April 28, 2014 in Features

Write it Out: Tourists pursue their cache

Bill Love Sandpoint, Idaho
 

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Bill Love and his family visited Ireland this month and spent time geocaching while sightseeing. Love’s daughter, Annie, works for Geocaching, the Seattle company that manages the geocaching.com website.

Few tourists ever visit Culoo Head. Only a few local anglers casting for cod or pilgrims trekking to St. Brendan’s baptismal pool go there. But during the past 10 years, 450 geocachers have searched for the Atlantic Whirlpool geocache on this beautiful, but rugged, southwest coastline of Ireland. I signed the logbook for this interesting geocache on a recent family trip to Ireland.

Geocaching involves using a GPS unit or smartphone to locate hidden containers. Locations and instructions for finding these containers can be found on the website geocaching.com. This high-tech game of treasurer hunting began near Portland in 2000 and quickly spread around the world. Actually, out of this world – as the International Space Station contains a geocache.

Geocaching appeals to all ages, as who doesn’t enjoy the thrill of finding a hidden treasure. While ideally suited as a family activity, many baby boomers use geocaching to explore new areas during their retirement travels. It is also a great way to get the grandkids outdoors.

Whether snowbirding to the desert Southwest in a RV or globetrotting to exotic destinations, boomers can discover jewels that few locals know about. Pull off at a freeway rest area to stretch your legs and walk the dog and there’s likely a geocache to find. But the real treasures require a little exploring.

For example, the Atlantic Whirlpool geocache located on the popular Ring of Kerry drive near Killarney takes you onto some back roads to Valentia Island. You know you’re getting close to Ireland’s western most point when you see “Next Pint New York” painted on the side of O’Sheay’s pub. Drive a little farther to the designated car park where a band of sheep will greet you. Then walk about half a mile to find the geocache hidden in a centuries-old rock fence. Don’t stop there; just follow the sound of waves hitting rock cliffs and you have arrived at Culoo Rock. Marvel at the view.

Most baby boomers, myself included, don’t spend every minute traveling to breathtaking destinations. Check out the geocaching.com website and you will likely discover a geocache along the route to the bingo game at your local senior citizens center. Waiting to have your prescriptions filled allows enough time to find a geocache or two. What are you waiting for?


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