Monday, April 30, 2012

In search of treasure

What could possibly entice four adults and 8 children to spend their spring break digging through thick brush and traipsing through dense tick-infested forest?   Why on earth would my children ask their grandparents to spend a weekend searching diligently through a thicket of trees near the local Circle K?   Why would anyone dream of hiding a treasure in the humble little park near our home?

The answer to all those strange questions is the same--- GEOCACHING!  

Though it has been around for a long time now, we just recently discovered the wonderfully adventurous world of geocaching.  Several weeks ago we planned a family camping trip with some good friends of ours.  When we met our friends at the camp grounds a little before we could officially set up our tents, they suggested we try a little geocaching.  They had never tried it themselves but had done a little research on it and had downloaded an app for it to their brand new I-phones.   It sounded interesting but would the kids really enjoy following GPS coordinates around the nature park in search of hidden boxes?

We were about to find out.   

            Our friend pulled out his phone and off we went in search of treasure.  The GPS on the phone led us to a grove of trees and within minutes we discovered, hidden on the ground behind the leafy branches, a metal “ammo” box filled with little plastic stuff.  Treasure to be sure!  We signed and dated the log book, stating that we had been there and had successfully achieved the goal of geocaching.  Then the children dug in looking for valuables worth trading.  

Our camp-out lasted two days and in that time we found nine other hidden geocaches.  Then, we spent this past weekend with my parents at their house on beautiful Anna Maria Island.  We hadn’t been geocaching since the camping trip but my parents have I-phones with GPS, just like our friends.....  So, off we went, dragging them along for the fun, in search of more treasure.

There is just something about the hunt, the search, the successful cry of “I found it!” and the moment of joy when the box is opened and the treasure revealed.

In all honesty, I must admit the geocache boxes are not exactly full of riches.  My children have collected a lot of junk from those hidden boxes all over town (of course, we have also left behind a lot of junk, as the point of the treasure is to trade).  And, yet we really have discovered treasure in geocaching.  The treasure of time spent together as a family.  The fun of a hobby we can enjoy all together.   The happy memories we are building along the way.  

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