corner corner I had an interesting geocaching run today.

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I had an interesting geocaching run today.

I shouldn't have gone at all, given that the forecast was for near-freezing temperatures and light rain - a recipe for icy roads - but tomorrow was supposed to be worse, so I decided to risk it. First, I headed for St. Nick, a cache located near a remote road - unpaved, but well-graded and in fair shape. The location turned out to be that of an eclectic roadside museum of sorts, which fell on hard times a few years ago and hasn't recovered; there are a number of items visible from the road but in iffy condition, including the giant Santa statue that gave the cache its name:

https://img.geocaching.com/---/b0bac6bb-63c8-4c0b-9f84-890f08a016b4.jpg

Seeing it loom up in the middle of the woods was eerie enough, and its blank white eyes were a bonus {wry grin}. Sadly for me, the recent thaw didn't remove enough snow for me to get to the cache, so I'll have to try again in better weather - but the drive down the windy dirt road, capped with the surprising image of Santa, made the trip worthwhile.

From there I moved on to the town library, where I scored some nice books from their ongoing book sale - and had a chat with the librarians about the icy roads. Oh, and I found a "Where's George" bill among my change, a nice note.

Having failed to find one cache, I really wanted to bag one before going home, and the next up was a TB hotel - a cache set up to contain traveling items, which I enjoy. This one was located near an actual spring, still in use, and right next to the road with handy parking: easy, right? Except that (a) people use that spring even though it's posted as "not meeting public health standards", and I had to wait out a couple of folks fetching water before I tried for the cache, and (b) the snowy/icy slope up to the location was pretty treacherous footing. Fun! If it hadn't been within 200 feet I wouldn't have tried it, and as it was I slipped a few times. But I found the cache, dropped off a BC book (I love it when caches are large enough for books), swapped some trackables, and gingerly made my way back to the car to head home.

The road surface was, I'm glad to say, not too slick, but the temperature stayed right at freezing and the light rain continued to fall. I made it back before dark, and was pleased with my accomplishments (which included several book-releases along the way, in addition to the unusual caches) - but looking at the road-accident reports I can only say I must have been very, very lucky to get away with it without skidding off the road!

For those interested, here are the geocache links:

St. Nick: https://www.geocaching.com/---/GC4G9RQ_st-nick

River Road Spring TB Hotel: https://www.geocaching.com/---/GC3WG9K_river-road-spring-travel-bug-hotel

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I shouldn't have gone at all, given that the forecast was for near-freezing temperatures and light rain - a recipe for icy roads - but tomorrow was supposed to be worse, so I decided to risk it. First, I headed for St. Nick, a cache located near a remote road - unpaved, but well-graded and in fair shape. The location turned out to be that of an eclectic roadside museum of sorts, which fell on hard times a few years ago and hasn't recovered; there are a number of items visible from the road but in iffy condition, including the giant Santa statue that gave the cache its name:

https://img.geocaching.com/---/b0bac6bb-63c8-4c0b-9f84-890f08a016b4.jpg

Seeing it loom up in the middle of the woods was eerie enough, and its blank white eyes were a bonus {wry grin}. Sadly for me, the recent thaw didn't remove enough snow for me to get to the cache, so I'll have to try again in better weather - but the drive down the windy dirt road, capped with the surprising image of Santa, made the trip worthwhile.

From there I moved on to the town library, where I scored some nice books from their ongoing book sale - and had a chat with the librarians about the icy roads. Oh, and I found a "Where's George" bill among my change, a nice note.

Having failed to find one cache, I really wanted to bag one before going home, and the next up was a TB hotel - a cache set up to contain traveling items, which I enjoy. This one was located near an actual spring, still in use, and right next to the road with handy parking: easy, right? Except that (a) people use that spring even though it's posted as "not meeting public health standards", and I had to wait out a couple of folks fetching water before I tried for the cache, and (b) the snowy/icy slope up to the location was pretty treacherous footing. Fun! If it hadn't been within 200 feet I wouldn't have tried it, and as it was I slipped a few times. But I found the cache, dropped off a BC book (I love it when caches are large enough for books), swapped some trackables, and gingerly made my way back to the car to head home.

The road surface was, I'm glad to say, not too slick, but the temperature stayed right at freezing and the light rain continued to fall. I made it back before dark, and was pleased with my accomplishments (which included several book-releases along the way, in addition to the unusual caches) - but looking at the road-accident reports I can only say I must have been very, very lucky to get away with it without skidding off the road!

For those interested, here are the geocache links:

St. Nick: https://www.geocaching.com/---/GC4G9RQ_st-nick

River Road Spring TB Hotel: https://www.geocaching.com/---/GC3WG9K_river-road-spring-travel-bug-hotel
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That Santa looks scary!
Sounds like a precarious trip, but reading about ice and snow is nice when it's 36C here in Canberra.
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Well, it seems really interesting, especially for those who love walking! I have a few questions since I did not exactly understand how it works! Does this work for every country/region? Is geocaching possible if you live in a small country? And what about the "treasures"? Do you take something and then leave something that is yours?
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Well, it seems really interesting, especially for those who love walking! I have a few questions since I did not exactly understand how it works! Does this work for every country/region?


