Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Geocaching!!!

I canNOT imagine why I haven’t started geocaching  before now.   It seems like the PERFECT blend – Biggest Ball of String roadside attractions andCutest Ball of String Geocaching sites! How many have I missed already???

What is Geocaching?  Well, according to the geocaching site, it’s: “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”

Basically, it’s a world-wide (185 countries, at least) scavenger hunt! but, instead of taking something from a location, you leave something there!  Someone, at some point (it can be you!) has set up a secret hiding place, with a geocache locator, and the treasure hunter has to find it! (There’s GPS coordinates, for the treasure map.)  Once you find the treasure, you can sign the log-in sheet (so carry a pencil with you), log your location (on the geocache site), add a treasure to the “treasure chest” (if that’s an option at the location), and put everything back exactly as you found it, so the next person can try to find it!

In my research, it seems that hiding places can be anywhere – on a chair in a tree, buried in a hollowed out fence post, basic containers set under a bush, in a fairy house… (see here for “19 Ridiculously Creative Geocache Containers“.)

There are 2 geocache sites hereThere are some very important rules, especially about leaving things:

~ This is to be an environmentally friendly game, so people are encouraged not only to NOT leave litter, etc., but to pick up any that they encounter.
~ Treasures left in a geocache container must be family-friendly, no food, and no weaponry (it’s too bad that these things have to be stated, but completely necessary, I suppose)
~ You can trade a treasure for a treasure, but you have to trade equal or increased value – (no taking an ancient artifact and replacing with a leaf you just picked from the nearby tree.)

I wish I had’ve started this sooner! I actually accidentally found one while snorkelling in Hawaii.  Well, by “I”, I mean one of the kids with us – it was a Waiopaeheavy-duty plastic tube, crammed into a lava rock in the tide pool.  Inside was a few pretty rocks, shells, a doll and a note.   We added a small trinket-y thing we had handy, resealed the tube and hid it, but we didn’t realize that it was an international game and we didn’t follow-up on it…

The other day, my friend and I were trying to make a plan for a day when her daughters had time off school, and she mentioned “geocache” and I’ve been a fanatic since! (We still haven’t had a chance to try it – but we hope to go next week! Come on, mild weather!)

I have to figure out what “treasure” we want to leave behind – I’ve already made up a username I really like, and I’ve set up an account.   Any ideas on the treasures? I feel like it’d be good to have a variety of things (toys, bandaids (not my idea, but a good suggestion), trinkets, stickers, stamps), but maybe also something representing our journey… (I think a tiny “big ball of string” might look like lint, so I’m going to choose something else…)

I feel “renewed” in writing about our Big Ball of String roadtrips, and plan to (hope to) be able to incorporate geocaching “adventures” to come!

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