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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Geocaching

By Marcia Mickelson


Back in March, Robyn blogged about geocaching. In her post, she described geocaching which I had never heard about. Using a GPS, you plug in coordinates for a location obtained online. You follow the coordinates to various locations- parks, parking lots, just about anywhere- and then look for a "treasure." It can be a box, tupperware container, a can, or just about anything else. When she first blogged about it, I thought my 8 year old would love it because he loves maps and geography. We didn't have a GPS at the time, so I didn't look into it.
While my husband has been working out of town, he and his co-workers have been geocaching in the evenings and he has really been liking it. So, I thought for father's day, we could buy him a GPS. The kids and I went on Friday and bought him one. On the way back from the store, he called me to say he was on his way home, and he'd really be thinking about buying a GPS. He wanted to know if it was okay with me if he stopped to look at them. I told him maybe we could wait a few days. Then, he explained that he wanted to take the kids geocaching this weekend since it would likely be our last weekend in San Antonio before we move. I told him maybe he'd get one for Father's Day, but he said he wanted it for Saturday to take the kids out. So much for my surprise! I had to tell him we already bought one. He sounded surprised anyway, but still, it's not the same effect. Anyway, turns out I got the wrong kind, so after a late night on Friday, we finally returned it and bought the right one.


On Saturday morning, we set out for our first adventure. The first two places were a bit tough. There was a steep hill to climb to reach three small caves near where they treasure was hidden. We didn't find that one and it was too hard for our kids to climb. Another one in that same park was also a bit tough because the area was surrounded by cacti and my 2 year old just wanted to run around. We didn't find that one either, but managed go see a coyote and a deer. Can I just tell you how proud I am of myself for not freaking out about the coyote? I was trying to be calm for my kids' sake, but if it had just been me, you would have heard me screaming halfway across the city. The coyote was more scared of us then we were of it, though.

After those first few challenges, my kids were a bit discouraged, but we went home to find a few easier ones and had a better time after that. We went to three more locations. The first one was at a church where the instructions said it was okay to stick around and play on their playground. My youngest were happy about that while my husband, oldest son, and I searched the perimeter. We were about to give up when my husband started looking under the shed, and I said look behind that rock maybe it's next to that tub. Well, the tub was it! Inside the tupperware container covered with cammo tape, was the loot.

The loot is just small, cheap toys. You can trade a toy. So, my kids had fun leaving a toy and choosing a new one. We scored a whistle, a car, and a travel bug. A travel bug is a little key chain that started out in Florida and is trying to make its way to Houston. You also sign a log saying when you came. We were so excited to finally find one. The next two were a lot easier-a car wash parking lot and an abandoned lot. The picture is of the second one we found by the car wash. It was a geocache tube of toys. We scored some bubbles there. My kids love it. That night we went to do two more, but no luck. It got dark and we couldn't find them.
It was a great day together, despite disappointments of not find some of them. We're excited to do more. Each of the kids loved it for different reasons. My oldest loves the GPS and looking at the maps on it, my middle one loves the loot, and the youngest loves running around and throwing rocks. He found a place to throw rocks at every location.


4 comments:

go_man said...

Welcome to Geocaching!

Surprise or no surprise I'm sure that it's a gift that you will all enjoy for a long time!

mrs_go and I have been caching for just over a year and having great fun with it. Check out our blog at Geocaching Online

Keep on cachin'!

Tamra Norton said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. And way to score on the Father's Day present. It's always nice to get something you know they really want...even if you have to take it back to get the right one. :)

Rebecca Talley said...

We did this with my husband's cousin in Ephraim, UT. It was fun to find the treasure and leave a different one. My kids really liked it.

Robyn Heirtzler said...

Good to hear you're finally getting to try it! My kids are always begging to geocache. It's a ball letting them navigate to see where you end up.