“Congratulations - you are no longer muggles!” I announce this to all of my students when I wrap up the Geocaching 101 classes that I teach. They smile, laugh and give each other high-fives because now they are in on the secret game of geocaching, and they know no one can call them a muggle ever again!
What is a muggle you ask? In ‘Geo-Speak’, a muggle is a person that does not geocache, and most likely has never heard of geocaching. Where did this term come from? Remember Harry Potter? According to Wikipedia, a Muggle is the word used in the Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling to refer to a person who lacks any sort of magical ability and was not born into the magical world.
The Wizarding world of Harry Potter exists alongside that of the real world and contains magical elements similar to things in the non-magical world. Many of its institutions and locations are in places which are recognizable in the real world, such as London. It comprises a fragmented collection of hidden streets, overlooked and ancient pubs, lonely country manors and secluded castles that remain invisible to the non-magical population of Muggles. Hmm, sound familiar? Just like geocaching!
Many geocachers tend to think of a Muggle as a person who lacks any sort of geo-magic and is not in or aware of the geocaching game or community. To me, as a geocacher, I believe I see the world a little differently than my non-caching counterparts see the world. Kind of like when Harry visits Diagon Alley or Platform 9 3/4: these are places and things that muggles don’t see, but we geocachers know how to find these places (we have the coordinates!) and we know how to come up with the cache once we are there.
So for this month's #GeoChallenge, we challenge you to take a Muggle geocaching! Watch the video:
Here are some tips to help meet this month's #GeoChallenge :
Check the basics: Make sure you have a GPS unit you know well and plenty of extra batteries. If you are using your phone with an app, make sure that you are fully charged before leaving! You don’t want your GPS or phone to die in the middle of the search. Also be sure to do a weather check and bring plenty of water with you while geocaching in the summer heat.
Consider the activity/energy level of your muggle friend:
Although you may be an experienced cacher, the muggle with you is new to the game. Think ahead and plan a cache route that will be appropriate for them. Also keep in mind that if you have an older friend along they may not have the mobility or stamina that you’re used to.
When caching with Muggles we recommend avoiding Micro and Small caches:
Caches with larger containers are easier to find and usually have fun trade items. Also try to steer clear of caches with high terrain and difficulty levels.
Have a clear idea of the route you want to take - and bonus points for routes that include cool landmarks or points of interest. Don’t plan a full-day, start small! You might want to plan to go out to eat afterwards to wrap up the adventure.
Remember, this is your opportunity to show your Muggle friends some of your favorite local spots and also share your love of the game. With a well-planned, thoughtful route, a fully charged familiar GPS/Smartphone, and the right supplies, you and your Muggle friend will be headed for a fun-filled geocaching adventure.
What are your tips for introducing a Muggle to Geocaching? Share in the comments!