Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Geocaching

Cuzzup has been trying to get me on the geocaching bandwagon for a long time now but I've not had the time to really consider it. However, this past Saturday, literally out of a moment of complete boredom, I though, what the heck and headed out for a treasure hunt.

[Yes, it's geeky/nerdy, but I don't judge]

I had downloaded a free app to my work phone, because this particular free app from Geocaching.com was only free on the iPhone. Using the GPS of the phone, it told me where the nearest caches were and one was just around the corner from me, so it was there I first headed. The app shows the approximate location of the cache on a map, where I am, and a series of arrows leading me to the prize along with an approximate distance to the cache and a toggle that allows you to switch between map view and compass view (which was super confusing). So I get within a few feet of the coordinates of the first cache and the app tells me to "keep my eyes open" so I begin scanning the area carefully. So as to not need to type excessively only to end up right back in the same place, and since I already wasted considerable time at the site and came up totally empty - out of frustration, I gave up on the site and used the app to lead me to another nearby site.

The second site was in a wooded area that I knew of, but have never been to. I was grossly unprepared for this whole thing and was so ticked from coming up empty from the last site and the app being quirky. There were moments where it told me I was 5 feet away and then literally took 1 step and the distance changed to 25 feet - so odd!

back to the woods, I was so caught up in the idea of wanting to find this cache that I headed right into the woods, staring mostly at the app and ending up deeper and deeper into the woods as the distance went from 500 feet, to 400 feet then all the way down to 20 feet and then it got closer then bounced around a bit. On one tree, there was a sneaker hanging there with a coupon in it but the clue mentions something about a "black otter box" - I have no idea what an otter box is. I search around more and came across a grouping of trees that had various Easter candies attached to them; one had a package of peeps, one had a bunny - it was nuts. I thought I was on to something when I noticed a coffee can attached to one tree but there was nothing in it.

Frustrated, I took a moment to look around and it hit me, I had no clue where I was. I was lost in the woods! I paid no attention to where the heck I was going here I was, not sure where I was. After a very brief panic, I thought hey, I've got two cell phones with decent battery power left, worse case I call the cops and just feel like more of a loser than I already felt in that moment.

I decided to pull up the map app and use the GPS feature and was able to see where I was in relation to where I parked, approximately, so after using that as a guide, I walked for a few minutes and then saw a house - so I started waling in that direction and soon saw a path marker and then followed the path markers until I was out of the woods and about to enter someones (a rich someone) back yard. Fearing I may get shot, because people can be nuts, as I exited the woods into the yard, I held both my arms up in a surrender pose until I was in the driveway and had exited the property and onto the main road en-route to my car.

I was sweating and disheveled and not thrilled with this geocahing game. In fact, minutes after I sat in the car, I deleted the app from the iphone and declared this my first and last geocaching experience. A few days later, I called Cuzzup, spoke of my horrible experience and she convinced me to give it one more try and how to better prepare. She pointed out another cache in my area that she insisted "should be easy" and while reluctant, I didn't rule it out.

After getting home from work today, I needed to go to pick up a few things at the market and I knew I would be passing the site of this cache that my cousin recommended I make a target and so I brought along my iPhone and jumped back into the pool. With relatively minimal effort, I broke the curse and found my first cache, a little pill bottle adorned in camouflage tape with two coins inside as well as a log book to sign. There is is - my first successful geocache experience and while I was glad to have found it, I am not certain yet about whether or not I like this game - we shall see.

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