I was watching a podcast a couple of weeks ago and they had a segment where the hosts went out “geocaching”. Geocaching is sort of like a treasure hunt for people with GPS units. Someone has hidden a container (could be small or large) with a logbook in it and most likely some trinkets. The goal is to go to the coordinates and find the cache based on their description. Hints are usually provided, as well, although they are encrypted at first.
Now before you read further, if you have any aspirations of doing this and will be searching in the west Little Rock area, my story will probably contains spoilers to the whereabouts of the caches.
I gathered up a couple of friends (Alex and Joel) and we went out with our trusty iPhone 3GS’s. Our first stop was at a cache near Barnes and Noble on Chenal Pkwy. I didn’t want to decrypt the hint at first, so we were looking in the bushes and around light poles. The GPS showed it near the road at the end of the parking lot. I gave in and we looked at the clue which said “this should enLIGHTen you”. Okay so we start looking at light poles again and even at the traffic light poles. The parking lot poles have plastic covers near the base that I notice can be lifted up. Sure enough, our first cache find! We signed the log feeling rather accomplished already.
Next stop was a cache at Krispy Kreme. We nervously walked around the building as a worker was outside talking on the phone. After a full circuit, we looked at the hint. As we searched the worker looked at us funny, then asked “are yall here for the geocache?” We said yes but not to tell us. Eventually we found it. And it was very cool! In fact, it had what’s called a trackable item in it. The idea is to take the object and move it to another cache. Some of them even have destination goals. This one said it wants to end up in a place where music is big. The object was a guitar. So we took it with plans to hide it in another.
Our next stop was a nice community called Woodland’s Edge. The difficult rating was 3/5, but having found two caches, we felt ready for the challenge. Well, we weren’t. Lupka’s hoping it is just not there any more. Defeated, we left. A cemetery cache caught our eye and boy was it in a strange location. Located just behind the Heart Hospital, this very small, fenced area is a family plot of some kind. The stones that could still be read had death dates in the early 1900’s.
At this point, Lupka and I both decide to fork out the $10 for the iPhone app. It made things so much easier than switching between the website and Google Earth. The GPS tracking was MUCH better, too.
Next up was one near Baptist Hospital. The description said “wear long pants because it is pretty overgrown here”. Well we were all in shorts and basically bushwacked out way through some thorns and stickers. Not finding it we tried working our way back to the parking lot. Joel stumbled across it, fortunately. We dropped off the guitar in this cache. (Later I would find out that we had to have a tracking number off the guitar to log it as moved on the website. So I gotta go back to this cache pretty soon to get the code off it in order to update its location.)
Our final find of the day was at the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Pretty easy find. Again, this had a couple of trackable items in it. Lupka and I each took one. At that point we decided we wanted to make a cache. So we went to Wal-mart and got a water-tight container. We threw some objects in there and a logbook and hid it near the lake by Lupka’s house. We’re still waiting for approval from the website for it to be active, but we can’t wait for people to start finding it and putting objects of their own in there. We dropped off the trackable items from the Game and Fish cache in ours, too.
So we were 5 of 6 on the day and created one. Pretty fun afternoon. I could definitely see doing this regularly….cuz when we pulled up the Little Rock area map, there are HUNDREDS here alone, waiting to be found!