Southern Man

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Well Of Madness

Southern Man has found a new hobby - geocaching. This started out in early 2000 when the government turned off the "selectable availability" feature in the Global Positioning System (GPS), which allowed civilian GPS units to operate at higher precision. "Geocachers" will hide a cache (typically an ammo box or some other weatherproof container) and post the GPS coordinates on a web site such as Other geocachers then search for the cache. The cache generally includes a bunch of trinkets (you can take one, but then should leave another of equal or greater value) and a logbook to sign. Think of it as a high tech scavenger hunt.

The folks who got me into this (a friend from church with whom I often eat breakfast and his son, who collectively go by the handle "YukonMiller" at are the sorts that take their high-tech fun seriously. He's an IT administrator and has lots of cool toys anyway (he's always logging into a server somewhere using Windows CE on his phone when we're at breakfast). When we went out last Saturday he even had color printouts of Google Earth shots of the cache sites.

Traditional caches are rated in a couple of ways: difficulty and terrain. Our first cache of the day was rated 5 / 4 - highest degree of difficulty, tough terrain. Called "The Well Of Madness," it was - literally - in the middle of a wood, near some old abandoned shacks, at the bottom of a thirty-foot well.

Southern Man is not yet in the physical shape he desires but still managed to shimmy down a pipe to the bottom of the well, find the cache (an old ammo box), sign the logbook, and climb back out.

Then it was time for the younger half of YukonMiller to dive into the depths.

We spent a good hour at this site, took lots of pics, and had a great time. Then we headed to the next cache on our list: Temple of the Sun. Compared to the Well of Madness, this one was a piece of cake; it was in the middle of an open field (we had to trek through the woods to get there) and YukonMiller's GPS (a Garmin eTrex Venture Cx) led us straight to it. The cache was another ammo box, just sitting on the ground.

Yesterday Southern Man had lunch with his sister, who had been given a GPS reciever as a gift a few years ago and had never used it. Her little Garmin Geko 101 is now on permanent loan to Southern Man, who cannot wait to figure out how to use it and take his son out on a geocaching day.


At Thursday, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who else will you take on your little adventures?

At Sunday, November 19, 2006, Blogger Neighborsman said...

wow man. that sounds really really fun. even though i'm generally much more of a city guy, i think i could really get into something like geocaching.


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