‘Cache’ Me If You Can

A few years ago I read about Geocaching, an outdoor treasure hunt that goes on around the world.  The caches are hidden literally all around us and we need only log onto the website and create a free account to start the adventure.

The little dots represent caches hidden near my house along the Jersey shore. This image covers an almost 85-mile radius of Asbury Park, NJ, stretching into PA, NY, CT, and Long Island. There are oodles of them just waiting to be discovered!

Over the weekend, I took my 5-year-old nephew hunting with me up near his house.  We started with an easy cache–they are rated for size and difficulty–and I didn’t know what to expect.  After an hour of traipsing through a field and some trees with the help of my iPhone, we were no closer to finding the box than when we started.  Feeling a bit let down, we vowed to come out again in the morning to find the cache.  As we headed back toward the car, my nephew spotted the cache by chance.

Our first cache--so exciting!

After we signed the log book, my nephew asked if we could go out again in the morning.  I spent some time that night looking for some easy caches in the neighborhood and came up with two.  We headed out pretty early, but after two hours of searching, we came up empty handed.  It dawned on me that it might be easier to work with the coordinates (latitude and longitude) on my phone’s GPS, so I downloaded an App*, and we tried again.  No dice.  Finding four-leaf clovers quickly took precedence.

Aunt Nat, I'm going find you a four-leaf clover...or maybe just a three-leaf one.

We returned home for lunch and convinced my sister to come out and hunt with us.  I guess she was our lucky charm (or at least daring enough to climb a rocky path) and found victory–a cache inside an old ammo box.

V for Victory!

After this cache, we headed a few miles away for another one which was found quickly.  We signed the log book, but my nephew reneged on his plan to swap a treasure with one of his own small toys (some caches have little items that can be swapped or carried to other caches).

On Saturday, Ant and I found two caches locally and it made for a nice day out.  Geocaching is a great way to get outside and sate your treasure hunting urges.

Is anyone else out there in book-land doing some Geocaching?  Have you ever hidden a cache?  If you’re interested in learning more about the hobby, check out the website.  It’s really a great adventure and perfect for weekends or summer days.

*I originally downloaded Motion GPS but later went with the free trial of the Geocaching App which was much better.  Just be sure to shut the program down when not hunting or it will drain your phone’s battery in a flash.

20 Comments

  • At 2012.04.24 20:44, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

    We’ve never done it but it sounds like fun!
    bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last [type] ..Review: Tabloid City

    • At 2012.04.25 06:24, Natalie said:

      it’s really fun and not just for kids! ant and i had as good of a time as my nephew and i did. :)

    • At 2012.04.24 22:05, Steph said:

      I’ve never heard of this but it sounds like fun! It seemed a bit strange to me that the game would rely so much on using GPS to get you to the cache, but given how hard it was to find your treasures without it, I guess it makes sense. Do you see more treasure hunting in your future?
      Steph´s last [type] ..Introducing Twenty Years Hence

      • At 2012.04.25 06:23, Natalie said:

        steph,
        it’s so much fun–i’m surprised you haven’t done it because it seems like something you’d be interested in. as for finding the cache, you definitely need GPS help or you’ll be casting about for days. some of the caches are TEENY–like the size of a film container–and hidden cleverly. the gps gets you within several feet, but you still have to hunt. there are also encrypted clues to decipher which offer veiled clues as to the location. one cache we hunted was at a beach and the clue was ‘not a buried treasure’. we ended up finding it hidden underneath the boardwalk, tucked in a little nook. my gps told us we were within 12 feet but it still took a while of searching.

        one of the coolest things is that sometimes you’ll find a cache with ‘trackables’–objects with codes on them that need to be moved to other caches. the trackables will sometimes have a destination–move this trackable through 5 countries, or get this trackable from coast to coast–and you take it along, log it online, and then deposit it in another cache for another hunter to find and move. there are geocaches from antartica to around the globe. it’s especially fun for travelers! try it out–there are probably ones within a mile or two of your house. you can use a garmin/tom tom gps or a phone.

      • At 2012.04.25 09:26, Jac @ For Love and Books said:

        We did Letterboxing for awhile, which is much the same concept (only no coordinates) and I really liked it. I keep thinking I should do something like this now that my little one is a bit older and would understand it more!!

