The Daily Beet

13 Feb Hiking with a purpose!

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We continue our series on different ways to get active. Today we hear from E2-er Keith about geocaching! He got us totally hooked, we decided to try it out over the weekend and had an absolute blast! Definitely a fun way to get moving.
Hiking with a purpose!

You awake to the sound of your daughter’s voice. “Mom, Dad! It’s time to get up!” The clock reads 5:45 a.m. – 30 minutes before sunrise. The three of you dress quickly, rush out the door, and pile into the minivan. The grass is wet with dew, and steam is rising from the water as you arrive at the lake just as the sun appears over the horizon. Your daughter pauses at the trail head to peer at the GPS receiver dangling from the lanyard around her neck. “The coordinates are three tenths of a mile that way,” she says, pointing to the path ahead. The three of you walk briskly along the trail. “One tenth of a mile,” she calls out as your pace quickens. “200 feet… 100 feet… 50 feet.” You pause at “25 feet” as the GPS pointer turns 90 degrees off the trail. Your daughter is the first to spot the faint path into the woods. She dives into the underbrush. Crouching, the two of you follow. By the time you arrive at the gnarled roots of an ancient tree, your daughter has the prize in her hand – a camouflaged metal container with a familiar green sticker labeled GEOCACHE. The three of you open the container together to find a few small trinkets and a blank logbook. High-fives are exchanged as you realize you are the “FTF” (First To Find) the cache. After signing the log and replacing the container, your daughter casually comments, “There are three more caches on this trail.” You smile. What the heck, the day is young!

“Geocaching” has been described as “hiking with a purpose” and is a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors with family of all ages. Geocaches are hidden all over the world, in both rural and urban areas. In fact, there are likely caches hidden right in your own neighborhood – possibly within walking distance of your home. To find geocaches near you, simply sign up for a free account on the website. The site allows you to view maps and download coordinates to geocaches. You can even download a free geocaching app to your GPS enabled smart phone.

Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes, and can be quite challenging to find. While some are bucket-sized or larger, there are many smaller than a thimble – barely large enough to hold a tiny rolled log sheet. The larger geocaches generally contain trade items – usually childrens’ toys or other “SWAG” (Stuff We All Got). The rule is to replace anything you remove from the cache with an item of equal or greater value. The geocache listing includes information about the size and difficulty ratings of each cache.

Geocaching isn’t just about finding little treasure boxes in woods. It’s also about getting away from your TV, computer, or game console. It’s about being physically active, getting out into the real world, and sharing experiences with family and friends. One of the most common statements made by geocachers is, “I would never have known this place existed if it were not for geocaching!”

-Keith

Are you a geocacher? What got you started?

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Engine 2 Team
Engine 2 Team

The Engine 2 Team is dedicated to helping you become plant-strong! Each of us are on the plant-strong journey right along side of you!

  • Keith

    Recently started geocaching myself. Don’t care for the micros or nanos (aka Lucky Charms), but thoroughly enjoy seeing new places and perspectives enroute to/from some of the more realistic “hides.” A friend from church got me started and now I am “all-in” for caching! 8)

  • Amy Erdman

    I do not do this kind of hunt, me and my children do letterboxing 3 out of the 4 seasons. with letterboxing you follow printed clues and place a stamp in the found box and add their stamp to your book then rehide and be on your way. we love it is has brought us to many beautiful places we never would have gone to other wise :O)

  • sharyn

    My husband and I have been geocaching since 2003. It’s a great family activity. We’ve also met lots of great people through this activity. Geocaching also got us to be more active- first walking in parks, then hiking. We even got bikes and use them to go geocaching on “Rails to Trails” path. Geocaching is a fun and “techie” way to get up off the couch and MOVE.

  • http://www.omnivorerunner.com Rachel

    Geocaching is fun! We have been geocaching for a number of years now – and have found caches in caves, on beaches, at the top of a mountain, in any number of forests – the list goes on and on! It’s a great excuse to get yourself outside and do something fun (and see new places)! We already had a GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 405 and now 310XT) – that we use for running – so we didn’t need any additional GPS equipment.
    The kids love it!

  • Dina O’.

    This sounds like a lot of fun! We will definitely need to try this as the weather warms up a little more here in MA.