We’re Gonna Geocache Like It’s 1999

Well, maybe 2004.

Remember geocaching, the wholesome activity that calmly took America by storm circa early ’00s? 

For those of you who don’t remember, geocaching is basically a year-round Easter egg hunt among strangers. Caches are hidden inconspicuously near various landmarks (YOU’VE PROBABLY WALKED BY HUNDREDS WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT!). Each cache contains a log for the finder to sign, and many of them have little trinkets that you can add to exchange with your own.

I MEAN WHAT COULD BE MORE FUN THAN THAT?

I always thought it sounded like a mildly entertaining way to pass the time, so last weekend I downloaded the app and went on a hunt around Richmond to begin my wholesome new hobby.


CACHE 1

“The Triangle”

Location: The Reconciliation Statue

Placed by: DashleyRVA

This cache is located conveniently off of I-95 so a lot of people can see you while you’re wandering around searching for a tiny capsule like a total fucking idiot.

We looked around the statue for awhile, digging through the bushes and beer cans and this one used condom I saw. Finally, we stumbled upon a small, cylindrical metal flashlight, which we figured must be the geocache because why else would there be some random tiny flashlight in the middle of the bushes?

After congratulating ourselves on our first find, we went to open it up…but it wouldn’t budge. 

So either the last geocacher to touch it was unnaturally strong, or…well, it wasn’t actually the cache. Either way, we decided to take it home and try to open it with the assistance of tools.

Mostly because we didn’t want to admit we failed at our first attempt at geocaching.

My conclusions: I currently have the cache in my home, but I’m too afraid to open it. I’ve been watching a lot of Stranger Things lately and believe me, I know what could happen.


CACHE 2

“Tree in a Hole”

Location: I don’t know, these trees planted in the sidewalk on 14th Street

Placed by: DashleyRVA

We looked through every tree and their surrounding bases – multiple times, by the way – and couldn’t find anything. Again, we were in a high-traffic area, and again, a lot of people saw us. And stared.

Finally, I found the geocache sitting out on the ground. It was disguised as a black ice scented car freshener wrapper. So I pulled out this unicorn slap-bracelet from my pile of trinkets and left it for the next cacher to find.

My conclusions: Yeah, I KNOW that probably wasn’t the actual cache but if I’m being honest I didn’t know what the heck else to do with that pink slap bracelet that I recently got from an adult’s birthday party.

“You know you probably just littered?”

YEAH I KNOW.


CACHE 3

“Just Under the Rail”

Location: The Canal Walk

Placed by: turnauerk

We wandered all around the Canal Walk, even following the hint that turnauerk left for us (“If you look up, you’ll see the Box Brown Plaza OR Christopher Newport Cross flags!”). Well, in fact, we did see both the Box Brown Plaza AND Christopher Newport Cross flags, but we never found that geocache.

We also ignored the comments on this cache chat thread that stated “easy hunt” and “quick find,” and “wow, I wasn’t even looking!” 

We also made a silent agreement not to mention that children participate in this activity all the time. 

Successfully.

My conclusions: I’m starting to think you have to be unimaginatively intelligent to be a successful geocacher.


CACHE 4

“P.O.’d”

Location: The James River Pipeline

Placed by: Walden Pond

We knew this cache would be trickier than the rest (whoa boy) because of its location on the pipeline, but we didn’t let that deter us (and were likely swayed by the comments from a young geocacher that mention how “easy” this one is). 

In the middle of our search, a woman approached us and asked if we had lost something. The concerned look in her eyes, plus her benevolent body language, indicated that she was willing and prepared to help us with whatever we were looking for. 

“Did someone drop their phone? Sunglasses? A contact lens? Please, I’d love to help you find whatever it is you lost,” her kind and willing-to-help expression told us.

“Oh, actually we are geocaching,” I explained, excited to finally voice information about my new hobby to someone.

She looked at me as if I said we’re in the middle of a two-person Quidditch match.

I’ve never seen anyone turn from “selflessly ready to help” to “complete disgust” so quickly, but she immediately slid past us on the pipeline, inevitably embarrassed on our behalf, and continued on her way.

Oh, and by the way, we never found that cache.

My conclusions: This activity, I learned, is much like participating in a color run, or riding a Bolt scooter: it might be enjoyable, but absolutely nobody looks cool doing it.


CACHE 5

“Tidewater Connection Locks”

Location: Off of the highway by some plaque talking about Richmond history. Wasn’t paying attention. In geocache mode.

Placed by: JMUDuke95

WE FOUND ONE IT WAS UNDER A LOOSE BRICK AND WE SIGNED THE LOG AND THIS WAS THE MOMENT WE BECAME GEOCACHERS.

My conclusions: Geocaching is a lot more fun when you actually find stuff.


CACHE 6

“Gamble’s Hill Monument”

Location: This weird dilapidated stone monument in Shockoe Slip that I didn’t even know existed

Placed by: Walden Pond

This geocache location is very historical but we didn’t take the time to read about it because WE FOUND ANOTHER CACHE.

This one was a very small capsule, also hidden under some bricks (you geocachers really need to get more creative) (actually, they probably are more creative and that’s why we couldn’t find those other caches). The only thing that fit in this capsule was a log, which was disappointing because I really wanted to leave this Hillary Clinton button that I brought to share with fellow geocachers. 

I tried to put the button in anyway but it wouldn’t fit and so I just signed our team name on the log, crying a little mostly because of the button thing but also because I still couldn’t believe we had finally become geocachers after all this time. 

My conclusions: I’m going to create my own geocache and call it “Hillary Clinton buttons” where the only thing you can leave is…well, you know.


CACHE 7

“Slave Trail/Kanawha Canal”

Location: Slave Trail/Kanawha Canal

Placed by: JMUDuke95

We found this one very quickly, not because it sat in a convenient and easy to find location, but because we are really good at geocaching.

My conclusions: GEOCACHING IS SO MUCH FUN, I CAN’T WAIT TO GO TO ALL OF THE MEETUPS AND BECOME FRIENDS WITH FELLOW GEOCACHERS, AND GET MY NON-GEOCACHING MUGGLE FRIENDS IN ON THIS CRAZE.


CACHE 8

“3 Rail Lines Passing”

Location: Underneath this historic spot where three railroad tracks cross over each other, supposedly

Placed by: turnauerk

Someone in the comments said that this cache is “where you least expect it.” Well considering we looked for 30 minutes and found nothing, even following all of turnauerk’s stupid hints, that comment is true, I guess.

I looked in a lot of places that I least expected to find it and I never found it.

My conclusions: Geocaching is a dumb hobby.


My overall conclusions: Geocaching is a dumb hobby.

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