What Caches Have We Found?

Just thirteen so far (we are just beginners):

What Caches Have We Hidden?

The Poetry in Notion.

This is our third cache.

Our previous caches have been pretty basic - and easy to find. This one is intended to be a real stinker. It's a five part multi-cache with only a clue to get you to the first part. (The Lat/Lon below is of the nearby parking lot). The terrain is rough and full of brambles. If that's not enough, there are tasks for you to perform at each stage and the final stage is locked with a combination lock that you can only open if you passed all of the earlier stages.

    N 32° 35.397'
    W 96° 59.400' 

    "Look to the pale footsteps of the Bishop's
     longest journey. They point the way to your quest."

(Click here to find out more about this cache).

The Bug Race Cache.

This is our second cache. It has a special purpose which is to be the start/finish line of a race between two 'TravelBugs'. However, it's also a normal kind of cache with the usual collection of 'stuff' inside.
    N 32° 36.370'
    W 96° 59.400'

Le GoCache

Our first cache ("Le GoCache") is hidden at these coordinates:
    N 32° 33.192'
    W 97° 00.459'
There is an official 'seek' page for it on the GeoCaching web site which has some clues to it's location and purpose. It was visited three times in the first couple of days after we hid it.

SPOILER WARNING: Don't click on the image on the right if you plan to visit our cache - we wouldn't want to spoil the suprise!

(Click here to see what was in the cache
on the day hit it)

What Is GeoCaching?

GeoCaching is a kind of global hide-and-seek game played using Geek toys like eMail, the World Wide Web and Global Positioning System (GPS) recievers. Unusually for Geek games, this one requires getting out into the sunlight (Aaayeee! It *burns*) and taking exercise (What's that?).

There are lots of games-within-games and spinoffs - what I present here is just the basics.

Scattered around the world in 162 countries are quite literally tens of thousands of carefully sealed containers that people have hidden. They are in parks and woodland, mountains and deserts - you name it. If you live in a reasonably heavily populated area, I bet there is at least one within walking distance of where you are sitting right now.

Cedar Hill, Texas (for example) has 22 parks and nature preserves - and 16 GeoCaches. There are 360 GeoCaches within a 30 minute drive from my home!

Each container (called a 'GeoCache' - or just 'cache' for short) typically contains a notebook, a pencil and a small collection of toys or other goodies.

The idea is that you find the Latitude and Longitude of a cache somewhere near you by visiting this website. You take your GPS (which will get you within 10 to 20 feet of the cache) and you try to find it. This can be suprisingly difficult - sometimes there are clues to guide you closer. If you find it, you write your name in the log book - and if you want - take one of the things in the cache and leave something of similar value behind in it's place.

Some caches are 'themed' (as our 'Le GoCache' is) others are not. Most of the things in geocaches are small plastic toys, cheap jewellery, dollar bills, generally nothing of any great value - 'CacheTrash' is a common term for the things you are likely to find,

The thrill is in the hunt - definitely NOT in the value of the prize!

When you've found a cache, you hide it again - and (optionally) post a note to www.geocaching.com explaining what you took, what you left, the condition of the cache and any entertaining anecdotes about your trip to find it.

Some caches contain Lat/Longs of other sites - making a 'network' of GeoCaches that are kindof like a physical manifestation of the World-wide-web. Many of these 'physical sites' are very personal - much like 'web sites'. There are also things called 'Travellers' that work much like eMail - people carry them from one GeoCache to another until they reach their destination. They are physical objects and they frequently take a year or more to get where they are going!

What Kind of GPS Unit do we have?

We have a Garmin eTrex Legend (which normally cost about $220) - but pretty much any GPS with a 20' or better precision will do for GeoCaching. Some cost as little as $75 if you buy online.

We chose Garmin because there are Linux drivers that allow you to upload and download waypoints and such like. We chose the LEGEND over the cheaper Garmin models because it comes with a map of the entire USA (not down to residential street level - but enough to get you home if you are lost) - and they make an add-on CD-ROM with the entire US roadmap on it that you can download (a city at a time) into the GPS.

(Our trusty eTrex Legend GPS Unit)
Whilst the cheaper eTrex unit looks MUCH cheaper on paper - notice that it doesn't come with an interface cable - which costs ~$35 in Fry's. Since the upmarket models come with the cable as standard, the price differential is much less than it looks!