Saturday, September 26, 2009

Geocaching: A Fun Activity for the Whole Family

My husband says that Geocaching is like the video game "Mafia Wars." Very addictive. I don't see how you can compare something that involves going outdoors on a giant sort of treasure hunt to staying inside and staring at a computer screen and playing a video game, but I guess his point is that once a lot of people start looking for geocaches they find it hard to stop.

My Aunt and Uncle and cousins first discovered geocaching years ago and got my grandparents hooked on it. Then my parents joined in and when I was home from college they would take me along. Paul never really liked it, but now that we have a little one, we're getting back into it (and hopefully once he sees how much fun she's having he'll enjoy it a bit more too!).

Geocaching is basically going out and looking for little hidden boxes that people have stashed all around the world. All you need is a hand held GPS. You get the GPS coordinates online (sometimes with other hints is you want) and you go find the hidden treasure box (which is often times an ammo can).

You end up at places, even around your hometown that you might not have otherwise gone. Yesterday we went about an hour out. I wore clothes that I wouldn't mind getting dirty, because I had a feeling I would be the one scrambling around in the dirt if any scrambling was required (it was and I ended up scrambling down a cliff... which was not anywhere near the geocache and then scrambling across a rocky embankment... which again was not anywhere near the geocache). There are different terrain difficulty levels from super easy (you could reach it in a wheelchair) and getting increasingly more difficult. My grandfather uses two walking sticks to get around and he has a blast finding them. It's great for families.

There are even virtual caches where you get sent to a sight that has some sort of information (usually like a monument of some sort) and then you enter the info on line to get credit for the find.

Once you find the geocache you open it and write your username on the log (register on the site before you go out). You can also bring along a bag of nick nacks or toys or coins (or pretty much any small, inexpensive thing) and trade it in for something in the cache. This is particularly fun if you have little kids. Then you go home and "log the cache," which means going to the website and finding the caches you just found and writing a little note that includes what you traded (if you traded anything). There are even "travel bugs" which people take from one cache to the next, that make their way around the world.

Todays pictures are from our geocaching adventure yesterday. My favorite spot was an old graveyard out in the middle of nowhere. There were a ton of "unknown" graves, including the "unknown stagecoach robber" shown above and an "unknown Spaniard." You can definitely find some interesting sites and little ones love running around looking for treasure!


  1. Thanks for posting this! It definitley looks like something John and I would enjoy doing. :)

  2. I'm glad you liked it! We just got back from going out today again. It's a good way for the little one to burn off energy and take good naps too!

  3. My daughter and son-in-law who just moved out to Berkeley for his post-doc have mentioned doing this. It seems California is a great place for it! We might have to give it a try when we head west to visit them in two weeks. Looks like fun, even for us middle aged folks!

  4. Hi Dixieagle! You should definitely give it a try. We went today again and the youngest in our group today was Sadie at 15 months and the oldest was my 84 year old grandfather! Fun was had by all! It does get a little competitive though! Have fun on your visit!


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