The Game, the Hobby, the Family Activity – Geocaching   Leave a comment

Greetings All,

It was a delightful August summer day. Plans had been made for this day, my birthday (August 7th),  to have a relaxing day at the house with friends and family. The birthday boy declined the usually dining at a restaurant in lieu of a greater amount of time to spend with family and friends in a more relaxed environment.

The afternoon progressed and many guest arrived. Conversations began along with the cooking. The men seem to gather near the gun range, while the women stayed near the food preparations area.  When the time arrived, all were called to the food area for a prayer to bless the food. A prayer blessing the food is offered to our Lord, and the eating began. After the eating slowed, the arrival of a few gifts was bestowed upon the birthday boy. My mother had purchased a special item and gleamed with excitement.

I found before me a nice printed gift bag with white thin paper filling the top. In my atypical joking fashion, I thanked mom for the delightful bag and assured her I would put it to good use. She promptly said, “Oh, come on Jeff… open it” and gave a light punch to the shoulder as an encourager. I removed the white paper to reveal an item I have thought about for a few years but never gave serious consideration to. As I peered over the side of the bag, my hand drifted in the gift bag to retrieve the new item. The removal of my hand from the bag brought a “Wow, a new GPS.” from my lips. I scan the packaging and simply stare at the new GPS device for a minute. The appearance is similar to an iPhone, as it is slender and has a large screen.

Many who know me are well aware of the fact I have a bit of trouble from time to time in my geographical navigational skills. Some go as far as to say I am a charter member of the See America Unintentionally Club. Okay, there is no denying that I get lost more frequently than I like. However, now sitting at the picnic table and holding the GPS device assured me I will be able to turn in my membership to the SAU Club.

As many of you know, there is a sport (or game, depending on how you look at it) named Geochaching. As one individual states, geocaching uses multimillion dollar government satellites for a modern-day treasure hunt. For more information on Geocaching, go to the site and see how this fun sport works (www.geocaching.com).

After the wonderful birthday, the next day I torn into the package like a starving man on a Christmas ham. At first, the Garmin Nuvi 3760 does have the appearance of an iPhone; however, it does not function anything like an iPhone. After quickly scanning the owner’s manual in ten different languages, I found I did not need to waste my time with such trivial items. I charged the Garmin GPS and began downloading Geocaching GPS points. I wanted to see if this would fulfill the family activity section in which I had been searching for.

With the GPS coordinates loaded, I grabbed my vehicle keys, the GPS, and Cameron and I hopped in the truck and tore out. Speeding down the driveway at mach 1, the dust storm traveled for an estimated two miles. I hit the end of the driveway, punched the gas and squealed the tires. I gripped the steering wheel of the side-drifting truck, straightened it up after about 100 yards of laying black marks and I was on my way! I pushed a few buttons on the sleek new GPS and it began its conversation.

Cameron and I arrived at the coordinates, hopped out of the vehicle, and began our search. The printed form of the geochache stated the cache was a magnetic key holder. Cameron and I watched GPS intently. The dot moved closer and farther to our destination. In surveying the dead-end road, Cameron and I found several possible positions for a magnetic item; however, only one would bring home the win. Ten minutes into the hunt, an old truck approached from a driveway to the left of where I had parked. The man stopped at the gate, opened the gate and drove through. When getting back out to close the gate, a puzzled look came to his face. He glanced at me, glanced at my GPS, and back at me. He said “Can I help y’all with sumpen?” I told him we were looking for a cache using my GPS. He stated he did not know what a cache was but it was not down his drive way. I agreed and proceeded with my intense hunt. The gentleman drove away with a continued puzzled look on his face. After about twenty minutes of turning over rocks, checking in a large drain pipe, the cache was found on a metal guard rail. Filled with excitement, I signed the log, exclaimed to Cameron, “Load her up buddy! We are heading home!” I squalled sideways and made the journey back home to share the experience with my wife.

Now, some many weeks later I have found the entire family enjoys going out and finding a few caches together. My wife Dawn has even found it to be a great deal of fun riding along with the boys and I. My desire has been to have an activity for the family that meets a certain set of criteria. First, it must be cheap to do (short or long-term) if it is to be done on a frequent basis. Second, everyone must enjoy the activity and must enjoying interacting in the said activity. Third, the activity must be able to be completed by every member of the family so all are able to interact and enjoy the fun. Finding an activity meeting this set of criteria has been difficult. However, the search has ended with the gift of the GPS and geocaching.

Below are some photos of caches that all of us have found.

Cameron and Dalton hold a geocache

Dalton’s first geocache find

The trio out finding a difficult cache. 🙂

The Difficult Cache

The best part about geocaching is it is very flexible and caters to all ages. A few caches just Cameron and I have searched for and found together. There have been other caches where the entire family went after church and found a couple. The amount of caches to find is not set. If one decides to find ten in one day, he/she can. If there is only one cache desired for a brief time frame, one can complete the goal.

Also, geocaching is meant to explore the area and see new sites and/or learn a bit of history. For example, Cameron and I searched for two virtual caches on my lunch hour last week. One was on Lebanon square and had Cameron and I read about the history of General Patton relating to Lebanon.

It has now moved into our family putting out our own caches. I decided I wanted to put out a few and see how it went. I decided on a theme of Franklin Road to which I would put out a few caches down Franklin Road. I put the caches in certain spots where other caches are able to see certain sites along the way. In obtaining the five caches in the series, one will see the Gore Castle, zebras, beautiful country pastures, and a peaceful drive.

The next planned series are three extreme caches. The plan is to create three caches that are a 5 out of 5 in difficulty for finding. These three (three representing the Trinity) caches will blend in with the environment every well and will be very difficult. Why? That is part of the fun, the hobby, the obsession of geocaching.

Blessings,
Jeff

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Posted August 29, 2010 by avv604 in General, Geocaching

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