Friday, August 6, 2010

Geocaching

The Rileys picked up a new hobby in Minnesota.  It's called geocaching, and it's a great family activity.  Shout out to Aunty Jody for introducing us. 

Geocaching is basically a modern treasure hunt.  Yon can sign up for a free membership at geocaching.com, and you're off and running.  Punch in any address, and a map will show you all the caches in the surrounding area.  With over a million caches worldwide, there will be plenty.  Each cache, or container, has coordinates, so you do need a GPS device.  We used the Garmin my dad gave me for Christmas, and it worked just fine.

Plug in the coordinates, and your GPS will take you right to the area.  The caches come in all sizes, and they're hidden, often in difficult terrain, so finding the container itself can be challenging.  When you find one there is a real sense of accomplishment.  Here are the girls looking mighty proud after finding a cache today.  It was cleverly hidden at the base of the Palo Verde tree in the background.  We were out for about an hour today, and we found three caches.

Each cache has a log book to sign, and some have little trinkets you can take, but only if you leave something else behind.  There may also be a travel bug.  These are little dog tags that people buy through the website and attach to an object.  We've already found two, one attached to a Lego Indiana Jones, and the other attached to a mini surfboard.  If you find a travel bug, you can take it and put it in the next cache you find.  Travel bugs have a tracking number, so you can follow where they go online.

Each geocaching excursion is logged online, even unsuccessful attempts, so the creator of the cache can see what's going on.  That's the next step for packoriles (our geocache name), hiding our own cache.  It's ready to go, we just need to figure out the best place to hide it.  The girls are looking forward to seeing what kinds of things people leave behind.  I'm looking forward to all the time we'll spend as a family with our new hobby.      

3 comments:

  1. Squilla's AuntAugust 7, 2010 at 8:15 PM

    Go "packoriles"!! (love the name) Can't wait to visit and find the caches you've hidden!

    PS you need to send me the travel bug number...

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  2. It looks like they have this is NYC as well. I can only imagine what you'll find! Time for another family trip...

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  3. I heard of something like this years ago. don't know if it is the same because a GPS was not necessary.

    My friends from Connecticut visited us in Virginia and were asking how to get to a particular state park. I thought it was fascinating. Don't know if I can convince my husband to participate in a scavenger hunt though.

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