Heard of ‘geo-caching’? For most people the answer is a resounding ‘no’.
Geo-caching is orienteering-meets-treasure-hunting-meets-your-mobile-phone. You get directions to a hidden cache (usually some sort of container) from a website, that provides you with GPS co-ordinates and some sort of a hint (since GPS isn’t super-precise) and then head out into the real world to find it.
We chose one towards the opposite end of Epping Forest, and headed out, with whatever was awaiting us 2.5km away.
I imagine seasoned explorers plan out a route, following paths and easy terrain until they get near enough for it to be worth crashing through undergrowth. To me, that doesn’t feel in the spirit of it, and I point the compass straight towards the cache and we walk in that direction, no matter the vegetation in our way. At one point, we’re dispiritingly forced off this direct route by a stream that looks pretty impassable. For a terrible 100 metres we find our distance from the prize getting larger! But across the stream we’re back on track, and head towards the spot.
Most geo-caches end with a search of the area, and this is where the clue comes in handy. Hidden under a tree, covered with bark, we’d never have found the small box without it. I’m amazed at how long these boxes survive – this one has been there over a decade. People are encouraged to leave a small item – and if they like to take one away. Plus you can check-in as having visited the cache on the website.
An adventure, and a secret shared society of people hiding (often quite large) items in public!
Right now there are thirty-one satellites zipping around the world with nothing better to do than help you find your way to the grocery store ― Ed Burnette
Ease of play: 4/10
Resemblance to play: 8/10
Potential frequency of play: Medium