Friday, April 29, 2011

How to Start Geocaching the Jones Way

We recently decided to add geocaching to our spring/summer bucket list. It seemed like the perfect hobby for our family... it would get us out of the house, exercising, together. Michael has always loved hiking and he's a big nerd. Surely he'd enjoy it. Hunter loves following directions and finding things in "treasure hunt" format (remember the scavenger hunt he created for this 6th birthday party?). Surely he'd enjoy it. Ronin loves spending time together as a family. Surely she'd enjoy it. And Drayken just likes to be on the go, especially when it involves going outside. Surely he'd enjoy it.

There was a problem though. I had no idea how to get started.

Here are the steps I took to make geocaching happen for our family.

Step 1: Ask a friend. I knew of a friend who had been geocaching here locally so I asked her for some tips. Her response? "I don't really know what to tell ya! Our boyscout leader took us. Try looking at the website."

Step 2: Check out the website. I went to the website. I looked around. I was still clueless.

Step 3: Put geocaching on the calendar. I had geocaching scheduled to happen one day this weekend. I had no idea how to bring it to fruition, but I knew we were going... this weekend.

Step 4: Wrangle in the husband. "Husband, we are going geocaching. I have no flippin' idea how to get started. But we are going this weekend. Ummm...?"

Step 5: Load kids in the car and let husband lead the way. Husband took care of the rest.

We were on our way to find two geocaches. The ones closest to our home. Since we really didn't know what we were doing, we sought out what was presumably going to be the easiest one to find. It was hidden at the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park, which is about five miles from where we live. You just have to go in and ask for it.

Hunter thought this was stupid. But at least we knew what a cache looked like and we had a better idea of what to do with them once we found one. I'm still not sure I understand where the special emblems that you rub onto a booklet in the cache is all about? There wasn't anything like that in this cache that we found.

We headed off to find the second cache on our agenda which was also hidden at Barfield Crescent park. Michael had to actually use the GPS system for this one.

We looked.

And looked.

Then we used Michael's phone to find out a bit more information about where the cache was hidden. It was supposed to be near a rock with an ammonite fossil.

We looked some more. (And fought over sticks).

And we kept looking until Hunter got really tired and really hot.

We kept encountering some college boys playing frisbee golf (which is a fabulous reason to visit Barfield Crescent park, by the way).

Finally we just gave up. Hunter left in a pretty rotten mood. But I'm pretty sure that as he starts to feel better, and perhaps after we've found a few easier-to-find caches, he'll get excited about it again.

(On a side note, Drayken yelled "Love you" at me and his dad two times while we were out there looking for that cache. I think he really liked the adventure in the woods.)

What about you?
Have you been geocaching?
Was there ever a cache that you simply could not find?


  1. We went geocaching one time with a friend of ours. The kids loved it because it was like a treasure hunt. My advice is maybe start with Letterboxing. Mixing Art (making your own stamp) with a treasure hunt. We did it with our girl scout troop (6 year olds). The clues were in a form of a story and you didn't need a GPS device. The girls loved listening to the story and doing what the story said. You can also make your own log book. The treasure you find is another stamp that you use to stamp in your book to know which letterboxes you have done. At the end you have a collection of many different stamp prints!

  2. I'm intrigued by this, but I don't think there are very good options in our neck of the woods.

  3. I have heard about this before, but didn't really understand it. It sounds fun!

  4. Looks like great fun!
    We've thought about trying geocaching
    and there is a few caches in our area, so we might have to get our hands on a gps ;)

  5. We haven't done Geocaching, but have done Letterboxing for almost 2 years now and LOVE it!! I use AtlasQuest to find and log all of our clues and I love looking back through our stamp journal checking out our journeys. SO so awesome :) You need to try it instead ;) <3 If you have any ??'s about it, just ask me!

  6. I laughed at your steps! We do letterboxing instead and my husband takes the lead for that and I pretty much did follow your steps for that. LOL

  7. I greatly enjoyed how you wrote about your Geocatching adventure! I have been interested in this also, but more on the Letter Boxing side of things...I think you have inspired me to grab the family and go exploring this summer...

  8. Aww, I am sorry you didn't find the second one!! That can be so frustrating! But I have to agree that letterboxing might be better. We did that for one summer and we had such a great time, found all but one or two. The site-AtlasQuest- mentioned in another comment- is the best. It is regularly updated to confirm which boxes are active and which aren't. Hope you try again soon! Good luck!

  9. Oh, what a beautiful park, Mandy! We've never been geocaching, not sure summer would be the best time for it around here. :) But I know people do it here, so we'll have to keep it in mind for the cooler season.

    Drayken is getting so big! He's losing his baby face!

  10. It's on my list for this summer, too! (Well, it has been for a couple of years, but I'm really doin' it this year!! :)

  11. Really interesting. I must give some thought to us doing this.

  12. Though I know that lots of families enjoy this activity, I just haven't had any desire to do it. Don't really know why...maybe one day. :)


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