Have you ever had something that always sounded fun, that you always wanted to try, but never got around to doing it? That’s how I’ve been about geocaching. I’ve talked about doing it for a few years but never did anything about it.
As we approached the weekend (with a lighter than normal schedule) I suggested to my girls that we give it a try while my wife was at work. They both enthusiastically said that it sounded like fun.
Anyone with a couple of kids knows that when you can get them to agree on something you run with it… so this weekend we set out on our first ever geocaching adventure. Read on and then be sure and watch our video at the end!
If you’re wondering what exactly geocaching is… let me put it quite simply: it’s a real world treasure hunt.
You go online, or use the Android or iPhone app, to create a free user name and account. Then you look up hidden geocaches that you’d like to find. You’re given GPS coordinates and maybe a hint or two on how to find what you’re looking for.
There are millions of geocaches all over the world. They can be large enough to hold trinkets, paper, and pens. Or they can be really tiny with just enough room for a rolled up piece of paper.
On the paper in the geocache you write down your geocaching user name and the date you found it. You can also “check-in” on the app letting the geocache owner know you found it. Once you do a smiley face shows up on your app map.
Using the app we found out that there are 4 hidden geocaches in our town. One is less than a half mile from our house. That’s where we started. We set out on our bikes and were in the general location quickly.
The geocaching app let us know we were close.
The first one was the hardest of the four for us to find. Mostly because we had no idea what exactly we were looking for. We knew it was small, though, about the size of a film canister.
We almost gave up but kept looking and eventually found it. The excitement for all of us was pretty high.
We signed the log and returned the cache just as we found it. Then it was a short bike ride to the next one which we found with a lot less looking.
The third geocache we went after was the easiest find of the day. It’s probably because we now had some idea of the types of things to look for. Plus, we were getting more familiar with the app and how to use the compass in it.
Our last geocache of the day was super small. My girls looked all over the area but couldn’t find it. We wondered if it had gone missing because checking the geocaching app we knew the people that tried to find it before us came up empty handed.
Through a little dumb luck I found it. It was about the diameter of a dime and probably a half inch tall. If you weren’t looking for it you’d never find it. Even if you’re purposely looking for it I can see where you might miss it.
I’ll admit that we all felt a little bit of satisfaction knowing that we found it when others hadn’t. We returned that super tiny geocache to it’s hiding place and rode home talking about our first geocaching adventure.
We all agreed that we wanted to go again. Next time, my youngest wants to find a bigger geocache containing trinkets. That way we could take one to keep and leave a trinket that we brought behind.
Geocaching is a fun activity for families! It’s free and when you download the app you’ll have everything you need to get started on your smartphone. I especially liked that it got us all outside and paying attention to our surroundings.
If you give geocaching a try make sure to bring a pen along to sign the log. You might even want to bring a pair of tweezers to get out the paper log. As previously mentioned, they can be really small.
Fortunately, I had someone with small fingers with me on the trip that got all the logs out fairly easily.
You also want to bring along your phone charger or portable battery pack. GPS and have your screen brightness on high to see it in the sun can really eat up your battery. (Click here for my review of the portable battery pack I use.)
Geocaching was a successful Tony Tries It that I’d recommend to anyone. We can’t wait to do it again!