So, last week we decided to give Geocaching a go. If you don't know what Geocaching is, I would describe it as a global treasure hunt, a kind of Pokemon game for the real world. It works by people hiding little storage containers out of the sight of 'muggles' (non-Geocaching folk), ready for others to seek out using a combination of GPS and clues left by others. These containers range in size from something the size of a watch battery, just holding a log book, all the way up to huge buckets full of goodies to swap! If you're lucky, you might even find a special prize left for the first few people to find a cache, or a trackable device! Geocoins look like medallions, and they are each assigned a mission - like travel from Lands End to John O'Groats in 6 months, and the idea is that when you find one, you help it to hitchhike to a cache nearer to it's goal, while its owner tracks it online!
It is actually unbelievable just how many of these caches are scattered about the place. I've got the geocaching app on my phone that helps you find them, and it showed up about 20 within a half an hour walk from home, and there was even one right on our nearest roundabout! I wondered whether maybe Horsham was some kind of Geocaching hotspot, but when I had to travel to Stoke Gifford and Westminster for work last week, I thought I'd check there too...it turns out they're everywhere! I actually found out the other day that there is one on Antarctica, and there's even one on the International Space Station! Wow!
Anyway, last week I managing to convince James to look for one with me, and he begrudging agreed, although he did think the whole concept was quite pointless! After one false start, creeping around in the undergrowth, in the dark, using a phone torch (looking very arrestable) and finding nothing, we tried again the following evening, a little earlier, looking for a different one this time. Within minutes it was found! =) The GPS led us straight to it, and with just the removal of a couple of stray looking sticks there it was.
It actually turned out to be a pretty fun game, and that evening we managed to uncover another 3 in town, and a further one on our fieldy walk a few days afterwards! Some people have even specifically put them in historically/geographically interesting places you wouldn't normally find, with a bit of narrative, so it can be educational too! Highly recommended.