Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's not about the numbers...or is it?

I am still fairly new to geocaching. Well it still FEELS like I'm new compared to most of my caching buddies. I'm still under 300 finds in a year and a half. Does my find count matter? Well in the grand scheme of life, no, but in my mind it does.

While I enjoy caching as a way to take me places and enjoy time in the great outdoors with my family, I am a very competitive person at times. Coming into the game late there are so many people with a huge lead on me and there is no way I can ever be in the top cachers in the country list. So what's a gal like me to do? I find other ways to compete.

One of the ways I satisfy the monster of competition in my soul is to challenge myself. I set goals to reach certain milestones by the end of the year. My first 6 months caching, I challenged myself to find 150 caches. December 30th I was out with the entire Royal Bug Family tracking down the 16 caches I needed to reach my goal. I did find a bunch of micros that day, but we also found several small parks in a neighboring town that we didn't know existed. My kids, who normally aren't happy with a day with mostly micros, had a ball that day making sure we reached my goal. My goal for 2007 was to reach number 250. I was 5 short on New Years Eve, so we headed out for a quick run! In three hours we grabbed the 5 caches and saw a pink elephant!

I also satisfy my need for a win by using the site It's Not About the Numbers to record my cache stats. I can push myself to get a higher average terrain or difficulty rating or something as make sure I keep my status as one of the top 10 wordiest cachers in Kentucky with my average log length. I'm sure it's silly to most, but it keeps me happy!

I found one final way to make caching a "sport" for myself. I realized that a good friend I met through caching was fairly close to me in the numbers game. He's not a big numbers person, but he has humored me with a challenge. Whichever of us reaches 499 first, picks any cache in the continental US for the other to take us both for cache number 500. At the time I wrote this blog we are at 253 (me) and 252 (him). I don't do a lot of caching in the winter and he's currently stationed in Iraq for 3 more months. Come warm weather though, the race is REALLY on!

Maybe after I win this competition, I'll make my next goal to complete the KY Delorme Challenge. Yeah...for me, the numbers keep me caching.

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Webfoot said...

Great article. I was explaining Geocaching to some friends of mine today and the main question they asked, "And what do you get out of this?"

Well, I get some exercise, I get to go out on a Easter Egg hunt any day of the year, and I get a yellow smiley face on my account page after I log the cache. I love those smileys.

Jim said...

Yeah, smileys rock!!

Geocaching is a little easier to explain than Where's George?, but not by much, at least not to people for whom The Great Outdoors is five feet past their back door, or everything past the Interstate shoulder on their way to Las Vegas, or Aunt Sue's place in Oshkosh. Even a lot of outdoors types don't get the allure, or think of it as "polluting the landscape". Gotta admit that some caches aren't much more than that, but most of them get us out to places that we would never have seen without the cache, and that is the real value for me. Sure, the numbers are part of it (if they weren't, why would GC keep track of them for us?), but even 2K (which we got yesterday) wasn't really any different than any of the other 1,999 Finds that we have. Except for some virts and other "oddities", they were all hidden boxes with (maybe) a few trinkets and a log inside. Getting to the area was just as key as finding it, although any DNF is a bummer, of course :-(