In just a few weeks, another school year will kick-off, but there’s still time to fit in more summer activities–or learn a new activity that can be done year round!
About a year ago, our family was looking for a new hobby we could take on together. Remembering back to a game we’d watched a family member do with his kids, we decided to look into geocaching.
Geocaching is “treasure hunting” done by using GPS outdoors. Hunters today use an app on their phone to locate hidden caches waiting to be discovered. A cache is the hidden object–often a waterproof container with a log inside for the hunters to sign upon discovery. Some caches, however, are larger containers with trinkets inside to be exchanged such as coins, matchbox cars, or other small items.
The hiding places and creativity of the cache containers are endless. Our family has found about 30 so far, and we’ve seen all kinds of containers hidden high and low. Many have been hidden hanging in trees or on fences, others in magnetic boxes, fake rock containers, or a favorite of ours–a tiny magnetic silver piece attached to the end of a bolt.
On the app, the caches are rated in terms of size and difficulty. Most of the ones we find are rated a low difficulty of 1 or 2 and even those can sometimes take 20 minutes to find! There are also multi-caches, which lead you through multiple caches until you find the final log. While you are searching, watch out for muggles–people passing by–so that they don’t get a glimpse of the hidden object!
Geocaching has been a great family activity! We’ve set out to specific locations to find caches or we’ve looked on the map as we were in a different town or had a few minutes to spare. But you can literally start right in Henderson. There are multiple sites around town including one site many people walk by every Tuesday at the Farmer’s Market. Once you discover the caches, it’s fun to know most people have no idea these objects are hiding around them. When we covered Henderson, some nearby towns we’ve also gone geocaching at include Bradshaw, Hampton, Aurora, York, Stockham, and Sutton.
It is exciting for the kids to search, but my husband and I have also done it on our own! We’ve even gone around Grand Island on a double date with another couple searching for caches. I have heard of one empty nester couple in Nebraska who sets out each weekend around the state to go geocaching. It really is fun for all ages!
Another benefit is that it is inexpensive. You can get a free version of the app with limited caches listed, but our family chose to pay the $30/year to get full access. Besides gas if you travel, that’s the only cost!
We’ve loved how it has taken us to several historical sites and places we would have never ventured otherwise. Our family visited Nebraska City this summer and one cache was located near the unique grave of J. Sterling Morton, the founder of Arbor Day. There we also visited a bed and breakfast, a beautiful wooded area, and a flower garden because of hidden caches.
While most geocaches around here are pretty simple, there are ones even in Nebraska where you have to rappel off of a bridge to find or one attached to a buoy in the middle of a lake. With 2 million hidden around the world, the adventure never ends!
Get outside, go explore, and have fun with the hunting!
Check out this website for more info: https://www.geocaching.com/play
> Pick a family name you will sign the log with each time
> Take a pen with you when you are hunting
> Keep a few trinkets in your car to leave in a cache if you take from one
> Pay for a subscription to the full app for the most geocaching opportunities
Written by Alyssa Bartek
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