The lure of geocaching is not merely that of finding a stack of moldy CDs. Rather, the challenge is to discover hidden stuff using a Global Positioning System, better known as "GPS." "It's a high-techie scavenger hunt," says Evergreen's Mike Dyer, who recently penned the how-to book Essential Guide to Geocaching: Tracking Treasure With Your GPS.
Dyer, who also works for National Geographic's map division, notes that there are 200 or so cache boxes set up within thirty miles of Denver. The trick is to track them down. The appeal of this pursuit isn't limited to an outdoorsy place such as Denver; the phenomenon has spread globally.
"It's a crossover sport that doesn't require any special equipment -- other than a GPS -- and does not require the participant to be an über-athlete," Dyer says.
Different quests present different degrees of difficulty. Veterans and novices alike can log on to sites such as www.geocaching.com to determine how tough a potential route is. But it's the endpoint that often yields the biggest surprise. While most destination boxes contain nothing more than common household treasures, others have specific themes. A cache in Golden offers CDs that have aged several decades. As Dyer puts it, "You can bring in your old Bangles CD and pick up that rare Twisted Sister."
For those who want to learn more, Dyer will be at the REI Englewood store, 9637 East County Line Road, tonight at 7 p.m. Call 303-858-1726 for information. -- Cub Buenning
Extreme golfers up the ante
Golfers are such pansies. They have caddies to carry their clubs for them so they won't get too exhausted from their four seconds of physical exertion every seven minutes. You never see them running on the course. Hell, half of them don't even walk from hole to hole, opting to ride in cushy golf carts instead. It's downright offensive. The U.X. Open, though -- now, there's a sport. Beginning at 9 a.m. today at Snowmass Mountain in Snowmass Village, participants in the event will compete in the western regionals of the tournament; the top three vie for the championship tomorrow. A far cry from the regular game, the Open offers golfers a whole new challenge across a ten-hole mountain course, with manicured fairways replaced by rugged, rocky terrain. Simplified rules cater to the novel landscape. Instead of putting, participants pitch the ball onto a painted circle some twenty to thirty feet in diameter. There's no dress code, and penalties for lost balls are much less severe.