By Randy Maze
I spent the morning at geocaching . First, Scott the Scot told me about the activity. The OOS team have set up temporary geocaches all over camp and even off the camp in a small area. Some of the geocaches hold clues to a puzzle which leads to the Holy Grail of geocaching. One Group, 1st Walnut Grove, has advertised that they found the Holy Grail, but they are not alone.
Scott showed me around the tent, where there are several maps showing different types of Geocaches. This Thursday morning, 12 patrols, totaling 92 Scouts, were in Geocaching. Most were from BC, but the Wizards of Winnipeg, 1st Wesminster from Saskatchewan, 1st Airdrie and 1st Bow Valley from Alberta were also there.
Scott started the process by explaining what geocaching is about and the different types of geocaches. Some are so small they can only be opened with tweezers, others are tricky to open, still others have tracking devices which you take from one cache and replace. Some of these trackers have crossed oceans. The courtesy rules are: sign the paper log in each cache, put it back where you found it, and be gentle with the cache – don’t damage it.
After the briefing, the groups are told about GPS. My team, from 2nd Fort Victoria, was shown by Kaity from 4th Midland in Ontario. Each cache has its own coordinates set in the GPS. Whoever is using the GPS sets which cache the patrol wants, and the GPS shows the direction and distance to the cache. Then each patrol was given 2 sets, and a map with a unique start position separate from the other. Scouts, not Scouters, led the teams.
Each patrol spent the first few minutes figuring out the system; finally, they found the first cache, and from there the second. After they got into the swing, the other caches were much easier to find. Some were obvious, some were hard to find, and others were tricky, like the tube with holes in it. The cache was at the bottom, and the team had to push it up the tube with chopsticks through the holes.
After a bit, the teams piled up around caches, and they used Scout courtesy in waiting for one team to finish and hide the cache before going into the area. In all, geocaching is a great way to get outdoors and learn new skills. Thank you, Scott and team for a great day!