Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Yep, we are a family of Geocaching fools. Ever since we were turned on to the habit, in a pre-cell phone world (crazy, right?!) by Carolyn's sister's family out in beautiful rural Maryland, we were hooked. Conditions have only improved in Geocache-ville. Where we previously had to scour the computer for a couple of spots to check out, then head out into the wilderness with a big ol' GPS unit, you can now do it ALL on your phone with a simple smart phone app!
So you're like, wait, what's Geocaching? Simply put, it's a real life treasure hunt. There are millions of geocaches all over the world, just waiting for you to find them. If you have a smart phone, you can download the Geocaching App to get started (you can always do it old-school by signing up on the Geocaching website, and carrying around a GPS unit, but we find the App to be the coolest/easiest option). The app will tell you where Geocache sites are around you, and give you some tips/tricks/riddles in order to help you find them. The app leads you to the approximate coordinates of the cache (usually within 30 feet or less), then you rely on your keen eye and any available tips to make the discovery. When you DO find a Geocache (which basically means some type of container), you are able to sign the log sheet inside to record your glorious find! Some containers are large enough to contain goodies, in which case you are allowed to trade something of equal or larger value. We usually bring a few skateboarding and surfing army men to swap! If you're on your smart phone, you can also claim your find and add a note via the app. We've made a profile as "The Rad Family" on the Geocaching app, so if you see us around a log sheet, you'll know we were there!
Why do we love Geocaching? Well first off, treasure hunts rule. We get to live out all of our greatest adventure-laden pirate dreams. Plus it's always great to GET OUTSIDE. Spending a few hours with the family, trekking around, following clues and hanging out together totally rules. The kids love it for the possibility of finding some cool treasures, but I know they're especially stoked when we find anything at all! In the photo above, we hiked about a mile straight up a hill, to an amazing viewpoint of the hills of San Clemente, where Charley victoriously found the Geocache hiding in a nearby bush. We were some happy dudes.
• Although our picture above depicts the wild open hills, Geocaches can literally be found ANYWHERE. Check out the app and you'll probably be surprised with how many are surrounding you. We found one in the parking lot of a Starbucks by our house!
• The free Geocaching App is the perfect place to get started to learn the trade. It has simple maps, an easy to navigate compass, and all you need to get started. We've recently upgraded to the paid app (runs $9.99 from the app store), but besides showing you more Geocache spots, we haven't found more benefits.
• Some Geocaches are trickier than others. Are first couple of outings were 100% successful, but our recent trip we found 1 out of the 3 we went searching for. We like to set out with a few Geocaches located close to each other, so if one is being troublesome, you can move on!
• Make sure you bring a PEN (for signing the log sheet), some small treasures (to swap out with others in the Geocache you've found), and some water (cuz it might get hot!)
Now GET OUTSIDE and find some Geocaches! This summer our plan is to create a few Geocaches of our own! We will make sure to let ya know when we do!