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Geocaching: Potential Family Hobby

Say the words "treasure hunt" and my kids are locked in. They are at the perfect age (five and eight) for geocaching. If you had asked me a year ago if I was going to take my kids geocaching this weekend I would have looked at you like you were making up a word. I honestly hadn't heard of it. But thanks to the world of Twitter, I stumbled on this fun activity for all ages. Equipment needed: a GPS and a spirit of adventure.

If you are like I was and you're learning a new word today, congratulations! Here's the scoop: Geocaching is an international treasure hunt that uses coordinates (latitude and longitude) to hide and find "caches." A cache can range in size from micro (think the size of your pinkie finger nail) to large (bigger than a shoe box) and anything in between. A cache consists of a log to be signed and dated when you find it (the smallest caches are logs only) and some kind of item for trade. The idea is "take something, leave something."

Even with my limited knowledge I was able to set up an account at Geocaching.com and get started. You'll need an account to have access to the coordinates for caches hidden in your area. I was shocked to find that even at my local parks where we walk and play regularly there were caches hidden! This is not a new game, people have been playing for years and you'll discover this when you read the log at a found cache. The ones we found were over 5 years old.



We started by looking up 4 caches on the website. I wrote down coordinates, the name of the cache, and the clue. In hindsight it would have been smart to write down the cache size also... I would do that if I were you. Then we dressed for adventure! Kids packed water bottles and snacks along with items they were willing to trade if the opportunity presented itself. Besides the GPS, it is recommended that you bring along a pencil (and paper) just in case there is not one at the cache you find.

In our first geocache adventure our success rate was 50% - we found two of the four and it really was fun for all of us! Our favorite was the "Reynolds Landing Pen and Pencil Exchange." We will definitely be treasure hunting again and hope to find more friends to play along. Our next challenge will be to hide our own treasure!

Do you geocache? Tell us about it.

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