Cache Grab

Note: All WP Saskatchewan Transcripts are edited for flow and readability.

(Joanne) “Yeah, It’s going to be right… there it is on the map there. Oh 120. Count down: 90, 80, 70, 60. Okay. I think I see it. Pull in here safely off the road. This is a lot harder than it looks. There’s the logbook. Yeah, I’ll sign it. Lock it up. On to the next one!”

“My name is Joanne Cliff, a.k.a. Pogie24. When my kids were little, they liked perogies, cause we’re from Saskatchewan, and they couldn’t say perogy, so they called me Pogie.”

“Geocaching to me is a worldwide game. I’m sure there’s caching in like over 300 countries in the world. So no matter where you go, there’s a geocache and I just find it a lot of fun when we travel. And even at home, if we’re bored one Sunday afternoon, we’ll just say, “Oh, let’s go geocaching!” and go find some caches. And the friends that I’ve met, you know, we do a lot of caching together and gets us out and about and gets you exercise.”

(Narrator) A geocache is a GPS coordinate to a location where a stash is hidden and disguised in a public place, intentionally placed to be found.

(Joanne) “It’s free for one. It’s not a big expense unless you count your gas that you’re using driving around. But I mean you can walk anywhere in Saskatoon or, you know, find a cache in a park and it gets people out and you’re all together. You’re interacting with each other and you’re getting fresh air and exercise.”

“If I’m with my friends, it’s kind of a race because you know, who wants to find it first? [laughs] When I’m with my husband, he’ll often let me go find it. And if I can’t, then he gets out of the vehicle to help. But yeah, it’s fun when you’re with a group of people, I find, because you know, you’re all looking together and stuff.”

(Narrator) People search high and low, driven by their curiosity. But who is hiding them?

(Marcus) “My name is Marcus, but my geocaching name is Pere Rabbit. What would I call myself to this sport? Just another player. Maybe an over-the-top obsessive compulsive player. And you’d probably understand that if you saw some of my geocaches.”

“Geocaching is an outdoor activity that is now worldwide. It’s more than just hunting for the hidden item. What does it mean to me? Building. I get to tinker. And with gadget caches, I can do that. I can spend all winter long. I don’t have to worry about gardening, all the chores around the house. So now I have time to be in a woodworking mode and build gadget caches.”

(Narrator) Hiding a geo cache offers something that searching doesn’t. In order to hide, you must first show that you can find.

(Marcus) “You can choose your own geocaching name and then from that point on you go out, you look at the map. So no matter where you’re living, you can find something. And then as you get a little bit more experience, maybe you start to say, “Well, I might want to hide things.” You can ask the advice of other geocachers that you’ve met or go on to the website and learn what it takes to hide and follow the rules. And you just kind of wing it.”

(Joanne) “Anybody can hide. New cachers sometimes will just hide something out in the open and it gets missing right away. Make up a caching name, it’s free. So it’s for everyone.”

(Narrator) And it’s not all just containers hanging on a tree branch. The geocaching world has continued to evolve since its humble beginnings.

(Marcus) “Oh, there’s quite a few. There are multi caches.”

(Joanne) “Earth caches.”

(Marcus) “Virtual caches.”

(Joanne) “Mega events.”

(Marcus) “Traditional caches.”

(Joanne) “Mystery caches.”

(Marcus) “Social caches.”

(Joanne) “The mystery caches are fun because you have to solve the puzzle to get the coordinates.”

(Marcus) “And probably a few others that I can think of.”

(Joanne) “I love gadget caches.”

(Marcus) “I think every geocacher that hides something has his own mode of operation; his M.O. You look at who hid the container and then you start to realize… Okay, the last five or six that I found of this guy, they’re all aluminum bison tubes and they’re all hanging in a tree wrapped in duct tape, and they seem to be four feet off the ground. So I’ll look there first.”

(Joanne) “I love Pere Rabbit putting out gadget caches. It just adds to the experience. It’s not just running into a bush, finding a little micro, signing a log, and leaving. You’re getting more enjoyment out of it.”

(Marcus) “So ‘One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish’ is the name of the cache. For this one – The idea came to me because I saw a TV advertisement for a toddler toy, of fishing, and it wasn’t using a magnet, it was using a bead to snag the fish. And that, I thought, would make an interesting gadget cache. How do you work that into something?”

“Again, you start figuring out how to build things. And what you’ve noticed probably is you’ve seen that the fish, the log sheets are part of the fish. So I made the fish hollow, put the fins as part of the paperwork, and then I have three of them in there and painted them red and blue so I could call it Red Fish, Blue Fish. Yeah.”

(Narrator) “What do you hope people get out of that cache as they go to it?”

(Marcus) “Fun. I build them for the kids and for the kid in me. My mother always said, “When are you going to grow up?” I keep telling her never. I build them more for the kid as opposed for the adult. But I mean, we as adults love playing games, too, so.”