It's a global hobby, though the number of caches vary - some places have lots, others very few. You can find out more about it at the web site:

https://www.geocaching.com/guide/

You can see lots of info without having an account at all, but to see the locations of caches you do need an account. Basic membership's free, with a premium option that gives some extra features.

Is geocaching possible if you live in a small country?


Definitely - but, as I said above, the number of caches and their locations do vary from place to place. The site's search option will let you specify a location and then you can see how many caches there are in the area.

And what about the "treasures"? Do you take something and then leave something that is yours?


You can, but you don't have to. Part of the fun is just finding the cache, which can be anything from a tiny, fingertip-sized container barely large enough to hold a strip of paper as the log to a huge box or bin that can contain lots of items. (The tiny ones are the most common, but small plastic boxes or metal ammo boxes are also used a lot.) Signing the log is the minimum; if you have swag - toys, interesting items like pretty stones, coins, or souvenirs, even BookCrossing books - you can leave that, and if there's something in the cache that you'd like, you can take it.

The special treasures are the trackables - items with numbered tags, or coins with tracking numbers engraved on them, for tracking online. (Sounds familiar, this tracking-online business, right?) It's considered good form to leave one of these in exchange for one you take, but it's not always required. There's an option to note the number but leave the trackable, so you can become part of its journey while leaving it for someone else - something like the "left in the wild" checkbox for BC-book JEs, when you find a book you don't want to take. I love trackables so I buy a lot of them to swap for others, and I get a kick out of finding interesting items to attach the tags to. Here are some examples - I *think* you can see the photos even without a geocaching account:

Octopus-shaped geocoin: https://coord.info/TB85FFQ

Reading the Map - a pirate figure: https://coord.info/TB8GDZM

Clifford (a figure I got as a bonus from a Kickstarter campaign): https://coord.info/TB7Z75H
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But the winters must make it difficult to cache for sections of the year for you. I had a small experience of this in Iceland. I gave up trying to find a couple of caches due to the depth of snow, and I was wondering how accurate the coordinates were too. I also kept stepping in unseen holes. Being a rough volcanic landscape, I discovered Iceland has a lot of holes to step into. Another I gave up on, not so much for the snow, as it wasn't deep there, but because it was so COLD, with snow blowing at me sideways. I hurried back to my accommodation before I suffered from exposure.
I realised then how hard it must be to be a cacher there. I am pleased you did make it outside and found some caches. An accomplishment. But, can't keep a keen geocacher inside :)
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I gave up trying to find a couple of caches due to the depth of snow, and I was wondering how accurate the coordinates were too. I also kept stepping in unseen holes. Being a rough volcanic landscape, I discovered Iceland has a lot of holes to step into.


Heh! Yes, I bet that's pretty hazardous - even here, very much NOT volcanic, there are holes to step into, often involving fallen trees forming nifty traps that can be invisible under deep snow. I usually avoid trekking into the wilderness in conditions like that - or the not-deep-but-slippery conditions yesterday! - but others who are braver, younger, and better-equipped may give it a shot, with skis or snowshoes or crampons. Caches that are winter-friendly are findable without having to dig, though even those placed higher up in trees may get iced over after a bad storm.
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Caches that are winter-friendly are findable without having to dig, though even those placed higher up in trees may get iced over after a bad storm.

I noticed that the US and Canada had a lot of caches hanging in trees and realised that was because of snow in winter.
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I actually prefer winter caching because I get better GPS readings with the leaves gone.
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I actually prefer winter caching because I get better GPS readings with the leaves gone.


I hadn't thought of that. I do appreciate the absence of insects, and sometimes caches are easier to spot with less leaf-cover. (The way out can be easier to spot, too - I have a tendency to get turned around in woodsy areas!) The downside is that when the leaves are down, some spots are more visible to muggles...
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Wow

That looks super weird/creepy!
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Hmmm...

I think I'm on board! Let's see what we can find nearby 🌋 ⛺️ 🕍 🌅 🌄 🌇
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Ice storm with rain - a very messy combination. Here's a photo of the ice-covered suet feeder out front, with an appreciative nuthatch taking advantage of it:

https://flic.kr/---/22mZ4Ta

In these conditions it's dangerous to walk down the back steps, never mind risk driving to a winding hiking-trail, so no geocaching today!
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Nuthatches! Dunno which I like better - a nuthatch or a titmouse. Both adorable.
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a photo of the ice-covered suet feeder out front

Reminds me of a lampshade with a frilly border.

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