I took a little hiatus from writing to deal with and enjoy the holidays, but now I hope I'm back on track. On Monday, I began the next Frannie book and so far am burning up the keys. Sort of. The working title is To Cache a Killer and Frannie and friends find as much trouble as treasure when they do some geocaching on a camping trip. The location is Dolomite State Park, based on one of my favorites, Backbone State Park. There are some great campsites there, a small lake, lots of spectacular hiking trails, and a number of geocaches.
Geocaching, for the uninitiated, is an outdoor treasure hunting game made possible in the last decade by hand-held GPS devices. According to Geocaching.com, over six million people worldwide currently participate in trying to find two and a half million caches. Caches are listed by their GPS coordinates on the geocaching website. The geocacher enters the location where they wish to search by zip code or other identifier and a list of caches in that area appears.
A geocache is a weatherproof container ranging in size from very small (a 35 mm film canister) to quite large (a bucket.) At the minimum, it contains paper and a pencil so that finders can log the date. It may also contain trade items or trackable items. If a trade item is taken out by the finder, it must be replace with an item of equal value. A trackable item includes a number which allows the geocacher to log the item on line and receive instructions concerning its disposition.
A few years ago, we gave each of our kids' families a hand-held GPS device and a book on geocaching for Christmas. Except we wrapped them and put them in plastic bins and hid them around the neighborhood. They had to find them Christmas morning using our GPS. I had visions of the Christmas Eve snow or the neighborhood raccoons destroying them before we found them but all was well and they got a taste of geocaching.
So I hope you can imagine that this pasttime could lead to all sorts of adventures for the Shoemakers and their friends. I'm just not sure what yet! And a Happy New Year to one and all.