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A whole other layer of reality in Ottawa

After the garden party we spent the afternoon geocaching and found SEVEN caches! One of them was even within walking/wheeling distance of GC’s house.

GC set up some software to download hundreds of geocaches from his computer to his GPS unit. Now, as we drive around town, the GPS beeps whenever we’re within 200 metres of a geocache. That thing beeps all the time!

I’m telling you, there’s a whole other layer of reality happening in this town. There are over 2,000 geocaches hidden in the area. Right under our noses, there’s an elaborate, perpetual game of hide-and-seek taking place all around us, 24 hours a day. People are skulking about, hiding stuff, and other people are scurrying around searching for it. They speak their own shared language and are obsessed with longitudes, latitudes, creating and solving puzzles, and high tech gadgetry. They are geeks.

But, perhaps paradoxically, they’re also obsessed with hiking, exploring and adventuring. They are outdoor geeks! (This is a whole new breed of geekery…geocaching was only invented this millennium.)

There’s more than one way to geocache. You can stick to the urban landscape or head for the hills. You can do it in your own neighbourhood, or while you’re traveling around the world. You can go alone or in pairs or in mobs. You can bike or drive; if you work downtown, you can even spend your lunch breaks geocaching on foot.

GC and I are just doing the easiest geocaches now, because I can’t walk far. Once I’ve had the back surgery, and recovered from it, we’re going to start hunting the caches that require some serious hiking and climbing.

Right now we’re planning to celebrate surviving 2009 with a geocaching trip to Newfoundland next summer! I really really really hope we can make this happen. We’ve started saving our pennies.

4 comments to A whole other layer of reality in Ottawa

  • Oma

    I’ve heard that Kinmount, which is on an alternative (and much more scenic and less hectic route) to Barrie, is supposed to be the geocaching capital of Ontario. it would make a nice weekend jaunt … near Haliburton.

    This post made me want to get a GPS and get started!

  • Caches are all over the world, too.

    I have found them in Italy, the Czech Republic, and the UK.

  • Max R.

    Hey Zoom-

    Geocaching caught my eye a few years back and I know some friends who are into extreme downhill biking (as they like to put it) and they take GPSs with them to find caches. Apparently whenever there’s a large downhill biking hill, there’s also geocaches — so it seems there’s a sub-cult of geocaching bikeriders!

    Good luck on getting to Newfoundland — that’s half my heritage! Corner Brook is where my grandmother is from. Apparently there’s a Rowsell street where her grandmother’s store used to be.

  • Geocaching sounds similar to letterboxing which I found while delving with google for carved rubber stamps. People often carve a custom stamp (often out of an eraser) to leave in a cache for “finders” to stamp in their log books. It’s another way to combine art with caches other than swap boxes. It is so great that you’ve found this new activity!