Geocaching offers discovery, exercise
by Dave Bull
Last January, after the year from hell with no vaccine in the near future, I learned about an activity called geocaching from friends living in Port Hope.
What I discovered is that this is a perfect activity for discovery and exercise while avoiding infection from the virus. Even within 10 kilometres of my home there are dozens of caches of varying difficulties (five in Creemore alone) that have led me to discover trails and roads I didn’t know existed.
Geocaching involves finding hidden containers of different sizes, the locations of which are identified on an app as a green icon with the metric distance to the cache, the size of the container, the toughness of the terrain, a description provided by the placer, and details from all who looked for it, successfully or not. The finder logs the success on a log in the cache.
To join l looked up “geocaching” on the internet and found it to be a free app with an easy process to follow.
In my case I was given a geocache icon on my iPhone that, when pressed, gives me a satellite view with my location in the centre shown as a blue dot with all nearby cache sites shown mostly as green. When I find a cache and log it as found, the green turns into a yellow smiley face. How cute is that?
To date I have logged over 300 “finds” and a number of “did not finds” all within 40 kilometres of home.
Presently I am doing this mostly alone, a disadvantage for an old, stubborn fart who tends to push the limits of his abilities in locations he has no business being in. The ideal I think would be two adults and a child (for searching in spots I won’t crawl into or trees I won’t climb) but I am aware of teams that go together, travel the world geocaching, do it by flashlight, canoes, bikes, snow shoes and skis.
For now, I continue to range farther from home, visiting the amazing number of trails and remote lanes where caches are hidden, charmed by the variety of trinkets left in caches, and frustrated to distraction at my inability to see those that I know is in front of me but are invisible due to the ingenuity and imagination of the devious cache placer.
By reading other geocachers accounts at each site I became aware of the huge variety of people who do this, and how global it appears to be.
I have noticed that some geocachers are note worthy. One such team was one whose handle was “IsqubaAndNawty” who were both geocachers and cache hiders. Where I have found over 300 caches to date, they have found an amazing 52,000 plus sites in over 20 years of activity. They graciously agreed to be interviewed and we met in Stayner, within metres of a cache site.
They are a retired couple who have the most cache finds in all of Ontario. I was told that they have geocached in all provinces including the far north, all US states including Alaska and Hawaii, extensively in Australia and New Zealand, throughout the Caribbean, Central America and along the Rhine River on a boat cruise. Whenever they go anywhere an app supplies them with all the cache sites on their route.
Chris and Renata are involved in, and have hosted meetings and get-togethers of geocachers, religiously maintain the sites they have set, and even pick up other people’s garbage. In the winter they will cross the ice to sites on islands and, once, while island hopping in the winter on Lake Simcoe, found a crashed snowmobile and a body.
They, and so many others, are examples of how extensive geocaching is. How easy it is to be involved, and, often enough, how infuriating it can be. All too often, I have stood where my phone tells me that I am within a meter of the cache and it is invisible to me by the ingenuity and inventiveness, and yes, the deviousness of the cache hider.