Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A - Geocaching we go!

We are trying something new this summer. The boys pooled their money and (with a little help from Mom) bought a GPS hand-held unit so that we can try Geocaching. Ty has been reading online about the "sport" and Ben has been learning to use the GPS.

So today, Wednesday June 21, we are setting out to find our first caches! (I'm still learning the correct jargon.) According to the geocaching site, there are 29 caches within 2 miles of our area - guess it pays to live so close to Nine Mile Creek and lots of park land!

Each site is described online with its latitude and longitude, and occasionally some hints as to how to find it. There is also a degree of difficulty reported on, and people are encouraged to log in and write comments after they visit the cache, to make sure that it is actually where it's supposed to be. Not surprisingly, it seems to be a very efficient and effective self-monitoring system!

Ben was the keeper of the GPS for our first search. I had downloaded info on 4 nearby, thinking we would whiz through them pretty quickly. We went to Nine Mile Creek and set out. We got fairly close. We thought. Then we realized we needed to be on the other side of the creek, so we had to back-track and find a bridge (we were not dressed to cross where we were!) We ended up crawling up a steep hill, through woods and rough terrain.
We found a bone ... and a lifeless baby raccoon (so sad!) .... but no treasure.

So, on to the next site ... with similar results. By now we were hot, tired, sweaty, and a bit crabby! WHO KNEW THIS WOULD BE HARD??? Certainly not us!

We perservered to what we thought would be a really easy one. Penn Lake Park - a nearby park we know well. We are still certain we were in exactly the right place, but again ... no luck.

So, weary but still a tiny bit hopeful, we decided to try one last time. I was really hoping this one was a success because I didn't know if I would ever convince the boys to try again if we struck out 4 times in a row. Ty took the GPS in hand this time, and off we went. We got to the right area. We thought. Then we had to use our minds, as the GPS couldn't help us any more. We looked around and tried to guess where the person might have stashed the cache - and we found it!!! (I have a picture of the cache itself, so you can see what we were seeking, but blogger.com is refusing to let me upload any more photos tonight. Who knows.) Anyway - we were, in reality, just too pooped to even celebrate. On the ride home the boys were not sure they ever wanted to try this again but I put on my best "mom" hat and gave a pep talk that apparently worked, as now (hours later!) they are talking about where we will go next! And I have spent quite a bit of time at the geocaching website reading up on all the cool-sounding places I would like to visit. I, for one, am hooked!

1 comment:

Mark and Carla said...

Ty and Ben that is SO fabulous! I'm sure no one will have hidden a cache near here, but I think it sounds like so much fun! One we've learned with our GPS is that it takes a lot more to operate than we thought. I thought you just kind of waved it around and it would tell me where we were--you know, without any WORK. But no, like most things in life...

Anyway, keep it up and keep posting pics of your discoveries!

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