Monday, July 5, 2010

Treasure Hunt

Since we got a GPS at Christmas-time, Andy has talked quite frequently about geocaching. When he first mentioned it I had no idea what he was talking about and assumed it was one of his nerdy mathmetician/engineer things. But once explained, I got excited about the whole idea. In a nutshell it's a giant treasure hunt. You use GPS coordinates (left on a worldwide GPS website) to locate hidden containers left by other geocachers. Some contain just a piece of paper on which you leave your name, others contain little trinkets; you take one, you leave one. We made a valiant attempt at geocaching back in Utah, which you can read about here, but the snow hindered our adventure.

Andy had the day off, as we prepared to go to the pool a family from our ward called and invited us along on a geocaching adventure. We couldn't turn it down! We really like this family, the husband works in the same lab as Andy, the wife and I get along great and two of their four children (three boys and a baby girl) are the same age as our kids. Perfect! This is a family of experienced geocachers, so we were excited to tag along and see how the pros do it.

Our first "treasure hunt" took us to a historical marker not too far from where we live. It gave clues based based on the markers. The answers to the clues were always numbers, and once we had them all we were able to determine the location of the cache (treasure).

Looking for their next clue

Racing to the next clue

The kids were so excited to find the tiny little container and write their names on it! The next one was pretty similar, but the last one was an actual box with trinkets. Our friends had visited this one before so they let Ava discover the box, oh and when she did, she lit up like a Christmas tree!! The kids frantically opened it and began ravaging the contents for a trinket for each to take home. Ava chose a container of sparkly Silly Putty and Jax a rubber snake. We left several dinosaurs in return (what else!). Up until this point, Jax had been pretty uninterested in the whole process and much preferred to play in the grass or the rocks with his buddy.

Our first cache

The list where we write our names

Searching in the tree for the cache

Choosing their trinkets

My friend and I stood back while the dads and kids did most of the treasure hunting. Sure it was hot, but the nice breeze made it bearable. And even without the breeze I'd do it all again, because now my kids think they're pirates and real treasure hunters, and that is very exciting! I think we've definitely caught the geocaching bug!

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