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Modern Stories Along the Anza Trail

Christie: Geocacher

Listen to an interview with Christie

Interview Text

Interviewer: Your name is?

Chris: My name is Chris Smith.

Interviewer: And, where are we right now?

Chris: We’re up at the Desert View Tower. It’s about seven miles, I guess, east in the mountains from Jacumba, California.

Interviewer: And, we’re overlooking the, this is a beautiful overlook. There is a steep drop-off here to the valley floor below in Imperial.

Chris: Um hmm.

Interviewer: And, how do you find yourself up here?

Chris: Well, when I started being a full-time RV’er about seven or eight years ago, I would be working places during the summer, but I would need a place to stay during the winter. And, a friend brought me up here to the Tower for the first time. I’d never been here. I grew up in San Diego, but I’d never been here. ‘Cause we always went to the beach. And I fell in love with this place, and I asked Ben if he needed work campers and he said, “Well, sure.” So he allows me to stay up here during the winter any time I want, for as long as I want, for maybe a little bit of help in the store once in awhile. Beautiful area.

Chris: It’s a beautiful shot. Yes, you can see , you can see into Mexico, yes you can see as far as El Centro, yeah.

Interviewer: So, how long will you stay when you come up here for the winter?

Chris: Well, this winter, this is the first time I’ve been here since 2010. I’ve been here this time since the beginning of February, and I might be here for another month. I don’t know yet. I’m usually here maybe, at the most, two months before I go some place else.

Interviewer: Do you go site seeing in the area?

Chris: Oh yeah, I do a lot of hiking. The friends and I, we started geo-caching a number of years ago. In fact, I found my first geo-cache here, and now I’m up to almost 1600. And so we meet, and we do that. In fact, I do that all over the country with friends that I’ve met.

Interviewer: Uh, explain to me exactly what is geo-caching.

Chris: Ok. You know what a hand-held GPS is?

Chris: Ok. There’s an online site called; I think it is. Where they post… People will hide. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt. People will hide. They started out using big ammo cans, and they would put little trinkets and stuff inside, and a logbook for people to sign, that says ‘Yes, I’ve found this.’

Chris: Ok, so they’d hide those things various places, and then, get the coordinates for the GPS, and post that on this website, so people could, if they’re looking for a place to look a geo-cache, they can go on, and they can put the city, or the state, or a street that can narrow it down as much as they want, places they want to look for geo-caches. Like I could put in: Ocotillo, and then look to see how many websites, or how many geo-caches were hidden around Ocotillo. Uh, the friends and I, the other day, went out the frontage road that parallels, uh, the Interstate 8. This was the old Highway 80 between El Centro and Yuma. Well, there’s a hundred and, I guess there’s a hundred and nine geo-caches just hidden on that particular road, or near that particular road. So, a friend and I did about 25 of those the other day.