The Social Side of Geocaching
I started geocaching as something cheap to do with my son, who was only 4 at the time. I was newly divorced, broke, and trying to make sense of my life. When I discovered geocaching, it seemed to be perfect. My son and I could go out on treasure hunting adventures together! For free! For the first year and a half, geocaching was something he and I did when the weather was nice or when we went somewhere on vacation. I had a large percentage of out-of-state finds that first year. My son and I would visit family in Ohio and West Virginia and go out and explore the area while finding geocaches.
Then I met Scott. Remember, I met him at a cache. He was the first non-family geocacher that I met. A couple months into our relationship, he started talking about a huge event coming up and telling me about all the people who would be there that he wanted to introduce me to.
You mean, you know other geocachers?!? This concept floored me! It sounds silly now, but I seriously had no idea that geocaching was anything other than “treasure hunting.”
So Scott took me to Cabin Fever 2013. It was my first geocaching event. There were well over 100 people there that night, all in one room. My mind was blown! One hundred geocachers in the same place at the same time! I had no idea there were even that many geocachers in all of Chicagoland.
This event was fantastic. It was the third annual Cabin Fever event. There were games and prizes and the crowning of the “Geocacher of the Year” as voted for by the attendees. People came from out of town and out of state. Someone jumped out of a giant ammo can.
That was a pivotal night in my geocaching “career.” I suddenly realized that geocaching is so much more than I ever thought it was. It’s more than just searching for hidden containers in a park. It’s more than driving around on a hot summer night lifting lamp skirts in Walmart parking lots. It’s more than stopping every 528 feet on a bike trail to search for a bison tube.
Geocaching is a community.
Since that first Cabin Fever event in February 2013, I’ve attended an additional 134 events, including 11 Mega-Events, 8 CITO Events (Cache In-Trash Out), and even a Giga-Event!
Most of the larger events are out of town where I get to meet other geocachers from different areas. I have friends literally all over the world who I’ve met through the geocaching community. We can keep in touch through online groups and forums on social media. Even though we are physically spread out across the globe, we are a tight-knit group sharing the common love for this hobby/sport/game/activity called geocaching.
Over the past four months, during this virus shutdown, I have seen an increase in the number of new cachers in the area. Whenever possible, I try to direct them to events. This game is so much more fun when you can involve others, new friends, and learn from their adventures.
I went to my first event about three weeks after starting my “career”. I was a bit apprehensive not knowing what kind of people I was going to meet. But they were all so friendly and helpful. I’m so glad I went.
Another great post by Shortyknits.