Friday, July 16, 2010
Family Friday - Geocaching
Several years ago I was introduced to geocaching as a new camp activity. I immediately recognized it as something that my techno loving hubby, who prefers to have a purpose for wandering around in the woods would latch onto. So, we borrowed a GPS and on a mutal day off - looked for a few local caches - even after a combination of hits and misses we were hooked.
So - for those not "in the know"...
What is Geocaching?
Handheld gps units are by far the most effective tools. We have never had any luck with our Garmin Nuvi (in the car) in getting to the actual cache site (referred to by cachers as "ground zero or gz"} However, in areas we are not familiar with, the Nuvi has been very helpful in maneuvering streets, or getting us on the right side of bodies of water, etc.
As the video suggests - the coordinates merely get you in the general area - coordinates are considered accurate within about 30 feet. Considering that the person that placed the cache could be off by up to 30 feet and the person placing could be off by up to 30 different feet - it can be a bit of a search sometimes. Add in the fact that sometimes weather or people move caches from their original location and sometimes it gets interesting. Caches can be as small as a penciltop eraser (nanos) or as big as a treasure chest or 10 gallon bucket.
Geocaching is something that our entire family enjoys - The Chewy Kid loves the trading aspect and that is often an incentive to have him clean through several of his small toys! Mr. Chewy and I like the competitive nature, and getting outside and moving - and Chewy Tot - just loves being outside and coming along for the ride. In fact, here is a photo of us after finding the Tot's "first" cache when he was just 1 month 2 days old.
Recently Mr. Chewy and I made a pretty big investment in this hobby - and purchased the following handheld unit:
The Magellean eXplorist GC Handheld Geocaching GPS Navigator is specifically designed for geocaching, and so far - we're still working out the nuts and bolts of it, but am finding it a great tool and are looking forward to the chance to use it even more. One of the great perks with this unit is that it is designed for paperless caching, when it downloads the coordinates for a cache it also imports all the other information on the cache including hints, and logs from those who have previously found the cache - which can be a bit helpful if you are struggling to find a cache. We still kept our older Garmin hand held - as sometimes it will be nice to have a second unit and it will be a great teaching tool.
I realize this was definitely a speed tour through the hobby of geocaching - but encourage you to check out more information at www.geocaching.com. Since it can be an investment to get involved - I think it's a great idea to try to borrow a unit, or tag along with some equipped cachers to give it a try. When you do, maybe we see you out caching!