From the moment I engaged the power button on a GPS I have been intrigued with the little handheld devices. As an electonic-o-holic I HAD to have me one of these gizmos–no question about it. Richard bought me the Garmin Map60 for Christmas that year and later I upgraded to the Garmin Oregon 550T which takes photos and “Geotags” them so you can see the big picture on electronic maps such as Google Earth–BIG advantage when scouting and hunting.
While learning to use the GPS and in hopes of quenching my inquisitive nature of the “whys and hows” of this divine smart box I ran across a website, www.Geocaching.com. The website led me to a published book “Geocaching for Dumies”. Wow!! I quickly found out that this was a modern day scavenger hunt with high tech tools! I couldn’t wait for my first assignment. So I created an account, logged on, searched caches close to home, found three, wrote down all the pertinent information and I was off!!
On my first attempt, I came up empty-handed on two that I actually tried to find. The third one turned out to be in a graveyard–I am not a “chicken-$…” by nature, but the fact that I was by myself, in a graveyard, at the last light of day, where no one knew where I was, was enough to keep me in my truck second guessing my sanity. Nope, even I wouldn’t pull this off on a dare!
I went home, GPS unit in one hand and my Dummies book in the other, bound and determined to figure out what went wrong. I like a challenge too much to let this beat me. After about 2 and a half hours of reading, punching buttons, moving around the back yard with the GPS unit in hand marking things like the dogs water bowl, the yard glider, the bistro table; I had it figured out. I was using the compass feature where I should have been using a completely different feature.
The next afternoon I was out the door with my coordinates and two hours later I was home; a prize novelty from one cache and a trinket to plant somewhere on my journeys to the next Geocache spot. If one thing is second to the teachings of orienteering that Richard has instilled in me, it would be what I learned in this venture of Geocaching. I spent about 4 months looking for caches on various trips and Richard even joined me on a few.
Geocaching is an excellent way to learn how to use a GPS very accurately and you will have fun while doing it. I bring this up because something is taking place that somewhat turned the tables; my truck is a traveling cache. The object of a scavenger hunt search. The hunted.
Let me explain. As a columnist with Women’s Outdoor News I had some custom vinyl work done on my truck that would help advertise this wonderful outdoor newsletter; as well as support my column. Upon submitting the picture to Barb Baird, the WON publisher, an idea came to her that would add a little fun to the WON and my column. She put together a “Where is the Guru Huntress?” contest where a person takes a picture of my truck and posts it to the WON with the information of where they saw it along with what they like to do in the outdoors. From the entries, a name will be drawn for a prize package. To add some excitement to the contest, I put together a First Post Prize package for the first person to post a picture at the WON. The prize package is a combination of things a hunter would use in the field with a retail value of over $450.
Over the next 6 months we will be traveling to states such as Florida, Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota and of course my home state, Alabama. There will be many opportunities for photos to be taken of the Guru Huntress’ rig; affectionately known as Clyde. Good luck to the readers of the WON and my column….I hope I get the opportunity to meet you in person somewhere down the road. Safe travels to you and good luck this season.