If you have read me for any length of time, you are aware I play a high-tech adventure game called geocaching. The city of Baytown has openly embraced this game as a tourist attraction and launched an ambitious project called a geotour. Now what in the world does this have to do with you? Everything, as it is open for all ages and physical abilities, especially if you team up with friends.
Everything you need to know about the game can be learned by visiting geocaching.com and opening a free account or you can attend my next geocaching 101 class February 17, 2018 at the Eddie V. Gray Wetlands Center at 10am. At 11am, we will have a geocaching herpetologist from Precinct 4 give a class on identifying snakes and its all free.
I have extensive info here: http://ourbaytown.com/baytownbert/geocache.htm
Now what's it all about and why should you consider doing it? The game can be played by downloading a free app from geocaching.com to your phone. Once you a geocaching name and the app, you do a search of the area around you by using your zip code. Presto! Geocaches are all over Baytown! All of them have a scale of 1 to 5 on difficulty and terrain. Go easy on yourself and look for the ones with lower ratings.
You will need a pen or pencil to sign the piece of paper inside the "cache" container. This is a must do item. If you don't sign as proof that you were there, you cannot log it as "found" on the Internet. Geocaches come in all sizes and shapes and some are as small as a pencil eraser or as big as a 5 gallon bucket. Some caches have items for trading, called swag and the rule is if you take something, you have to leave something of equal or greater value.
When you locate the cache container, you open it and sign the log, trade items if you want and then place it back where you got it. This is very important because of our changing flora. If a geocacher hides a container in barren winter, it can be very difficult to locate after spring and summer growth. This is one reason that many containers are tethered. Make sure to write a good log of your adventure.
Geocaching, as in the geotour will take you all over town to many places you never have visited and thus it is a real kid-friendly adventure. You can get your geotour passport at Bucee's at the tourism kiosk and find your first geocache also! City parks, historic markers, old building, cemeteries, bike trails, hiking locations are all open for adventure right here in town. Some are bike friendly, others you can take a wheelchair or stroller right up to them. One of the longest playing members of the game in the Houston area is very active and is 82 years young. He's the Yoda of geocaching here and goes by the title ParkerPlus.
Baytown's most famous geocacher is Larry Houston (HoustonControl) and he will be moving to the Hill country in the hear future. HC started playing this game in 2005 and is still very active, hiding a multi-cache this week. A "multi" means that once you get to the coordinates, you will find another set you must follow until it finally takes you to the location with the log book. This particular one has a wireless beacon in number one which if you have a device that can receive the signal, you can proceed to the next stage. He makes provision for those who don't have the device also.
Goose Creek and Cedar Bayou have geocaches all up and down them that can accessed by Jon boat, kayak, or canoe and every trail in town is peppered with geocaches for your hiking and biking pleasure. There is another aspect of this game that adds to the fun and it is trackable items which have a code on them. When you find one of these items in a geocache, you can "grab" it, but you can't keep it. They move from geocache to geocache and pick up mileage which is recorded online by your logs. If you find one and you are not sure what to do, just take a photo of the code (don't publish the photo) and log this code to get credit for "discovering" it.
This is a game of numbers and the day you find your first geocache, you will be so proud of yourself. The next milestone will be your 50th or 100th find, etc. The next thing you know, you will be on vacation looking for geocaches and finding the neatest and coolest places that you would never see without playing this fun game. My geocaching handle is BaytownBert and all of my geocaches start with BB. Ready to play?