Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Geocaching in Qatar

Desert life making you antsy? Tired of the sweltering heat? Sick of hanging out in over-A/C-ed shopping malls? The walls of your villa making you stir crazy? Yep. That's where we were at just a couple short weeks ago. So, remembering an almost-year-old conversation with some former Kiwi neighbours, we decided to give geocaching a try.

We had heard of geocaching years ago. I mean, YEARS ago! And by what we heard, it sounded like a perfect Epp-styled adventure. If you've never heard of geocaching, it's basically a treasure hunt, where you use GPS coordinates to find a cache. The cache is usually a small container that includes a log, where you record who you are and when you found it, and some little bit of "treasure." You can take the treasure as long as you replace it with something of equal value. There are over 2 million caches all over the world. Everywhere! If you're interested in learning more, just go to the site: www.geocaching.com You can learn all about geocaching there, and find caches in your area. A perfect activity to get you out there and exploring.

And that's just what we needed to do a couple of weekends ago. We had no plans, and Jeff and Kaiya were both sick enough to cut out the option of swimming, and it was too hot to do anything else, and we were tired of the villa, and God knows I wasn't about to step into a shopping mall. So very last minute and impromptu, I hopped on the internet, found a good beginner cache, and we got outta there.

It was a great day. We found our adventuring spirit again, and explored a part of Qatar we never would have gone to otherwise. On our way, we passed Al Dosari animal reserve, where from the road we could see camels, ostriches, and oryx. In order to get to the cache, we had to offroad it for a bit. It was bumpy, uncertain going for a while. Suddenly, Jeff stopped, pointing out a large lizard. We all saw it, but unfortunately it ducked away into a hole before Jeff could snap a shot. After a while, we started to notice large mounds of dirt with these deep holes dug into them, spotting the desert. And when we were lucky, we saw the lizard the hole belonged to. A new find for us, and very exciting. In the distance, we also saw a large herd of goats roaming freely. And then, as I got out of the car to find the cache, I walked past a bush, and was startled by a bird flying out of its nest. And there in the nest, one lone egg.

Desert life can feel so hot, dry, barren. But when you look closely, there is still life all around. It was amazing to us how much life we encountered that day.

Hey, desert baby.

I still sometimes pinch myself and think, "Is this really my life??"

The cache was located near this archaeological site.

The goats are there, off in the distance.

I really recommend geocaching as a way to get out and explore. There are caches all over Qatar, and according to our former neighbours, there are some amazing sights, including a camel graveyard, petroglyphs, even a "Great Wall of Qatar." Things you definitely wouldn't see just driving up and down the Shamal. It's wonderful to have some new destinations and adventures to look forward to.


Rose said...

SO COOL! Wow. There is so much more to Qatar than meets the eye!

mariaborito said...

Love the photo's. Yes…who would imagine you and your baby in the midst of a desert!

Suzanne Veenstra said...

Soo great. I would love to do that! Did you have to buy the GPS or did you just use your regular old GPS? Very fun!

Kathy Epp said...

There's a really fantastic iphone app for geocaching. We downloaded that.

Andrew McDonald said...

Well if you want to join us on a hunt, let us know!! I'm a local cacher living in Doha for the past year. https://www.facebook.com/groups/geocaching.qatar/