On my 1,000th Geocache

Profile for Andromeda321

A little over four years ago, while killing time before class in my M.Sc. days in Cleveland, I was looking around for new apps for my iPhone and remembered a thing I’d heard about called geocaching.  It was the idea that a person would hide a box somewhere (the geocache) and upload the GPS coordinates to the Internet, and then other people would find them in a bit of a scavenger hunt.  It was an idea that I found interesting when I first heard of it in college, but a GPS was too pricey for me as a student (and I had no car, making me a lot less mobile) so I promptly forgot about it.  But a search that day revealed that in the smartphone era one could go geocaching via a smartphone’s GPS, and there was even a free app, and hey there are a lot of these things around Cleveland!

I promptly went out that weekend to start finding a few of these things and the rest is history, as it turns out geocaching is a great thing to do when searching for an adventure.  The thrill of the hunt aside (and occasional swag to trade), they tend to be hidden in interesting locations that someone wants to bring you to, so a little research before traveling to an area on popular geocaches there rarely disappoints.  So far geocaching has taken me to extraordinary viewpoints from Italy to Tanzania…

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Re Teodorico, Verona and NgoroNgoro- A Big African Caldera

To beautiful hikes in Patagonia…DSCN0586
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ASTA que lo encuentres- near Bariloche, Argentina

To an abandoned 18th century foundry in the Hungarian hillside…

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Massa- An Ancient Foundry

To ski-in geocaches in the Rockies…

Silver Queen- Aspen, CO… the cache is the little container in my hand. I also think my sister took this picture to make fun of me, but you can’t shame the unabashed!

To… well, you get the idea.  Rest assured a lot of people do this hobby and there are now over 2 million caches in the world, so if you’re in an area and you don’t know it well, looking for geocaches is often a great way to bring you to the interesting stuff in it.

But for me, what I’ve enjoyed most are probably not so much the caches while traveling (though that’s been nice!) so much as the days at home that could have been ordinary days, but ended up as adventures instead. (Trust me, this was a definite benefit when living in Ohio, but has gotten me into good adventures in Holland too!) Add in some friends to go with and it’s a pretty hard day to beat in my experience.

There were creeks to wade and islands to explore in Ohio…IMG_0870
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Up a Creek with a Canadian, Parma, and Inscription Rock, Kelly’s Island

There were paddle boats to rent and navigate through the canals to grab one under a bridge in Amsterdam- because, let’s face it, fun as that is no locals would usually ever do it…IMG_0571
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Amsterdam Urban 2- Under the Bridge- curiously hidden under a bridge by a police station, and you are advised to bring gloves as the pigeons like to roost on it, but a fun afternoon on the water!

And there was that day last summer where we got really ambitious and cycled 49km to find 56 geocaches through the Dutch countryside.  There was a special route set up just for dorks like us who thought it an excellent way to spend a Saturday, and it was the most any of our group had ever found in a day.  A very fun and epic adventure we will not be forgetting anytime soon…

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Not listing all 56, but among others there were several field puzzles that day- you had to first find the container filled with sections of pipe as seen here, and then put the sections together properly in order to read the coordinates where the real cache was…

And finally, there was last week where I mentioned in passing to my Dutch geocaching buddies how I was approaching the “kilocacher” milestone of 1,000 geocaches- as big as one gets in the caching world- and we somehow managed to organize ourselves by Sunday to go to do a loop of 35 geocaches in the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park for a nice sunny winter day of hiking and caching.  The area is dominated by old mining tailings and moraines that reach all of 50 meters in height, meaning I saw my first Dutch hills to boot!

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And finally, hidden in a thicket of trees, the 1,000th geocache!  Celebrated with cake brought along for the occasion while taking in the views, as it turns out my Dutch caching friends like to celebrate in style. *wink*

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All told, it has been an amazing hobby filled with a thousand adventures and laughs I would not have had otherwise.  If the next thousand are even half as fun I will be more than happy to keep geocaching- and maybe I’ll see you on the caching trail soon!

4 responses to “On my 1,000th Geocache

  1. I’ve had some fun with this and am still kicking myself for not trying to find any geocaches when I spent two weeks in Portugal a couple of years ago. (I did some searching after returning and found that there was one right next to where I parked my car to go one of my hikes.)

    • Yeah, I didn’t put it into this post because that’d be a touch obnoxious of me, but I am really kicking myself that I wasn’t doing this during my first RTW trip. I guess it means a good excuse to return to Laos and Namibia and wherever, but I’d have like 20 more countries per geocaching’s metrics if I had!

  2. I’ve always wanted to try geo-caching…just never got around to it. 1000 is pretty amazing. Happy caching!

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