sitting up in bed with our lap tops surfing the net and sharing funny gifs of cats riding hotdogs through space..... same as everybody else.
Little did I know that an innocent viewing of a YouTube clip would send our happy lazy family spiralling into a secret world of adventure, nature, danger and Tupperware.
"Check out this clip" TBF motioned to me. "It's a thing called Geocaching."
After watching this clip we looked at each other and in unison cooed "Cooooooooooool".
"I wonder if there are any of these geocaches near us?" I wondered.
"I'm already on it". TBF excitedly downloaded the free app.
"Holy Shit!" He exclaimed "There's one just up the road! Let's go find it tomorrow!"
"Fuck yeah!" I exclaimed back.
Here is where I will interrupt my tale to explain to you what the hell GEOCACHING is.
I might just let this video explain:
In a nutshell..... it is a treasure hunt that is WORLDWIDE. There are 2 million 498 thousand 340 caches (cache is the name given to the thing) hidden all around the world.
You download the app & sign up as a member (about $30/year).
Then, using the GPS in your phone you try to find the cache.
When you do find the cache, you LOG IT on the paper log that is in the cache and online on the app and then you put it back EXACTLY how you found it.
NO THERE IS NO PRIZE OR MONEY INVOLVED.
The excitement is in the hunt.
The idea behind geocaching is to
TAKE YOU TO PLACES YOU WOULD HAVE NEVER THOUGHT TO GO.
How do you know what to look for? Well... you don't. The app will give you an indication of size and terrain. Some caches are evil tricky little fuckers. They can be as simple as a Sistema container hidden under a tree or as messed up as a fake rock hidden in a dry creek bed of rocks.
It could be a fake stick or a huge ammo tin.
The other thing you have to know about geocaching is this................. it's a secret.
When you are trying to find the hidden cache you are to do it very very sneaky.
The object is to find and log the cache without anybody seeing you.
The geocaching community calls anyone who isn't a geocacher a .... MUGGLE.
Yes I groaned outwardly too.....I know it's totally nerdy.
SO BACK TO JANUARY.
We found the approximate location of the cache and of course, had no idea what the hell we were even looking for. After 15 minutes of scrounging through bushes & trees and being eaten alive by 50 million mozzies we saw a flash of blue under some sticks. I cannot explain the rush of exhilaration & joy of finding this stupid bloody Tupperware container! For Gawds sake we even HIGH-FIVED!
We quickly signed the log book & logged the find on the app and put it back again.
Itching like crazy, scratched & bleeding we flopped into the car.
TBF looked at me.
I looked at TBF.
"Want to try & find another one?" He smiled.
"Fuck yes!" I screamed.
NINE MONTHS LATER
I have found 109 caches. I have a 'GO' bag in my car boot at all times (a GO bag is a backpack with everything you might need to find a cache... pen, Aeroguard, tweezers, magnet, band aides, etc)
If you would have told me a year ago I would be spending my weekends trudging up hills, screaming "Where the fuck is it?!!!" in the middle of the bush and getting on my hands and knees crawling under bushes in front of public toilets (geocaching is not a glamorous hobby).... I would have spat my latte out in your face with laughter.
Some people might scratch their heads and say incredulously "Why would you want to traipse through the bush, climb up (and nearly fall down) embankments, climb up trees and stick your hand into tree stumps just to find a stupid container???"
For me I think it is a few things.
I am also attracted to discovering new interesting places. When I was young I loved exploring. I loved reading books about hidden worlds like "The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Folk of the Faraway Tree".
Geocaching brings out the child in you.
You have to climb trees, sneak through grass, and work out puzzles.
Already geocaching has taken me to some incredible places that never in a million years would I have ever gone and seen.
AND IT'S EXERCISE.
Some of the more interesting (read: bloody frustrating) caches I've found are;
A fake pine cone hanging in a tree
A fake stick hanging on a tree
A fake bolt in a fence
A fake SNAIL that had the log book coiled up inside the shell.
The "Mission Impossible" cache at Dakabin.
If you are the sort of person who likes adventure, getting out and about, learning new things and are a wee bit crazy then you will love GEOCACHING.
BUT BE WARNED
IT IS ADDICTIVE.
The official geocaching website is: www.geocaching.com
You can download the INTRO app for free or the full Premium member app.
NOTE: You must be very conscious of not spoiling the hide for others.
You will see that even though I have posted photos of us with some caches that we have found, there is no indication of where they are or what the actual cache name is .
Yes I know I've put Redcliffe Showgrounds but this cache has since been removed.