Sunday, January 6, 2008

Who Are Those People Stumbling Through the Woods?

Why, they're geocachers, of course. And if you aren't one of them you are most likely a muggler, without even knowing it.

Geocachers can be detected in the woods by their singleminded focus on a hand held GPS, usually accompanied with someone who is either plaintively asking "how close are we?" or berating them with "did you put the right coordinate in?" And both of them or more, are often stumbling through the underbrush and over wet logs poking into odd and secret places.

In search of loot! Well, baubles, post cards, plastic trains, a small doll. Plus a log book and possibly a stamp. And if you're lucky a pencil or pen to write in the log book your name(s), date, time, etc. All in a tupperware container, hidden under bark and leaves in a hole in a tree.

Geocaching is a rare mental disease that combines hiking with hunting with a GPS. Geocachers are a dedicated lot. They are global. You find out all about it on the internet and other sites, particularly THE geocaching site. Treasure hunt in Italy, France, Arizona, Virginia!

I was indoctrinated today, on a hike with my cousins from California. We went slipping and sliding through the woods, up and down wonderful early January trails in Fairfax County, VA, surrounded by mugglers. We had to be very careful not to alarm or intrigue them. Under cover of daylight and a bit of a mad and random look, we avoided being caught. And, while I was still on the hunt, we found two sites.

It's great fun! Thank you Ralph and Carol.