Friday, August 16, 2013

Tupperware in the Woods

I've been interested in geocaching since I first heard of it. Alas, I couldn't afford a GPS unit of my own. I took a short class in it at a Girl Scout Leader training event and it seemed easy enough. I went to a volunteer appreciation camp and borrowed a GPS unit from them to find some of the caches on site. Except the unit they loaned us didn't work. A while later, I got a phone that actually had a map program on it. I headed out to find my first cache... no such luck. I didn't yet understand where to look, I was wearing a baby and I just... couldn't find it. I found all of these attempts discouraging. I actually joined 3 years ago and had never found a single thing. Until now.

Wait, what is geocaching?
"Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location."

micro cache
Not Tupperware!

We recently got Windows phones (Nokia Lumia 521 - we love them!). It occurred to me to look for a geocaching app and the Windows version from the site is free!

Now mind you, we're kind of homebodies. We have plenty appointments out and otherwise stay home a lot. I worry that my kids don't get enough outdoor time and we look forward to having a fenced yard for them at some point. Anyway, I got onto the site (linked above) and worked on picking out my first cache. As I was planning the hunt, my homebody husband volunteered to come along! He has great eyes and I knew he would be an asset.

International Geocaching DayWe found that first cache on August 4th. August is Geocaching month! Tomorrow is International Geocaching Day! We have, since then, found at least 1 cache every single day! That means my children are getting outside time (at least a little) every day! We have hunted for almost all of them all together (except for the teenager). This has been such a great hobby for us to pick up as a family. We love it! Now... if only the mosquitoes weren't so bad this year.

Sasha with Ranger Rick Cache
Sasha with our first Ranger Rick find.
Lock-and-Locks are much more popular than Tupperware these days.

You can see some photos from our first geocaching adventures in this week's Mamatography post. Sometimes the caches are larger, sometimes smaller. If big enough, they usually contain "SWAG" (small toys, mostly). We carry a cloth produce bag full of "SWAG" to trade. We sign a log in the caches and I log them on the website, too. Today my husband arrived home, noting it was a gorgeous day, and suggested we go out "treasure hunting" again. (We'd already logged a cache this morning.) I'm loving all our family time!

Have you ever gone geocaching? Is there some other family-oriented outdoor hobby you enjoy?
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