Friday, October 14, 2011

Nerd Fun: Geocaching

About a month ago, I mentioned that I'd talk about geocaching soon.  Sorry it has taken me so long to get to it!    I started geocaching a couple of years ago with my family.  We all love to do it.  It's basically a kind of treasure hunt that you do using a GPS.  You go online to a geocaching Web site, find a cache that you want to look for, download the co-ordinates into your GPS and off you go!

We use Geocaching.com.  We just have a regular membership, but I'm thinking of asking for an upgraded membership for Christmas this year (Honey, are you reading this??).  We use two different GPS units to find caches.  Our main GPS for geocaching is my iPhone (more about that in a minute).  We also use our Garmin.  To use the Garmin, go into your options and change from driving to walking.  You can search by co-ordinates.

For the iPhone, you can download the geocaching.com app.  The trial version is free and lets you find 3 caches.  After that, you need to buy the app.  It was $9.99 when I bought it and well worth the investment to be able to use my phone.  It lets you access hints, user comments, photos, a compass and you can even upload your logs straight from your phone.

Each geocache is a container that usually includes a log book and writing utensil and sometimes swag.  The rule of geocaching is that if you take something out of the cache, you will put something at least as good back in it.  My kids love to make trades, so I keep little things like keychains and small toys on hand when we cache.  You can log on the site whether you found the cache or not and any other notes you want.

We usually stick to difficulty one or two when we cache with the kids because there is nothing quite like having frustrated kids searching for something.  I also check the terrain difficulty so that I know if the kids can handle the walk or if there is a cliff or something we need to be worried about.

We've done caching on vacation and at home.  It's a great way to find new places in your hometown.  We've found a few parks this way.  We've found a micorcache (a tiny cache), a cache hidden in an ammunition container, caches hidden in trees, under rocks, in all sorts of places.  We've cached in all seasons and weather.  We've seen some rabbits and lots of gophers.

Geocaching is a lot of fun!  It's a great way to get outside as a family and get some fresh air and exercise.  Give it a try!


Head in Tree
Remember I mentioned that we found a cache in a tree? This is my nerd in the tree. He had to go in pretty far to reach it! I'm sure he'll have a comment or two when he finds out I've shared this picture!

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