Wouldn’t it be cool if you could go on a treasure hunt whenever you liked? Are images of pirate maps and crates of gold filling your head? Well, it’s not quite like that but the thrill of finding the stash, or cache, is just as fun.
I’m talking about geocaching, from their website it is described as:
a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.
Sounds kind of geeky, huh? The only thing about geocaching that screams geekdom is the GPS unit. It’s quite simple, you register on their website (for free) and then seek out a cache. You can put in your zip code and then pick the cache of your choice depending on area, terrain, degree of difficulty, or the cache itself. They give you the GPS coordinates and off you go on your own treasure hunt.
The husband and I were all set to give this a try and then my dad heard about it. He has a handheld GPS he uses for hunting. (Don’t worry, the last time he had a successful hunt was probably 30 years ago. The animals are safe.) We added my mom to the mix and the four of us were ready to go.
Equipped with dads handheld Garmin GPS and the husbands Garmin from the car, we went on our way. Other supplies included water and some items to put in the cache. Once you find a cache, you can either just look at it and sign the logbook or you can take something from it. Rules, yes there are rules, state you can only take something out of the cache if you add something of your own.
I picked relatively easy cache's based on terrain and degree of difficulty, since this was our first time. The first one took us over by Cranbrook. The GPS units only got us within about 15 feet of the cache. I was kind of expecting the GPS unit to play the warmer-colder game with me. Quick beeps to tell you that you were getting warmer or a slow, drawn out beep to tell you that you weren’t anywhere near. For whatever reason, that didn’t happen.
We found it, or I should say, I found it, after searching for a few minutes. I’m not going to give away too many details as I don't want to spoil it for other geocachers in the area. In the container, which was an ammo box, were books. I knew this from reading the description so I came armed with two books. We took from the cache Jonathan Rand’s Michigan Chillers: Mackinaw City Mummies. It looks to be a pre-teen book. We left the UK version of J.K. Rowlings’ The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
The second cache of the day was a bit trickier and the terrain was slightly harder. There were rocks and streams and bridges, it was very picturesque. Again, the GPS units only got us so close and then it was just time to look around. I found the second one too!
This is a great way to spend time with your family and we had a fabulous time. The thrill of the hunt is really the best part. You can also hide your own cache and wait to see who finds it.
I’m nicknaming this our Suburban Geocache, I hope to add an Urban and Rural one soon. Stay tuned.