Family Fun: Geocaching

Geocaching is a world-wide treasure hunting game. Participants locate treasure called Geocaches using a GPS enabled devise and record their experience with other geocachers online.

A few years ago our family discovered geocaching and we haven’t looked back. It has been a fun activity we can do together, any time, anywhere and at minimal cost. The thrill of the hunt is always fun and discovering the treasure is cool too. When we plan road trips, we now plan to find a few caches along the way. This breaks up long trips with something fun to do and gives everyone something to look forward to as well as an opportunity to stretch our legs.

Since we’ve begun geocaching we have seen some beautiful areas that we would not have seen otherwise. We have also found that doing this as a family is more enjoyable than as a couple. Each family member has their own style and personality, so each usually has a different take on the directions and clues, often leading to quicker succes. Sometimes there is one who breaks ranks from the pack on a whim and finds the cache where no one else suspected.

Getting Started:

Getting started is easy. You’ll need a GPS enabled devise, a free account on geocaching.com and enthusiasm. You can get by with a GPS designed for use in the car, but hand-held devices are often more accurate and usually have better battery life.

Once you have your account, you’ll enter your postal/zip code and caches in your area will come up. Pick the cache(s) you would like to find, enter the lattitude (North/South) and longitude (East/West) coordinates into your device and you’re ready to go. Use your GPS device to help you find the hidden cache, sign the log book, take a treasure and leave a treasure and return the cache to its original location. Then log your geocaching stories and photos online.

Placing Your Own Caches:

GeocacheIf your family loves geocaching you might consider hiding a few caches of your own. You’ll need a waterproof container, a log book, a pen and, if your cache is big enough, some treasure. Once you’ve found the perfect hiding spot you’ll need the coordinates of your cache. Most GPS devices have a way of reporting the exact coordinates of your current location. Online you will be able to submit your cache and, once it’s approved, other geocachers will have the thrill of trying to find your treasure. When your cache is found you’ll be notified by e-mail and you’ll also be able to see any comments people have made about your hide. We have four geocaches hidden and we love to see who is finding them. Sometimes geocachers have uploaded their picture with our cache in hand.

Trackable Items:

Some caches contain trackable items. These items are tracked by the owner as they move from cache to cache. These are always fun to take and move along, you can go online and see what the goal for the item is. It might be to reach a certain location or to visit scary or scenic places. We have several trackable items out there with different goals, our sailor would like to see the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and our lion, the Colesium in Rome.

Take advantage of the great weather, your children’s love of treasure hunting and this opportunity to do something fun as a family. You’ll be surprised at how many treasures are waiting to be found right close to where you live. Please be sure not to harm any wildlife or leave any litter behind. Always leave the are as good as or better th

an you found it.

~ Happy Geocaching!

People of the Book

This Month's Book Club Selection

This month we’re reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

Synopsis: In 1996, Hanna Heath, a young Australian book conservator is called to analyze the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book that has been salvaged from a destroyed Bosnian library. When Hanna discovers a series of artifacts in the centuries’ old, she unwittingly exposes an international cover up.

What do you think of it? Which of the stories in People of the Book did you find most compelling?