Geocaching: A Treasure Hunt of Family Fun

geocachingHave you ever wanted to hunt for treasure?

Be honest. You know you have, right?

What if I told you that there is a way that you can go on a treasure hunt with your family and make some really fun memories in the process?

There is a way and it is called GEOCACHING.

Geocaching is an outdoor “treasure hunt” game where you use your phone and it’s built in GPS or a handheld GPS and hints to hide and seek “caches” or “geocaches” with logbooks, trinkets and other forms of “buried treasure” inside. What is really neat about going geocaching is that it is a way to connect with people from all over the world while learning some valuable navigation and problem solving skills.   There are over 2.8 million geocaches hidden  and found by over 4 million “geocachers” worldwide.  That means if you go on vacation anywhere in the world, there is a possibility that you can find a geocache no matter where you go and bring home a “souvenir” that is from your treasure hunting adventure!

The first time we ever went geocaching, we did it nearby. We looked on the app for our town, and saw that there were three listed for discovery. Fortunately for us, we found two of them, and it was both exciting to search for it and to find what was inside! Once we discovered the two that we found, we were sure to sign the logbook, and log our discovery into the app that we used to find it! The best part was that it gave us all a feeling of accomplishment and my son couldn’t stop talking about it for days!  Of course, we still haven’t found that third cache though. We’re still stumped!Signing the LogBook

The second time we went geocaching we discovered several great little hidden gems while we were camping and did our part to sign the logbook, leave our signature trinket (sometimes players like to leave a trinket or treasure that is unique to them)  and then we even hid one of our own in the park! It was a lot of fun, it had us exploring and hiking through the state park, and provided several hours of entertainment for both the kids and adults in our group! While we were on our search we climbed trees, saw turtles, listened to native birds, and picked some flowers and enjoyed the wildlife around us while also searching for our “buried treasure.”

You may be thinking that there are no places around the city to geocache or that it is too hard to do. Don’t worry, there are plenty of places around the metro area that have geocaches and typically, the terrain is very mild and it is easy to find your cache. Locally, there are geocaches definitely hidden in City Park, Lafreniere and Audubon Park. Some geocaches have trinkets, others are just logbooks, and sometimes there are caches that lead to another cache with more clues to the final “treasure” location. Those are really fun! Some fun trinkets that we have found in geocaches include unique rocks, buttons, bouncy balls, and beads … which are all fun takeaways from our adventures. We store ours in a little tin box and it is always fun to take our box out and refer back to how we found it.

Local Geocache MapIf you and your family are interested in giving geocaching a try, here’s how to start:

  1. Download the Geocaching app by Groundspeak. It is free and it shows you all of the geocaches hidden in a chosen area. It navigates you to the location, provides clues and hints to the hidden cache, and also provides you with the opportunity to share a picture of you with the find, share and log in your discovery with your own hints and tips if you want to share. Also, it shows you picture hints on how to find caches’ and Groundspeak offers tips on their website on how to hide your own cache!
  2. Pack a picnic lunch, check out what caches are available in your area, and bring some trinkets to trade in place of the ones you take. Some popular options are unique coins, tokens, beads, special rocks, buttons, silly bands, army men, mini toy cars, and any other small trinkets that can fit in a small, water tight storage container container. Also, bring a pen, a camera, and maybe a little personal storage box to keep all of your treasures in. You can even call it your “treasure chest!”
  3. There are only 4 rules to geocaching: If you take something, leave something; sign the logbook; log your experience; and HAVE FUN!

It is also good for you to know a few words in geocaching slang to help you understand the clues you may come across:

Muggles:  A word for non-geocachers in your area that may be out and about wondering what in the heck you are doing while searching for your cache.
FTF: First Time Find. Usually, these are special trinkets that the person who left the geocache will include. It’s really neat to be the first time find on some of these.
Nano: These are SUPER SMALL caches, sometimes really hard to find (like the 3rd one I described above!)
TFTC: Thanks for the Cache.
DNF: Did Not Find.

Finding a GeocacheBelieve it or not, there are lots of people who geocache all the time and it isn’t age specific, it is FUN for ALL AGES and it is sure to provide a great afternoon of adventure and entertainment for your family, or even a FREE date opportunity for you and your sweetie should you choose to accept the mission.

So, what are you waiting for? Go for it and start geocaching today!!!

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