A Different Kind of Co-Op Gaming: Geocaching.

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It’s the original Pokémon GO. Geocaching, is an outdoor adventure game that does indeed have some distinct similarities to the popular virtual search game and the variants that have popped up since. The biggest difference being that Geocaching is based in the physical world and there are no random spawns, there are no spawns at all actually. You know exactly what you are looking for, the key is to find it.

Much like how the magical world of Harry Potter exists hidden among the non-magical world in the books, the world of Geocaching lies hidden among our very real physical world. Even if you don’t geocache, you have more than likely passed a geocache by simply taking a walk in a park, or along a sidewalk, street, or parking lot. Cacher’s have even adopted the term Muggle, from J.K. Rowling’s stories to identify people who do not geocache.

Geocaching can played through the official geocaching app or you can take a more purist approach using only a gps device to search strictly by coordinates. The latter approach takes much more planning as you would need to wire down or print out information in advance from the geocaching website. The app is by far the easiest method and much more similar to games like Pokémon GO as it places you and the caches around you on a map. You can also instantly register your find (or “did not find”) and leave comments through the app.

While you can always geocache solo, it is much more fun to do it with a friend, a group of friends or family. I like to hike so I tend to prefer caches that are hidden in the woods as opposed the easier “park and grabs” that can be found in more residential and commercial areas. Gluten Mifflin and I have been caching for about six years now and we have had quite a few adventures, most fun but sometimes a little scary…

We were out hiking and caching in the shadow of and old abandoned psychiatric facility. This is not a ghost story, we were well away from the buildings deep into the woods of the surrounding area. I had taken the lead trying to find a path that would bring us to the location of the cache when all of a sudden I hear and see the thicket in front of us being pushed aside as if were nothing more than a pile of feathers. The wall of trees and bushes was much too dense to see through but judging by the direction in which the leaves and branches were moving, some hulking thing was headed in our direction. I immediately signaled for the group we were with to stop, fearing a pack of dogs or a bear (but here?). We stood there motionless in pure silence, a tingle of fear constricts the scrotum, and when I look back to Gluten Mifflin I see a darkness spreading from the front of his pants to his legs. I stealthily move upwind of him lest he evacuate his bowels as well and we wait. We wait there unsure of what to do for what feel like 10 minutes but probably amounted to a total of 30 seconds and out pops a deer, who quickly ran away from us. No hulking behemoth , no bear, no dogs, phew!!!

We continue our trek to the cache, find it, then end up having to trudge through the dense thicket just as the deer had, luckily none of use had encountered the most gruesome, disease carrying, blood thirsty beast of them all…ticks.

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