Hi all! Sorry I’ve been MIA post-wise for the past couple days! I spent this weekend in Long Beach Island for my aunt’s 50th surprise birthday party (my uncle even got a plane to fly over their deck that wished her a happy birthday with a banner, which was awesome), and then I took a trip to my new apartment to move some stuff in before the school year starts at the end of August.
Anyways, I wanted to tell you all about my first geocaching adventure, which was a blast! If you’ve never heard of geocaching, this site gives a great idea of what it’s like. If you want a shorter summary, geocaching is basically an outdoor treasure hunt. People hide containers, notebooks, etc in various places (typically in parks or wooded areas) and it is the geocachers’ job to search for them. If there is a container (that usually holds cute prizes such as action figures, Pokemon cards, etc) you’re supposed to replace the prize(s) with a new prize. For instance, I bought a small nerf football, soft baseballs, and flower shaped colored ice meant for drinks.
Although geocaching was on my bucket list, I was reminded of it after reading an article in Seventeen Magazine (mature, huh?) that gave fun, free/cheap summer date suggestions. The article suggested visiting http://www.geocaching.com and after checking out the site, I realized this adventure would be the next item I’d cross off my bucket list.
I texted my friend Victoria, as I figured geocaching would be right up her alley too; not only does she love and always suggest going on hiking trips, but she is also amazing with maps and directions (I on the other hand, am a space cadet when it comes to both those things). She’d never heard of geocaching, but said it sounded like a lot of fun and that she wanted to come along. I downloaded the free app on my phone and she met up with me at my house the next day to begin our adventure.
I was amazed that within blocks of my house, there are at least five geocaches. For the first one we hunted for, we were directed toward the woods and actually wound up knocking on a woman’s door, explaining what we were doing, to ask if we could take a shortcut through her backyard to get to where the compass was directing us. We later realized that was totally unnecessary, as the geocache was supposedly located in a parking lot we could have driven to; we got a good laugh when someone in the comments section on the website wrote, “Anyone who parks on (the block we parked on) & walks through the woods, rather than driving to the parking lot is an idiot.”
Although the compass told us we were about 30 feet from the geocache, we couldn’t find it and decided to try finding one in the nearby park. Again, we had no luck. For our final try, we walked through a trail behind a local library; this geocache was hidden by a user named LibraryCynthia and although we joked that Cynthia couldn’t let us down, we didn’t find her geocache either.
At this point you’re probably wondering, with such bad luck, why go geocaching? But I am so glad I did; not only was it a lot of fun searching for the geocaches, but it also lead us to some beautiful areas I had never seen before. Although Victoria knew about the course, our final search pointed us toward a cute abandoned golf course near the woods. Our failed finds also caused me to look into what we might have done wrong and I found a solution: all of the geocaches we searched for were microcaches (the smallest size geocache and the most difficult to find).
Online, seasoned geocachers suggest beginners not look for microcaches, as they are small, and therefore, difficult to find. They suggest looking for “medium” or “normal” sized caches instead.
Because Victoria and I hadn’t found any caches, I felt as if I couldn’t officially cross this item off my list. Luckily, a few days later, I told someone I’m close with about our adventure and he asked if we could go when I came to visit.
Yesterday, he and I set off on our new geocache hunt; it was neat doing it in another state. I told him we should only look for medium sized ones to limit frustration, and alas, we found two geocaches! Well, I should say, he found both of them, as I stood a few steps behind still searching; even so, I was psyched! The second one we found was located in a gorgeous park, which included frog-filled lakes, beautiful bridges and scenery, raspberry bushes, and more.
So if you guys want something fun and free to do this summer, I would highly recommend geocaching. The main lesson I learned from this experience was that if you don’t find any caches on your first try, don’t get frustrated (a video I watched about caching gave the same recommendation!) I also learned that aside from the actual cache, the other treasures it lead me toward were these beautiful areas. Geocaching is a great free activity to do if you have kids, but what’s nice about this one is it’s geared toward all ages.
So has anyone else crossed geocaching off their bucket lists or plan on adding this one to their lists? I’d love to hear about your experiences!