“What are you doing today?” It’s an early morning question that I receive by text on the weekends, especially when the weather is nice. It’s code and I know what it means. It means my siblings want to eat and cache. If I say yes, it means my calendar is free and I’ve got a couple of hours to burn. It also means wearing the right shoes and hoping that tick season has already passed. If you’ve never heard of it, I’m about to geek out on you. If you have heard of it, you’re already a geek like me. Yay!
Geocaching is a sleeper phenomenon practiced world-wide. It’s a real world treasure hunt. No prizes, no money … just good, clean fun; clean, unless you’re wearing the wrong shoes. Basically, you download the app on your phone, check to find nearest geocache to your location, and bam, just like that you’ve got a treasure trove of hidden objects at your fingertips. Next, you navigate to the object using the map and compass on your phone and then cross your fingers, because finding it will be tricky, depending upon the level of the hide. But that’s part the fun and all the more victorious when found!
Sometimes the caches are large and have little items inside and sometimes they are as small as a fingernail. Always bring a pen. Sometimes there is nothing more than a log to be signed to show you found it. Craft a fun name for yourself. Go on, show your geeky side! Bring one person or bring five. It’s really fun with a large group. Grab some snacks and get out on the road. Night caching is interesting … and a bit more challenging. Don’t worry, if anyone asks you what you’re doing, grab hands and start praying. You can be a traveling prayer group, no one has to know.
You will bend, you will stretch, you will curse under your breath … then, you will FIND. Oh, and be prepared to look like a weirdo in the process. It’s all in good fun, but it’s just not normal when a group of seven people (the more the merrier) are digging around in the bushes on a median in an office park at night. I like to answer “well, officer, we’re looking for my contact that fell out.” Alas, you will describe your antics for what they are and hope for the best because most people are not in the know. I tend to be the one doing the photo-taking while my compatriots search their hearts out. I’m a little less serious than my fellow game-players, but I am known for my stealthy tree sleuthing.
Often times, with the day in front of us, my sister and I will take the camera, get in the car and drive with no particular destination in mind, knowing that caching will certainly be a part of it. Today we decided to jump on the highway and drive North. We ended up in the quaint historic square of a North Texas town and hung out for a while. After some lunch and shopping, we got down to business.
With our handy app we navigated to the target, got out of the car with pen in hand and put on our game faces. Sometimes there are hints, sometimes there are photos, and the more you play, the more tricks you pick up along the way. It helps to be with a seasoned player. However, nothing beats good old fashioned ingenuity and a little tenacity. Luckily, the one we looked for today was out of the way of public eyes and the hint was helpful. After discussing the hint, we narrowed down the search and came across it pretty quickly. This was a good one … not too difficult, but hidden well. This particular cache was just a log. So we signed and were done for the day. Who knows where our next caching session will take us. Parts unknown, hopefully!
Give it a try! It’s a great activity for the whole family and a way to get out and explore your city. Your kids will love it! Insider tip: go to a dollar store, buy a bag and some small inexpensive toy items to put in it and keep it in your car. Happy caching! Maybe we’ll see your name on a log someday!
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