Many of us have been harkening back to more traditional outdoor activities to keep us healthy and add some variety to our COVID world of social distancing – cross-country skiing had a recent rise in popularity this season, while snowshoeing has been a mainstay as we explore new areas that were otherwise untraversable.
Last weekend, we tried geocaching, a modern day game of Hide & Seek which relies on your smart phone’s GPS system to lead you to a hidden cache. Sounds pretty 21st century, but the pastime is actually older than you think. The activity of “letterboxing” dates as far back as the mid-1850s and used clues and references in stories to bring the seeker to a specific landmark.
Fast forward 150 years, and thanks to technology, you can download the free app (you can pay for “premium caches” for additional features and more challenging caches) and enjoy a fun afternoon in your own neighbourhood. The geocaching community is worldwide, and there are nearly 3,000 geocaches in Edmonton and area alone. Follow the clues to get to the location, and then play an updated version of “Hot and Cold” as your phone directs you to the correct spot.
And if you think this sounds too easy and there are spotlights and arrows pointing you to the exact location, think again. Geocachers are a sneaky bunch and want to make their caches tricky to find – some use camouflage packaging, while others use their skills at creating homemade holders that blend right into their environment.
Bring a pen with you so you can sign the log – if Ed has their way, you’ll see the name on lots of caching logs!