Geocache Me If You Can

Back when I used to interview hundreds of game show hopefuls every day, I learned about a little thing called geocaching. One of my common questions was “what do you do for fun?” and this geocaching thing sounded right up my alley.

Walking around. Looking for treasures. I like a good scavenger hunt.

I looked it up online a couple of times, but never ventured out.

My neighbor and I have been talking about it lately, and she found several right here in our hood. So it was with little surprise that I answered the phone at 9a this morning to her excitedly inviting me on a hunt before the rain started.

Our first destination was the Shakespeare Bridge.

We had put the coordinates into the map and were reading the clues and it started feeling like that “you’re getting warmer” game because the phone would tell us we were 20 feet away from it and then say 48 feet and we were like, Crap! Cross the street!!!

Oh yeah. There's an app for that.

This is when I remembered how much I love that cold-cold-warmer-hot!-hot!-hot! game…and how frustrating it can be. The cool part is that some of them have hints or clues, and luckily – since this was our first – it had some pretty good ones. And before we knew it:

Found it!

You REALLY have to be looking. And while I’m talking about it, every place we went today (because after the high of this one, we ended up tracking down three others nearby) is in an area I walk frequently. Like practically every day. And I saw things I never noticed before that were apparently right under my nose!!

What happens is you find what you’re looking for, sign the log and then put it back. Sometimes you’ll get to switch trinkets or something, but in this case we had nothing to replace the little lizard with. So we left him there for the next peeps. But I mean, look at the list of people who have already been there!!

We were hooked.

Riding the high we headed over to the next one the app told us about. And this is when one of those “I’ve never noticed that before” things happened. Along one of the blocks on a nearby street, a bird has been painted on every single tree. How I’ve never noticed this both concerns me and bums me out. (I jumped in some puddles while wearing my galoshes later in the day to prove to myself that I am still stopping to smell the proverbial roses on a frequent basis.)

So the birds:

You get the picture. (PS I know there’s probably a better way to present these rather than for me to just dump them one after another, but I don’t KNOW it. You know?)

This cache had the least clues. We turned to other hunters comments. We figured it out between those and the distance thing that this treasure was in a tree. So K climbed it.

Nothing. So I climbed it. (There are no pix of it, but it did happen.) But we couldn’t find anything. A man walked by. We told him what we were doing. He circled the tree once and was very supportive and stood and chatted with us for a bit before wishing us well.

A younger guy jogged by while talking on his phone. This was while I was in the tree. I was like, how did that guy not say anything about a girl randomly climbing a tree? K replied, “he did give you a quick weird look as he passed.”

We spent a lot of time. We know the treasure was still there as of December 2011. But we were not finding it. And not appreciating the comments that said it would be difficult for “untrained eyes.”

As our discouragement mounted, we decided to walk away and try another one. Come back to this one. You know, obsessively. Like every day when I pass it. One of the comments said, “Found it right away.” I wanted to find that person right away.

What? I like to be good at things.

The next one was called “Sidewalk Fungi” and I know my neighborhood well enough to know exactly what they were talking about. This one was much easier. And the treasure much cooler. Hence my reaction:

I didn't even kno what was inside yet.

That's a dime from 1903!!!

Ok and here’s where we showed our newness. We thought the old dime was incredibly awesome, and I had brought a Rand from South Africa to leave behind. But we weren’t sure if we should actually take the dime or leave it for others to see. In the end, we decided to leave it.

It was starting to sprinkle but we knew there was one more really close to where we were. The clues were super clever and riddle-y, but I got it. The clues also warned us it was in a high “muggle” traffic area and to be discreet. Muggles apparently no longer just referring to people in Harry Potter books, but now also those people who are not geocachers. (hashtag: learningthelingo)

I guess by writing this blog I’m kinda spilling some beans, but maybe I’m also piquing your interest to get out in your own neighborhood and see what you can find. (If you don’t have a smart phone, there is also a website.)

So there we were on a major sidewalk looking around to try to figure out (AGAIN) what we’d been passing up all these (literally) years.

And while finally finding it was pretty exciting, this one really didn’t have anything fun inside. Mostly receipts and movie stubs? And a random piece of candy (still in the wrapper).

The rain started so we headed home, but definitely excited for a new hobby. And to start collecting little trinkets to leave behind. I like saying trinkets. We’ve also planned to make up our own which I’m equally excited about.

I know geocaching is nothing new, and this apparent feature film looks pretty awful, but it seems there is a lot of potential for fun. And it’s free! I do like when the girl in the movie trailer says it’s like hiking and treasure hunting at the same time. I mean today it was just walking around the neighborhood, but it’s worldwide and they’re apparently everywhere, so I’m sure you could find them on hikes and in adventurous locales too!! Good times!! Great for kids and families, and of course…dates!!

Adventures aren’t nerdy.

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