Thursday, July 2, 2009

Treasure hunting

Our family has been actively treasure hunting for the past 3 years or so. We haven't found any huge treasure chests filled with gold bullion or precious stones, but we certainly have discovered mini-treasures and have had a lot of fun along the way. Want to learn how to do some treasure hunting with your family? First, you need a GPS unit. Second, you need the appropriate coordinates to find a treasure. Traditionally they are called caches, but I like calling them treasures, mostly because I like pretending I'm a pirate, arrrggg me matey! (just kidding).
Coordinates look like this N 46° 15.099 W 096° 01.684 and can be found for free here. The official term for this activity is "Geocaching" and it is a great family activity and a wonderful way to explore in the outdoors.
We have hiked to some beautiful areas in search of caches. We have also involved extended family and friends in this activity. Some times, we aren't able to locate the cache, but I would say that we are able to about 80%. The caches come in many different sizes from large containers all the way down to tiny little "micro" containers.
When we find a cache, we get to look through all the little treasures within the container. If the kids find something in the container that they want, then they can take it as long as they replace the item with something of similar value.

As part of our geo-cache equipment, we have a backpack with a large one gallon zip-lock bag filled with trinkets and dollar store items which the girls can exchange for other cache treasures. We also carry with us several pencils and pens so that we can sign the log that is also part of the cache.
Even our little dog, Bella, goes with us geo-caching! So far, we have created our own family cache and hid it out on the Central Lakes Trail just outside of Fergus Falls. Whenever someone logs via that they found our cache, we get an e-mail along with any special comments made. We have had over 30+ finds on our cache. To add to the excitement, we offered a roll of times for the person who was the FTF (first to find), which they were able to keep.
Easy Steps to Geocaching
  1. Register for a free membership.
  2. Click "Hide & Seek a Cache."
  3. Enter your postal code and click "search."
  4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
  7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
  8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
There are also fun items called Travel Bugs, which can be found within a cache. These items have special tags attached and have a unique goal established by the person who released them. These items travel from cache to cache moved along by people participating in geocaching.
This weekend we will be releasing Angelique's dolphin travel bug named Isabella. Angelique created this goal for Isabella... "I am a dolphin seeking water. I would like to visit the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and Lake Erie. Please help me to travel." We are looking forward to monitoring Isabella's progress on-line. Hope this helps explain more about why we like treasure hunting.


Anonymous said...

Hey Renae! Great info! Are you going to post this to Facebook? because I have quite a few friends & relatives that would like to know more about Geocaching & I would love to share this with them :)

Anonymous said...

I think this sounds so fun. I looked up some spots near us a little while ago-we do have some. The girls will have to help me. I think there is one just a mile or so from the house. One of the marker types-no treasures. I'm due for a new GPS anyway. I haven't done the research yet-any favorites? I'm used to the Garmin. Hugs-- MB

Lori said...

I wish I had introduced this to my family when my kids were younger. It looks fun.

the mom~ said...

That really looks like a lot of fun, I bet my boys would LOVE this!