This is a total first-world problem, but before we left California we were totally bored. Kinda. Let me back up…It was Memorial Day, and we had nothing to do. More to the point: my daughter was up the night before throwing up all. night. long, so I didn’t want to go anywhere that would possibly infect people.
That left us with slim options (no parks or playgrounds, no CFA play area, no BBQ’s with friends, no shopping, no swimming, etc.), and cabin fever with three kids in a hotel room was starting to set in, because if we stayed in that room for one more minute, we’d probably all go crazy.
Then I had the greatest idea ever thanks to my friend’s post on Facebook. We were going geocaching! My kids literally jumped at the chance to go on a real live treasure hunt.
My first geocache was 15 years ago!
I’m not new to geocaching; my first find was back in 2004 while I was on vacation in Wales, and then I’ve found several dozen caches since then (clearly it’s not my first priority in life).
Actually, a lot has changed since my first caches—back then I had an awesome yellow GPS that was the size of the Zach Morris cell phone (you know what I’m talking about, right?), and I used to print out the caches that I wanted to find, then go out start hunting.
Now there’s an app for it, and it’s all right there on my app on my phone. Oh, the age we live in.
What is Geocaching?
Basically, geocaching it’s a treasure hunt anybody with a GPS can go on, anywhere around the world.
People hide things as tiny as a micro canister or a film canister (remember those?) to something as big as a box. Sometimes there are ‘treasures’ inside with the same idea as “take a penny, leave a penny.”
And sometimes you simply leave your name behind on a teeny tiny scroll, that you have to get out with tweezers.
See if you can spot the micro cache in the next photo.
We must’ve circled this tree for about five minutes before I finally spotted the nicely hidden cache!
You can log your finds on the app, pat yourself on the back, and then move on to the next cache.
The app is pretty awesome since it lets you filter out caches based on location, difficulty, terrain, cache size, etc.
When you find a cache you want to find, I suggest reading the description (that will tell you what kind of cache it is), check out the activity (this will let you know if the cache is still in play or if people haven’t found it in awhile), and maybe even read the hint (I always do, because I like hints).
If you upgrade with the geocache app you can even get into more intense caches like multi-caches—where you have to find two or more caches that lead you to the final cache; mystery caches—where you have to solve a puzzle to reveal where the final cache is hidden; and Earthcaches—instead of a container, the coordinates lead you to a geological feature.
When do you go Geocaching?
Lately, we’ve been using geocaching as a boredom buster.
Bored and not sure what to do? Let’s see what’s near us and go find one! When we’re in between appointments and there isn’t enough time to go home, or when we don’t necessarily need to go shopping or waste money? Let’s go geocaching!
It’s truly a fun activity for the whole family. Even our two year old got into it, and had fun following his sisters while they looked for things.
My plan for our time in New Mexico is to plan some specific geocaching outings…like, every Saturday morning we’ll go hunt for some on our list and see how many we can find in an hour or two.
Where to go geocaching?
Anywhere and everywhere. There are more than TWO MILLION caches hidden worldwide. That’s CRAZY! They’re in your backyard (figuratively speaking), and in cities you’re traveling to. My first cache was in Wales, for crying out loud!
It’s a great way to get to know new places, or discover new things in your own town.
Have you geocached before? Would you?
I can’t wait to explore this city and get outside to find more caches this summer. Have you gone geocaching before? Where was your first cache? If you’ve never done it before, what do you think about this?!