You would think I would be all over Geocaching – the hobby that involves searching for hidden treasure caches around the world by using a combination of your own wits, a portable GPS receiver, and a lot of persistence. It involves solving puzzles and rather obscure clues to find the caches, check. And hiking in the great outdoors, check. It has a Web 2.0 component, with the site geocaching.com that keeps track of caches and finds, check.
But for some reason geocaching has passed me by. Maybe it is because I just spend too much time doing geeky things already. Don’t really know, but if you are game to try it and don’t know where or how to start, then you want to read this book called The Joy of Geocahing Paul and Dana Gillin.
Paul is my podcasting partner behind the MediaBlather.com series that we have done over the past several years on various social media and public relations-related topics. The couple have been caching for several years, including on their honeymoon in France. They relate some wonderful case histories of power cachers (people that try to find dozens or hundreds of caches in a given period), tools, tips, techniques and jargon to get even the greenest cacher started in this hobby. For example, a “nano” cache is one so small that it can be hidden anywhere, while FTF means “first to find” a particular cache once it is hidden. The chance to be the first to find one is motivation in and of itself for many cachers. Then there are the obstacles, such as weather-related accidents or “Muggles” who are ordinary humans that disturb caches or question why someone would be rooting around in the woods looking for an ammo box that has a logbook and a bunch of plastic toys inside.
Maybe it is for the same reasons that I didn’t last long with the post-Myst follow-on computer games: it just seemed like too much work. But there are millions of cachers out there, discovering new finds. This book accomplishes both being a how-to and also a travelogue of sorts. If the idea is appealing, buy the book and give it a whirl. There are lots of caches nearby — a quick look at my own zip code in St. Louis found close to a thousand of them.
You can also listen to a podcast that the Gillins and I did for MediaBlather.