Slowly, I’ve been adding geocaching literature to my family’s library. While searching for a good addition to the shelf, multiple tweets from Gary Slinkard about his new novel caught my attention. I searched for his name on Amazon and came across two books. I bought Hide and Seek: Life Lessons of a Geocacher initially as a way to support Gary (founder of Geocache Talk podcast), but also since it didn’t seem like the typical geocaching handbook out there. What life lessons does he share? How does his perspective differ to mine? Why is he hiding in a bush? I decided to find out, hoping I knew the answer to that last question.
My Reading Experience
Whenever I fly, I either try to nap or read, enjoying the forced relaxation and lack of cell phone (I always turn it off for the entire flight). For my most recent airplane trip, I packed this book, a great way to spend a few quiet hours. Upon starting the first chapter, I was immediately grabbed by Gary’s conversational tone. He writes how he speaks – which is so cool – like having a bit of Geocache Talk goodness added to the pages. His explanation of adventure really connected with me, reading his references to treasure hunters in movies and books. However, I was surprised The Goonies, one of my husband and mine all-time favorite movies, never made an appearance. I bet it was runner up to be added to the list, right? Of course! As a child, I was constantly seeking the magic of adventure, riding my bike up and down alleys looking for an abandoned cupboard into which I’d place my animal toys in hopes they’d come alive like in Indian in the Cupboard. Geocaching is more than the treasure, or swag, but that innate satisfaction of completing an adventure, a feeling shared among those of us completely addicted to geocaching. Gary radiates this unexplainable sensation.
Gary goes on to talk about geocaching’s history, overcoming the hunt’s obstacles, planning trips, sharing the healthy aspects of the sport, using problem solving, geocaching in the media, and hiding caches. Throughout the book, he weaves in his own stories and suggestions, advice from a long-time geocacher, and since his family started in 2006, he has a larger range of experience than most. I especially enjoyed his section on DNFs in the “Disappointments” chapter. He mentions looking at failure as a teaching moment – we won’t find every cache. Sometimes they are there, evil and lurking, sometimes they’ve been muggled, and sometimes they’re super easy, but our geo-senses are a bit off for the day. It happens. To us all. He says he never “claims the geocache is not there” in his logs, a statement I appreciate and follow too.
The last chapter is dedicated to other geocachers sharing their views, thoughts, and meanings of geocaching. Gary has a large network of connections, so this list is extensive, including some of the more popular and well-known cachers on social media. Not one person had the same thing to say, but they all showed their passion of the subject through their stories and definitions. Allowing so many people to share their input demonstrates the community and connection geocachers have with each other. Even though miles apart, we all share the same game board.
Geocachers at any experience level would enjoy this book. However, I’d particularly recommend this book to a beginner or someone interested in starting the hobby. The content is not your typical “how to,” but rather “why go,” inspiring instead of teaching a step-by-step approach. Gary is extremely knowledgeable, as a podcaster and current cacher. He stays up-to-date on geocaching news and rules, proven in his glossary of many quality resources. In the end, readers are sure to share in his excitement, ready to join the international hide and seek game.
I bought this book on Amazon for $8.95 (click here to view it). Gary self-published this book, and priced it very reasonably, considering he chose the list price. Other geocaching handbooks and books for beginners typically cost more.
About My Book Reviews…
I plan on writing geocaching-related book reviews as a means to share other geocachers’ work. This means, I will write my opinion, but I’m going to keep these posts in a positive light. I want people to read and support these geocachers, and perhaps become inspired to write their own books; we could always use more geocaching stories in the world! I’ll be choosing books that are suggested by you, novels that look interesting due to plot summaries or star reviews (either on Amazon or Goodreads), and not classic “how-to’s.” The link I’ve included is associated with Amazon.com’s Affiliate Program, allowing my site to earn an advertising income.
Please send me your recommendations via email (JangieGoWest@gmail.com), message, or comment! I look forward to many pages of geocaching adventures, especially when the weather turns cold and cozy blankets relocate to the couch.
If you’ve read this book, please comment your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!