By Abby McAllister
Well, as we had hoped, our family came through with a new GPS unit for Christmas. We decided to head outside today to try out this activity we've been wanting to do for awhile now...geocaching. Think of it like a world-wide treasure hunt. All you need is a GPS unit (some smart phones have this capability too) and access to a database of cache points (many online-some free, some at a minimal cost). We downloaded a few cache points that are near our place and headed out into the cold, clear day to see how this thing works.
We picked what was classified as an easy find for our first try. Dad showed the kids how to work the GPS device and off we went. After a bit of trial and error learning how to follow the device we landed squarely in a big juniper bush. The kids dove right in and soon found the object we were searching for: an old, black cash box.
This cache had a lot of little goodies in it. In a cache like this you can take 1 item and replace it with another. Isaac chose a little rattle to take and we left something fun too! Each cache also has a notebook or roll of paper to sign, showing you were there. We looked over a few of the previous entries (the oldest being 2009) and then signed our names. We were so excited with our success that we headed out for another immediately. The next one was harder since it was much smaller. We aimed the GPS unit and made tracks across the snowy countryside.
This cache was classified as a bit more difficult due to it's smaller size. It also came with a hint that it was located about 6 feet off the ground. On the way the boys were having fun pointing out all the animal tracks we saw in the snow. We wandered around a bit and then came to another juniper tree. Up the boys went! Our tall one spotted it and pulled it out. This one didn't have much room to leave little treasures but we signed our names to the paper and high-fived each other.
The boys really wanted to keep going but we had made the rookey mistake of only downloading two caches. Overall, this is a fantastic way to get your kids outdoors. If we had just suggested a stroll around the reservoir, they never would have wanted to join us. With our GPS and treasures to find we could hardly get them back inside! If you haven't tried geocaching yet-find a way to get started. Your kids will be dragging you outside!
Harley & Abby McAllister
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