Sunday, June 24, 2012

Geocoin Update: The Golden Rule

First, a terminology explanation. A "geocoin" is a (generally) trackable coin, minted for the purpose of being placed in geocaches. A "travel bug" is an object with a tracking "dog tag" attached, which is placed in geocaches.

If you attach a keychain to a geocoin (as I have done several times), you get the same thing as attaching a keychain to a travel bug dog tag, except you spend a little more money, and it's slightly more interesting (I hope!) to the finder. For example, you get an icon on your profile for each different type of coin that you find. (See picture to the right.)

In November 2010, I found a travel bug keychain called "Montana Plata". It was like my Maryland-themed keychain geocoins, except it was a travel bug and Montana-themed. I had hoped at the time that I would be able to do more geocaching, since the kids at four months old had gotten slightly easier to manage.

Well, they're still pretty darn time consuming. The only physical geocache I was able to find last year was in Estonia, and Montana Plata didn't fit.

Since I've been known to complain about people holding on to my geocoins too long, having Montana Plata for a year and a half weighed on my conscience.

So last weekend, I decided to take advantage of a Father's Day drive to drop it off. I used the geocaching app on my phone to find a nearby cache with the right attributes -- big enough to fit the coin, not too hard to find -- and headed for a cache named "Timberhollow". The instructions had me park at a historical marker, which was a waymark, so I got to work that in, too.

I had not planned ahead sufficiently to bring my actual GPS receiver, so I wasn't sure if I could find the cache -- the resolution on the phone isn't always great. Still, looking at Google Maps, I could tell I just had to walk 200 feet perpendicular to the road and look for a hollow tree (hence the cache name). That wasn't too hard to do, and I was able to return Montana Plata to the wild (literally), 18.2 miles from where I left it in 2010.

Now hopefully the karma will return my way, and some of my coins will go un-missing. Free State Mover #3 is in a cache off the Sligo Creek Trail -- I need to find some time to grab it -- but the rest of them are MIA.

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