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Guest Post: Musings From A Former Muggle

GUEST POST

Admitting that you’re addicted to geocaching is the first step, as new Wellington player Geof Robinson (GC handle: xBoomstickx) discovers …

“There’s going to be a lot of ‘I’ in this post.  I’m not sure if it’s a blog, rant or a confession. You decide but don’t tell me please.

Just before the 2012 year, in an increasingly vain attempt to find ways to engage my nine-year-old son in non-screen based activities, I went with the inlaws on a bike ride to the Rimutaka incline summit and back.

On track: The Rimutaka Incline tunnel.

At the top (after some cajoling and grumping), we decided to walk through the summit tunnel.  This is from memory 300 metres-long, therefore dark in the middle.  Enter two friendly subjects who were walking through and had no torches, so asked to accompany us.  They turned out to be local players 1Grunta and 1Bumblebee going on a father-and-daughter geocaching ride.  We were shown a geocoin, found a cache, and then another – and I saw an outdoor pursuit that my son was interested in.

So I became xBoomstickx.  If you care, I don’t own a gun; it’s in homage to Bruce of the big chin in Evil Dead III.  When my son signs the log, there is often a wee robot as well (and sometimes a slightly different handle, which I’m trying to curtail).

My four-year-old daughter also likes the idea, but each cache has to be found instantly, and she should have her pick of the toys. My son never wants to go but, in true child-like fashion, can’t miss out when we’re in the field.

The downside is that I appear to have caught some sort of geo-bug.  I’m not prolific as, with a young family, building project and my own business, time is precious.  My biggest day’s haul is 11, and that was on the way from visiting folks in Palmerston North, but I am steady.  I try to get at least one (or two) a day, and when on business trips attempt to grab some further afield. I get vaguely agitated if I look like I’m going to miss a day. 

This is being written on an iPad (not recommended for authoring wordy tomes) on a plane bound for Sydney as part of a business trip.  ThIs visit has shown the ‘geo-compulsion’ tangible. About three weeks ago, I was on 350 or so caches, and knowing that milestones are recorded online I increased my find rate specifically so I could hit 400 in Sydney – on the harbour bridge, no less. I’ve got three TBs in tow and the nearest 10 caches to my destination saved on my phone. Next thing you know I’ll actually buy a GPS.

I joined Geocaching.com as a premium member so I could get notifications.  There are three FTFs with my signature, and sadly about ten 2TFs.  In the middle of a recent business day (there are benefits to being the boss), I whisked up to Mount Victoria to score a certain FTF only 40 minutes after notification, to find another local had beaten me by 15 minutes. Last week, alerts came through for a new 17-cache series entitled Re-cycle Or Recycle, so I tried my luck at one (GC2VYYZ) while in town on late business, only to find that yet another local had FTF’d all of them. I did achieve an honourable second placing, though.

This is where my knowledge fails somewhat. Is Wellington particularly proactive?  While in Auckland a few months back, I saw a cache had been published in the Viaduct Precinct earlier that day with no online logs, so went for a look.  I expected at least five signatures, and discovered that mine was 2TF by only 20 minutes.

Certainly, the hides are regionally different. Christchurch caches are often quite visible; Auckland hides seem much more difficult than Wellington ones (at least in terms of reported difficulty rating), so possibly there is an inverse scale of population to difficulty? Sydney may tell.

I’ve also noticed some trends, politics and personalities in people that I’ve largely never met.  I guess that puts geocaching squarely in mainstream society, although I’d like to think that it could rise above the dross.

And I’ve seen some brilliant hides and fantastic effort put into originality, craftsmanship and general cleverness, which I may well report on in the future.  There are also some very average efforts, but I guess the numbers have to keep ticking.

1Grunta, thank you for the introduction; I hope that I never need an antidote.”

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