GEOcaching 2011

About using multibillion dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods...

GEOcaching

On a beautiful autumn day in September two groups of new-made geocachers started into the Teutoburg Forest to do a hunt for treasures. If you now ask yourself what a geocacher is and if you have missed a point, then you might exactly be feeling what most genome researchers were thinking also when the idea came up that instead of having an expensive and elaborately planned tour we could take advantage of the cheap but nonetheless exciting hobby of some of the group's members: geocaching.

A seminar was therefore held the day before the work outing, in which it was explained what the main features of geocaching were. The GPS-based treasure hunt was established in the year 2000, when the US military quit worsening GPS-signals and the closeness of the signals leapt from 100 meters to 10 meters. It was now possible to use GPS-devices for private purposes and the game geocaching was invented soon after.

The treasure hidden, called a cache, usually consists of some kind of Tupperware, always a logbook, in which the successful cacher can enter name and date of the find, and some articles to share and can be found in the most possible and impossible places. Up to now there are approximately 1,500,000 caches hidden all over the world, so it might be you have already been stumbling on one without knowing...

GEOcaching
GEOcaching
GEOcaching
GEOcaching

Lead by two of the group's geocachers the groups started to hunt for two different caches in Oerlinghausen. It was big fun to climb the steep sides of the Teuto hills and track down the multiple waypoints of the multicaches (a cache where you have to find different stages before you get the coordinates of the final, the actual treasure) in dead trees, earth holes and tree branches; some were really cleverly hidden and we had to fish for them with magnets, climb down stony chastises, glimpse through optical filters or use the magic eye. The first cache was found after a nice round through a beautiful part of the forest and some little treats were left for the second group (which they indeed needed very much, because they got lost and had to retrace their steps for about one and a half kilometer) – caching is thirsty work...

GEOcaching
GEOcaching
GEOcaching
GEOcaching
GEOcaching

As both groups decided to do also the second cache the great hunting ended after some six hours of hard walking through difficult terrain with totally exhausted but happy and proud scientists who had all but earned a decent meal in the restaurant Rempetiko, where most of the new and old geocachers celebrated their successful hunt.

Author: Jasmin Hübner