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January 25, 2005

Hiking the World

Last Friday, The Sweetness and I, in a moment of calculated whim familiar only to bean-counters and white-coaters, decided to venture out into the frigid cold and buy a GPS receiver. My reasons were manifold, the most obvious being that pilots, as a rule, think GPS is the best thing since pre-cleaved loaves, or at least ILS. Her reason? She wanted to go geocaching.

Geocaching, I am convinced, is a sport only a techie could devise. Basically, the idea is that someone puts some stuff in a container, secures it in the ground, and reports its coordinates on the website. Then the race is on to be the first to find it. While in principle the game could be played by judicious use of topographical maps, astrolabes, or Loran C, in practice GPS is the tool of choice for discovering the cache. Then, sign your name to the logbook, take an item, leave an item, and remove the ticks from your exposed skin. Additional facets to the sport include multi-cache routes, puzzles where one must divine the coordinates, "travelbugs" which are supposed to move among the various caches, and withering arguments among proponents of WGS84 vs NAD27 geodetic datums.

Okay, maybe I made that last one up. Anyway, we went looking for the cache nearest my house (probably only 300 ft away), but the snow kept it well hidden. So then we went searching for a cache in Long Lake Provincial Park. We emerged tired but victorious from the park a few hours later, newly enlightened on 2 important points:

1. Just because you can point to where it is doesn't mean it's easy to get to, and

2. Frozen lakes make great shortcuts.

Posted by The Greatness at January 25, 2005 02:50 PM


Hey, I just got a GPS for Christmas so Mike and I can start Geocaching too. Congrats on your engagement, BTW. Maybe the 4 of us can go geocaching in Richmond when you are in town next time.

Posted by: juls at January 25, 2005 05:38 PM

Nate and I did some geocaching in Florida last year. Good stuff. I have yet to make a GPS purchase, though. Maybe once my life gets paid off.

Posted by: White Tiger at January 26, 2005 10:28 AM