Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Keep It Local: Geocaching Street Mural Tour

Mom was very excited when she found a great geocache series of DC's Hidden Murals. Our goal is obviously to find the geocache, but we have had so much more fun just searching for the hidden murals in the first place (especially seeing as we rarely find the caches hidden there). We've schlepped, metroed and explored our way through our neighborhood (and neighborhoods adjacent) in search of hidden street art (and all sorts of things along the way). And we give our best go at finding the cache, but when mosquitoes descend and garbage runoff gets old, we declare that finding the mural itself was good enough. The series includes a total of 23 murals and most descriptions of the cache contain a good explanation of the art's history.

We are finding out that geocaching in cities presents several difficulties. To begin with, many of the caches are "nanocaches," meaning they are TINY containers (large enough only to hold a rolled-up log) and are either stuffed into tiny crevices or are magnetic and hidden inside, behind or on top of metal objects. Once you get to the general coordinates, it's up to you to use your "geosense" to search and find these miniscule caches and, even with the hints given on geocache.com, we've still been having a hard time finding them. Also, they are generally hidden in dirty city alleys and while mom is not germaphobic, even she has limits on dumpster searching with alley rats. And, as we are learning, one of the goals of city geocaching is to find the geocache stealthily and not alert the "muggles" in the area. We are many things, but stealthy we are not. We do our best, but we generally draw the attention of a lot of people in the vicinity who are wondering what the H we're doing poking around in alleys.

But, we've so loved finding murals that we constantly look for them all over -- it's amazing how many are in the city. And you can go explore them without geocaching, too! It turns out that many of the murals we saw are actually part of a project called Murals DC, which aims to help replace illegal graffiti with artistic works while teaching young people the art of aerosol painting. Even if you don't want to geocache, you can check out the online gallery of works and put together your own tour or participate in a bike tour of past murals (see schedule here). But, if you see us scampering about in alleys, look the other way!


Darcy said...

This looks AWESOME!!!

Cath said...

Wow! These are really beautiful.

KaleidoscopingMommy said...

Our next project... mural mania! love love loce!