Do you enjoy treasure hunting? In another blog I wrote how my husband and I like to search for treasure in Antique Stores. What you don’t know is that we also like to go treasure hunting for real. On the night we met, we discussed a hobby of his called Geocaching. I didn’t know very much (or anything) about it. Needless to say, on our first official date I experienced Geocaching in action and have enjoyed it off and on ever since. In fact I have even gone a couple of times without my husband.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. The only necessities are a GPS device or a GPS-enabled mobile phone so that you can navigate to the cache, and a Geocaching.com Membership. Free memberships are available.
Here are some links to videos with an overview of what Geocaching is all about.
- What is Geocaching – a good overview from Geocaching.com
- Geocaching: Treasure Hunting With Your Kids – from Dadlabs.com takes you through the entire process from start to finish.
- Introduction to Geocaching – from REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) about finding a cache and etiquette to follow during the game
Three main rules for the game:
- If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
- Write about your find in the cache logbook.
- Log your experience at .
- Select caches with easier ratings for difficulty and terrain if you have young children. Move up to more advanced ratings as you and your kids gain experience.
- I know we all want to be the one to find the treasure, but let your children discover the cache. Most of the time they are located within a few feet of the coordinates and just off a trail. Caches can sometimes be hidden under a rock or in a tree stump. Open the cache back on the trail: You don’t want to tip off or alarm non-gamers and hikers of the cache’s location. Also, be sure to follow the rules of any park or public land you visit.
- Always sign the logbook, re-seal the cache, and return it to its original hiding place as you found it. If you’re taking a treasure from the cache, be sure to replace it with another item of equal or greater value. You want to leave the cache in better condition than when you found it.
- Keep it clean! “Cache In, Trash Out” (CITO) is a Geocaching tradition, where you collect and dispose of litter along the way. By cleaning up after others, you are leaving the environment better for everyone.
I love that through caching you can visit new places, even in your hometown, which you never even knew were there. I like spending time outdoors with others, working together to find the hidden prize. I enjoy the challenge of locating the smaller caches and uncovering new ways to camouflage the containers to fit in with the surroundings. However, I prefer looking for the larger caches and look forward to discovering trinkets to collect and trade.
Since we have had children, we haven’t had as many opportunities to cache, but since the kids are getting older I think this is the time to get back into it. We have cached a couple of times with our kids, and I can tell you my son is hooked. He keeps asking to go look for more caches. I’m glad he likes it because with a couple of upcoming road trips in the near future, caching will give us some great stretch breaks along the way.
Want to try geocaching? Begin by looking at the website for start-up information and helpful hints. Chances are there are several geocaches near your home. You can make an afternoon out of searching for one or more. Make it a fun adventure for the whole family. I would love to hear about your adventure!
Have a Great Week!
- I found a really good article called Geocaching with Kids, including a couple of instructional videos, from REI.
- Another article that has some great information is called How to Have a Family Treasure Hunt: Geocaching with Kids, from My Kids Adventures
- I found this cute idea on nickjr.com for a My Geocache Treasure Box. Create a treasure box with your child’s picture on top. This would be a great place to store an assortment of trinkets that can be used for trading on your geocache hunts.