Geocaching

Rewritten Jan 1 2008. Old version here.

Geocaching is a hobby that took off explosively when the U.S. military turned off "selective availability" on the GPS system. That meant that consumer GPS devices could now pinpoint locations within less than 1 meter if you gave them enough time to average readings.

The early geocaches were usually in really great locations that someone wanted to show the world. I planted my own caches in this spirit - each one a little outdoor adventure, leading you to a secret or not so secret spot worth knowing. I found many lovely places in the Greenbelt while searching for other people's geocaches. A particularly memorable cache lead to a detour off the Autostrada in Italy and right into one of the loveliest spots in the Cinque Terre area that I would otherwise never have seen.

Over time though, so many people got into the hobby that a city like Ottawa, alone, has on the order of a thousand caches, so necessarily, the obscurely wonderful locations were used up, and caches branched out into event caches and complicated puzzle caches. Also, with advances in online mapping tools (especially Google Satellite) it only took a couple of mouse clicks to not only pinpoint where a cache was but usually even see an aerial view of the cache site. That totally removed the mystique of "just over yonder hill" as one drove down an unfamiliar backroad.

All this was less appealing to me, so I got bored with hunting for caches, and have been in a maintenance mode since. I'm glad to say people still occasionally find my old caches.

Most of mine involve significant walking. Some of them were planted with the help of a mountain bike. Anyway, on to the list. The title of each is a link to the cache page on the geocaching site.

Ottawa Area Caches

First Try
I came late to the game: There were already almost a dozen caches in the Ottawa area! This seemed like a lot at the time, given that geocaching is a worldwide hobby. Now this cache and the next one are considered historic "granddaddy" caches.
Planted: June 6 2001
Container: Mason jar. Still holding up even though the lid is rusty.
Logbook photos (as of April 9 2007)

Gone Fishin'
Planted: June 10 2001
Container: Tupperware, replaced by steel ammo box after 6 years
Logbook photos (as of March 6 2005)

Greenbelt Treasure Hunt
Planted: March 17 2002
Container: Instant coffee jar
Logbook photos (as of August 31 2004)

Dog Walker's Paradise
A multi-redirect cache using UTM coordinates for a change. Also in one of Ottawa's two off-leash dog parks, which is a benefit to some and a nuisance to others.
Planted: April 27 2002
Container: Screw-top plastic container, replaced by steel ammo box
Logbook photos (as of October 26 2006)

Lac Mousseau Bushwhack
People were competing for "first find" of new caches. My Greenbelt Treasure Hunt cache was found within two hours of me putting the cache page up. So I wanted to make a fun one that was seriously off the beaten path, namely, a long bushwhack off an already remote trail in the Gatineau Hills.
Planted: May 11 2002
Container: Screw-top plastic container, replaced by steel ammo box after it was chewed open
Retired: October 18 2009
Logbook photos
Final contents

Skyline Trail Audiocache
This was a novel idea at the time: A cache with a tape recorder, so people can leave audio logs as well as written ones. But a cache container is a hostile place for such gear, so the tape recorder only worked a little over a year, at which point I took it out and dropped the "Audio" part of the cache name.
Planted: May 20 2002
Container: Clamshell dry case, which was a disaster (always wet). Replaced by steel ammo box.
Audio Logs Part 1 (April 18 2003. 8 minute MP3, 1.5 megabytes)
Audio Logs Part 2 (September 20 2003. 2 minute, 22 second MP3, 574 kilobytes)
Logbook photos (as of Nov 4 2006)

Riverfront Redirect Fun
Planted: May 22 2002
Container: Screw-top plastic container
Logbook photos (as of April 21 2007)

Lakeside Loot
Planted: June 23 2002
Container: Screw-top plastic container, replaced after it was chewed open, replaced again with steel ammo box
Logbook photos (as of November 25 2006)

The High Point
Planted: December 15 2002
Container: Tupperware, replaced after it was chewed open, then screw-top plastic container, replaced after it was completely destroyed, then steel ammo box
Retired: October 18, 2009
Logbook photos
Final contents

Bruce Mines Area Caches

Bruce Mines is where my parents live and where I frequently go on vacation. This is Canadian Shield terrain with lots of crown land, so there are great cache hiding places.

Canadian Shield Stash
Planted: September 11 2001
Container: Tupperware
Logbook photos (as of September 11 2003)

Treasure Island
This is on the island in the lake right in front of my parents' tourist camp.
Container: Screw-top plastic container, sheltered by an upside-down bucket
Planted: August 4 2002

Kirkwood Forest
When you put a cache in a really spectacular spot, people assume you know the area well. But I just wanted to put a cache into this unique forest and drove around until I found something good. So it was a process of discovery for me as well as for whoever goes looking for the cache.
Planted: September 11 2003
Container: Screw-top plastic container

Adirondack Caches

It seemed like a good idea at the time: Plant geocaches near (but not on) the summits of easy but scenic mountains to bring new hikers up there. But I'm not as much into hiking there as I used to be, so cache maintenance is difficult, and these days, caches in the entire High Peaks area are strongly discouraged. So these have been retired.

Leonid Cache
Planted: November 18 2001 (Pictures)
Container: Tupperware (replaced with a better one by a visitor)
Retired: November 18 2007 (Pictures)
Picture of initial contents
Final contents and logbook

Pitchoff Plunder
Planted: November 20 2004 (Pictures)
Container: Screw-top plastic container
Retired: May 25 2008 (removed sometime before by persons unknown)
Picture of initial contents

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