Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 198 - Geocaching

Jula and I decided one day that we were going to go Geocaching.  I didn't even really know what it meant but it reminded me of when as a teenager I was at Coach Gregg's house and he gave us a scavenger hunt list.  We each had thirty minutes to go find as many items on the list and the first team back with the most items would win.  We were paired off.  I remember asking for a purple button, a blue ink pen, a spool of black thread, a yellow comb, etc. from complete strangers.  The houses that we entered were having as much fun as we did as they laughed at the particular details on the list.  Noooooo, it has to be a PURPLE button! They would have a brown button but not a purple one.  I don't even remember who my partner was from the basketball team, I just remember running from house to house trying to get as many items on the list.

Jula and I went to the website and created an account.  We realized we were at a disadvantage right away because we didn't have one of those tools that tell you your exact gps location of latitude and longitude.  But we thought we'd give it a try.  We put in our zip code and found that there were over thirty caches near where we lived!  Some of them uploaded directions.  We were excited because we were going to put something from Germany in the cache once we found it and take something from the cache.  An ever changing treasure box hidden by one and found by many.  We went searching for the first one and drove around and around and couldn't find it. 
That tool was evidently imperative to find that cache box. 

I'm going in, hope there are no snakes!

We found it, so tiny!
We decided to try another one.  We parked, found the spot listed and tried to understand the clue about the kind of tree that was different than the rest. We looked and looked and found the tree, we too didn't know what it was but that was different and found the little container. We opened it up with anticipation and found a blue stone.  That was it.  We looked at each other and said, "All of that for this little clear blue stone?"
look realllll close!

We tried it again and found the container under a bridge near our new movie theater.  It held small girly trinkets.  I guess I was looking for a sturdy box that you could see what clues were left by the many people who gave and took an item.

Geocaching is defined as a real world treasure hunt using a GPS -enabled device.  There are three rules for geocaching: 1) If you take something, leave something of equal or greater value.  2) Write about your experience in the cache log book if they have it. 3) Log onto and write about your experience.  There are twelve types of caches.  Click here to find out what they are.  Geocaching is international.  It started on May 2, 2000 when a blue switch was turned on and the twenty-four global satellites suddenly had an upgrade and hundreds of thousands of GPS receivers had their positions recorded and accurately recorded by the satellites. 

The Origins of Geocaching

Geocaching, first coined by Matt Stum on the "GPS Stash Hunt" mailing list on May 30, 2000, was the joining of two familiar words. The prefix geo, for Earth, was used to describe the global nature of the activity, but also for its use in familiar topics in gps such as geography.

Caching, from the word cache, has two different meanings, which makes it very appropriate for the activity. A french word invented in 1797, the original definition referred to a hiding place someone would use to temporarily store items. The word cache stirs up visions of pioneers, gold miners, and even pirates. Today the word is still even used in the news to describe hidden weapons locations.

The second use of cache has more recently been used in technology. Memory cache is computer storage that is used to quickly retrieve frequently used information. Your web browser, for example, stores images on disk so you don't have to retrieve the same image every time you visit similar pages.
The combination of Earth, hiding, and technology made geocaching an excellent term for the activity. However the "GPS Stash Hunt" was the original and most widely used term until Mike Teague passed the torch to Jeremy Irish in September 2000.

In the end, I almost think it is better to do this with younger kids.  But for me, the right thing to do will be to create my own and hide it across the street.  Then I can see the smiles on people's and children's faces when they discover it.  The website says, plant it and they will come.  When Gabriele, comes maybe we can put something in there from Italy!  Its free and fun, give it a try. 

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself. ~Walter Anderson 

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