How to set up a geocaching travel bug in 7 easy steps

Geocaching, if you’ve never tried it, is a fun addition to a day of outdoor adventuring.  It’s sort of like a treasure hunt, except instead of maps there are GPS coordinates, and instead of treasure there is, well, personal satisfaction.

In a nutshell, geocachers seek out small boxes of goodies that have been hidden by other cachers all over the world.  If you’ve never played, you’ve probably never noticed – but they are there, everywhere.  There are little boxes hidden in trees in the mall parking lot, under the log in that park where you walk your dog, at the beach where you went last weekend.  And you didn’t see them.  That’s by design.  One of the central conceits of geocaching is that it’s not supposed to be seen – the caches should be hidden out of sight, and cachers on the hunt stay out of sight of non-players.  (If they get spotted, weird things happen.)

Armed with a GPS device or smart phone, cachers find the area, then dig around for the cache.  It’s fun.  You should try it.

Dropping a travel bug in a geocache

Dropping off a travel bug in a north Florida geocache.

One optional component of geocaching is the “travel bug.”  Travel bugs are trackable items that you can hide in a cache.  Other cachers will pick up your travel bug and move it to another cache, then it will get moved again, and again, again, again.  The whole time, your travel bug is tracked online, so you can watch it as it criss-crosses the country and, potentially, the world.

Setting up a travel bug is easy, cheap and an interesting add-in to the geocaching game.  I set up a travel bug with the URL to this site, and I’ll be tracking it as it makes it’s way to the Pacific Ocean (that’s the mission, but more on that later).

If you’ve thought about launching your own travel bug, here’s the process in seven simple steps.

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Photo Friday – Flowers on the campus of University of Florida

 

As I’ve said before, I know nothing about flowers at all.  But I sure like seeing interesting flowers in unexpected places.  This one was a lone ranger near a parking lot on the campus of the University of Florida.

Driving to campus Saturday morning, I expected little resistance in my quest to find a good parking spot.  Unbeknownst to me, though, a colossal UF graduation ceremony was taking place in the stadium directly next to, but completely unrelated to, my destination.  Frustrated that I had to park miles away on a Saturday morning, I opened my truck door and almost stepped on… this flower.  Which, of course, reminded me that, as frustrating as parking can be, at least I’m not a flower in a parking lot.

Can anyone ID?

5 best FREE iPhone apps for hikers

When Apple first released the iPhone, they ran an ad campaign that promised, “There’s an app for that.”  That was an iffy statement back then, but today, there’s not just one app for that, there’s dozens.

So let’s cut through some of the muck.  I’ve listed five free apps that I use regularly on the trails.  I’ve tried many others, but these are five that have survived every app purge of the past few years.

I’d love to discover more, though.  So if you have apps that you use that you think I should try, leave them in the comment section!

1. AllTrails

There are a ton of trail-finder apps on the market, and they all do different things well.  I’ve tried most of them, and AllTrails offers the best selection of nearby trails and is, without question, the easiest app to navigate.

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