Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Treasure Hunting

So many people haven't heard of it....it isn't actually called "treasure hunting" it's called "geo-caching" and it's so much fun! This is our favorite family pastime in the summer and "good-outdoor-weather" activity. Our friends that moved away, Alissa & Mike, introduced Jim to it while they were still here. Since then, we've enjoyed the sport as a family, and often on date-nights, Jim and I will geo-cache. Sometimes, Jim will even take the kids and go hunt for treasure! After all, it's free (as soon as you have a GPS).


So, what is Geo-Caching? Go to http://www.geocaching.com/ and learn more about it. There are caches that people hide (we've hidden a few ourselves)...in open spaces...like in parks, along pathways, hidden from plain view. There are different levels of difficulty and different sizes of caches. It could be a Rubbermaid container sitting nestled under a tree--covered by leaves and branches, wrapped in camouflage tape. It could be a 35mm film canister hanging from a tree branch. I've even seen a magnetic bullet that unscrews to keep the log in--attached under a park bench. This is a sport and you can begin with the easy and big caches and work your way to more difficult caches. There are riddles and clues for some caches and it can be a lot of fun and challenging, or really easy and simple. You choose.

For each cache, you locate one near you (search by zip code or through Google Maps) and then you find the corresponding GPS location coordinates. Then you go and find it! Each cache has a log that you sign once you've found it--and then you go back to the web-site and log your visit. Our kids enjoy the caches where you can exchange a little toy of some sort. They bring a toy (usually an old McDonald's trinket that is small) leave their toy, and take one that is in the cache. Not all caches have these, but usually the caches that are large enough, do have trinkets for exchange. This is how it got nick-named "treasure hunting" by my kiddos. They get new little "treasures" that they had to hunt for and find!

It may sound complicated, but it really isn't. Once you have a GPS...go to GeoCaching.com and read more about it. There are some really basic and inexpensive GPS units, and then if you find you like the sport...you can get more fancy. It's a fun sport and rather popular and growing in popularity all the time. There are TONS of caches all around you. Why haven't you heard of this before? Well, there's kind of a "cloak-and-dagger-ness" to the sport...don't let "muggles" figure out what you're doing. Just kind of fun and quiet--but a great FUN activity while you're enjoying your outdoor activities--and the kids enjoy it too!

2 comments:

Moose & Family said...

Yeah for geocaching!! My husband started caching a couple of years ago and it has been so much fun. It's free and it takes us to places we would never even think to visit. It can be a challenge with little kids but the bigger they get, the more they enjoy looking for prizes!

Todd and Lisa said...

Wow - interesting -- we may have to look into this!!