One of my favorite activities is geocaching. I can be a bit fanatical about it, as described here when we scramble to be “first to find” a new geocache in our neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know what it is, geocaching is high-tech treasure hunting. We use our iPhone to seek out containers of all sizes (from ones the size of your pinkie fingertip to huge boxes, see pictures below) in various locations (from within our neighborhood to across the world, in great urban sprawls or deep in the wilderness).
Sometimes we just sign the log and replace it. Other times we also trade trinkets or we may pick up or leave a travel bug or geocoin. Then we go online and share our experiences with the geocaching community. It’s a great family activity. It adds some fun and excitement to what could otherwise just be a “boring” outing according to the kids. It also often brings us to places we would otherwise not have visited or even known about.
This past weekend a friend and I had the opportunity to introduce geocaching to a few families from our school. We planned the event at Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades. It’s the perfect setting for such an activity. In the middle of our urban sprawl is this beautiful escape into the wilderness. There’s a moderate 3-mile loop hike to Inspiration Point which offers fabulous views of the coast and the city. The trails are wide and the kids can run freely. Most importantly, there are several geocaches already hidden in the area.
Our “party” started with a picnic lunch where we explained the basics of geocaching. But since there’s no better way to learn about geocaching than actually doing it, we quickly divided up into two groups and went in opposite directions on the trail to Inspiration Point.
Out of the five geocaches we had on our list do with the families, we were successful with four of them. Sadly, one had disappeared in the last few days. All that was left was the imprint of the container. It was too bad because it was a big one with lots of room for tradeable trinkets. Also, according to its log, it even had some trackable items in it which are now missing, much to the disappointment of their owners, I’m sure.
For us, a highpoint of the geocaching party was setting two of our own travel bugs loose. We created an “Ahsoka Tano” travel bug whose goal is to travel to Westport, Connecticut to meet up with my sister and her family. We also created a “Luke Skywalker” travel bug whose goal is to make it to Oslo, Norway to meet up with my parents. Once these travel bugs make it to a geocache in their respective cities, my sister and parents will head out with their gps devices to retrieve them. My only fear is that the travel bugs will go missing either when a geocache goes missing, as happened here at Will Rogers Park, or when somebody doesn’t log the activity properly. But we’ll stay positive and look forward to following their progress across the country and world.
You can follow their progress, too, if you’re interested.
Check on Ahsoka Tano’s progress from Los Angeles to Westport, CT here.
Check on Luke Skywalker’s progress from Los Angeles to Oslo, Norway here.
Wish them luck!