A topic I haven’t recently blogged about is geocaching. It’s not that I don’t enjoy geocaching anymore — I do — but it had fallen off my interests lately.
See, like many hobbies, geocaching had its growth. And it boomed. With the onset of smart phone apps and other ways to geocache (besides the normal hand-held GPS unit), a lot changed with the game that I had started playing in early 2008.
There were more caches, for sure. But many weren’t that great as it was becoming more toward people hiding them as soon as they started, rather than playing and then hiding.
So, I became a little more distant from the game. I’d go here and there, but it would be infused with something else. Be it disc golfing or a photo trip, I’d have other plans and add a geocache to the trip.
The spring and summer months are usually prime caching months. The weather is good, for the most part, and you can get out and go find a bunch with the longer days.
For me, that wasn’t so — well, for the most part.
Take away a trip to GeoWoodstock and my finds count for July would probably have been much lower than the 96 I ended up with. That’s the first time I had been so close to 100 finds in a long time. The last time I found 100 or more caches came in May 2009, when I found 177.
Let’s backtrack a little.
I started playing this game in March 2008. That year, I finished with 686 finds. Considering my goal had been to find 100, I was doing quite well. Then it boomed in 2009. Meeting more like-minded geocachers (in other words, people who wanted to make full days out of going and finding these things!), I went crazy with finding them and finished the year with 1,030 finds — which gave me a total of 1,716 finds.
With 2010 now here and knowing I was going to Ireland, I was wondering if I would be able to slow up and get my 2,000th on the Emerald Isle. At the rate I was going, 300 could be done in a couple of months…
A funny thing happened on the way to the geocache…
I had a sort of an epiphany. OK, maybe not so much. But with work and all, geocaching started to slow. And I found I enjoyed it more that way. Go out here and there. Find a few. Place a few. Hit up some events.
I had started feeling the fun part of the game again.
See, for a while, it became an obsession. Many geocachers catch this same bug. Some come out of it. Some don’t. I had to find everything I could and I wouldn’t stop. Days were planned around geocaching and nothing else. Though some of those days/trips were fun, some were just tedious and long.
I didn’t want that feeling anymore.
So I slowed down. And, as luck would have it, I scored my 2,000th find in Ireland at Europe’s first and oldest geocache.
Push forward to this year.
With a job search going on and other interests (disc golf, photography, softball etc.), geocaching kind of became a secondary hobby. I still go to events. Or find a few caches here or there. But in the prime months, it wasn’t anything major.
I found 44 in April and 23 in May. That bumped to 49 in June and 96 in July (but remember, GeoWoodstock was in July!). Then in August, it dropped to 5 — my lowest total in any given month since I started this game! In September it bumped up to 11.
The game was losing my interest. I told that to a few fellow cachers. Maybe it was because not as many people wanted to go out caching in the odd times and days I went (caching solo isn’t usually fun for me). Maybe it was because I was sick of lifting light post skirts to find a film canister with a damp log book. Maybe it was because I was sick of coordinates being so off because people don’t take as much time trying to make sure the coordinates are solid.
As I said before… a funny thing happened on the way to the geocache.
October came and I took a short trip to South Jersey to try and clear my mind and get refreshed to keep pushing forward in my job search. Of course, I was going to relax, take some photos and find a few geocaches. But, being solo, I didn’t know how many caches I would actually find.
It ended up being quite a few.
There were some fun hides along beaches and trails. In neat spots or hard-to-reach areas. It showed me, again, why this game is so fun. To be sure that not all of the ones I found were great. But many were. And many took me to really cool spots. I enjoyed doing a few cool virtuals and Earthcaches, as well as the regular geocaches. All in all, it was well worth it.
I found the joy of geocaching again.
Then a few weeks back, there was a small event being held at a local ski mountain. A fun ride on the chair lift, followed by 10 geocaches was an excellent fall day.
There have been challenging finds this month. A couple in New Jersey required me going back. One at a local event took a group of 20 of us nearly an hour to find. (It shouldn’t have taken that long, but in the end, it was fun).
A couple of us even went out on a dreary day and did about 15 caches a week or so ago. That was good fun, too.
The fun is back in the game.
That’s key because with a game like this, if you aren’t having any fun, it’s not worth it. Not one bit.
But I found 61 caches this month. And I’d say the majority of them were fun. There were a couple of events thrown in there as well, which made things more enjoyable. I had a few runs with some friends and found a lot of caches solo — which is something I don’t often do. It gave me a new found fun for the game.
I won’t be leaving the game anytime soon. But I will likely still mix cache finds with other activities. It keeps all the activities from getting boring.
That being said, I won’t rule out a numbers run here and there. It still can be fun, especially if done with the right people.
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