Friday, February 18, 2011

Irony defined? A True Tale of geocaching.

Irony defined: A state of affairs or an event that seem deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

My wife and I recently  became geocachers.  One of my internet friends occasionally made reference to "geocaching" .  I tried to ignore it, but it just kept popping up.  I am a naturally curious person.  I googled it ...  I google everything.
It brought me to a website which, strangely was called "Geocaching".

The website defines geocaching as: A recreational activity of hunting for and finding a hidden object by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website.
In other words, finding tupperware in the woods using billion dollars worth of military satellites.  
This sounded like a fun activity to me.  It would be easy enough to get started: I already  had a TomTom GPS for our vehicle.  I signed up on  It was free and I found a few simple caches near our home.  
I was hooked.  Since a TomTom would not do the job out in the woods, I  started looking for a GPS that would best suit my needs.  
 A GPS saying, "Turn left on Ocean Blvd." would not be very helpful.  The actual decision took me only about four months.
One day my wife said to me, " Are you going to buy that GPS before you die?"
I had it the next day.  My biological clock is ticking, you know!

After a couple of days figuring out how to put my batteries in and turn it on, I was ready to geocache.  The little French lady went with me on my first few geocaches.
She seemed amused by my antics.  I would slither on the ground like a lizard, get hung up in bushes, have brambles in my hair, walk in dog poop, pick up dog poop thinking a cache would be hidden under it.  Once I even crawled under a gazebo looking for a cache.  A woman came along and asked my wife if she should call 911.  My wife talked her out of it.  I generally made a mess of myself while geocaching.

One day the little French lady asked some question about my GPS.  She started showing a little interest in my new hobby.  The next time we went geocaching she started questioning my navigational skills.  I was meandering all over the place.
Finally, she said, "Gimme that thing!" . Sigh... I did not see much of my Garmin Etrex that day.  Every once in a while I would whimper, "Can I look at it?"  The next day she ordered a Garmin GPS for herself.   She was hooked.

We learned about geocaching very quickly.  But...alas, not fast enough.  We would take a trinket out  and put a different one back in.  The trinkets are called "swag".
Somewhere in the beginning we apparently made some breach of  swag etiquette.
One of the cache owners sent us a nastygram accusing us of replacing her high price swag (her treasure)  with our cheap swag (our trash).  She said we plundered her cache.  We acknowledged that her swag may have been more valuable than ours. We did not consider our swag as  "trash", nor did we plunder her cache.  We didn't think swag was the point of geocaching, and we still do not.  Nonetheless she called us everything but a human being, which we thought might be considered a breach of etiquette also.  We were kinda taken aback by the whole incident.  I guess "One man's treasure is another man's trash".
We decided we would place our own cache and dedicate it to this incident.  Naturally we called it, "One man's treasure".  Wanting to keep with the theme, we decided to hide it at an appropriate place, near a flea market.  But ... we had no idea how ironic the whole story would be.
Life can be funny.

We received an email this morning from a geocacher named "The Shady Lady".
Here's what she said: "We  saved this cache! The landscape clean-up crew had thrown it in the garbage.  They were pretty interested to hear the explanation of geocaching and will be on the lookout for other mysterious containers that may pop up in their line of work. Tftc (Thanks for the Cache)".

Whew! that was close.  From Trash back to treasure!!!  Thanks, Shady Lady for saving GC2N3XP (One man's treasure).


  1. I've thought about geocaching but (a) I get lost going to the foot of the driveway to get the paper, (b) my husband wouldn't be interested, and (c) Gas just went up to $3.73 a gallon this afternoon.

  2. I wish I was an outdoorsy person. I think I would like geocaching.


  3. I've had a trackable trying to get from Milwaukee to Winter, Wisconsin to reach my mom. 2 and a half years later, it's gone to Nebraska, Iowa, Florida, Michigan and Ontario and is now lost, never having gotten to her. I hate when people throw out the caches as trash. :-( But, it's a pitfall of the business, I guess. I'm glad you recovered yours!