Last week, I tried geocaching for the first time. Geocaching is like a treasure hunt that you can take with a GPS. You have to hunt for little “caches” and then log how many you found. The official site has a list of all available caches.
I had heard of geocaching but never really gave any thought of trying it out. My dad got really interested in trying it, so on Christmas Eve (Pat’s birthday), Dad, Pat, Pat’s best friend Steven, and I went on the hunt. We didn’t find anything at two of the sites, because we had neglected to read the notes before going, and these caches weren’t traditionally hidden. But Steven found one outside of a Toys R’ Us in the parking lot. It was hidden in a clump of bushes. The cache was a plastic container with camouflage tape all around it. Inside was a log to sign, and various little trinkets, like pill bottles or toy cars. The rule is you can take an item only if you replace it. I was pretty amazed that all these years of driving by that shopping center, we’d never known that a cache was hidden there.
You would think that just having the GPS makes your search easy, but it really does not. It can take quite awhile to find a cache, and that’s where a lot of the fun (and frustration) comes in. It’s like playing hide and seek.
Two days ago, Dad, Pat, and I went on a second geocaching trip. We went to a small wildlife park that neither of us had really known existed in our city. That’s another reason why geocaching was started – to get people outside and to get them discovering facets about their city they had never known about. My family moved to this city back in 1994 and we had never visited this park – just driven by it. It’s a small but really beautiful park, and we had a good time searching for the caches in the woods.
I found all three that day. My dad called me a “bloodhound.” I think it’s hard to see the appeal of geocaching until you find your first cache. Then it’s like a gene is unlocked and the drive to find more caches becomes insatiable. I signed up on the website as soon as we came home and logged my four total caches. I am hoping we go at least once more before vacation ends. I’m going to try a GPS app on my phone to see if it will help me find any caches that way. And there’s a society in the city I live in, so I definitely want to check that out. You don’t have to have a GPs to participate in a geocache event, which is what I will do for awhile – I want to make sure this is something I really put time into before investing in a GPS.
If you enjoy being outdoors and want to participate in a treasure hunt, I recommend geocaching!