April 2017 Life-Sciences Report

Posted on Posted in Featured

Science Report: Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor activity using GPS to hide and find containers with small sentimental items which can be traded with like items.  It’s sometimes referred to as a High Tech Easter Egg Hunt.  It’s a cross between a scavenger hunt and a mind game and gets participants outdoors walking, hiking and exploring the environment around them.

A Geocacher posts the latitude and longitude coordinates and a description of cache on a Geocaching community website. After arriving at the cache location expect to spend time looking for the cache.  It’s not always obvious that a cache is there and/or you may have to solve a puzzle to get to the cache.

 

When you find a Geocache, sign and date the logbook, re-hide the cache exactly how you found it and share your experience online at www.geocaching.com.

When Geocaching  be aware of potential restrictions such as limited hunt times, park open/close times, off-limit areas and suggested parking locations.

Rules include—-do not endanger yourself and/or others, minimize impact on nature, respect private property and avoid public alarm.  It’s common for caches to allow exchanging items——IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU TAKE SOMETHING YOU MUST LEAVE SOMETHING.  Almost all caches contain logbooks and some contain disposable cameras to document visits.   Sometimes there are TravelBugs that are moved from cache to cache.

If a Geocache is vandalized or stolen, it’s been “muggled”.  This plays off the fact that those not familiar with geocaching are called muggles, borrowed from the Harry Potter series which was popular when geocaching started.  NOTE: This isn’t the first time the term, “muggle” was used.  It has a long history which is another subject to explore.  Also NOTE I saw, “muggle” in the 1st book of the Xanth series; published 1977.

Geocaching was originally similar to the 160 year old game letterboxing, which uses clues and references to landmarks embedded in stories.

GPS availability became public May 2, 2000 and the accuracy allowed small containers to be located.

May 3, 2000 the 1st Geocache was placed by Dave Ulmer.  A Geocache and Plaque, ‘Original Stash Tribute Plaque’, can be found at the site.  Dave made a video of his 1st Geocache when you watch this video it will take you to other videos automatically.  The coordinates of the geocache is; N45 17.460 W122 24.800 (WGS84).  Dave Ulmer is considered the founding father of Geocaching.

Within a month Jeremy Irish registered the name on the internet as www.geocaching.com.

Geocaches range in Size from Micro to Large and in Difficulty/Terrain Rating from 1 easiest to 5 most difficult.  1 Terrain Rating is flat ground and 5 involves specialist equipment such as SCUBA or rock climbing gear.

GEOCACHING.COM is the original site and it comes highly recommended by my sister and I will be using the basic app for this site which is sufficient for beginners and casual Geocachers.  There are other Geocaching sites and apps to explore, some are free and others you have to pay.

Basic app for Geocaching.com is free and Premium has a charge——$29.99/year or $9.99/3 months

Advanced difficulty and terrain Geocaches—–Basic—- PC only

All Geocache Types—–Basic—- PC only

Also has Messaging and Basic Search Filtering

Video about the making-of the Geocaching® app:

Instagram: https://instagram.com/geocaching
Facebook: https://facebook.com/geocaching

Geocaching is a great outdoor activity to explore the Baton Rouge area combining being outside, using a GPS, treasure hunting and sharing thru a  website community.  There are 740 Geocaches near Baton Rouge for www.geocaching.com website; before the flood there were 1,935 caches.

MY SUGGESTIONS FOR GROUP

  • Pirating Red Shirts—-May not be good since tradition has Pirates stealing Treasure and not giving Treasure.
  • Geauxing Trekking (Trekking also known as backpacking)
  • Corsair Trekkers (Trekker also known as a person who goes backpacking)

Trinket—3D printed Delta Shield and/or pirate coin

To explore Geocaching I used the internet and bought a hard copy of Geocaching Handbook: The Guide for Family-Friendly, High-Tech Treasure Hunting.

Periodically there are special events held by www.geocaching.com and/or www.lastateparks.com. You can get prizes, such as, “Geocoins” specially minted for the event and/or souvenirs and/or weekend stay at a State Park.

Urban caches may be as small as film canisters taped to the bottom of benches or the back of street signs.  (NOTE: some of the bolts may be fake or there is an odd zip tie holding a cache in place.) Community parks, swamp/conservation areas, store parking lot and college campuses are also a good place to find caches.  Wooded caches may be larger and tucked behind rocks or in a tree.  What is obvious to an experienced Geocaher may take a beginner several minutes to find.

It’s highly recommended beginners join local Geocaching Organizations on Facebook to get acquainted and help get started.  Some cachers don’t really care about the prize they enjoy finding the cache or solving the puzzle or just getting out and exploring; for families it’s just about being together and having fun.

Geocacher’s Tips

  1. Beginners, take it easy. Start with a 1-1: cache with 1-Star (easy) rating of overall difficulty as well as terrain.
  2. Dress appropriately for the geocache’s location. Good walking shoes and pants especially in wooded areas.
  3. Watch out for wildlife. Bring a walking stick to probe area before reaching down for a cache.
  4. Bring a writing utensil. Needed to sign and date log for documenting.