Hidden in plain sight…..

The other evening after arriving at my business hotel I set out to explore a local park I saw and walk its trails. It was close to where I was staying and offered manicured lawns, several duck and geese filled ponds, trees, and meandering footpaths amongst the flowing creek and watershed. Part way through I took advantage of some benches that afforded a beautiful view of the polished scenery. I rested a while and soaked up the mild evening as the sun departed in the west thanking God for a beautiful day and safe travels.

That evening walk became the template for each morning now. At dawn I strike out from my temporary abode and proceed to put in a few miles of walking throughout that beautiful park. It helps that my body is still on east coast time and I have been getting up at the crack of dawn without my alarm. I guess that is sleeping in on the east coast but never-the-less it gets me up and an early start on the west coast.

While walking, I decided to pull out my phone and see if there were any geocaches in the park. If you don’t know what geocaches are, they are a modern day equivalent to mini-treasure hunts. With the advent of the GPS – global positioning system – and accurate coordinates, a concept was created for people to locate and hide small caches of various sizes and mark them using GPS coordinates. These caches are then uploaded to the web site GEOCACHING.COM where anyone can go, write down the coordinates and head out on their own mini-treasure hunt. There are also phone apps that use the triangulation coordinates in the phone to hunt for geocaches as well. The geocaches can range in size from very small micro hides (think camouflaged 35mm containers) that contain nothing but a signature log to large ammo cans that hold little trinkets and things along with the signature log. A person takes the geocaching.com coordinate information or their phone app and zeros in on the location of where the geocache is hidden. Frequently in the app or website there are also hints and you search within the GPS measure of accuracy zone looking for the concealed cache. I have found many and the methods, containers, and locations of hides has been clever and interesting. The caches are not only fun to find (once you find them) but they also get you out of the house and out to a place you normally wouldn’t see in your daily life. For my family, it has become a fun, inexpensive way to have fun, get out and spend time together. Some areas – parks, hiking trails, etc – have several scattered about. There also might be some hidden in the plain sight of day. In fact, you might pass by several every day and not even know it.

Which leads me to my introductory paragraph. That evening I went out walking and sat at that bench to enjoy the view, I was sitting on a geocache. Now, of course I did not know it at the time, but had I pulled my geocaching app out, it would have revealed one right there. Instead I had to wait until the next day when I searched for ones in that park. The geocache had been very cleverly constructed in that it was built to be integrated into the bench. The bench was made of hollow tubing and had caps at the ends. One of the caps had been removed and affixed to a tube with a cover at each end. That tube could then be slid into the bench with only the normal cap showing. I was very impressed and the method caused me many more minutes of searching than I normally spend.

I encourage you to try out this modern day treasure hunt, especially if you have kids. They love the adventure and the challenge of finding “treasure”. It is also fun for adults too. All you need is a GPS, smart phone or navigation device. Check out this guide to get started — http://www.geocaching.com/guide/default.aspx

Have fun and be safe,
…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

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