Team SoNaR Is A Team Of Geocachers…And It Only Took Me Three Years To Realize It

Posted in SoNaR Adventure Books at 2:49 pm by Aaron Tate, M.A.

I’m no longer a muggle.  I know that now, but I didn’t even realize it until just recently.

No, I can’t do magic, and no, I never attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry.  But that doesn’t take away from the fact that, until Christmas day 2014, I was a muggle.  And now, like all three members of team SoNaR, I am officially a “non-muggle.”  No, really.  The question is what gives me the right, especially if I can’t do magic, to make this bold claim?

It’s certainly not because I can turn a wine goblet into a rat.  And it’s also not because I can conjure up a Patronus or apparate wherever I want to go.  No, it has nothing to do with magic, and the answer is quite a bit more grounded in the real world: it’s because I’ve learned how to geocache, simple as that.

Now, if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, “What is geocache?,” well, you’re still a muggle.  But that’s okay; like I said, until very recently, I was one as well.  (Besides, maybe this blog will motivate you to become a non-muggle yourself someday…it’s really fun and rewarding to do so!)  You see, “muggle” is what all geocachers affectionately call folks that are unfamiliar with geocaching: what geocaching is, its purpose, the unwritten rules of the game, and how to play.  (Of course, the term “muggle” and its meaning are borrowed from the Harry Potter series, but with a slightly different context.)

So, what exactly is geocaching?  And, beyond that, what could this activity possibly have to do with team SoNaR?

In its most basic sense, geocaching is a worldwide, family-friendly game of hide-and-seek.  Or, it’s a treasure hunt.  Or, it’s a great excuse to get outside, use GPS technology, and enjoy the great outdoors.  Regardless of how each individual looks at it, geocaching (geo- for Earth, and –cache for hidden provision) is a game in which geocachers search for containers that are literally hidden all around the world.  Caches can range in size from smaller than film canisters to as large as cars.  They’re on every continent.  They’re also in the oceans and, yes, one has even traveled to the international space station.  In fact, chances are good that there are multiple caches hidden less than a mile away from where you live.  You’d be surprised how many geocaches there are that you unknowingly pass by while you’re running errands through town.  In short, there are currently nearly 2 million of them in total, and they’re hidden virtually everywhere, just waiting to be found by anybody and everybody that wants to search for them.

Now that I’m an official geocacher (I’ve even hidden my own container at N 39° 59.948 W 104° 48.715, called TateSoNaR2), I spend as much time as I can with my family searching for geocaches.  To date, we’ve found 39 of them so far.  Geocaching has become my family’s newest hobby (our 6-year-old son has even found two of them all by himself), and it is perfect to do together whenever possible.  (I especially love when our youngest son wakes up and asks us if we are “doing geocaching” that day.)

As I’ve recently become more and more knowledgeable about geocaching, I’ve also come to realize what I did over three years ago as an author of the SoNaR adventure books: without even knowing so at the time, I inadvertently, and fortuitously, created a team of geocachers as the main characters of the books.  As it turns out, I didn’t even realize what I’d done until I was halfway through the draft of the third and final book, but that turned out to be absolutely no problem in the end.  Take a look at this:

  • Geocachers secretly hide containers for other geocachers to find; certain protagonists in the SoNaR adventure books secretly hid clues and containers all over the world for team SoNaR to find.
  • Geocachers use GPS coordinates and hints to find hidden containers all over the world; team SoNaR uses clues to locate hidden containers and clues that are also hidden all over the world.
  • Geocachers work cooperatively together during their searches; team SoNaR (usually!) works cooperatively together throughout their adventures.
  • Geocachers are friendly people that enjoy a good seek and find; team SoNaR is no different.
  • Geocachers are sometimes misunderstood by “muggles”; throughout the SoNaR adventure books, the members of team SoNaR find themselves in situations in which they are (dangerously) misunderstood by people that don’t know what they are up to.
  • Geocachers are persistent; Maddy, Corby, and Aaden never give up.
  • Geocachers have a better, cleaner world in mind during all searches (look up CITO events for more information); team SoNaR always boldly faces various dangers in favor of a better, cleaner world.
  • And, last but certainly not least, geocachers experience many exciting adventures every single day; to put it mildly, the same can be said for team SoNaR.

Well, there we have it: without even knowing it, I created a team of geocachers before I even knew what geocaching was.  And boy, am I glad I figured this out when I did.  Because of my discovery, I’ve easily found a way to incorporate geocaching as one of the most important aspects of my series (particularly in the final two books).  What a perfect fit this has proven to be, and I couldn’t be happier that it has come to pass.  Hopefully, as more and more people become familiar with geocaching, and as more and more people get the chance to read the SoNaR adventure books, they too will agree that this is a match made in hidden container heaven.

For more information on the SoNaR adventure books, please visit http://www.sonarbooks.com/.  For more information on geocaching, please visit http://www.geocaching.com/.
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