Ask most geocachers how many finds they have, and they’ll instantly spit out their latest stats. Our tallies rank us, they let us know our place in society, how our skills (or leisure time) compare with other cachers.
But you don’t always need to bust a gut hiking through the wilderness for a small plastic box to increase your total.
Last night I went caching in Bokelt, Germany while sitting at my work desk in Wellington, New Zealand. In fact, three of my last four finds have been ‘abroad’ – yet my passport shows no movements across any international borders.
How, you ask? The joy of Armchair Caching … (At this point, seasoned hard-core cachers are going to sneer and click off this post but let me explain:) Also known as ‘couch caching’, ‘couch potato caches’ or ‘Google caches’, these terms denote finds you can log from the seat in front of your PC.
They’re essentially versions of the grandfathered Locationless (reverse) cache type or modern-day Waymarks. Instead of brawn and legwork, you need brainpower and computer literacy. And they’re the perfect fix for a caching junkie when the weather just won’t oblige.
However, a quick look at many of the public bookmarks on GC.com show that real armchair caches are few and far between.
Most alleged ‘couch caches’ involve questions or puzzles that can be answered using the Internet before you must find an actual hide (For example, see GCGZNT Photo Shoot); others – particularly older virtuals – could be illegally logged with some online assistance if you lacked moral fortitude but, in reality, do require you to visit the site in question (GC3507 Population Center – Bull’s Eye).
In a similar vein is the Puzzle Solving 101 series by ePeterso2, involving nine Florida caches of five-star difficulty. Each tests a different geocaching skill and must be completed before American cachers can find the actual hides and take his final exam. However, to satisfy international followers, Mr ePeterso2 also created the Puzzle Solving 101 Remote Solver TB. As a virtual travel bug, it doesn’t physically reside in the crowning cache, but if you pass his final exam, you’ll get the tracking number to log it.
Some cachers still prefer the actual to the armchair, reasoning that such finds interfere with their statistical profiles. Not me, though. Stats are nice but they’re not why I geocache. I reckon it’s all about the numbers.
GCGWVP EXO Area 52 (Bokelt, Germany)
GC1GAC3 Maria Magdalena (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
GC11740 Fliewatueuet (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
GCPA10 Z-Cache: Bonus Cache (California, United States)
GC1B3W8 4 x 1 + X = Final (Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany)
Puzzle Solving Series 101 (Florida, United States)
* If there’s any others we’ve missed, let us know