Monday, September 2, 2013

Geocaching with the Smiths!

Geocaching has taken the Smiths by storm this last few months!  A super simple way to explain Geocaching is treasure hunting.  That's what Jackson calls it :)  This is a world-wide activity, and there are caches, or treasures, hidden ALL OVER.  Caches are all different sizes--some are even virtual.  Most caches contain some swag--coins, stickers, bubbles, Matchbox cars, pretend bugs, Happy Meal toys, keychains, etc.  Finders are welcome to take something from the cache as long as they leave something.  There is always a log in each cache.  It is a record of each person finding that particular cache.  There is an online log as well.  Josh's profile online keeps track of how many caches he has found so far.  He and Jackson are approaching 150 finds!

Before we even got married, a friend took Josh Geocaching and he thought it was neat.  I thought it would be a great gift idea for Josh to get him a handheld GPS unit for Christmas.  It was, but it wouldn't really get used for a LOOONG time!  We searched for a couple of caches when we still lived in Springfield, but it didn't really grab our attention then either.  For some reason, Josh decided to look into it some more this Spring, and he and Jackson have spent HOURS searching for caches!!!  Josh finds his caches on  
Here is a good example of a typical cache size--a small Tupperware container.  The picture above this one shows Jackson standing by a guardrail.  This small Tupperware was tucked on the backside of it for its hiding spot.  In the woods, shoebox sized caches might be tucked near trees, but covered up strategically with sticks and logs.  We have found others the size of film-canisters or even as small as bullets velcroed or magnet-ed (I don't think those are words) on the bottom of signs, on guardrails, on fences and on street signs.

Josh and I actually started our weekend in the city off with a Geocache find!  It was a bullet-sized little container that was stuck with a magnet to the bottom rung of a fence in Capitol Hill.  Caches that small only contain a tightly rolled strip of paper as the log.  Sometimes you need tweezers to pry out the log!  On our second day, Josh showed me a few different types of caches.
We started with this one.  It was in the drainpipe in the ground!
The pipe was loose, pulled right up, and there was a tube inside!
We opened the larger tube to find the medicine bottle inside.  There was some small swag inside with the log.  I LOVED this find!  It was right in the middle of DC!
This was a second kind we found--a cache hanging from a tree!
This is a virtual cache--we had to find a specific part of the Navy Memorial, and then Josh took a picture of me holding the GPS by that part to add on the online log.  

Josh has started working some puzzle caches--I would never have the patience for those, but he has worked a whole bunch out!  For those, the cache owner does not list the actual coordinates for the cache location.  Instead, the puzzle works out to reveal the coordinates.  There are also trackable items that go from cache to cache.  One person starts it off, sometimes with a goal (like to "see" as many places as possible), and then the different people who find it, move it around to other caches and log the locations online.  

We saw a hilarious bumper sticker the other night that really sums it all up: 

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