GeoCache: Adventure Anniversary

travelbugOne year ago today, the teacher introduced our family to a game she chose for an occasional family outing. The family still plays, but the extremist in our family (me) evolved this game into a way of life. That game is the worldwide phenomenon called geocaching. Nine hundred and thirty eight (938) finds later, I’m as enamored with the game as I was after the first find.

Geocaching is a treasure hunting game the world introduced in 2001 which grew to 2,000,000 caches worldwide this season. However, for our family the adventure started with a birthday gift (the GPS) and an idea to play outside.

On Apr 28, 2012, we planned our first geocache adventure to the closest cache near our home. We grabbed our gear (a GPS, camera, hands and eyes) and searched clueless for 10 minutes but found our first geocache. The teacher got what she expected, the prodigy got irritated and I got hooked.

On Apr 28, 2013, we discovered our 938th geocache. We searched with evolved geo-gear and geosense, but the thrill of the hunt and triumphal find is the same every time. The teacher got what she expected, the prodigy got irritated and I am hooked.

I’ve traveled thousands of miles in search of nano-sized to large-sized containers in parks, on highways and in the city collecting geocaches and achieved interesting milestones on this journey. Here are a few:

  • Found = 938 (and counting)
  • Hidden = 2 (and counting)
  • Rate = 2.55 finds/calendar day
  • Most finds/day = 24 on Jan 23, 2013
  • Most finds/month = 148 in Jun 2012
  • Longest active streak = 11 straight days geocaching
  • Longest inactive streak = 5 straight days without geocaching
  • Locations = 2 states, 10 counties, 20 cities
  • Trackables Logged = 99
  • Trackables Started = 3 (2 disappeared)
  • Event Caches = 3
  • CITO Event = 1
  • Earth Caches = 5
  • Weather endured = rain, snow, extreme heat
  • Terrain navigated = flat, hilly, steep, rocky, flooded, crowded
  • Injuries sustained = skinned knee, mashed finger, insect bites, twisted ankle, numerous scratches/abrasions, poison ivy rash, pierced rump, scraped scalp, bloody lip, ringing funnybone and bruised ego
  • Animals encountered = deer, snake, frog, lizard, possum, wasp, dog, bird, cat, cow, turkey, scorpion, spider, fish, armadillo, bear (just kidding)
  • Enjoyment = infinite

That’s a lot of places and a lot of faces. I’ve learned a great deal and what I’ve learned evolved my geocaching game and increased the fun. Here are a few ways I matured my geocaching approach.

Fewer photo Ops & Faster Logging: I don’t take photos of every geocache now nor do I spend hours logging my finds after an adventure. I log every find immediately after I find it on my phone. This only works if I have a signal. Signal loss is only a problem in remote areas.

Timing & Place: I don’t schedule a family geocache outing every weekend or revise my schedule to squeeze geocaching between chores and church. That means I beg less and irritate the family less. Instead, I schedule geocaches during business trips or spontaneously check for nearby caches when I’m running errands.

Prep & Gear: I don’t gather geocaching gear the night before an adventure. I have everything I need so preparation is as simple as grabbing my backpack and phone.

Other than life, love, work and football, I’ve never remained interested in the same thing for more than a year, but this geocaching game is still interesting. Will I write a 2nd year anniversary article in 2014? Only time and adventure will tell.