        I think I’ll have to check out the website, maybe I’ve found something for us to do this week :D
        Jac @ For Love and Books´s last [type] ..Review: Supergirl Mixtapes by Meagan Brothers

        • At 2012.04.25 09:52, Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said:

          A friend introduced me to this last year and my two boys (4 and 6) love it! It is a great way of persuading them to come and walk the dog with me :-) Unfortunately most of the caches near me are micro ones, but when ever we go somewhere new we look for the big ones – my boys love swapping things.
          Jackie (Farm Lane Books)´s last [type] ..The 2012 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Shortlist

          • At 2012.04.25 16:05, Kathleen said:

            I’ve never heard of this before but it sure sounds and looks like it is FUN!
            Kathleen´s last [type] ..Bookish Links for Friday

            • At 2012.04.25 20:03, Christy @ The Daily Dish said:

              Like Jac, we also do letterboxing. Friends from Philly got us hooked while visiting a couple summers ago. It’s a very similar concept, but we enjoy it far more because there’s no GPS involved, just clues to lead you. Letterboxing revolves around homemade stamps. Instead of trinkets, you exchange stamps – stamp theirs in your own book, leave yours in the guest book. Sometimes a location will have a single stamp, but often there are many, all built around a united theme. Our favorites so far have been the Peanuts characters, and the characters from Miyazaki’s movies. If you want to check it out, we use AtlasQuest.com !

              XOXO

              • At 2012.04.25 20:36, Belle Wong said:

                This sounds like such fun! And now that the weather is getting warmer, it sounds like a perfect outdoor activity. Kind of like a treasure hunt. I’ll definitely have to look into it – it sounds like something my 8 year old would enjoy.
                Belle Wong´s last [type] ..That Whole “Time Flies” Thing, Writing Mojo, and Stephen King

                • At 2012.04.25 21:37, Colleen said:

                  I worked with two people who did geocaching and when we traveled to Capetown for business they decided to look for some on Table Mountain. I went along and we got lost on the mountain for nine plus hours – I thought I was never going to get back! But it makes for a good story . . .

                  Haven’t thought much about geocaching since then but I think it is something my nephew would enjoy – I’ll have to look into it for my next visit to him.
                  Colleen´s last [type] ..Review and Giveaway: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

                  • At 2012.04.25 22:45, Jenna Myhre said:

                    I’ve always been interested in this but never actually given it a go.. May have to convince the hubby to give it a try this weekend!

                    • At 2012.04.26 12:55, Ti said:

                      What do they hide in those boxes? Or is it just the log to sign your name?
                      Ti´s last [type] ..Review & Tour: The Iguana Tree

                      • At 2012.04.26 18:08, Jenners said:

                        I have a friend who does this out in Oregon and I’ve always meant to try it. I think my son would love the treasure hunt aspect, my husband would love the “tech” aspect and I’d just be glad to get out of the house. Thanks for the inspiration. Since I live so close to you, I know there are many in the area!
                        Jenners´s last [type] ..What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

                        • At 2012.04.28 21:38, stacybuckeye said:

                          I’ve never heard of this and it looks so cool! A great activity to get us out of the house if the weather ever turns nice again.
                          stacybuckeye´s last [type] ..Delirious, by Daniel Palmer

                          • At 2012.04.29 02:53, Jess - A Book Hoarder said:

                            I keep saying that I want to try this but still haven’t. maybe tomorrow will be the day. I’ll just drag my husband out and force him to have fun. :)
                            Jess – A Book Hoarder´s last [type] ..And the Stars Aligned!

                            • At 2012.05.01 15:26, Meg said:

                              Awesome! I’d never heard much or tried Geocaching until a few months back. A friend of Spencer’s was in town, so we met up for lunch and a little hunting. He’s quite into Geocaching . . . and it was so fun! We found four or five caches in Alexandria, Va. I got spoiled, though; Dan was a pro who found the caches easily. Out on my own, I’m not quite as talented. Practice makes perfect, I suppose!
                              Meg´s last [type] ..Simple, delectable almond bars

                              • At 2012.05.29 23:49, Natalie said:

                                wow, i just saw your own post about geocaching from back in march–sandy had it linked on her site! too funny that we both heard about it a while ago and only got to it recently. :)

                              • At 2012.05.02 16:17, Brian B said:

                                I’ve been looking into this geocaching thing myself lately. Still not sure when I’ll get the time but it looks like a great way to get outside and have a blast doing things with the family..
                                Brian B´s last [type] ..Our Song: The Story of O Canada: The Canadian National Anthem

                                • At 2012.05.08 14:54, toothybooks said:

                                  i’ve read a book about geocaching and always wanted to do it, but i’ve actually never done it myself. of course i can see myself wandering around in the forest for hours and coming up empty handed. i just hope i’ll be able to find my way home. i have a terrible sense of direction.
                                  toothybooks´s last [type] ..Review: A Prayer for Owen Meany

                                  • At 2012.05.24 12:28, Kari said:

                                    This is the second thing I’ve read about Geocaching recently—enough to make me check out the iPhone app at least! Sounds like a fun summer activity.
                                    Kari´s last [type] ..Fiction | Why Thirteen Reasons Matter