I've heard of geocaching before and thought it sounded cool, but not something I had time to do. Prior to the days of iPhone ownership, a GPS wasn't something I had handy all the time. Well, times have changed, my friends, and GPS devices are pretty much everywhere...as are the caches.
For those unfamiliar, geocaching is like a go-at-your-own-pace treasure hunt. There's an entire community of geocachers out there who hide (and seek) multitudes of goodies. Some cachers are pretty hard-core trying their best to be the FTF (first-to-find). But some caches have been around for years and scanning through the log books can be an awe-striking moment. Micros are pretty small - usually only consisting of a log to keep record of the finders. The most common, traditional caches, are ammo boxes, just large enough to hold a log book, and a few relatively inexpensive trinkets. The thrill is in the adventure of finding the hidden caches, learning about the community around you, and tracking items (like geo-coins that are moved from cache to cache) around the world.
For more info on geocaching or what caches are near you, check out www.geocaching.com and get started!
My family has been bitten by the geocaching bug. My older daughters (ages 8 and 6) are enthralled with the adventure of looking for a treasure, a welcomed motivator to get them outdoors. We ventured out for the afternoon and made four finds, each one with their own personality. We had some pretty cool eureka moments, all shared together, for no out-of-pocket expense. Compared to a family night at the movies, with tickets and snacks upward of $60 and the lot of us staring off at a movie screen, I'd say geocaching is a win-win for the family and the pocketbook!
As we dive into this family adventure we are learning some of the geocaching etiquette that keeps the game moving along. Obvious things like paying attention to your surroundings, not drawing attention to the cache location (beware of "muggles"), and programs like "Cache in, Trash out" are important mindsets that allow geocaching to work. A nice listing of geocaching pointers are provided HERE, and definitely worth a good read before heading out on your adventures.
My girls have come up with their own geocaching team name - the SillyBandits. They want to leave silly bandz (the many colored, many shaped, over-priced rubber bands) at all the caches they visit. Now when we head out of the house, and across town, we're checking what kind of detours we may make along the way. With an upcoming family vacation, involving driving through multiple states, we are excited see what kind of swag we find, places we visit, and communities we connect with.
Do you geocache? Leave a comment and tell me about your best cache experience or cool swag!