DAY 280: Geocaching my way to victory

8 Jun

I’M late to the party, but I’ll explain geocaching – or ‘hi-tech hide and seek’ – to the absent guests.

The cryptic crossword of outdoor activities, it requires participants to use a GPS to locate a waterproof container (hidden by a previous participant) within a short radius of supplied coordinates. There are over 1.3 million active geocaches listed on websites, spanning over 100 countries.

Sometimes you might have to work the final coordinates out from a series of clues: by taking last letters of a series of road names and then using the numbers those letters fall into the alphabet at, for example. Once you find your haul, you add the date and your details into the logbook hidden within, and add a little something of your own to the package.

My interest wanes almost immediately as my young nephew wields the GPS and takes us at a fair trot towards the harbour… until we’re about five feet away and I spot the life ring. I leg it over while the little fella’s gazing about at stones and bushes, and shove my hand into the hole at the front.

I’ve found a dirty tissue decoy, but when I move around and shove my hand into the back, I pull out an old vitamin bottle. Triumph! Sucked in, kid.

Inside is miscellaneous rubbish and a photo off some kids. The first geocache, 10 years ago, was hidden in the wilds of Oregon and contained software, videos, books, food, money and a slingshot – so things have obviously taken a bit of a slide since then.

I can’t really talk though, as all I have to offer is a Malaysian coin. If I’d planned properly I would have brought along Chinese crackers, a gobstopper and one of those fortune telling fish, to really show the next person how it’s done.

Keeper? Feels a bit like you’re cheating, using a GPS. If you have your orienteering badge, you might want to try a more organic game.

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