I admit, as a kid living in both New England and Tennessee, I enjoyed roaming through my neighborhoods or the woods around my houses and just “exploring,” trying to find “treasures” or hidden gems left behind by someone before me. What kid really doesn’t love a good scavenger or treasure hunt, right?
Fast forward about, oh, 35 years and the excitement that this 40-something year old wife and mom had when I found out about “Geocaching” was a little silly. I’ve grown up, been married for over 21 years, raised two children, and the sound of this “game” was exciting to me, I admit. The simplicity of getting out into the community or roam through a hiking trail to play a game made me happy.
For some of you, you may still be at a slight loss for what I’m writing about. So, you ask, “what is Geocaching?” Taken straight from their official website, they describe Geocaching is “a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.” Sounds simple, right? Almost boring, maybe? Absolutely not! And the history about it is too much for me to try to summarize, so I now direct you here.
Once I understood more about this game, I immediately downloaded the free app, searching for geocaches near our home and favorite vacation spots. I was shocked to see just how vast this game is - how many hidden “treasures” there are literally across the globe! The Geocaching website states that there are over 2.5 million cache’s hidden and 6 million geocachers world-wide! Hidden high in mountains, or as nearly-obvious as a local Wal-Mart, they’re everywhere. (If you upgrade your app, you are able to see even more hidden cache sites, but even the free app provides HOURS and hours of searching fun!) For example, if you search just for Daphne’s zip code, the game will produce 284 cache’s for you to search for, Fairhope search 194, and Spanish Fort 273… that’s over 750 cache’s just on the Eastern Shore! Caches come in all sizes, shapes and difficulty-in-finding levels. Personally, our family has found cache’s as small as a a very large pill and as large as a peanut butter jar, but we’re anxious to see what other shapes and sizes we come across.
I have found a new hobby, a game to be played for years and years to come (and here’s the important word here, folks…) with my teenage girls, husband, friends, and one day maybe even grandchildren. It’s a way to separate yourself from your laptop, from Netflix, and to get out and enjoy the great outdoors for a good, old fashioned treasure hunt! AND (don’t tell the kids this part), but often times there’s a bit of history teaching in a find, and we have a lot of that in our community.
So, if you’re looking for something fun to do with your significant other, your kids, or your best friend, download the Geocaching app (or log onto their website), view the cache locations, and pay close attention to the hints they provide to you. You won’t be disappointed. And please tag us in your Geocaching photos that you post on Facebook - we'd love to see them!
Happy Caching, Y’all!
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