I had my first urban geocaching experience last week!
First, I have to confess to a major geocaching/travel bug faux pas. Sadly I must admit to picking up a travel bug, Mini LED Flashlight Travel Bug Dog Tag, in March from Gargamel’s Realm and just dropping it last week (July)! I did go and post in the logs that I still had it and I would place it ASAP. The travel bug has a goal of reaching all 50 states and seemed to be stuck in the mid-west. I thought I would help it out and bring it to California! I dropped it in Follow the Yellow Brick Road on July 16th. (Narrowly forgetting to drop it, leaving only a few hours to find a cache large enough to drop it in!)
Urban geocaching is a different animal from the more traditional traipsing through the woods alone type of geocaching I’m used to. It comes with it’s own unique set of issues.
Muggles. This is the by far the biggest difference. They are EVERYWHERE! You simply cannot get away from them, so you must be extra stealthy. Timing your searching for moments when no one is around, and waiting patiently while people pass you by – all while trying not to attract too much attention and get the police involved.
The police and or security. You see, in the woods people stop to look at things, and sit down and enjoy the view, and wander off the trail to explore all the time. In the city someone standing on the side of the road near businesses is loitering, or worse. Someone digging through city bushes or business property is cause for alarm. Placing or digging out and then replacing plastic or AMMO containers (right!?) is definitely a reason to call the police in my opinion!
Cross walks, dead end streets and parking. Parking in Los Angeles is horrendous! Near this particular cache that I found there was literally no parking at all. You had to park down a residential side-street up to 2 blocks away and then travel to the cache. This I guess would be the equivalent to parking in a lot at a park and hiking through the woods to the cache. When you’re looking on a map and you can see your cache and you see all the streets leading to it and or nearby you cannot assume that the rout you think is going to get you there will. You can encounter high fences, tall hedges, and extended/strange property lines.
I was parked near the street in Culver City that I would need to travel on so that was not an issue for me. I was on what I think was the south eastern side of the street, and the cache was on the north western side. I looked right down the block and saw a major intersection with a cross walk way down. I looked left down the block and saw a light with a cross walk close-by. The cache looked to be about half way to the right, and there appeared to be a street right there – and maybe a crosswalk? NOPE. should have taken the close cross walk to the left!
Once I got across the street it became clear that I would be digging in the bushes on Sony property. I assume they have cameras all over, and I know for a fact that there is security at every gate and this cache was very close to a gate. I would have to determine if I could see the cache or if I would have to actually dig in the bushes for it.
Leaving out major details so as not to ruin the find for anyone else, I did find it without any issues – dropped the travel bug and replaced it without being arrested or alarming any muggles.
I prefer the woods by far – the reason I got involved in geocaching in the first place, but this was a great and unique experience. Share your story below about a unique geocaching environment you’ve explored!