A geocaching microadventure
I recently embarked on a fun morning excursion. It took me to a place I had never before visited, was a challenge, cost nothing but time, gave me some exercise and I completed it in 1.5 hours in the morning – before I went to work! Adding to the enjoyment was the fact my parents joined me on this ‘microadventure’.
Together we tried ‘geocaching’. Geocaching is basically ‘treasure hunting’ in the outdoors. There is a huge community of geoachers in the world. A geocache is a normally a small container, hidden in a specific location with a specific GPS coordinate (Learn more about geocaching at the official website here). To go geocaching you need some type of GPS unit with geocaching software installed. Or if you have a smartphone with GPS, you can just use that. I used my blackberry phone and downloaded a trial version of the software geochachenavigator by Trimble. The trial version is free and you can use it for 7 days. That is more than enough time to get out and find a few geocaches and see if you enjoy the experience enough to upgrade to the full version for only a few dollars. There are also geocache software for the iphone and ipad which I tested on my wifes phone. These are easy to use and work very well.
Together with Mum and Dad, we started up the geocaching software, the GPS automatically calculated our position and displayed a list of nearby geocaches. We chose the closest one which happened to be 800m away. The GPS displays the bearing and distance to the geocache. Now handheld GPS is accurate to about +/-5 to 10m, so you can get very close to the geocache location before you need to look at the clues which are given with the details of the geocache to find it.
Mum and Dad were in charge of the navigation and very quickly got the hang of following the bearing and distance to navigate to the geocache. There were a few disagreements as to the best route to take especially when we came to a patch of jungle and the GPS indicated the geocache was 100m inside. We eventually followed a tiny trail beside a stream up through the jungle. Crossing under fallen trees and pushing through the undergrowth we eventually came to a junction in the stream. The GPS indicated this was the spot. The clue for the geocache read it was under a the roots of a tree. Dad soon spotted the geocache after a quick hunt around. it turned out to be a small blue tube tied to the tree. Inside was a piece of paper which was the ‘log’. People who had found the geocache previously had recorded their names on this and the date they found it. You always leave the geocache how you found it, so we noted our names on the log and returned it to its position.
The amazing thing about geocaching, is that there are millions of them hidden all over the world. In Singapore alone there are hundreds of geocaches hidden all over the island. You don’t realise it but you will be walking over,under or past them every day. And in the pursuit of locating a geocache, you get some good exercise (without thinking about the fact you are exercising), get taken to new spots you would normally not visit and have an adventure. Give it a go!
This blog is listed under a section on my website called ‘Microadventure’. Microadventures are cheap simple adventures close to home. A chap named Alistair Humphreys coined the phrase ‘microadventure’, you can read about him here. I will continue to add more microadventures to my website to give people idea’s and inspiration to go on your own adventures. If you do go on your own, I would love to hear about them and do drop me a line!