I've always been an active sort of guy. I've played many sports over the years; Football, Basketball, Cricket, Rugby you name it I'm pretty sure I've at least tried it. I also love to walk and have loved being in the woods since I was a child. I suppose it was this affinity to being active and the love of being outdoors that led me to try Geocaching-after being told all about it by Christopher Stanton
I think the idea of a grown up treasure hunt grabbed me and I knew that the idea would keep pecking away at me unless I tried it for myself.
I visited the geocaching.com website and had a quick shuffle through to get a feel for it. It was easy to get started, I simply downloaded the App ad entered by postcode and was show a number of dots (caches) near me and made a rather interesting discovery: the closest cache to my house was actually maintained by a member of our family on my fiancee's side (the name of the cache included her family surname which is rather unique). It turns out they manage loads of caches across europe and have been doing it or years!
So one morning I set off, the geocaching.com app blinking away on my phone and Oscar (our dog and for all intents and purposes my sidekick in this adventure) in tow. I walked our usual route and eventually came to where the app was telling me the cache was. I knew from the app that it was accurate to within 10 meters or so. This was where I had my second surprise: I was in the same spot where I had proposed to my fiancee! Not relevant but it was kind of a nice momentall the same...
Anyway, I began to look for the cache (having no idea what size it was ensured I was occupied for a while) and other dog walkers began to
pass through. Some of them looked at me like I was mad (I couldn't blame them considering I was climbing trees and shifting through bushes) while others stopped and asked what I had lost. I explained what I was doing and received mixed interest- some simply said have fun while others asked more questions. After about an hour of searching I finally had to admit defeat and head home. The dog was happy as he had had a great adventure in the woods while I was rather disappointed to not have found the cache. I felt cheated and more than a little grumpy about the thought of telling my fiancee I hadn't
I later found out that the one I was looking for had been placed over a year ago and that it may not be maintained...I hadn't failed in finding it, it simply wasn't there!
It was all in all, a fantastic experience, both from the perspective of trying something new and finding out something new about my soon to be family. The reason why I'll be trying it again isn't because I was unsuccessful, it was the feeling that I had because I was unsuccessful- if I hadn't been bothered it would have shown me that I probably wouldn't do it again but the fact I was disappointed actually ignited something in me I hadn't felt since before quitting football: competitiveness. The feeling of not being beat, of achieving my goal and the feeling of fulfillment of finding the treasure...I mean cache .
Next time I will have Oscar, my fiancee and my son in tow and (hopefully) we'll find a cache .