Geocaching Anyone?

Last week while we were doing some editorial research in Big Bear Lake, Charles and I found our first geocache. Am I speaking a foreign language to you? No worries, you’re not alone. When I told my friend Connie about geocaching, she thought I was literally looking for a bunch of rocks. Not exactly.

Charles wanted to try geocaching ever since I got my new GPS (named Maynard). I was reluctant as I really didn’t get it. I’m still kind of ambivalent, but I guess I will try it again.

Basically geocaching is an electronic treasure hunt. And the treasure you find (the cache) is usually some type of a container that has a log (which you sign) and sometimes an assortment of trinkets. If you take a trinket, you have to replace it with something else. That’s pretty much the only rule, except that I think you are suppose to not let the folks around you know that you found a cache, as you don’t want to give away the secret location.

Anyone can (and does) hide a geocache. You can go to www.geocaching.com and find one near you. Just type in your zip code and you will get a number of returns. Then you just enter the latitude and longitude into your GPS and you’re all set.

Now some caches are more interesting than others. Ours was located on a busy causeway, and there were a lot of fisherman along the way. We had a few problems with the GPS so we went back and forth, past the same fishermen, a number of times. I kept thinking they maybe thought we were going to rob them or something. But we eventually found it.

And the good news is, it is pretty accessible. The pavement is level and although you do need some upper body strength to reach and get the cache, I think it’s doable for a wide range of folks. Some geocaches are more difficult than others, so I’m hoping that if we do another one, we can take a picnic lunch and it will be a bit more secluded.

So, if you are interested in trying out geocaching, check out www.handicaching.com for access information on geocaches. Just type in the waypoint number (which you get from the other website) and you can see the accessibility rating. Or just browse through the recently entered ones. You can even add an accessibility rating to geocaches that you’ve found. I believe Charles entered the access info into the one we did, so that means there is one more in the system.

Anyway, it’s just another way to enjoy the outdoors, and thanks to the website listed above, it can also be pretty accessible.

So go ahead, give it a try.