I was talking with my sister-in-law, L1 about my new handheld gps (which I got at Christmas). While Emily had a migraine on Saturday, the kids and I decided to try our hands at geocaching. L1 calls geocaching, “scavenger hunting for nerds”. Yes, that sounds about right, thank you very much! Anyhow, I read a few hints about the first cache because I had no idea what we were even looking for.
We headed out and found the first cache which had a domino and a pencil sharpener in it. With geocaching, the idea is to take something from the cache (which is any sort of weather-proof container) and leave something else in its place. So, we took the pencil sharpener and left a jingle bell. My gps, the Garmin Venture HC, has a feature called “go to the next cache” so off we went. I had no idea where it was taking us but we set off following the trail (which isn’t a trail as much as a general direction).
We headed into the city and found some more loot (we left the pencil sharpener and took a pencil). Finally, we headed off on the trail of “the next cache”. Of course, I was driving while following the gps. The kids aren’t quite able to really guide us with the gps and the last time I let Isaac drive didn’t end well so I had to do both.
We headed across one of the major bridges in town when the gps sounded the “close” alarm. I debated stopping in the slow lane while we hunted but I decided against that. Instead, we drove across to the other side and walked back to where the cache was located. It was about 0.3 miles from the parking spot to the cache. It was quite a thrill walking across the bridge as it is pretty high and pretty busy (we were on the sidewalk). We hunted all over the footing of the bridge and found a dead pigeon, a snuff can and a half-full bottle of beer. Ah, the family adventure. We hunted all over to no avail so headed home.
The next day, Emily was better and came with us. This time we parked on the correct side of the bridge. We still looked all over and had about given up. Emily was sitting in the van waiting for us to come back when she spotted it. Wow! The cache was small and well hidden and proved that we need to step up our vision care program. Prior to finding the cache, she was not too impressed with geocaching. Finding her first changed her mind though.
There are over 700 caches hidden around Charleston. How on earth do we keep from tripping over all of them! We have plans to find as many as we can and hide some new ones once we see some more. Anyhow, the kids and I had more fun than we could carry in a bucket. Each day, Abigail has asked me many times to go geocaching again. I think we have new hobby!
Edit: cheesychick asked in a comment who hides the caches…that’s part of what makes this cool…other geocachers hide the loot and report their stash on one of the geocaching websites. We used www.geocaching.com and it seems to be the most popular. They review the coordinates of the cache to make sure it isn’t at a school or a power plant, etc and then publish the cache. From their site, I can download the cache coordinates directly into my gps receiver. The last cache we found was hidden by an airline pilot who was on break overnight in Charleston. He comes back whenever he is in town and checks on it (to make sure it is still there, isn’t wet, etc). They can be all different sizes and should contain a log book and possibly other loot which people trade in and out as they find it. We’ll hide some after we get a little more experience with geocaching.