An Active Brain

My mind always seems be very active.  Sometimes I’m trying to think forward and solve a mystery in a book I’m reading or show I’m watching.  Other times, when I’m not purposely or actively thinking about things, my brain may be churning away on a problem from work or enlightening me with random thoughts from my subconscious.  Many of which scare me.  I even have a few “million dollar ideas” in my head that have sprouted up a few times that I’d be willing to sell to you for a fraction of that price. But one of my favorite ways to spend my free brain cycles is geocaching.

In case you haven’t heard of geocaching, it can be summed as some of my favorite things rolled into one.  Adventure, exploration, problem solving, treasure hunting and technology.  What better hobby is there for the restless techno-geek with a desire to find unique and interesting places?

To elaborate a little beyond the generic, simple terms, geocaching is a technology based scavenger hunt that requires you to use a GPS, some brain power, and a sense you develop the more you cache.  Using one of a few websites, is the most popular, you can look for caches nearest your location.  Some caches can be quick “park and grabs” that require little more than driving to a parking lot, and zeroing in on the correct lamp post that has the pill bottle, or magnetic key box, under it’s liftable base.  While others require hiking, biking, kayaking, crawling through mud and then fighting a fireball breathing dragon in order to sign the log sheet inside the tupperware.  Thankfully caches are ranked with a terrain difficulty of 1 to 5 stars (five being the hardest) so that you can find exactly what you are looking for.

Why is James "at rest" here all alone?

While it feels good to get a +1 on your number of finds, the real fun of geocaching lies in finding something unique.  The uniqueness can come from in the way the waterproof container was hidden or finding a new location that you never knew existed.  Overlooks, side streets, cemeteries, parks, historic sites or markers are some great places to find caches.  This is especially true when you are away from your home area and exploring a new town.  Often times geocaching will take you to places that many of the locals may not know about, overlook, or just take for granted.  For instance, this past weekend I ventured down a side street that was within sight of Lowes Motor Speedway and to the side of the road was headstone that sat all alone.  No nearby cemetery and nothing commemorating the dead man other than the writing on the stone.  Caches like this are very enjoyable even if the cache container is quick to find.  This is all about the location and the uniqueness.  The story that is left untold.

Beyond finding the unique places another fun aspect of geocaching is solving puzzles.  Especially if you like a good challenge.  The puzzle types of caches are only limited by the hiders imagination.  Number puzzles, word puzzles, riddles, rhymes, research puzzles, twists on suduko, and many different types of ciphers fill the pages of  In general, I love solving these puzzles and after staring at them long enough I usually manage to work my way towards a solution.  But sometimes…sometimes man…. they frustrate me for hours and I get nowhere.

There is one in particular (The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful) that I come back to every so often that continues to baffle me.  The cache frustrates me because it is about a mile from my house and I pass the general location multiple times a days as I travel to and from work.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to make the numbers come out, but nothing I do works.  I’m sure it is easy once I know what I’m supposed to do.  But then again, aren’t most things easy once you know what to do?  Strangely enough I still enjoy looking at it very once in a while.  I could email the owner and ask for a hint but I don’t want to give him the satisfaction.  Plus that would mean I outright failed.

So what’s the point of this post?  I’m not really sure.  Maybe it is to coax some other nerds out of the basement and away from the computer for a bit to explore history away from wikipedia.  Maybe the only reason I wrote this was to keep my somewhat unrealistic goal of one post a day alive.  The only other thing I can think of is that it is a desperate plea for help on solving what is probably a pretty simple puzzle.

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