Generally we get our geocaching kicks during the day, out in the countryside… where the caches are. But I spend an amount of time sitting at home exploring geocaches on a screen, and I expect I am not the only one. Aside from actual planning, I like to just browse the map and do random searches to see what comes up from time to time. As I sit with my iPhone under the magnifier and my nose pressed to the large zoomed up screen, I travel the footpaths and country lanes virtually seeking out interesting caches.
“I thought you were blind” I hear you say. Well yes I am but if you had been playing close attention then you would remember that I have somewhere in the region of 15-20% usable sight which means I too have the ability to give myself a headache from staring at maps for hours on end. The only difference is that I need the map to be huge and in “forced” black and white which makes telling roads from rivers from footpaths difficult sometimes… thankfully only virtually. In real life I know the rivers are the wet bits!
Recently I have been drawn to searching for old caches. Using the advanced search feature on the website is pretty good for this although I find the best way to do it is just to search for all caches within a certain area and then sort it by placed date. We have some pretty old ones near us. Of course we have View from Coombe Hillwhich is England’s oldest surviving cache dating back to January 2001, but even closer to home we have a good spattering of caches places in late 2001 and early 2002 such as High Point (Herts) and MI5 Reservation. These ones we have found, but there are others like them not far away and I am making a mental note to get out and find some of these historic caches in the not too distant future as it is a distinct possibility that some of them will drop off at some point, which would be a real shame.
I found an interesting thing when I was reading through the logs of a couple of old caches. I like to go back to when they are placed and follow the story of the cache through, sometimes it can be quite entertaining. People used to write decent logs back then, not that some don’t these days, but there were certainly no TFTC logs. One thing you notice about the very early ones is a sense that it was a small community and that pretty much everyone knew, or at least knew of, everyone else. The interesting thing I noted was that quite a lot of the early finders didn’t remain as geocachers. A lot of them have cache finds of less than 100 and bearing in mind that this is 14 years ago it is unlikely that they are still active. I plan to do a little more research but it was something that pricked my interest. I wonder whether the enthusiasm was there for some of them but there just weren’t enough caches to keep them interested for long. Cache density back then was so low as to be almost meaningless. Back in early 2002 there were probably only a dozen caches in and around Watford and once you had found them you had to start going further afield. Nowadays that same area probably has between 300 and 400 caches in it!
Am I alone in my enjoyment of wasting away the hours squinting at maps and reading old logs?