Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Gotta Ticket to the Moon

In the past, I’ve bemoaned the death of the locationless cache. Well, maybe bemoan isn’t quite the correct term, but I definitely liked the locationless cache because they made me aware of the environment that I was in at the moment. I would keep a list of 10 to 12 locationless caches in my head, so if I spotted something, I’d be able to log it, as an extra bonus cache when I was out and about doing my normal routine. The one problem with locationless caches was the fact that only one person could log any one of a particular group. When I found the national flag locationless, I actually did two different flags in case the first one, had already been taken by someone else. The first flag, a gigantic banner outside the Oasis Casino in Mequite, NV hadn’t been logged, so I got credit for the US Flag locationless cache.

Since locationless caches have all been archived at GC.com, the substitute for them is Waymarking. The title of the Waymarking webpage, calls it a scavenger hunt for unique and interesting locations in the world. It works a little bit differently than the old locationless, mainly because anyone can find a waymark, once someone had created one in the first place. There are multiple categories from which to choose and just about anything could qualify as a waymark. As a friend of mine once noted, “eventually everything in the world will be a waymark and then what will we do?” I think that’s going to take a long time to accomplish, so I guess we’ll just have to plug along until that happens.

The premise behind waymarking is that someone finds something interesting out there and posts the coordinates on the Waymarking website with a brief description of it. Once the waymark is approved (I’m an approver for the Water tower category), then anyone else can visit it. I guess I view it not so much as a scavenger hunt, but a way to see where some interesting places might be where you’re going to travel in the future. If you happen to like fountains, there’s a waymark category for fountains. You can search find a given area, and do a search for fountain waymarks in that particular area. I’ve found that going to the waymark site can sometimes be a little daunting, so I actually go to the Geocaching site and do my search from there.

Since I know I’m going to be geocaching, I can look at some of the caches that I’m probably going to be hunting and do a search from the cache page for the nearest waymarks. Once again, I keep a running list in my head of 10 to 12 waymarks that I’m interested in so if I see something in one of my categories, I can plan a “visit” to that particular waymark. If I don’t, I don’t sweat it, but I’m still on the lookout, because some points of interest may not have been waymarked and so I could possibly be the first to post that particular one.

That’s what I plan to do this summer on our camping trip. We're going to be camping near Point Reyes National Seashore and Redwoods National Park this summer. It will be the first time that the Tadpole will have seen coast redwoods in their natural setting. One of the waymarks that I follow is the Moon Trees category. Moon trees are trees that were germinated from seeds that were taken in astronaut Stuart Roosa’s personal kit as part of an experiment between NASA and the United States Forest Service. The seeds orbited the moon with Roosa in the command module of Apollo 14. When the seeds were brought back to earth, they were germinated by the Forest Service and then distributed around the country as part of the bicentennial celebration in 1975 and 1976. Three coast redwood trees (Moon trees) are growing on the campus of Humboldt State University in Northern California. What’s interesting to me about this is those trees were probably planted about two years before I started attending the university. My memory is hazy at best, but I seem to recall some sapling redwood trees on campus and a plaque, but nothing more. This summer, we’ll explore the area in more detail and make a waymark of those three trees since none exists at this time.

As far as other waymarks go, the only one that I’ll probably go out of my way to create would be the water tower category, since I am an officer of the water towers management. Since most water towers kind of stand out from their surroundings, it’s a perfect fit when you’re driving on the road. Spot a water tower, get off the freeway, mark the water tower’s coordinates in your GPSr, take some pictures, then, find some caches in the general area. Some of the other categories, you either have to know they’re there ahead of time like Presidential Birthplaces, or you just stumble upon them, like Sundials or Post Offices. Either way, I’ll keep my list small and hope that from time to time, I’ll stumble across something that fits one of my favorite waymark categories. Or, I might actively seek one out like I plan to do this summer.

Pictures were taken at the following waymarks or locationless caches:
US FLAG - by Saundersboys
Lincoln Village Maintenance District Water Tower - by Webfoot
Richard Nixon Library Fountain, Yorba Linda, CA - by BackPak
Richard M. Nixon Birthplace - by showbizkid
Larkin Memorial Sundial - by Webfoot


4 comments:

benh57 said...

I would waymark a lot more if the waymarking site were not so slow!

I hope the '2.0' update later this year for geocaching + waymarking brings waymarking into the mainstream.

Bob said...

This is one area that Terracaching does fairly well. I do not call the activity locationless caching. I do not think that term works well. I have renamed the game the neverending scavenger hunt. I think that is far more descriptive of the game.

Anyhow, the Terracaching version plays far more like the traditional game did, specifically in that the same on item counts but once.

You might check it out.

Hick@Heart said...

I still haven't looked into the Waymarking website. Just yesterday I drove past the old windmill in French Valley to look for a nice place to hide a traditional cache. If the windmill is not already a waymark, I suppose it would make a nice one.

Geocaching With Team Hick@Heart

Webfoot said...

I've never found Terracaching that user friendly. I suppose it was an initial knee jerk response when I fully believe that GC.com was the be all and end all. I should take another look at it sooner, as opposed to later.