|Checking out the loot in our first cache|
After our first geocaching experience last year – in which we unsuccessfully searched for four caches on a blisteringly hot day – I wasn’t that eager to try it again. But boy am I glad we did. Cause now we’re pretty much hooked.
If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, you might want to head to geocaching.com for a primer on geocaching. In a nutshell, geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunt. You search for treasures called “caches” using a GPS device to pinpoint the correct location.
Last weekend, our enthusiastic family nature club (16 people strong), armed with two smartphones with the requisite geocaching apps downloaded, headed out to Will Rogers State Historic Park to give this game of treasure hunting a go. Here’s why we came to love it.
1. It’s fun to do with a group.
Once you’ve pinpointed the approximate location of the cache, you still need to search around a bit to find it. The more eyes, the better. We enjoyed asking ourselves “Where would I hide if I were a plastic container?” and talking about all the things we saw that weren’t the cache.
2. It’s a great way to get kids who are hooked on electronics outside.
Geocaching involves using a handheld electronic device to locate a hidden treasure. Surprisingly, this appeals to a lot of today’s youth. Go figure.
|Overlooking our perfect picnic spot|
3. It appeals to the hubby’s techie side.
Sure, my hubby loves spending time in nature. But he also loves all things electronic. It was fun to have him actively engaging with the kids on the trail.
4. It allows you to introduce some basic navigation skills to kids.
Several of the kids wanted to hold the GPS and try to lead the way. It gave us the perfect opportunity to talk about how to read a compass and maps (both are ways you can seek your cache).
5. It’s an easy way to get kids excited about hiking.
Many of the kids in our family nature club prefer spending time inside to out. But there was very little complaining during our geocaching adventure – in spite of quite a bit of hiking.
|The view of the Pacific Ocean from the trail|
The kids even managed to gather enough energy after our treasure hunting to play catch and chase each other around on the grass.
6. You never know what you might find.
Sure, the kids loved taking trinkets from the cache (and replacing them with those we brought with us). But it didn’t seem to matter what those trinkets were. The joy was in the discovering.
|Surprise: A travel bug! We’ll be sure to hide it again soon!|
7. You can’t stop after just one cache.
Seriously, you can’t. We sought three caches and found three caches – with several of the kids wanting to discover more. The thrill of the find is a bit addictive. In fact, we’ll soon be hiding our own cache as part of Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails program. Let the adventure continue!