Those who know me reasonably well will attest to the fact that I’m seldom a forerunner. I’m never in the queue at the Apple store, or ahead of the technology curve, or on the cutting edge of interesting pursuits. I never took up Extreme Ironing, I first got a cell phone in 2003, and I still haven’t got round to getting an electric guitar.
And so it should come as no surprise that it’s only now, almost 11 years after it started, that I’ve finally got round to the craze of geocaching. It’s largely coincidental too – I’d never have bought a GPS unit if it didn’t come in my phone. Map books have always been good enough for me (and indeed, I still prefer them, and wouldn’t bother with GPS at all if I could read a map and drive at the same time).
But when I was reminded of it last week, I thought I’d give it a go. Especially having looked for caches in my area and discovering that there are thousands within 10 miles of me.
And so off to the Earlswood Lakes we went for a walk around Windmill pool. Normally, we’d have engaged in this sort of activity anyway, it’s just that this time around there was something other than the walking to keep us occupied. Indeed, I’ve probably walked within a yard or two of more than 40 caches in the past six months here.
Having an internet-enabled phone makes it so easy. On the website, you can get a map, with all the caches in the area marked out. You pick one nearby, and get an idea of what you’re looking for. Click a link to open the coordinates in GeoBeagle, and it gives you the direction & distance (a la the typical tracker bug setup in the movies), and off you go.
The great thing about it is that it satisfies my drive for tech-related things (I know this seems to contradict what I said above, but it doesn’t. Just because I’m not queue doesn’t mean I never make it to the store at all), and the children can get involved as well (“Let’s see who can find the next bit of treasure!!”) and Cilla is quite happy going for walks in the countryside – with or without technology. A true family pursuit.
And so, methinks I’ll be doing a bit more of this in future. Four caches down, 1,295,253 to go.