Saturday, April 18, 2009
Geocaching is a global sport (if you can call it a sport) that has taken the world by storm ( well, almost. More like creeping into our lives actually.) It's more of a treasure hunting game that just about anyone in the world can play. It's one of those few things left in this world that's free. Well almost, you may need to invest in a handheld GPS device. I say you may because there are times you may not even need that, although that is rare. A GPS (global positioning system) device is basically a thingamajig that connects you with the 29 or so satellites that are roaming out there in space (maybe more, maybe less, I don't care, as long as they do what they're meant to and not fall on my head). So, as you move around with this machine in your hand, it picks up signals bouncing off these satellites. And as soon as you get a good clear signal from at least 3 satellites, you're in business. Well that basically means you now have a very good idea of your position on this great planet of ours, i.e. your bearings. That's the northing's and easting's and other such methods of identifying any one point on earth (think maps). All this within an accuracy of 15 m (even lesser with newer models). That's freaking amazing! O.K, now imagine if I have such a device and I go out, say to somewhere in the most ulu part of this country (lets not play the whole world first ok, baby steps first, next time we can go learn to fly, can?). Ok so now I'm out there somewhere and I have a small plastic container and in that container I have a bunch of goodies (can be as little or as much as I want, that doesn't really matter). And in that container, I've also placed a pen and a little notepad. So now I place that container, say under a tree that would have little or no chance of anyone stumbling upon it. I cover it up with some small rocks and maybe a bit of camouflage of leaves or some stuff like that. I then use my GPS device to get my bearings as I stand on that spot. I take note of it and I go home. Alright so now I'm at home and I go to this special website, http://www.geocaching.com/, dedicated to geocachers around the world and I key in the coordinates of that place I hid the box. I include some basic description of the area (making sure not to give away too much) and some advice and warning about the general terrain and difficulty. This cache is now considered published and anyone in the world will be able to view it. Now your mission, should you choose to accept it (heck, I always wanted to say that), is to key in those same coordinates into your GPS unit, bring a friend or two, get some sandwiches made, bring your water bottles( this you REALLY need!) and get on your way to finding that treasure! And once you've found it, you could take one(or all) of those little gifts in there just like a little treasure. But remember, you have to replace them with some of your own stuff. It's only fair that the next hunter has something to exchange too. You then write a little log in that tiny notepad that I left behind , giving thanks or just commenting on the cache or anything. You can then do a little dance around the tree and sing some Hindi song if you like, but that's up to you. Once you are done, you go home, log in to that website and declare your find. The more you find , the more numbers you have under your belt. They don't mean anything, but what the hoo! I know, I know. I can almost hear some of you saying, "What? Like that only ah? So tiring and so waste of time to go find one stupid box?" But think about it this way, after the initial amount of no more then $200( I believe it's a lot cheaper now) you will hardly need to spend anything to get out there (even on your own if you like) and have a hell of an adventure. Remember what they said 'It's not the destination, it's the journey that matters.' I mean you could just spend your time (and money) every weekend going to the pubs with your friends or catching movies with your girlfriend, then buying her dinner. Then nearing the end of the month, when your bank account is just about to dry up, you could spend your weekends with your girlfriend window shopping at Orchard Road. But how many windows do you need?