone there, except for the cache.

We have been out in the desert areas of Arizona and Nevada for the past few weeks and have seen amazing sites, a lot of which are detailed in the blog including our discovery of the Confederate graves in Arizona at the old Butterfield Stage Coach site.  

We have learned to take some necessities along with us in our little red bag
as shown in this photo.   In the bag we have heavy leather gloves, “cache cards” that we leave behind at larger caches, trinkets for trade, any “Travel Bugs” that we are carrying along to a new location, binoculars, and, of course, a camera.   We are also thinking of adding some knee pads as our knees aren’t what they use to be and a LOT of the caches require some kneeling in order to uncover and remove.    

Another item that we have determined is necessary is a good pair of boots, especially when in the desert or hilly country.   Of course, hats/sun visors are a must for the sunny days when we are hunting, as are long pants.  And yes, that is a town in the background FAR below where we located the cache!

While we spend a lot of time looking for larger caches hidden out in remote areas, there are also a LOT of urban caches, which can be trickier to find.   They are often small or require some thought/problem solving to locate.
   The photo below shows a 35 mm film cartridge hanging in a pine tree.   This is called a micro cache and usually contains only a log book, well really not a book but more likely tightly rolled paper,  on which to record the date you found the cache and your “on screen” name.   Ours is “d&bok”, so if you are on geocaching.com, you can see what caches we have found over the past few months!

There is one other known problem with geocaching fever - it is catching!   We have introduced several couples to this activity.  This picture is of a group from the “Graduating
Class of ‘06” rally at Quartzite, Arizona.    We were going to go with one other couple and ended up with 6 carloads following us around the desert.   

Unfortunately there is no known cure for this affliction.  It can be kept at bay by a minimum of one day a week of geocaching excursions!

Another fun aspect of this treasure hunt are Travel Bugs.   These can be just about any small item that you wish to send on a mission, which are attached to a “dog tag” for tracking purposes.   You then identify a mission, place the TB in a cache and track it online as people find and move it to another cache.  This is our Irish Pub key chain which has as it’s mission to visit Irish Pubs across the US and eventually go to Ireland.    We have several other TBs in circulation and it is a lot of fun to get an email letting us know when one has been picked up and moved and to follow their routes.   We also enjoy picking up TBs and moving them on - especially when we find one that wants to get to another continent.   We then try to get them near a major city and, hopefully, into a Stargate.   Stargates are caches specifically designed for TBs to be picked up and taken on flights to another country, etc.  

Benchmarking is another type of caching where the hunt is for a US Geological Survey Datum Marker.   When you find one you upload you’re readings so that new information is available to the USGS.   Some of the very old markers have coordinates that may be off quite a bit, since they were done by early surveyors using sextants and chains. 

Hello from Groundspeak! This is your weekly update from Groundspeak for 27 April 2011 to 04 May 2011.

Happy 11th Birthday Geocaching!

Can you believe that geocaching turned 11 years old this week? Neither can we! Geocaching has come a long way since the first geocache was placed on May 3, 2000. Here are some fun facts and a timeline of the history of geocaching:

• The first geocache was not called a geocache at all, but a "GPS Stash." Although the original geocache is no longer in place, there is a plaque marking its location and a physical container with a logbook for visitors to sign.

• September 2, 2000: September 2, 2000: Geocaching.com launches. The site lists 75 geocaches worldwide.

• August 30, 2001: The first Travel Bug® is released by Jeremy. TB1 is a rubber ducky named "Deadly Duck: Envy." Fun fact: The image on the Deadly Duck's Trackable page is Photoshopped to replicate this mug shot of a famous Seattle-area entrepreneur and philanthropist in his younger, "wilder" days.

• September 30, 2001: Moun10Bike places the second Geocoin in a cache near Deception Pass, Washington. He keeps the first Geocoin in his personal collection. Watch him tell his story.

• December 31, 2007: Geocaching.com reaches 500,000 active geocache listings.

• March 8, 2010: Geocaching.com reaches 1 million active geocache listings. The number of listings on Geocaching.com has grown by 37% since then.

• May 3, 2011: There are currently over 1.3 million geocaches listed on Geocaching.com. They are hidden in almost every country in the world.

• May 3, 2025: The first geocache is placed on Saturn to commemorate the 25th anniversary of geocaching.

Okay, so the last one is probably not true. But it could be.