Ok, as I promised in my last post on Monday, I'm going to let you in on my new found obsession - Geocaching. I first heard the term Geocaching on my virtual friend Mandy's blog, A Baby to Share. She's also a surrogate who's decided to blog about her whole journey and I love reading her posts with all her wit and humor. It was last month when she was blogging about her potential IP's match meeting in L.A. that she mentioned caching. I wasn't familiar with the term, but was instantly intrigued and had to know what this "caching" was. That's when she sent me the link and unleashed my newest obsession... which I'm sure after reading this post will be your newest obsession as well. Hehe!
|Our first geocache find|
Geocaching is basically a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS. The players can then share their experiences online for other players to see. Currently there are 2,075,092 active geocaches and over 5 million geocachers worldwide. Players are the ones that hide the caches, manage the caches, and find the caches. Caches vary in size, shape, and contents. Some caches are super small like a medicine pill bottle. Other caches are very large like a 5 gallon paint bucket. By this point I think I may be losing you though, so let me just tell you how our whole Geocaching experience got started.
As soon as Mandy gave me the link to the Geocaching website, I read all their rules and created an account. I searched for geocaches close by my home and there were tons! The kids, Brian, and I ended up taking a morning walk to the nearby neighborhood that had the two geocache locations I had chosen. I picked them because they were close and they had been found within the last week so I figured they were still there. Using the Geocache free starter app on my iPhone I followed the tracking system to the designated location. Tracking only gets you so far though so after that we had to just rely on the provided description and clues to find the cache. Unfortunately we weren't successful. We searched and searched but couldn't find anything. I think this killed my husband's and the kid's spirit a bit and we headed home. I wasn't about to give up though. Riley was still on my side and we headed out to a local park to find another. Success!!!! Luckily this was a pretty easy one that we were sure to find. It was a camouflaged pill bottle with nothing more than a log and a pencil inside. We signed the date and our team name to the log, and replaced the cache right where we found it in a bush. Riley was so excited she wanted to find another right away! We didn't have luck on the second one, but we did run home and log our find on the website. Whoo Hoo!!! We were just getting started.
Then Brian and I headed out to Oahu and I brought my new obsession with me. There were so many geocaches showing up on the map in Oahu, but I limited my searching to a few so I wouldn't drive Brian crazy. We found most of them at the Lost TV show filming locations and in the woods by our hotel. With each find I was more and more hooked. In total I found 7 caches in Oahu and I can't wait to find more now that we're home, and on all our future vacations.
|Some of the many finds I had on Oahu. The rat has the cache container hidden inside of it. The bug is a trackable that I took back home to drop in another cache. The canteen is just another form a cache can take.|
So why do I love Geocaching so much? Let me count the ways...
|My first find on Oahu|
- It's FREE!!! Ok, I did pay $10 to get the Official Smart-Phone Application so that searching would be easier, but it's not necessary. They also sell some extras on their site, but totally not necessary to join in the fun.
- It gets our whole family out of the house. These days all my girls and even Linc want to do is watch TV and play on the iPad. Geocaching gets them outside. It's also a family activity so Brian and I are also outside spending time with our kids.
- It helps the kids learn about maps, reading a compass, and distance. Ok, it helps me too. Hehe! I admit I'm map challenged at times.
- It helps the kids learn about the world. This week I'll be purchasing trackables for the girls. It's a little token that we can leave in a cache that another geotracker can pick up and take with them. They then leave the tracker in another geocache noting the location they leave it on the website. The girls can then track all the places their tracker goes. Over time it can travel all over the world! Players will also often take pictures with the tracker or of the surroundings that the tracker is left in. This is a way for the girls to see the world as their little tracker travels. I think Riley is going to get one that looks like a unicorn and Reagan wants a seahorse.
- It's a treasure hunting game!!! Who doesn't love treasure hunting?
|Our most recent Geocaching adventure|
Just thought I'd throw in the pictures above last minute. This was our most recent Geocaching adventure yesterday. It just goes to show you can find time to search for caches morning, noon, or night. I picked up Riley from school and the first thing she asks is, "Can we go find treasure?" Of course! There just happened to be a cache nearby that I wanted to go check out. This cache is about 10 years old!!!! It was so awesome to read the log inside of it and see all these names from 2003 way before Riley was even born! She was so psyched too because there were little trinkets in it to trade. She ended up trading a Minnie Mouse hair tie for a little dragonfly. Later that day we went to Reagan's swim classes. Of course Riley asked while we were there, "Can we go find treasure???" You don't have to ask me twice. I found one on the site that was only 400 feet away, just behind the swim school on a bike trail. We went walking and found the little yellow tube tied up to a tree. Easy find! Then later that night after dinner Riley and Reagan both asked if we could go find treasure again. Sure enough there was a cache just over 400 feet away. This time it was a family affair including the in-laws. My father-inlaw ended up finding this one. It was his first find! So that was our crazy busy day of Geocaching. You can do it anywhere!
So there you have it! That's my new found obsession. We've only just gotten started, but we can't wait to find more. We've got a few trips planned to Shaver Lake, Disneyland, Conneticut, and Pismo Beach, and you can bet we'll be searching for more caches while we're there.