Find It Friday – Geocaching

Since I did a food-centric Top Five Thursday yesterday, I figured that might free me up to do something a little different this Friday. So, today I’m going to talk about one of my favorite hobbies and call it “Find It Friday”. If you haven’t figured it out by the title, I’m going to talk about geocaching, you know that item that I have in my banner but I’ve talked about exactly once in the history of the blog. You’d think I’d talk more about it since I have it there, but I digress…

A little history is in order. Jules used to work for a “national, co-ed, outdoor youth agency” (how’s that for a game show answer!) and she came home from a training session all excited about this new outdoor activity (and she remains pretty excited about it and has blogged about it at her blog, go check it out, I’ll wait. Got it? Good, let’s continue). She borrowed a handheld unit from her office and we set out to find our first cache. I was hooked in a heartbeat.

The idea behind caching, at least for me, is to get me someplace I might otherwise not go. I’m all about the clever hides that “muggles” (that is “non-cachers”) would miss in their daily walk. So, I’m not as keen as some others to get those “First to Finds” or to find every single one. Moreover, like some others, I’m tired of the “lamp post cache” (aka LPC) and the “road barricade cache” (RBC, if I can coin a new term). I’d rather find one clever hide than twenty nano’s slapped on a stop sign.

But, since we’ve already had one semi-negative post this week, I figure we should keep it positive, right? So let me tell you about one of my favorite hides. Julie and I did a lot of caching in Ames, IA, when we had some time to kill in Story County a couple of years ago. Ames has a lot of green space, parks and undeveloped forest areas. It is in one of these areas, not far from the ISU Campus that we found a great cache called “In the shade of the ol’ Cottonwood … NOT!”.

This cache is everything I love about geocaching. It was an urban cache but well hidden. It wasn’t a micro and actually required a bit of effort to get to. Although we probably struggled with this one a bit more than we should have, it was still a great “a-ha!” moment when we did find it. Alas, it looks like this one might have been “muggled” as the last two logs are “did not find” (aka DNF’s). Still, I have great memories of that find. And to me, it has set the bar for all other caches I’ve looked for.

I’m thinking about placing a cache myself, but I need to figure out a way to make it unique enough to measure up to this one. Maybe that’s what Joe and I will do tomorrow – look for that unique way to hide a cache in an urban setting. And then head out to find a few with the whole clan.

What about you? Have you ever been geocaching? Would you like to give it a try? If you live in the Central Iowa area (or will be in that area at some point) leave me a comment and I’d be happy to take you out at some point!

Have a fantastic weekend ~ Thomas

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