This year my wife, Brooklynn, and I decided to try out Geocaching with my son, Daxton. Since we live near a lake and frequently spend our summers camping, it seemed like a fantastic way to explore nature and the wilderness.
We had noticed a few other parents posting about their experiences and I, as with most people, have a fascination with uncovering the unknown. Dreaming of uncovering a treasure chest or stumbling across a long lost bandit cache still manages to creep into my head, even as a 36 year old man-child. I didn’t have too many illusions of finding actual treasure, but hunting something down using a handful of clues seemed like the next best thing.
Once the decision was made, I downloaded the Official Geocaching app on my phone and filled Daxton’s head with all of the possibilities of treasure that we might find in our first cache. I was shocked to learn that thousands of these caches lie within 15 miles of home. We narrowed down our first target to a small butterfly park near Saylorville Lake and I set out with my boy. Without knowing exactly what to expect, Dax and I dodged some bees and parted the flowers looking for our treasure chest. I soon noticed the app calibrating a bit better and pointing us to a small foot bridge. With a little guidance my son was on his hands and knees peering under the bridge until he wildly exclaimed, “DAD! I see something!”.
Sure enough, we found our first cache, and it was instant satisfaction for both of us. I no longer recall exactly what his prize was, but we ended 2018 finding 64 caches across 13 states.
Geocaching gave us a family activity that kept us outdoors and encouraged us to explore places we normally wouldn’t even notice. It provided breaks during our many road trips and has helped teach my son about sharing and leaving things in better condition then when we found them. We even found a few trackables that are expected to be carried to other caches and can be viewed online to see where they have already been. More than a couple trackables traversed half a dozen states before finding a new home in an obscure corner of the country.
Overall, this has been one of the most rewarding activities that we have done with our kids. I am sure we will break our record in 2019 and hopefully will be able to create out own cache or two.
If you are interested in geocaching or just want to find some activities that don’t involve playing video games, I highly recommend checking it out. While my kids love finding little prizes inside caches, they are just as enthusiastic about adding their own little items for the next person to find. If you need more reasons, check out this handy guide, 15 reasons to love geocaching.