Get Your Cache On

April 28, 2011 at 11:06 am (Apple, Applications, Geocaching, iDevices, iPhone/iPod Touch) (, , )

Geocache

We’ve been having some nice weather this spring, and that can only mean one thing….geocaching!  Although fall is by far my favorite time for  geocaching, spring is a great time as well. It’s getting warmer, but the pesky mosquitoes, ticks, no-see-ums, and other undesirables (can you say  snakes?) haven’t come out enough to put a damper on things yet. We had a few great finds in San Francisco a few months back, and I’m still  looking for just the right place to drop off a couple of trackables that we picked up in the city by the bay. I’ve also been scouting around for some  good hiding places. It’s really no fun to be able to just walk right up to a cache…it’s a lot more fun if there’s at least a little bit of a challenge  involved.

For those who think a “real” GPS is needed, I can honestly say that my iPhone 3GS with Groundspeak’s official Geocaching app  (http://www.geocaching.com/iphone/default.aspx) has been nothing  short of amazing.  They have added some splendid updates to this app over the past several months, and it is truly all you need. Granted, if you  get way out in the boonies, you’ll probably have a hard time getting a signal. In those circumstances, maybe a dedicated GPS would be better. But, being mildly disabled, I’m not able to hike the rough terrain as I once could, so those areas are usually off-limits to me. I’ve used the Magellan GC with okay results, but I still prefer my iPhone. I can do everything I need to do right from the app, including posting photos and field notes, viewing maps (Google Earth street view, topography maps, and satellite views), recent logs, and more.

One of my favorite features is the simulated compass arrow that lets you know when you’re closing in on your find. You can just feel the adrenaline rush when it goes from 100 feet to 50 feet to 20 feet, then you engage your senses and start looking for the treasure. A couple of my favorite finds have included a small cannister attached to a piece of rebar that was stuck down inside a yellow concrete parking lot post, a test tube container hanging from a tree branch, and a piece of cable secured to a utility pole that contained a log when you unscrewed the coaxial cable connector. The “in plain sight” award goes to a modern sculpture at a local university that had a large ammo can sitting atop the same-color sculpture. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would easily miss it.

Geocaching is a great activity for young, old (but young at heart), and everyone in-between. It gets you outside, makes you think, and can be done alone or with others. So, get up, get out, and start hunting. Be sure to let me know in the comments what your favorite types of cache are, and what type of device you prefer. Happy Hunting!

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