Friday, September 5, 2008

One of my other hobbies...geocaching

Hi Everyone,

We took last weekend and spent a fair bit of it geocaching. For those that don't know what it is - it's basically a treasure hunt using a GPS. We started years ago in 2002 when there were only a few thousand caches in the world, have let it taper off, and are picking it back up again.

You can find way more information than you'll need to know about at http://www.geocaching.com/ and a great introduction is at the Wikipedia site here .

But for now, some simple interesting points:
1. There are over 800,000 geocaches in over 100 countries and on all continents
2. Geocaching.com lists over 640,000 of these caches and is the best place to get started
3. We have found over 100 and most of those were the first year that we cached
4. One of my favourite things about caching is that it takes you to places you never expect to see. Even in your home area.

But really, the point of this blog is to talk about my Travel Bug, Maple Bear. The geocaching website allows you to purchase dog tags that are then affixed to items. These items may or may not be assigned a task. Geocachers pick them up from one cache and put them into another where they are then picked up by other geocachers and so on and so on. The bug is tracked through the website. People sometimes take photos of them in the various locations.

Maple Bear's history is here. He's currently in Germany and I haven't yet set a new goal for him.


He was released in 2002 and has been on the road for 7 years (though three or four of those were spent in someone's moving boxes).

He started off in Canada and then went and visited the US for a while, then off to Australia, then to England, and now Germany. He's so far travelled over 27,000 miles in his journeys and is currently looking for another mission.


Photos of him are scattered here on the blog. If you look closely you can see that he's had his photo taken with a koala in Australia and at Monument Valley in Utah. This last photo is of the pins that he's collected and was taken at James Herriott's house in the Yorkshire Dales in England. He's currently being watched by 11 people. This means that they get an e-mail every time he's moved around.


I'm quite willing to send him to meet another clayer. Any European clayers that are also geocachers? Drop me a line and let me know.

And if you don't have a GPS, you can do something called letterboxes. We haven't done any of those yet.

So go ahead and type in your city at the Search for Geocaches box and see how many are near you. You may be surprised to discover a whole new hobby. And, of course, being outdoors is always a good thing for inspiration.

Cheers,

Sandy

3 comments:

Dave and Carolyn Good - said...

Wow! We never even heard of geocaching before until we saw a report on TV last week. Seems like a modern treasure hunt but with a twist? Sounds like fun though! Did you actually travel to those countries or did just Maple Bear?

Sandy said...

Unfortunately I haven't travelled to some of the countries that Maple Bear visited. It's Maple Bear that's done all the travelling. We live vicariously through him.

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

I've heard of geocaching... it sounds like such a cool thing to do with the whole family! I am a little envious of Maple Bear getting to travel the world like that. I would love to be him!