Geocaching

February 1, 2011

Those of you who pay close enough attention to my Facebook have learned that just last night I went on my very first geocaching mission (I’m not sure what the proper term for a “session” of geocaching is, so I’ll call it a mission).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, it’s a game, or perhaps a sport, wherein a particular geocacher plants a box somewhere in the world, makes note of its coordinates with a GPS unit, and publishes said coordinates to a host of sites (geocaching.com and opencaching.com are popular ones). Once the coordinates are up, other geocachers load the coordinates onto their GPS units and go searching for the box. Generally a box is pretty small, some are film canisters, some larger plastic containers; they’re typically reasonably well-hidden and contain a number of things, usually a guestbook for the finder to sign, and some random nicknacks. The nicknacks usually have a fairly short turnover, you take something and you add something, so there’s a fairly constant flow of nicknackery, as it were, amongst geocaches.

I’ve had a GPS device for awhile (since my last birthday, in fact), and I enjoyed using it while hiking and things like that, but I recently started learning more about the UTM/UPS coordinate grid system and since have very much rekindled my interest in all things geographic. I’ve found a set of detailed topographic maps of Serbia and Montenegro for my type of GPS unit (score!) that was put online (but not created by!) Mark over at MTB Serbia and I’m seriously fixing to get out and explore some of the terrain around here. With all this recent GPS stuff I’ve invariably looked at geocaching a bit. I’d heard about it before, but never tried it or really even thought of trying it until recently. So I signed up at a few of the sites and looked for nearby caches, there are quite a few in Belgrade and a bunch more out in the mountains and woods. I found a relatively nearby one and headed there last night.

The cache is in Kalemegdan fortress hidden in a section of wall. I went there late at night so as to avoid any undue scrutiny and looked around the location my GPS indicated. It took a bit to find it as the coordinates were a bit off, but eventually I tracked it down. It didn’t have a writing utensil, so I had only the pleasure of finding it. It also held a Ukrainian coin, whose loneliness I did away with by adding a Georgian coin from last time I was there. I’ll probably head back to this one (now that I know where it is) to sign the guestbook.

Anyhow, I’ve been looking for others in the area and there are quite a few on my list deep into the Serbian wilderness. It’s sort of creating an excuse, and a mission, for me to go out and explore different parts of Serbia, which I’ve been meaning to do for a long while. I’ve certainly got my weekends booked up for a few months once the weather clears up a bit.

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One Response to “Geocaching”

  1. Mark Says:

    Hey, hope you find the maps useful! I never really got into geocaching, it does seem like fun, especially tracking down some of those wilderness ones! I should have set up a cache or two in some of the places I have been mountain-biking in Serbia!

    What are you doing in Belgrade, anyway? I leafed back through your blog but couldn’t figure it out 🙂 Work I guess?


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