Sunday, December 09, 2007

Geocaching

Today I finally made good on my plans to take the kids geocaching. I've had a GPS for almost a year now. I bought it for a bunch of reasons, but one was to go geocaching with the kids, particularly our oldest. We tried one cache at Lake Park a little while ago but weren't ready to stomp through the brush off-trail to find it.

So this afternoon I set out with both kids and a GPS loaded with cache coordinates. We went to Lake Rogers Park, a nice but pretty undeveloped park near us. There is a cache right near the trailhead, but we never found it after two passes. It was awfully busy so we kept having to stop searching. We'll get it eventually.

We finally found our first cache about 1/6th of the way around the loop trail. We walked past it twice before we found it. An ammo can full of bandaids. We signed the log, took a picture, and kept hunting. But we finally found one.

The second cache was another ammo can. This is the one the kids won't stop talking about because it had toys in it. I'd only remembered to bring one McDonald's toy, so I only let them trade it for one thing. Now they make me carry a half-dozen toys in case we find another one where we can trade.

The next cache was a two-part cache. The first part was just a laminated tag that gave the location of the second part, which was further around the loop trail. By the time we'd gotten close to it, we needed to hustle if we were gonna get out of the park by dark, so we only got the first part for now.

We passed two other caches that we couldn't find after a good bit of searching, but we did find one more small one. We barely made it out of the park by dark.

So we had our first geocaching success. The kids enjoyed it and barely seemed to notice the miles they put in hiking. They definitely want to do it again.

I was surprised how difficult it was, because the GPS could rarely get a precision better than 20 feet. So if I was supposed to be right on top of the cache, it could be anywhere within 20 feet of me. That doesn't sound like much until you're looking for a microcache the size of a keychain or you're in thick woods.
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