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The KFA goes GeoCaching

By johnboy - 25 August 2010 22

[First filed: Aug 24, 2010 @ 13:08]

phone shot

Hidden all over Canberra are hidden caches. There are hundreds of them. Bright eyed enthusiasts scurry between them peering at hand held devices and secreting coded messages for each other.

But it’s not as sinister as it might seem at first hand.

Part orienteering, scavenger hunt, game of hide and seek, with a whiff of the flash-mob it’s Geocaching, and quite a lot of it happens in this town.

When I first heard about it I was interested, but didn’t have a GPS (an essential tool).

But these days even midrange mobile phones have GPS so I thought I’d give it a go.

$13 got me the dedicated geocaching app which immediately alerted me to nearby caches and I was off with George the Kelpie of Few Accomplishments.

Heading up Dryandra Street I quickly realised I was going to have to head into the woods.

the grove

But walking from the road to the GPS location I realised there was a bit of a path. The sort of thing you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t have reason to be going that way.

Walking up the hill I reached the point where the GPS said I should be, looked around, and there it was!

Geocache

Risking the redbacks I removed the rocks and there was a little blue piece of tupperware.

cache

And inside was a little notebook for recording my passing, a pen which had ceased to work, some playing cards and a pin.

Apparently it’s normal to take and leave things between caches.

cache contents

For months people have been trekking up into the trees, scrabbling around by the side of Barry Drive, and recording it.

notepad

So I did the same.

notepad added to.

Then it was a case of putting the rocks back in place, telling the software I’d found it, and walking the dog back down the hill.

I don’t know what I really achieved.

But in a daft sort of way it’s rather fun.

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
The KFA goes GeoCaching
Deano 11:10 pm 24 Aug 10

We did some geocaching on a recent trip to Griffith. Lots a caches at various rest stops and other interesting places along the road. It was a great way to keep the kids enthused and break up the trip with stops at places where you wouldn’t normally stop. Griffith has a good selection of caches that take you to various places of interest around the town.

Doesn’t using a GPS take some of the mystery out of it though?

Even though you have the coordinates, can zoom in on the location in Google Maps and have a GPS that can lead you to the spot, you still have to get out there and physically get to the location. For many caches in out of the way places, just getting there is an adventure.

Woody Mann-Caruso 6:00 pm 24 Aug 10

Doesn’t using a GPS take some of the mystery out of it though?

It can for some of the easier caches, especially if the coordinates are the final destination and you just plug them into Google Maps then hit zoom. Still, you’ll often find your GPS saying ‘you’re right on top of it’ but when you look around there are a million and one places it could be. It’s also likely that your GPS reads the same coordinates at a different position to the hider – depends how long you both stand still and what your signal is like. Multi-caches (multiple sets of coordinates) and puzzle caches (puzzle needs to be solved at one set of coordinates to get to the next) keep it interesting, as do micro urban caches that need to be found, logged and re-hidden without muggles catching you.

AG Canberra 4:39 pm 24 Aug 10

Take the kids – they love it. For them it’s exploring in the 21st century. We always take items to deposit and sometimes take an item with us.

And we prefer the bush ones to the urban ones – but sometimes we’ll park at the edge of a suburb and via streets and laneways eventually find the cache.

We have been doing it since the geocaching websites started appearing and we used a Garmin hand held GPS. The iPhone app makes it all much easier but the kids do still like to use the GPS as its arrow direction display is easy for them to see.

It really is good, cheap, enjoyable family fun.

The Traineediplomat 4:05 pm 24 Aug 10

Welcome to the hobby!!!! it’s great fun and a good community in ACT. Lots of different styles of cache. Hill Caches, Micro City Caches, Multis, Devious Puzzles…it’s all there!!!

nexus6 – it’s just that you can ‘play’ your own way. Some do it ‘for the numbers’, some for exercise, some for puzzle solving, some for the community feeling. You can be as much into it as you want.

Sadly in my current location, caches are few and far between!

Skidbladnir 3:43 pm 24 Aug 10

johnboy said :

The app is called “Geocaching”

Tax deduction achieved!
(I’m just sorting out my tax, so see everything in terms of tax for the moment)

nexus6 3:34 pm 24 Aug 10

I have been thinking about giving geocaching a go. I still dont understand what the attraction is, but given how many people do it i figure there must be something to it. Good on you for posting your experience Johnboy.

johnboy 3:30 pm 24 Aug 10

obviously.

georgesgenitals 3:28 pm 24 Aug 10

Hey Johnboy – would it have killed you to write your name and the URL a bit more neatly?

pockets 3:07 pm 24 Aug 10

I love GeoCaching, I have been doing it for ages!! Just you wait till you find a ‘micro cache’. It’s just a big treasure hunt… great for something to do while walking the dog 🙂

mtrax 2:47 pm 24 Aug 10

I think there are well over 1,000,000 caches world wide, with about 1,000 just in Canberra

p1 2:42 pm 24 Aug 10

Skidbladnir said :

So, you spent $13 and some data usage before you then walked the walked the dog, and tried to claim it as a capital expense\tax deduction and a billable hour?

Don’t forget to offset the fringe benefit you received in the form of fitness acquired while walking George.

Pommy bastard 2:41 pm 24 Aug 10

I used to indulge in the original version of geocaching “letterboxing”, when I lived in Devon UK. Good fun, and an added incentive to get out and about.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letterboxing

Doesn’t using a GPS take some of the mystery out of it though?

johnboy 2:37 pm 24 Aug 10

Errr… we don’t all live like that…

the app is called “Geocaching” (who’d a thunk it!)

Skidbladnir 2:28 pm 24 Aug 10

So, you spent $13 and some data usage before you then walked the walked the dog, and tried to claim it as a capital expense\tax deduction and a billable hour?
(Hint: You’ve forgotten to mention the application by name for your itemised claim to the ATO)

Grail 1:53 pm 24 Aug 10

What you achieved is going somewhere you wouldn’t otherwise have gone, even if it is just a short walk off the road in suburban ACT 🙂

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