Monday, April 19, 2010

The Life and Times of Kulguy - Geocaching

I have officially decided to create a new blog entry type. It will be called “The Life and Times of Kulguy” and, as everything else I write, will be followed by the topic. This section of my blog will deal with things that I endeavor upon in the everyday, and just regular checking in so my followers can know what is going on with me. This time, however, I will be talking to you guys for a little bit about something known as Geocaching.

Picture this: you are walking along and you sit on a rock. Absentmindedly, you lean against another rock to your right and it shifts slightly. As you look down into the newly formed crevice, you notice something odd—it appears to be a camouflaged container about the size of a roll of 35 mm film. You pick it up and open it. To your surprise, there is a piece of paper and a couple of trinkets stored within. The piece of paper has a line that says: “Congratulations, you've found it! Intentionally or not!” You wonder what the heck is going on. If this has ever happened to you, congratulations, you have just found a Geocache. This interesting game has been described as a high-tech scavenger hunt. What transpires goes as follows: a) someone decided to hide a container with a piece of paper for the finders to sign, b) the person hides it and marks down the GPS coordinates of the site, c) the person then goes to the Geocaching website and logs that he/she has hidden a Geocache, imputing the coordinates, size of the cache (which can range from micro to large), terrain and “finding it” difficulty, a short description, and maybe even a hint. It is now done. The coordinates of this Geocache are now available to the whole of the Geocaching community to input into the GPS unit of their choosing and go hunting. The coordinates will take you pretty close if not right on top of the Geocache, but beyond that, it becomes the cacher’s (that’s what we call people that are actively looking for a Cache) turn to seek the location of the Cache using their instincts and their eyes. If you have found one, do not believe that that is the only type that exists, for Caches can literally take any shape, size, or form.

I recently (the Friday before CSU’s spring break) was introduced to the idea of Geocaching and now, I am hooked. When you go to the Geocaching website’s map section, you can input your zip code and it will use Google Maps to zoom to your zip code area. If you try it, you will be surprised to find how many Geocaches are hidden right under your nose. We in the business call people that do not know about Geocaching, Muggles. This is a reference to the Muggles from Harry Potter—they do not know that this hidden world exists right under their very eyes. Usually, we have to use a certain amount of stealth to find caches in populated areas, for we do not want the Cache to be vandalized or “muggled,” as we say (it means taken by a Muggle). So we move on, finding Cache after Cache and returning it to the exact spot where it was found after we log our visit (sign our name) on the paper. The purpose of signing the name is to report and prove that you were there. Afterwards, you log on to the website and leave a log (similar to a forum post) about your visit to the Cache location.

The purpose of Geocaching is to make people get out of their houses and actively pursue something, while enjoying nature and the surroundings at the same time. Being a dirty hippie and a Zoology major, it seems like heaven on a stick. Also, it’s always fun to sneak around and find secrets that not many people around you know about. If this is at all anything that anyone is interested in (I have already gotten a bunch of my friends addicted to it here at CSU), I urge you to go to the site and make a free account. They don’t even send stupid spam emails! If you can do scavenger hunts, act like a ninja, and not get people constantly harassing you through the web, for me that’s a done deal…