For just about any kid (and kid-turned-adult), the prospect of finding a long-lost buried treasure is enough to ignite the dormant discovery cells that must certainly be awaiting the challenge to explore.
Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) is a free game where people seek out containers, or caches, that hold something inside them, which have been put in a hidden spot by other people. This game of discovery is usually an outdoor activity, although on occasion, the cache might be hidden inside a building (with permission).
Without getting too technical, which can take the fun out of the game for beginners, the search for a cache is best begun by finding a spot to hunt near a place where you are, or are planning to go. Or, you can be spontaneous and do a cache search using an ap on your smart phone. (Google geocaching).
www.geocaching.com has a wealth of information on how to get started and the rules of the game, for a more in-depth study of how geocaching works. (You will have to register to get the free ap, but the information requested is the usual request ofr email address and name.)
Getting started is as simple as downloading the ap, clicking on the icon, and then choosing 'Navigate to Geocache.' The ap gives a list of nearby geocaching sites. The next most helpful detail is reading the 'description' of the cache that's located at each of the different sites. Terrain, difficulty, and size of the cache are explained here to help you decide which site is worth your time and effort. A 'compass' helps you determine how close or how far away you are from the cache once you've arrived at the site.
Word of warning: On a recent trip to the Outer Banks, I got within 15 feet of the cache, but with flip-flops and bare hands, getting through the brush and thorns proved to difficult to explore closer, so I had to turn away. So, if you decide to go off geocaching, pay attention to the terrain description.
Now that the thrill of a new ap on my iPhone is at hand, and I'm back home with hiking shoes, gardening gloves, and baseball cap within easy reach, I've discovered over 20 geocaching sites located within five miles of where I live. And varying degrees of difficulty and cache sizes. Looks like baseball and Ironbirds play a role somehow.
With fall temperatures still friendly enough to spend time outdoors, what better opportunity to have some family time with the kids and explore your neighborhood before old man winter coats the terrain with layers of frozen earth and, dare I say it, snow? And remember, even if you don't find the cache, often the journey is the reward.
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