Since I couldn't do any hunting or fishing in Iraq, I have taken to planning and day dreaming about buying different species of decoys, drawing out spreads, studying my hunting and fishing maps, buying gear on the Internet machine, etc. After a good hour or so of daydreaming one day while walking the flight line posing as a hard worker, I decided that the main purpose of my life is to scout out the elusive Aomori Sika Deer. This deer is usually deep in the woods, and as as I'm apt to getting lost, buying a GPS unit was my only option. I asked around trying to gather info about which unit to buy and how theses things worked etc. I just wanted to be able to find my car after a long day of scouting deep in the woods. I was lucky in the fact that my boss "The Tank" (named so not after the war machine, but because he can hold as much beer as a large tank), had owned a GPS gizmo for years and knew all about them. I decided to go with the Garmin Venture HC. This unit was the choice as it is the next up from the most inexpensive unit sold (it was close to Christmas and the really cheapos were all sold out). The Tank not only schooled me on the gizmo, but also introduced me to Geocaching.
Geocaching is a kind of game where folks will hide items in a weatherproof container of varying size, post the GPS coordinates on an Internet site, and allow you to go out and look for them. Once found, an entry is made, both on a written log in the container, and on the site. Pictured above, I've found a geocache in this small structure from directions via the site. The name of this cache was "Mud Hut".
So far, I have found 8 geocaches around the base. There are also varying other items involved. For instance, some caches have small trackable items that can be transferred to other caches and logged in the site. These items are tracked on the site to see where and how far they travel. Some cachers also put small items in the cache for trade. There seems to be only a few rules to the game. 1. Put the cache back where you find it. 2. If you take a trade item, you must leave something of equal or greater value. 3. You must log your visit. Other than that its pretty simple.
It's awesome to be able to pursue an interesting hobby, even over here. This summer in Japan, I plan on hiding my own cache. Of course I will do so in grandioso style. This will be placed so that a level of expertise confidence and toughness will be required to log your name. I'll post the coordinates on this site as well as the official site which is listed under my links on this page.