It’s my father’s fault.
If he hadn’t entranced my husband with tales of modern-day treasure hunting and the trading of “tracking bugs,” I would not be involved in the choice of which Hot Wheels cars should get to “race” across the country.
When Mom told me my father had gotten into a hobby called “geocaching,” I brushed it off as another one of his passing obsessions. He has these from time to time.
But I didn’t count on it being contagious.
Geocaching is a sort of international game where players use latitude and longitude coordinates to find “caches” – hidden containers with a variety of “treasures” inside. Micro caches are nothing more than a piece of paper for players to log their username and date upon discovery.
Larger caches often contain trinkets of all types, which players can trade with trinkets of their own. (The mister and I now have a special bag full of such potential items.)
There are also game pieces called “tracking bugs,” which have tracking numbers and can be logged online so players can follow the “bug’s” journey from cache to cache. A bug can be any small item, as long as the tracking tag can be attached. Many bugs have “missions,” such as to travel from coast to coast or to visit large bodies of water.
The mister wants to see if a Camaro, a Charger or a Mustang can make it to the Pacific coast the fastest.
I have to admit, the idea of finding secret treasure is pretty cool and it does give us something to do in this small town. There are plenty of logged caches in this area, several even on campus, so we should have plenty of amusement for a long time.
I’ve been out hunting with the mister several weekends and we’ve traded plenty of trinkets and even helped a few tracking bugs along their way. We aren’t high-tech enough to have a hand-held GPS, like my dad does, so we resort to examining a Google Map and writing down the approximate location of the cache before leaving the house.
But we must always beware of “Muggles” – those who are not registered geocachers. If a muggle sees you seeking a cache, he or she may wonder what you are up to and come across the cache after you have left.
This might result in the cache being moved, the contents being stolen and any tracking bugs being lost forever. (And you thought muggles were only in Harry Potter books. Ha!)
So, armed with our log pen and bag of trinkets, this is our semester mission: to seek out new caches and new tracking bug missions, and to boldly go where no muggle has gone before! (cue Star Trek music.)
[If you’re a muggle interested in learning more about the game of geocaching, visit http://www.geocaching.com. If you’re a fellow geocacher and want to know where we’ve been, our username is Nuthouse519.]