Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Scavenger Hunt

While my wife was away last weekend, Pappy and I tried something new. For some time our friend and irrepressible enthusiast, 3DogCache, has been extolling the virtues of geocaching as the perfect activity for owners and dogs. Typically it involves following a GPS receiver to some coordinates in search of a "cache", or hidden box placed there by some other geocacher.

It works something like this-- first you go into your desk drawer and locate a geegaw, such as your souvenir keychain from the trip to the Florida swamp country. Then go to the geocaching.com web site and pick a nearby cache location, load the coordinates into your GPS device, and follow it blindly into brick walls and off cliffs in a line towards your destination. Having arrived in the vicinity, look around until you spot a likely poison ivy patch. Wade straight in until you find a hollow tree containing a moldy tupperware container. Open the container, swap your geegaw for a plastic Happy Meal figurine from the cache, and sign the soggy log book for posterity. Repeat.

Pappy in the JungleIn placing a cache, I guess one has to be pretty wily so that non-geocachers don't mistake it for a pre-Columbian lunch box and carry it away. As a result, they aren't placed on the beaten path. For me, the biggest challenge wasn't figuring out where to go but rather how to get there. After our lovely walk through Rock Creek Park towards our cache, Pappy and I found ourselves standing on the shoulder of East-West Highway, cars whizzing by, staring at a solid wall of foliage between us and where the GPS was stubbornly telling us to go. We bushwhacked our way towards our coordinates, fighting off boa constrictors and man-eating plants, until we reached a glade next to a creek. Of course it was in plain sight of a little side road, but GPS devices are kind of dumb that way.

Given that we like to walk, we'll probably do some more geocaching. It's a good excuse to explore new places on a nice day.

13 comments:

Gus said...

It does sound like fun, but muzzer is a wuss. She thinks parks are "nature."

Anonymous said...

Thank you. That was lovely. You and Pappy are so down to earth. My Moses (the weird boston) and I love your blog. I forwarded the Christmas music video to everyone....

Sherri and Moses

Jude said...

Geocaching is fun, but I like following the clues for letterboxing.

Joe Stains said...

I need to talk to my Mom about hiding a cache of french fries in the house somewhere for me to find.

Pappy's Fella said...

Gus,
Not that I am giving the hard sell, but there are a bunch of geocaches in cities too.

Sherri and Moses,
Well, thanks for stopping by. And I like the name Moses-- plenty of gravitas. You have to say it with a booming voice.

Jude,
Letterboxing looks much classier, but then what would I do with all my crappy souvenirs?

Joe,
French Fries or acorn caps, Pappy doesn't really distinguish. He's got eighty food groups in his pyramid.

Ferndoggle said...

That sounds like a great way to get outside & do some exploring. I need to get one of those GPS thingys first.

Ferndoggle

Ivy said...

hey hey pappy dog! i luv to take my peepol out geocaching too! it is so much fun to walk through the woods and chase skwerrels and go off the path. sumtimes we get to wade across rivers... one time we even waded across the same one twice. i thot it was great but for sum reason it made my peepol very cranky.

Pappy's Fella said...

Ferndoggle,
It is a fine activity, but GPSes do require some basic geeking skills. Depending on your Meyers-Briggs rating, you can go from just basic "this way to the cache" devices through to full routing with topological maps and elevations.

Ivy,
You don't look like you dry so fast. Pappy speed-dries, so he's welcome to go for a dip as suits him.

Frasypoo said...

Hi Pappy
I luv reading your blog,glad my mommy got me started on one of my own.There is a whole doggy world out here !
Frasier

Cubby said...

I love the picture in the jungle!

Pappy's Fella said...

Frasier,
And a lovely blog you've got there.

Cubby,
Well it's a bungle in the jungle...

Dory and Liza said...

HMMM. I asked my human Dad if we could use his GPS, but he informed me and mom that it doesn't unhook from the boat!

:(

Maybe these folks could do a nautical version and hide things on buoys in the ocean?


Have a great week - Dory

Pappy's Fella said...

Dory & Liza,
I don't get the sense that they'd have much luck keeping nautical caches dry. Pappy and I did our second cache this weekend, and it was full of water from sitting under a tree. But, then again, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that someone has tried nautical caching.