Now listen up, muggles. You are about to get initiated into a ‘secret’ pastime that is getting more and more popular. With the increase of smartphone technology and easy to use sat-nav apps, I predict this will be a big, big hit this summer. (It’s taking long enough!)
Geocaching can be simply described as ‘high-tech treasure hunting’ using satellite navigation or GPS co-ordinates. You go to http://www.geocaching.com choose a fun place to go, find the satellite coordinates of the hidden treasure box, put them in your sat nav, GPS, and go find it!
You would not believe how many little treasure boxes there are hidden around the world, or indeed your local area. We’ve been geocaching since the babies were tiny, pushing the buggy through inches of mud and up steep hills, all to find a watertight box filled with all kinds of toys, from your cheap cracker toys to marbles and geocoins and Happy meal toys….still not convinced? OK, well, the kids love it!
You get fresh air, exercise, and the chance to discover great new places off the beaten track.
I have just as much fun, if not more, from hiding treasure boxes. I hid two boxes at either end of Meanwood Valley Urban Farm and called them Old McDonalds Farm, the idea being I filled them up with McDonalds Happy Meal toys and children could take their own to swap. I’ve also hidden one that was dolls’ house miniatures (called little treasures, I think.)
Then there’s travel bugs, which get taken from cache to cache on some kind of mission. On behalf of British Thyroid Foundation, I’ve sent a hare and a tortoise on a race up to Edinburgh in time for Gardening Scotland.
I’ve hidden another lovely box of pirate treasure near a pirate ship in a great little playpark near Wetherby. It’s surrounded by quirky shops that used to be underground munitions stores. Now they look like tellytubby land, all rolling hills with doors in them.
Husband loves it because it’s all about the numbers – How many geocaches can we get in a year? How many counties can we cover? How many first to finds (FTFs)? He even has a map and graph and everything! Ah, the geeks will inherit the earth!
The kids love it because they’ll walk for miles for the mere hint of treasure. They take a toy with them to swap with the toys in the box. So before you start thinking “hey, I can get rid of all those rubbish plastic toys!” Think again. It’s super fun though; you may even get a kick out of it yourself.
And I love it because it makes an essentially boring physical activity – walking – into a relatively interesting one, and we’ve found all sorts of weird and wonderful places we would never have known about.
If you want to learn more about this fascinating pastime, go to www.geocaching.com