News - Addicted to Geocaching

Addicted to Geocaching by Sean Frey

(South Mountain Press, July 2006, Volume 2, Issue 7)

The Erickson Invasion

The sun was setting on the quiet town of Erickson, when the first team came in. They knew their mission required stealth and wouldn’t be easy, as several before them had tried and failed. It was Saturday April 1st and the spring warmth had all but chased the snow into a hasty retreat. The two person team from Morris scouted their objective and set to work on finding the mysterious ‘Viking Legacy’ a small micro cache at the edge of town near a popular landmark. Darkness was falling around them, which served to both cover their activities from the uninitiated (muggles as they’re called) and make the search that much more difficult.

Darkness and tough finds are familiar comforts for this veteran team, who don their headlamps and handheld LED’s and begin the hunt just as the next team arrive. The next team on scene are also veteran cachers known across Manitoba, all three are from the small town east of Winnipeg called Ste Genevieve. With competition for the find, the hunt is on. Before long, four other seasoned caching teams from Winnipeg end up in town and it looks like a full-scale invasion. Local townsfolk who notice the activity wonder how in the world this eclectic mix of engineers, computer experts, librarians farmers, artists and kids from far away ended up all in Erickson on this spring evening.

Geocaching

It has been called a hobby, a sport, a pastime and an obsession. In the simplest terms it is a treasure hunt using a GPS receiver, or as some like to say it is ‘using multi-billion dollar military satellites to find Tupperware in a forest’. People who pursue these hidden caches are called geocachers, and they are all around us – just regular people like you and me who have assumed an alter ego, signed up, grabbed a GPS and headed off into the unknown.

Caches come in all shapes and sizes, often cleverly hidden in a spot that is either tricky to get to or of some interest to other people. They contain at minimum a logbook for finders to record their visit, and often have novel items for trade.

The scene described above actually happened in Erickson this spring when over 20 cachers met at an event cache nearby. They then scattered to the winds finding caches all across southwestern Manitoba. Another event is being planned this summer at Camp Kippechewan on July 8th, which may attract cachers from as far away as The Pas. As part of the event, Caching Riding Mountain is hosting an introduction to geocaching for people who are interested in learning more about GPS and geocaching, but not sure how to begin. For more information, please contact Valerie Pankratz at 848-4574 to register. Come discover an activity that appeals to the whole family and compels them to drive over 4 hours to a place like Onanole in spring thaw, and have fun doing so.