(Narrator) And despite what some may contend, using a certain handheld digital tool to help you locate a cache is for the geocaching purists at heart.

(Narrator) “Is using a GPS cheating?”

(Marcus) “No.”

(Joanne) “I think that’s the original way to cache was using a GPS. I use a GPS. So I prefer that over a cell phone.”

(Marcus) “That’s how the game started. It all happened because the US government unlocked GPS systems to an accuracy of 3 meters/15 feet for the average citizen, and some person decided to hide some stuff and used his GPS, his handheld GPS, and said, “This is where it’s hidden.” And he posted it on to at that time bulletin boards. And from there it went crazy. Now everybody’s hiding stuff.”

(Joanne) “I’ll make a pocket query of a city and it’ll go into my GPS and I can put up to a thousand caches in there. So I research a few before I leave, and then I put them into my GPS. It navigates to the cache and then it counts down the meters. And so, you know, you’re getting closer. Each hider has a different phone or a different GPS, so coordinates can be out up to 20 meters. So you get to where zero is on your device, but you still have to search within 20 meters of a radius of that.”

(Marcus) “Just sign up and go. That’s what my daughters did. They learned in school as an outdoor activity and then they got on their bicycles and they went geocaching. And the first ten or so that they went out looking for, they never found them. They didn’t know what to expect to find them. Then all of a sudden, that first find that they found? They go “Ah!”. It’s an ‘aha’ moment and that is where the experience is gained. You become a geocacher by finding them. The more you find, the more different ways you discover how people hide things.”

(Joanne) “I have my geocaching bag where I carry, you know, tools. If I need tweezers, I always carry tweezers and a pen. That’s a given. I’ve got this magnetic extender for, like, if it’s way up on a stop sign. I’m vertically challenged. We have what I call ‘pokey stick’. So like, if you’re digging in the snow or in dirt or something, and rubber gloves and you can just carry different accessories to help the hunt.”

(Narrator) A modern breed of hunters is being born in Saskatchewan. They are curious and observant. They are easygoing and fun loving. They are geocachers.

(Narrator) “What kind of community has geocaching grown around in Saskatchewan?”

(Marcus) “A close knit. Retired people. Family people. If a new person that hasn’t been caching a lot feels brave enough to go out and meet strangers, you realize that you can become friends with these people. I have increased my social circle with people because of geocaching.”

(Joanne) “We have found 9219, I believe now.”

(Narrator) “How soon do you think you’ll hit 10,000?”

(Joanne) “Well, we were hoping by the end of the year, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Well, I’d like to be at 9500 by the end of the year. That’s my goal.”

(Narrator) “But you think you’ll get there eventually?”

(Joanne) “Oh, definitely. Yeah, we do about 500 a year.”

(Narrator) Showing no signs of slowing down, both Pere Rabbit and Pogie24 have found a passion for the hunt, seeing all the beauty Saskatchewan has cached away in the process.

(Joanne) “All I know is that I’ve met some really good friends through geocaching. And we have a lot of events, you know, meet and greets where you just get together for coffee and you just discuss caches you can’t find and then you get hints or you make plans for an outing. There was one cache that was placed way up in a tree outside of the city, and so a group of us – there was about 15 of us – met up at that cache. One brought a ladder, some brought, you know, grabber sticks or whatever, and we all collaborated to find that one cache. That took, you know, a lot of teamwork. Then we went for coffee after. So it was fun. You know, we just really enjoy doing that.”

(Marcus) “There’s a lot of cool places to go and discover that I never knew existed. It makes me show up at a small town. I would forever be driving past Montemarte, for example, and the next thing you know is, “Hey, wait a minute, there’s a bloody Eiffel Tower in Montemarte I never knew of. And that is because geocaching took me there. I would have never gone to the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, where all that rolling hills and landscape and the badlands. I would never have gone there if it wasn’t for geocaching.”

(Joanne) “Oh, we’ve been in like – from Saskatoon to Regina – we’ve been in every little town on the way. We’ve gone into grid roads we would never, ever have dreamed of driving down. There was one you had to find a cache that started with every letter of the alphabet and towns of Saskatchewan. So we’ve been to Indian Head, we’ve been to Zelma for the letter Z, Qu’Appelle for the letter Q. We would never have done that otherwise.”

(Marcus) “I’ve been trying to make Regina a destination by building geocaches. Come find the caches.”

This WP Saskatchewan was filmed at Tutor Park in Regina, Saskatchewan and features Joanne Cliff, Pogie24, Geocacher; and gadget cache creator Marcus Saalmann, PereRabbit.

WP (Work & Play) Saskatchewan is a fund-raising production of the registered non-profit charitable Saskatchewan Safety Council (Charitable Registration Number: 11914-0382-RR). It serves the strategic priorities of the organization by creating community connections and provides a new platform upon which injury prevention messaging can be communicated.