Geocachers have secrets. There are cool places, abandoned buildings & secret waterfalls that only they know about. For example, the Silver Creek Hotel; an abandoned structure known only by its GPS coordinates and the inconspicuous plastic container it houses. Internet searches of the area turn up no information on this structure, or other secret places this community has discovered.
My misson is clear. I am going undercover as a geocacher.
I will play their pointless game, and I will learn their secrets.
My first step was to figure out what geocaching is, exactly. It is what I thought it was; people leave random crap in tupperwares or ammo cans, hide them in the bushes & tell us where they are. Most of them are in dumb spots but out in the desert this “sport” can become a whole different ballgame. ‘Desert geocaching’ is about exploring; about off-roading & history & hiking & nature. A lot of people hide dumb geocaches along the side of the road, even dumber people hide hundreds of them in a row and name them all after the US & Mexican states (PS that’s called littering). The people that I want to be friends with are the ones who hide caches in a remote & undisturbed canyon, on a peak with a breathtaking view, in an off-the-radar ghost town, near a spring where bighorn sheep come to drink, on an amazing geological formation, on the site of a gun-fight or a WW2 training ground.
I was highly motivated and rarin’ to go until I came across Your Guide to Geocaching in the Mojave and I started to doubt myself. According to the author,
“Hiking 200 feet or more is common in desert caching. Along with water, it’s a good idea to bring a walking stick and a backpack for your ‘swag’.”
200 feet?!! I don’t know if I can hike that far.
I started at my home base. Two somebodies had conveniently placed geocaches ON my project. I first had to get over the insult to my pride that I had failed to notice any foreign objects on my job site. Then I had to get over the creepiness of reading the logs of people who had snuck around my project in the past few months. I didn’t do any sort of treasure swap with the geocache. That would make me one of THEM.
Practice run over, I’m ready to find some cool shit. But weeding out the pointless geocaches is proving to be a lot tougher than I expected. Sometimes the names help, such as “The Lonely Shack.” However, “Bert & Ernie” turned out to also be an abandoned cabin. Sometimes the descriptions help, but usually not. Sometimes the number of times a cache has been ‘favorited’ helps, but usually not. So far, I have not been led to anything really cool. But I will keep trying.