Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Neil and Christine’s Geocaching Adventure

Geocache

This weekend Christine and I went Geocaching for the first time. It’s something I’d considered doing ever since I got my iPhone, almost a year ago (seriously, it does not feel like a year already…), but I never got around to it. Anyhow, a colleague at work had mentioned some of her friends had got into it, and several of my blogger friends like Andy and Firda do it, so I looked for caches near where we live and found 5 within a one mile radius.

With it being a bank holiday yesterday, it meant we both had the afternoon free, so I bought the iPhone app (which I’ll review tomorrow) and we set off. The first one we found is shown above – it’s a ‘micro’ cache which is the second-smallest size of cache, and is about the size of a matchbox. Inside every geocache is a piece of paper to write your name and the date to log your visit. Finding the cache took a little longer than expected, although the hint for the cache was spot on when we finally worked it out. This was also perhaps our punishment for choosing the nearest cache rather than going a little bit further to one recommended for newbies.

We continued on to find three further caches – the next two being the fiendish ‘nano’ caches which are the smallest, and usually magnetic. In fact, when I first found it I thought it was the magnet to hold the cache onto something, not the cache itself – it wasn’t until I twisted it that it opened to reveal the log inside. The last one for the day, alongside the canal, was inside a 35mm film canister, and required a little scrambling down a bank to get to.

So, four caches down. There are obviously many more to find – after all, if there are four in a small town like ours, then the must be thousands in the UK alone, nevermind overseas. Of course, we’ll now have to go a bit further to look for them but it’s possible to do a spot of geocaching whilst doing other activities. There’s two on campus at work to find during a lunchbreak and I might have a look for some in Huddersfield as I’m there on Thursday. Still, we may go out specifically to find geocaches – after all, we’ll probably be walking between them so it’s good exercise.

I’m under the impression that smartphones are making geocaching more accessible; in the past, if you wanted to find a geocache you would have needed to buy a GPS receiver, which for those not interested in outdoor pursuits isn’t so useful when not geocaching. Smartphones have brought GPS to the masses, and phones with always-on internet bring dynamic maps and access to the Geocaching community whilst on the go, so there’s no need to plan geocaching trips ahead of time. The Geocaching web site could do with some improvements – it’s a bit cluttered and the design feels rather dated.

Tomorrow, I’ll do an App of the Week review of the Geocaching iPhone app. I may blog again about my Geocaching exploits later on, as and when I find more.

One Comment

  1. Welcome to the club Neil – I’ve just done a cache last week that took 10 hours to do all the stages and ended up abseiling off a cliff – great fun but hard work. You did pretty well finding those nano caches for your first time out caching. You should find several caches when you go out hiking – makes it more of an enjoyable walk.