Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cache: Native or Geo?

I have been working this week on the activity of geocaching. The thing I see about this is while it is great fun of a sort, you seem to spend an inordinate amount of time looking at the little digital dial as opposed to actually looking for landmarks. If you stop and look around, you have to start walking again (hopefully in the right direction) to get where you're going. Another caveat is that if the 27 geosynchronous satellites aren't in a good place, you can be off by 100 feet or so. Searching a 100 foot circle (or larger) it could take some time to find a quart jar sized object. And then, if you didn't pay enough attention going to the cache, you hopefully way pointed your car so you can get out and go home. Never mind if you run out of batteries. But again, these are some of the drawbacks. It is kind of a fun and recreational activity. If you have the $$ for a GPS unit. Let us contrast this to what I'm calling the Native Cache system. Say the tribal leader appoints me to take about 8 people and get a bison, dry the meat and bring it back. I'm probably going to be pretty resistant to the idea of taking all of my belongings and the food that my family (not to mention the other families involved) have collected throughout the spring and summer. I'd probably cache it somewhere my family spent time, or along a trade route, but not too close. I would also have to tell whoever was left behind where it was in case I didn't return. Using the descriptive Salish language, I might leave directions something like: Go to where the three big pines south of Ocqe'e'(Ronan) near Crow Creek and turn towards the mountains. There is a bunch of thorn apple trees halfway to the base of the mountain. Look for a tipi pole with red ribbons at the top in the closest bunch. From the bottom of that pole, walk 25 paces towards Sheepshead and look for a round rock as big as a baby's head. The cache is buried under that rock. The only problem with these directions is that the three big pine trees have succumbed to age, and the descriptors would not make much sense to non-indigenous personnel. There are several stories about that place, and things that happened there, so it lives in my memory, from the oral tradition. I'm quite sure it has some set of numbers associated with it, but my friends and other local people would know where it was from the description I just gave, which is all true except the tipi pole and the cache. For this to Native Cache system work you have to look around and be in touch with the local surroundings and landmarks. Both could be fun, even combined to appreciate both activities. She hoy

Today is Waxing Gibbous!

1 comment:

doctorslime said...

Hey Frank,

If you spend bigger bucks, you can get a nicer GPS which can walk you with in 3 ft, assuming you don't have to worry about a geomagnetic storm, which can really throw things off.

Mike Garlick