10 Things I Like About You Pt 4: Geocaching
First of all: Sorry for disappearing for an extended period of time. Ece just got a new job in Turkey and I have been dealing with the wonderful world of visas and government red tape. Joy and a half. However, no excuses.
Back to what we we left off: Geocaching 🙂
Geocaching is a real world outdoor treasure hunt using GPS coordinates. Log into geocaching.com, set up an account and start! Participants are tasked to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Logistically a little tricky if you think of the elements but I did a couple of runs in Miami and they led me to some pretty cool spots.
There’s even one on the International Space Station, soI figured why not in Singapore?
Step one is to get a good GPS navigator programme. It’s pretty easy, just scootle around the App or Play Store and you should be able to find one. I used C:geo which syncs with your Geocache account and provides feedback from other geocachers, which DEFINITELY helps.
I sourced for one that was near home, figuring that if I got lost I would at least recognise some landmarks.
Geocaches also have varying levels of difficulty, so you can go for the ones that are tiny to sizable ones that are easy to find. Picked a nice midlevel one (with 3 checkpoints) and verified with the feedback to make sure that it was still available.
Landmark one was a fig tree. Urbanite that I am, I had to look up what a fig tree would look like. With the help of Google Images I found the tree without too much trouble, the cache, not so much. To the confusion of nearby picnickers, I literally poked around the underbrush with a stick but to no avail.
Undeterred, I decided to potter on. There were some hints to the next location, a tunnel under one of Singapore’s busiest highways, the CTE. Bedecked in graffiti, it was to be the highlight of my little trek. If you’ve read anything about Singapore, you’ve probably heard about Michael Fay so you know we don’t take graffiti lightly. With the photo clues provided, I decided to go for it. After several false starts, I came across the entrance to the tunnel.
I felt like a modern day Indiana Jones as I walked into the entrance. As I wandered through, faded images began to emerge in the dim light. It seemed like the tunnel had been flooded recently so much of the work was covered in mud. Despite the grim, I was still able to make out some of the featured pieces. Quite a feat since things don’t last very long here (we are no 5Pointz, that’s for sure.) The cool inside was also a pleasant respite from the heat.
Emerging on the other side, I came face to face with the electrified fence of the Bishan train depot. Time to turn to Google Maps. Though it appeared that I was in the middle of nowhere, I was apparently right next to a main road. Setting off in what I could only assume was the right direction, I soon saw the busy road ahead. I also probably had 70 different CCTV cameras documenting that 10 min hop, skip and stumble. Security must have been epically confused to see a 5-foot girl wandering past at 4 in the afternoon.
Before long I came to the entrance of a canal. All that separated me from civilization was a steep incline. Spying a step drain that led into the main storm canal, I scrambled up, using the cuts in the drain as steps. Hopping over a short fence, I found myself about 2 train stops from where I started. Not too bad for a noob.
While my Singapore Geocache didn’t turn out quite the way I expected, I still got some good exploring in. Definitely didn’t mean to end up in half those places so got to ditch the Dora the Explorer and work on my Indiana Jones.
Tips for Geocaching:
- Check the weather before you head out. The weather could really put a damper on things
- Look up the status of the cache. There is usually feedback if the cache is gone or inaccessible
- Start with the simple stuff. Geocaching is meant to be fun so don’t kill yourself the first time round
- Water and sunblock. Well, depending where you are. You get the idea
- Don’t be afraid to get lost. Think it’s honestly part of the fun