“Geocaching is when you find secret treasures hidden under logs or under benches by looking on the map and seeing if it’s 100m or 2m or 14m away.” – definition by S, age 7.
Geocaching is the use of a GPS to locate a hidden treasure by moving to the designated coordinates.
My husband and I like solving puzzles and riddles and have passed on that interest to our kids. We like giving them tasks to accomplish and they LOVE earning the rewards that they can earn.
We like to set up challenges around town and enjoy exploring the outdoors and seeing what we can find. Naturally, geocaching was something that we had heard about and in which we had interest. Without a GPS unit, we hadn’t had the opportunity to take our kids (9, 7, 5 and 1) to explore and try our hand at locating the hidden treasures. When eavesdropping on a coffee shop conversation one day, I was bold enough to ask a little more and was told that there is an app that can be used to help non-GPS holders to geocache. There is a free version and a full version that costs $10. I got the free version and had it loaded onto my phone right away. Then, it sat there. And sat there and sat there and sat there. We didn’t ever get the chance to go out.
Last month, on a warm and sunny day, my kids and I opened the app and selected “find nearby geocaches” There were five within a short walk from my house, in the local park. We recruited some company and set off to see what we could find.
My eldest son held the phone and watched as the line to the cache got shorter and shorter as we walked forward. He read off the distance and the crew got more and more excited. 5m, 4m, 3m, 2m, 1m! We looked high and low. We read all the descriptions and hints. We searched and searched in the brush. NO luck. Geocaching is lame!
We didn’t want to leave the excursion a total failure so we decided to try our hand at the next cache along the way. We set off another 200m or so down the path. Success! There, in the tree, was a small tube wrapped in camouflage tape. Hurrah! We opened it up to find the cache log listing people that had found that cache since 2010! We signed our name and eagerly moved on to the next treasure. The following cache was simple to find as well, and we had developed the eye for the objective of our hunt. We knew what a cache could look like!
Since that day, we have logged more than 27 caches. If we are going to visit someone or run an errand we will pop open the app and see what we can find nearby. The interest level of our children is boosted and they are active and rarely bored. We have incorporated geocaching as a way to explore different areas around town and in cities to which we have traveled. In the last month we have logged caches in Squamish, Vancouver, Kamloops, Sun Peaks, Heffley and on the Shuswap. There are over 589 caches near Kamloops! Some caches have taken us hours to locate and sometimes we can log four or five caches in our hike.
The introduction of geocaching has been a fantastic boost for our family activity levels and for the interest-level of my kids! They now stash little toys in their pockets as we hike, in case they locate a cache with trades! Even my 1.5yo is in on it, “Otay Mom! I fin’ it!” I have been so impressed with some of the terrain that my children will tackle without complaints when they are seeking a treasure!
We are totally hooked. You gotta try it!