Collecting Geoswag in a Geocache Adventure

I am not sure where I first heard about “geocaching” but I saw a blog post about it yesterday and decided to research it further. I am so glad I did and I believe the kids are as well!

“Geocaching” is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. {via Geocaching.com}

What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor adventure activity where you use your GPS or navigation on your smart phone to hide-and-seek various containers called “caches” {or geocaches}. There are approximately 5 million geocachers throughout the world, playing in over 100 countries and on all 7 continents. The game has actually been played for over 11 years now but has gained more popularity in recent years.

A typical “treasure“, or cache, is typical some sort of small waterproof container, such as ammo box, prescription bottle,  or Tupperware piece, that, at the very least, contains a logbook. There may also be small trinkets inside which can be taken out and traded with each new find. There are several different variations of the hide-and-seek game that involve simple one-step quests to more detailed, elaborate event caches. Wikipedia has a lot of great information on the topic. Today, the kids and I went on two searches that were actually around the lake right behind our house. After SuperDad came home we took him along on 4 more.

Geocache map
We are the blue dot making our way towards the green map marker.

The Thrill of the Hunt

I have to admit, when we first set out we truly had no clue what we were doing. I just know that my phone app was telling me to follow the red arrows from the blue dot where I was to the point of the map where the cache was located. So, we loaded Monkey and Princess into the wagon and set out on our adventure.

Our first cache was just around the corner from our house. I was surprised at how many caches were in our little town. Apparently, someone once thought there were not enough, so they made a whole series of them just in our town. Therefore, we have several to choose from! We made our way to the end of our road before turning right onto the road that takes us to the lake. At the end of the road we found a metal barrier with the words “No Parking.” Since the name of the hunt was “No Parking” we decided to look there. Pepper and Jake looked through the greenery behind the barrier while Tony Stark walked further toward the lake to check out a nearby log. A few seconds later I saw him turn white as a ghost and take off running. Apparently he did not find the cache, but did happen upon a snake. Thus, we decided to concentrate our efforts up near the sign. It only took a minute or two for Pepper to find the box we were looking for! Inside we found a logbook and 2 chains of beads. We logged in, took 1 set of beads, and left a small cache of our own. Yes! We were successful at our first time out!

We refreshed our Geocaching app and found another one just across the field so we set out towards it as well. This one was a bit harder to find, but after about 5 minutes or so of searching, Tony Stark reached into a Pine Tree and pulled out the next “geoswag” {items that can be found in some caches}… more beads. Again we logged in and traded out the cache. 2 for 2. We could not wait for SuperDad to get home!

After dinner, the kids were rushing us out the door for more adventure. Our first stop was on the road by the lake once more. I have to regretfully say that after about 10 minutes or more of searching we were unsuccessful. The hunt was titled, “The Porch” and there were a few houses with porches around, but we were took shy to go check them out. We looked around the empty field hoping to find it there and not have to search the porches, but had no luck. We decided to move on and perhaps try again later. We happened upon an easy find right off the road as we were making our way to another one and were delighted to find it quickly.

The next one was in a public park where young boys were having football practice. I think the muggles{non-geocachers} thought we were crazy walking around with our phones looking in bushes and underneath buildings. We spent 30 minutes there but never found anything. We were crushed by not defeated. We decided we would try again when there was more light available. Finally, we wanted to try just one more before the sun was completely down, but once we arrived at the location it was just too dark to see. Sigh… we went 1 for 4 our second time out. Boo! But, we still had a good time searching.

The kids kept asking, “Are there more?” A friend on FB told me she knew of one at our church and the kids want to find that one. I promised them we would try to go again this weekend. The thrill of the hunt was exhilarating whether we found the cache or not. There are sometimes hints and we had to work together to figure out the few we did. It was a joy seeing my kids get so excited about this new “high tech hide-and-seek” and I was glad to spend the quality time as a family.

Have you ever tried geocaching? If yes, what was your experience?

I would love to hear more about this new adventure game we have happened upon! We are still rookies.

365 Days of Gratitude

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