Sunday afternoon was beautiful. Sunny, blue skies, a warm autumn day – not too hot, not too cold. The leaves were past peak, but still offered plenty of rustic color. The best part of all was spending the day together as a family.
This wasn’t like other days where “family time” means no one goes anywhere but we all stay home each doing our own thing. This was family time spent doing one activity together. We went geocaching!
What is that? If you aren’t familiar with geocaching, it can be described as a sort of treasure hunt. There are websites you can go to and find clues to find a cache. They offer GPS coordinates to the site where the cache is hidden. Most offer other clues, such as a description of a nearby landmark or other hints. You can use a handheld GPS or another device with a GPS app to find the secret location. After you travel to the appropriate place you use your good old fashion senses (well, mostly vision) to find the cache.
What is a cache? A cache is a container, varying in size (but usually small) that contains a log sheet of those who have successfully found the cache. Some examples of containers we found were plastic peanut butter jars and film canisters (remember those?). Often, the creator of the geocache will camouflage the container to make the game more difficult and fun. When you find the container you can open it, pull out the log sheet, sign and date it, and return it to its hiding place so others can have a chance to find it, too.
What do you get for your time and effort? FUN! You get a day of fun with your geocaching buddies, in this case, my family. Some caches contain small little trinkets where you take something, but also leave something. At one we found today my son got a toy sheriff’s badge and in its place we left a toy trophy. My daughter got a smiley face stamper at another spot and we left a bouncy ball. Some caches contain clues to another cache. There isn’t much material benefit, but it is fun to successfully complete the challenge.
Geocaching is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. We all worked as a team toward one goal, pondering the clues and then searching for the containers. We drove all around the county, enjoying the beautiful fall day, visiting areas we seldom see. Caches are hidden on land accessible to the public so you aren’t imposing on anyone’s privacy. Under rocks, hanging from branches, behind fence posts…you never know where you might find a cache!
Our family had not been geocaching for a year or two, but we definitely won’t wait that long again!