Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A high-tech treasure hunt

Wow - what a gorgeous day! At some point during the wash-out of the last few weeks I think I'd given up hope of spring ever arriving, but suddenly I'm waking up to clear skies and sunny days!

We (Lovely Husband and I) took advantage of the early evening sun and popped out for a walk and a bit of geocaching on Alderley Edge today.

For the uninitiated, geocaching is essentially a geek's treasure hunt. Inventive people hide a "cache" (a container that's usually sandwich box-sized, but can be as small as a fingernail or as big as a pirates' treasure chest, and is usually filled with a few small trinkets) and post its co-ordinates on the geocaching website. Geocachers use a GPS device or smartphone to find the cache, sign the log-book inside and log their find on the website. Sometimes they might take one of the trinkets inside and replace it with something else of more-or-less equal value. Then they hide the cache again for the next person to find.

For a necessarily fairly secretive hobby, it's got quite a following. According to the official website, there are currently 2,330,214 geocaches hidden around the world, with 6 million geocachers looking for them. It's basically a way of making a walk a lot more fun (or, if you're really unlucky, getting a police caution), and has already helped us discover new and fascinating places to visit near our home. Sadly, I'm pretty rubbish at actually finding them once we get to the right co-ordinates (my mum always said I couldn't find a needle in a haystack) but fortunately Lovely Husband is pretty damn good at that bit.

Tonight we went out looking for two caches. We spent ages scrabbling around under a hollow tree looking for the first one without success, but we found the second one ingeniously hidden in another tree, and had a lovely walk around the National Trust site at Alderley Edge at the same time.

Signing the logbook

A great thing about the geocaching website is that it rates the terrain that the cache is hidden in. We stuck to pretty straightforward and flat terrain for our gentle evening walk, but if you want a workout you can find caches hidden on the top of mountains and those that require long off-trail hikes or rock-climbing, sailing or even scuba-diving skills to get to. As a recovery walk following last night's tough interval treadmill workout, our stroll tonight suited me just fine…and we even met some friendly sheep for a chat before we came home!

I'm still pretty chuffed about Saturday's 5 mile run. I was ridiculously nervous before it (I have no idea what I thought was going to happen - surely the worst was that I'd get tired and have to walk home) and I had some mental battles with a couple of tough hills (and nearly a physical battle with a speeding car - I definitely would not have won that one). However the last mile felt brilliant and I'm still really happy to have covered half the race distance with nearly 7 weeks to go before the race. I've got another 5 miler planned for tomorrow and, given the weather forecast, I'm pretty excited about it!

No comments:

Post a Comment