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Top 10 Geocaching Experiencs
onsdag, maj 14, 2008, 11:30
Filed under: Hobbies & Activities

Although I haven’t been Geocaching for exceedingly long, I have experienced quite a bit already as a part of and because of Geocaching. Here’s my top 10 countdown of my best Geocaching experiences:

10. History

One of the more interesting cache series I’ve come across is one that represents various historical remains from 1944-56, when Porkkala (which in this case includes the area in which I live) belonged to the Soviet Union. Everything from an old airport and an overgrown bunker to a wooden bridge for military use and an arch that now represents what used to be the western border.

The cache owner has provided short yet detailed text explaining what each location was during ”the days”. Without these caches, I would never visit these places at all, but now I’m glad that I am.

9. Travel Bugs & Geocoins

Travel bugs and geocoins are traceable items. People pick them up from one cache and place them in another. They each have a unique ID number, so as long as people take the time to register their ”catch”, you can track how the bugs and coins travel.

Personally, I’ve found two travel bugs and one geocoin. One of the bugs and the geocoin both have their roots in Finland, while the other bug started out in Japan. The latter has travelled through many countries already, and I plan to take it with me to Sweden or Denmark next. Seeing where an item has been is great!

8. That First Find

The first find was one of the more interesting I’ve found to this date. The cache was located under the previously mentioned wooden bridge from the old Soviet days. Not on it, but under it. You had to climb quite far above mud and water before finding it, which made the catch one of the more interesting ones.

But besides that, I guess the first find will always be special.

7. Alone in the Dark

Getting lost in the woods, with poor GPS reception, is a memorable experience. While it wasn’t particularly dark, the absence of human made noise, the sounds of animals and trees in the wind, and just the experience of being alone seemingly far from ”civilization”, was quite a thrill. Not scary, but exciting. Did I find the cache? Yes, after a while. Another one of the more interesting locations I’ve been to.

6. Meeting Fellow Geocachers

Once, as I went to check on one of my own caches (the coordinates were a bit off, had to recalculate them), I caught another Geocacher with the container in his hands.

As I approached, he looked up with a surprised expression on his face. I’d say he was in his mid thirties. His English was decent, and we had a brief chat. Apparently he worked by the Ericsson office building nearby, and thus was able to search for my cache on his way home from work. He even had some caches of his own in the area, at least one of which I had found a few days earlier.

I’ve also received a phone call from a fellow Geocacher, who had received my number by talking to a college of his – one of my teachers. But that’s another story…

5. Hiding Caches

While finding caches is the real deal, hiding your own is great too! So far, I’ve placed three here in the Kirkkonummi area. Neither is very difficult or particularly creative, but it’s still great getting that notification e-mail saying that this-and-that person has visited your cache. When someone else find your cache and leaves a nice comment, you know you’re not alone.

4. Hunting with the Family – Sightseeing in Helsinki

Last weekend we had relatives from Sweden over. And you can’t have guests from abroad without paying Helsinki a visit. I prepared the trip by getting some information on caches in the center of the city, conveniently placed near things the average tourist would like to visit (thus, I could Geocache as we walked through the town). The result: the entire family got interested! Imagine how people passing by stare at you when six people are looking for something behind a billboard.

Caching with other people interested is a more social experience than doing it alone, which makes things even more fun!

3. Oh Deer – Wildlife

Geocaching is more about the hunt than the actual find. While finding a cache is obviously great fun, a major part of the experience is actually getting there. Whether it’s an urban cache, a cache in the woods or one located at an historical place, you’re bound to see and experience something interesting.

As late as today I was out by a small lake. The title of the cache I was searching for was ”Prizewinning nature”. Indeed, it was beautiful, although I do believe I was out a bit too early in the season. There were birds, but more are probably to come. I saw a deer, but it’s not like that was the first time. The surroundings consisted of trees and plants in and near the water, neither very green nor luxuriant. And there were fresh prints in the ground from various animals, which was quite cool.

Add to this the feeling, when you’re alone out there in the wild only listening to the sounds of nature, the fact that you’re (hopefully) finding a container placed there by people before you. In my case in the above example it was as old as from 2001, with the logbook being full since two years back. Despite the silence and beauty, people have been there before.

2. The Police

Before I even started to search for my first cache, I had heard stories of people being stopped by the police. Apparently, local officials find it rather odd when someone is walking in circles with a GPS in their hands. And indeed, during a hunting trip in Helsinki, after a find by a crossroad, a police car pulled over next to me and an officer waved me over. He asked me, in the best English he could manage, what I had been doing back there.

I of course answered honestly, and he was satisfied. Nothing much happened, but being stopped by the police, especially for something like this, is probably not something that happens to you too often, and demonstrates the exciting nature of this ‘sport’ quite well.

1. Creativity

Last but not least, I have to put creativity as one of the best experiences with Geocaching, because it’s what appeals to me the most. I’ve seen pictures of camouflage caches looking like rocks, dog poop and even electronic boxes on lampposts (looking like it really belonged there). I’ve seen creative multi-caches – caches requiring more thinking and puzzle solving to be found – and interesting hideouts that the average geocacher wouldn’t even think of.

Personally I haven’t seen many in real life, only read about what others have experienced. One little detail I’ve found, though, was a cache with the hint ”Under a rock”. When on the site searching, I found a rock with a note glued to it saying ”Not this rock.” I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. (And no, it wasn’t under that rock).

In the future, I’d like to make my own caches more creative: how about one disguised as a library book on a shelf in an actual library? Only the imagination (and fairly detailed rules and guidelines) sets the limits!

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