Cold Hard Cache
Ayyyyy, Mateys! We got treasure to be a findin' in them thar woods!
Yesterday was a lovely, bright shiny day, so my boys and I packed up our Monsters, Inc. backpack and went Geocaching! YAY!
Geocaching is catching on world-wide as a fun outdoor activity. We started doing it about a year ago and we are hooked. All you need is a GPS, internet access and a sense of outdoor adventure.
If you go to the geocaching site, you can put in a city or zip code of where you want to start, and it will list caches that are hidden in that area. It will give you some hints and the GPS coordinates of the cache. You put the coordinates into your GPS and off you go on your hunt! You drive to a point as close as you can get, and then you set out on foot. You can encounter all kinds of terrains, areas you didn't know about and discover parks and forests while looking for the treasure. We normally choose several in the area we want to go to (the lakes north of town, this time, for instance) and print them out so we can do several in one trip.
Caches are usually a small to medium sized tupperware or gladware container (must be weatherproof, obviously) and contain a log book and treasure. If/when you find one, you sign the log book with who you are, where you're from, when you found it and what you took and left. The treasure is usually just little trinket-type stuff like pens, keychains, toys and such. You take whatever you want, and leave something in it's place. I normally carry some hot wheels to put in the caches we find. Yesterday, we got a cool little kaliedescope viewer thing and some guitar picks.
When you return home, you login to the website and comment on each of the caches you found (or didn't find, for that matter). It's fun to see who else has found it, their observations as they were looking, and what they took/left.
I planted my own cache last fall, so we also went to check on that cache yesterday. The last person who looked for it couldn't find it - probably because of deep snow. When we found it, it was right there in it's spot, safe and sound. It's in the park that is only 1/2 block from my house, in this little woody section that has this concrete-enclosed stream that makes a cool pathway. It's called "hidden pathway" if you want to search for it on the geocaching site. I think I'll plant another one some time this spring when I think of a good spot.
A fun extra element to geocaching is a travel bug! Since these caches are planted all over the world, some contain a coin or token that has a registration number on it - it's a travel bug. They are planted in their first cache with a final destination in mind. For example - my parents found one in Colorado before the last Olympics. Someone had started it in Utah with the final destination set for the Olympics in Greece! They brought it back to Iowa and planted it in a cache here - a few hundred miles closer to it's destination. The last time they tracked it on-line, it had made it's way to Turkey so it was getting close!
Derrick loves Geocaching. For him, it's a treasure hunt because I always let him choose what we take from the cache. What a fun and adventurous way to get out and enjoy nature. You should try it!