Geocaching 11.22.15: Sunday Morning Treasure Hunt

Meilee and Shen sign the log in a geocache.
Meilee and Shen sign the log from our second geocache. I love everything about this shot: seeing my kids engaged in an activity that stretches their skills and sensibilities is awesome.

I took the kids geocaching and we’re hooked.

I’d heard about it a while back, but just hadn’t made the time for it. This weekend, I downloaded the Geocaching app, watched several of the orientation videos and enlisted the kids to go on a treasure-hunting adventure.

For the uninitiated, Geocaching is “the world’s largest treasure hunt.” It involves looking for hidden boxes that are cleverly hidden at coordinates throughout the world. Once you find the boxes or containers, you sign the log book, return the cache to its hiding place and move on. There is a culture, community and etiquette involved and it doesn’t take long to pick up the basics. Some of the geocaches also contain trinkets, toys and “trackables” and you can add something or trade – as long as you follow the protocol.

The kids and I started with two caches located in our neighborhood. Sunday was chilly but gloriously sunny. Shen was the navigator and Meilee was in charge of documenting the adventure with her point-and-shoot camera and with notes in her field journal (which came with her National Geographic Kids subscription).

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on the trail
It took a few minutes for the kids to understand how to manage the compass embedded in the Geocaching app.
Through the branches
Sometimes, you have to search in areas off the trail or path.
Blocked
Geocaches come in many shapes and sizes. This was was magnetic, so we knew we had look for magnetic surfaces. The fence got in the way, so we had to walk all the around it.
Searching
We found our way around the fence and started looking in the nooks and crannies of the guard rail.
Found
We finally found the geocache. It was tiny and, according to other geocachers, an “easy find.” I guess it’s all relative. For our first geocache, we did pretty well.

Opening the cache:

The geocache
There were two tiny scrolls in the tube. We took turns signing our names.
Log
Meilee signed her name.
Log 2
Shen signed his name and practiced writing the date.
Geocache 2
We chose a second geocache in our neighborhood. The location is hidden in a ravine. You’d never know it was there, but what a gift to be able to have a beautiful oasis amidst all the homes. A cat joined us in our search.
Urban woods
Meilee took over navigating and Shen had the camera for this round.
Ferns
Meilee misread the compass and lead us to a search area opposite of where should have been. But it was a great (low-consequence) lesson to learn.
The Cat
We eventually realized we were in the wrong area and found our way to right hiding place. The cat was even more curious about our activities.
Found 2
This geocache contained a couple of trinkets. We added a few plastic spider rings leftover from Halloween.
We found it
Success again! Sometimes, people don’t find the geocache, so they will record it as “DNF” – did not find. On this day, we were two for two!
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