Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fair Weather Geocaching

Thursday of last week, the boys NEEDED to go outside and play. By Friday, I NEEDED to go outside and play! We didn't have much time before we got dinner ready. So, we opted for a little geocaching in north Elkhart. Have you been geocaching? Geocachers use GPS devices to find small containers hidden in different areas. For our family, geocaching combines technology (geeky husband!), nature, family time, the thrill of the find, and a little exercise and fresh air. Do you see the small black object in between my son's hands on the guard rail? That's a geocache! In this case it was a small magnetic box with a log sheet inside. Once a geocacher finds a cache, it is signed, replaced, and logged at the website.

Our journeys brought us here . . . do you know where this is? :-) We drive near here a fair amount, but have never scouted Ideal Beach to see what it is really like.

There was even a small miniature golf area. Outside of the area is a geocache in a small Lock & Lock box that contained a few small trinkets for trade and the log book. Basic etiquette says to "trade up" if a person trades for the SWAG contained in a geocache. Try to leave something a little nice than what you take. My kids often clamor for the trinkets--I need to put some in my nature bag and have some ready in the car for when we are out and about.

We tried another geocache nearby, but never found it in these evergreens. Instead, we picked up a fair amount of trash near the road. CITO is an initiative to Cache In Trash Out. Basically, leave the place a little better as you geocache in the area and take any trash you find with you. We try to keep recycled grocery bags with us to help with trash pick up. It also feels good to see the results of our efforts.

We saw berries . . .

And a gall . . .

And had a little horseplay!

This little guy did not want to give up our hunt. We'd checked underneath all the nearby evergreens and in the nooks and crannies for a cache yet it eluded us.

We picked up one more cache on our way home. As you can tell, guard rails are popular places for geocaches. There is usually one in the light fixtures at Wal-mart parking lots, though we prefer a little hike before we find our cache.

Here are some basics on geocaching. We've been doing it for about 5 years now, but have been fair weather cachers. The weather was pretty fair on Friday! What questions do you have about geocaching? We'd be happy to answer them! More to come . . .