So I think we may have hit on a new hobby. Summer is so short-lived here and I’ve tried to get out as much as possible and enjoy the weather and the great lakes and trails available to us. I bought a membership to the Landscape Arboretum and we’ve made several trips out there. I’m starting to get a little more serious about photography and that’s provided me lots of opportunities to practice. The kids however are starting to get bored when I drag them along just to take pictures or go on walks or hikes.
I’d heard of geocaching sort of in passing but when someone mentioned it as a possibility for a team function we were planning at work I started to research it and realized what a great thing it would be to do with the kids. It gets us outside, gives us a chance to commune with nature, alleviates boredom, and gives us not just a hike, but a mission.
According to geocaching.com, the purported “official” site for geocaching, “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.”
Of course when presenting this idea to my four hooligans I marketed it as “treasure hunting.” David was aware of geocaching and was totally into it. Cameron wasn’t thrilled about it until David was, the two little guys were excited about treasure and they set out to find some trinkets we could use to replace anything we found.
The first stop was the baseball field at Lake Susan Park. We spent quite a bit of time and came up with nothing. I was thinking everyone would be really upset by this but when I suggested we give up and try a new location they were fine with it. The next site was the barricade at the end of Lake Street (Chan residents who drive on Powers Blvd. will know where I’m talking about). The grass is tall this time of year and Justin was worried about ticks, but we forged our way through.
It didn’t take too long before I spotted a taped up box at the end of a hollow log. Finding our first cache was enough to get the guys really excited about doing this. We recorded our info in the logbook and replaced a string of lavender beads (which Alex and Justin fought over) with a string of gold beads.
We came up short on our next effort. I was sure it was hidden somewhere either inside or near the Target sign near the edge of the Target parking lot. While we didn’t find any treasure there, Cameron did discover that if you crawl under and inside the sign, there is a ladder there. I don’t know how far he made it up, but he was gone for quite a while before I realized what he’d been doing.
Finally after giving up on that spot we discovered another one at Lake Ann Park. This one resulted in a fight between David and Justin over who got to keep “the guy” we found in the box. We replaced the guy with a well-worn Fred from Scooby-Doo. Justin also got a sticker. Alex got a little seashell, which we replaced with a Hot Wheels school bus.
Everyone wanted to go back treasure hunting tonight but we just didn’t have time. We’ll definitely be going out again. I took a few pictures but will take more next time. I’ve officially logged our finds on my new profile on the geocaching.com website. Some lessons learned.
- We’ll research destinations ahead of time rather than relying on the iPhone app, which only provides a few options near your current location.
- We’ll have ground rules BEFORE we go about who gets to keep what.
- I’ll wear something other than flip-flops, even the sturdy leather Columbia kind.
- Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray.
- I think we’ll take along a trash bag to pick up litter while we’re looking around. People are pigs.