Orienteering and Geocaching in Latvia

Orienteering and Geocaching in Latvia
07 May 2015

Did you know Orienteering and Geocaching are two very popular outdoor activities amongst Rigans?

Turns out orienteering is a big thing in Latvia, so much so that they organize several competitions all over Latvia throughout the year.

For those who are new to orienteering: basically it’s a family of sports in which you are running against the clock and you have to use navigation skills and a map that will lead you to control points. The map will most likely take you places you have never been before (usually in the forest), which is all the more exciting. Get ready to race, because not only it challenges your mind, but you also need to move fast. What’s the goal? Pass by all the control points and reach the finish line before anyone else. You can do so by foot, by bike, even canoe, car, on ski, and maybe more. So if you think this is easy, you are so wrong.

Although many people participate in these competitions, the ones that seem to be most popular amongst locals are organized by MAGNĒTS. Several hundreds to a couple of thousand orienteers show up for their events. In summer, people gather on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; in winter they get together on the weekends. Competitions are organized for different age groups, so everyone can join.

The most famous orienteering event in the Baltics is the multi-day KĀPA. This event takes place at the end of June, beginning of July in one of the Latvian regions.

There is another thing called rogaining, which is a type of orienteering that typically involves bigger teams and longer tracks. These championships will take 24 hours to complete! You really have to be a nature lover for this one. This is not for everyone.

Then you have geocaching. It’s a fun hobby that is gaining more attention in Latvia. What you have to do here is place and/or find geocaches – “treasures” – in secluded locations. Once the geocache is hidden, the person who hid it will announce the coordinates. Other people will then use the coordinates given to find the geocache. What is a geocache? It is usually a waterproof box that carries inside a small notepad (kind of like a guest book). Once you locate the geocache, you must open the notepad and write something down, like a log entry. You will need internet connection and a GPS for this. By 2010, over 1 500 geocaches had been hidden in Latvia only!

I think this is a fun activity for you to do with your friends, and a better excuse to use your phone so much! 😉

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