My awesome parents got us a GPS unit for Christmas (Ok, technically, it was James's present, but heck I am going to get almost as much enjoyment out of that thing, I tell you). Not only was it particularly useful when we needed to find our way around the unfamiliar city of Denver -
- quick story. So we were out and about shopping and Mom really wanted to stop at a Burger King, since there aren't any in Greece. So James whipped out the GPS and hastily found what we were looking for. The GPS guided us masterfully there in its lovely, male, Britishly accented voice, right about until we hit the last turn. It pronounced the street that the Burger King was on in an extremely unfathomable way, and while we were still laughing at that, it proudly announced "Arriving at Bur-jer King, on left." Anyone up for a cheese burjer? Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled program -
So, not only was it useful finding our way around Denver, it has also provided us with an entertaining hobby now that we have arrived at home. We have discovered the adventure that is geocaching. Basically, people go out and hide small trinkets and treasures in interesting, beautiful, or historical places then record the GPS coordinates on an official geocaching website. We, the brave explorers, then acquire said coordinates and go on our search for the hidden treasures, with the GPS system as our guide. Once we locate the treasure, we can take something out of it and replace it with a treasure of our own. There's also usually a logbook to record your information in, any comments you'd like to make, and what you took and replaced it with. I think it has to be the neatest thing since popsicles. We've even created our own logbook in which to record our adventures, keep photos, and perhaps collect some of the smaller treasures we find.
Another version of the activity is called letterboxing, and instead of trading treasures, you create a unique stamp specific to you and when you find the cache you stamp its logbook with your stamp, and stamp your logbook with the stamp kept in the cache. Call me silly, but it just seems like such an awesome adventure. A fun way to connect with other like-minded (some may call us crazy) people, a really great way to get out and spend time outdoors, and the whole treasurehunt aspect just makes it that much more fun. Anyway, I've babbled about this long enough. If you're curious, you can go read the wikipedia articles on geocaching and letterboxing. They are fascinating.
Here are some of the pictures from our first geocaching adventure. Unfortunately, we're not sure if we actually found the cache. Reports online said the cache might be damaged, but what we found was REALLY damaged - so maybe the real cache is still up there somewhere. The snow and the dark wasn't really conducive to a successful adventure. Once this blasted snow stops falling, we might be able to get out and do some more.
Here's what we found: a rotted out steel drum. Dubious, I must say.
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