What is geocaching? It’ a “treasure” hunting with a GPS device. Don’t ask we “what is GPS”:). Ok, just in case I’ll tell you: It’s a Global Positioning System gadget which shows your coordinates on the planet Earth very precisely with 0,3 m error in modern devices and 10 m in my old Garmin-12 (first model which has been bought on the first GPS-exhibition in Moscow in 1998). GPS is widely used for navigation for business and recreation. And the best thing which you can do with it is geocaching. Your aim is to find hidden places using given coordinates which you can write down from http://www.geocaching.com. In Russia we use another site - http://www.geocaching.ru, it has one section in English. According to the Russian rules in geocaching, a cache must be settled in an interesting place from historical, natural or cultural point of view. There are several types of caches: traditional (a container with souvenirs) and virtual (you need to find and read, count etc. something).

So, let’s start.

Peaceful morning: Ilya (our friend), his 6-years-old son Cyril and our doggy Ted are standing; Max is sitting on Ilya’s car. The nearest cache (old church) is only 2,5 km ahead. We managed to drive about 1 km and after that jeep part of our trip was over. These swamps will be dry more or less by the end of July. So, we hid our cars in the depths of the woods, took small backpack with notebook, water, maps etc. 1,5 km on foot through swamps full of mosquitoes – it’s just nothing, you even cannot call it “adventure”:).

Our first destination is an old church in the middle of nowhere. Many years ago there was a village there, but it was moved or destroyed (nobody clearly knows). The church and the old cemetery have survived. The cemetery is used by the locals who live rather far from here and they probably used tractors to bring bodies through mud and water. The freshest tomb is dated 2003 (granny died at the age of 97 years!). The container was hidden 400 m from here on the bank of the river. We took anti-mosquito spray (it helped a lot) in the exchange for a Swiss knife.

Max and happy Ted are sitting on the second floor.


The remains of the church belfry


It’s a stair on the second floor and joyful me:). Ted’s head is here too:).


Our friend Indian (it’s his nickname) is standing near a church window on the second floor.

The next cache was only 4,6 km from here and we decided to continue our way by foot. Did we have any other choices? The right answer was no:). All normal people arrive from another side of this region where the roads are more or less usable during summer. But we are the brilliant guys who follow our own way:). And we went, went, went, our running shoes became wet, bloody midges and ticks tried to suck our blood and finally we arrived!

Do you know what’s that? I bet you don’t! It’s a fascinating story! During WWII, in 1941, Russian commandos’ camp was situated here. The front line was 100 km away but German bomber managed to find this place and dropped a couple of bombs. Don’t ask we how did Germans find out about the camp or why did they use only two bombs! I don’t know, and all the information is locked in archives. Three soldiers were killed during the bombing. 40 years later, in 1981, the brother-soldiers found this place (using army maps, probably) and set this monument. There is a picture of one of the soldiers on one side, and there are two plates on the other side. One says: “Three guys were killed and buried in these shell-holes. They had a rest after finishing very dangerous and important task on the enemies’ territory. Germans bombs hit their camp. We have been searching for this place for 40 years and finally succeeded. Signature: Brother-soldiers”. Second plate contains nicknames of these soldiers, but their real names are encoded by initials! Even in 1981 their colleges didn’t reveal the real names! Our task was to memorize the nicknames and sent them by e-mail to the founder of this cache.

This is one of the shell-holes


One of the killed commandos


Poor exhausted animal:). After visiting all this beautiful places we had to find our cars. All trip was more than 12 km on foot.