Sunday, July 15, 2012


 A few years ago, my brother Wally bought a GPS device so that he could take our nieces and nephews out geocaching (a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices) whenever they were together and wanted an adventure. I'd never heard of it before and honestly haven't met many people since who are into it, but it was one of those things I mentally stowed away so that when I had kids who were old enough to do it, I'd look into it....and here we are!

Last week I randomly felt inspired to look into how we could make it happen on a limited budget.  At first I tried downloading a free app on my phone, but it just wasn't wanting to work for me so I came across this REI blog post and decided to get the cheapest, simplest one they recommend: the Geomate Jr.  Nathan and I talked it up to Zoe a bit during the week and decided to head out this morning for our first expedition.  After some fumbling and frustration, Nathan figured out a system for us and we spent the whole morning (and then some!) looking for one.  We had 4 or 5 strike outs before we finally scored one and in the process had one of the best family days we've had in a long time.  We were really hot and tired but managed to explore this place in a totally new way for us:  ripping jeans while hopping fences (that would  be me) and climbing huge tree stumps (Nathan and Zoe).   Zoe rode her bike the whole time and although complained quite often (it was really very hot and sunny), was also a complete trooper and willing and enthusiastic team member.  Owen rode along happily in the trailer and despite looking totally overheated, hardly protested at all.  He even helped look for caches whenever we stopped, turning over rocks here and there and saying "Nope!"

All in all a great little investment that I think will give us many family adventures.  Nathan has some ideas that will hopefully make the next outing a little less challenging because honestly, if it's that hard every time I don't think we'll be able to keep the kids on board but even without actually finding the cache at the end (the one we found ended up being only about a half mile from our house!) it was all worthwhile--give it a try!

Other than a bunch of food and water, this is basically what we brought:  A few treasures to possibly use to exchange for an item from the cache we hoped to find, and the Geomate Jr.

We planned to let Zoe lead the way, so she started off with the Geomate in her basket.  Soon after we started, Daddy figured out how to use the damn thing and officially became navigator.

How do you use this thing??

One of many water breaks.  That's our navigator up there in the red shirt.
Our first attempt...

We looked under and behind a whole lot of rocks today...


This happened a lot

"Let's look over here, Owen!"


Our second attempt (where I ripped my jeans)

This was when our camera ran out of batteries, so this normally obsessed picture taker was forced to just take it all in and (heaven forbid) try and just remember the experience and live in the moment.  It was nice to be forced to do so....I do wish I had a picture of Nathan and Zoe searching that huge tree trunk on the creek bank but I'm also glad I was able to really be present in the moment.  Anyway, lucky for us we have great camera phones so we could capture this:


  1. Sarah - glad you had fun! I say give it a bunch of tries... kiddos especially love the *treasure* and we have loved where 'caching has taken us. i feel a bit geeky saying it, but we have geocached in Tokyo and in Ireland too - the journey is definitely the reward - we have seen some amazing places and hidden gems that we otherwise would not have found.- kate emma

  2. ha- the rock! Nope, not there! :)
    wa wa wa! I will so miss you guys.