My First Geocaching Experience Will Not be My Last

An activity for travelers of all ages

Image from auhtor’s photo album

We awoke in Desert Cypress RV Park in Wickenburg, Arizona this morning to a warm breeze and a beautiful sunrise. My husband sat reading a book on his Kindle as I downloaded an app on geocaching, an activity I had heard about but knew very little. Surprised at the simplicity of the task, I looked at the map connected to the app on my iPhone. It immediately identified my location and icons identified three geocache locations in less than two miles. Exciting!

Image from auhtor’s photo album — picture of Geocach App

As it was 6:30 a.m., I was unsure how my suggestion would be received but I asked anyway, “Hon, would you indulge me?” That earned me a raised eyebrow as my husband looked up over the rim of his glasses. With that question, I warned him that another hairbrained idea brewed.

“What are you wanting to do, now?”

“Let’s go find a geocache.”

“Why would we do that?”

“I said, humor me.”

Five minutes later we climbed in our Mini Cooper as I explained what we were doing and where we were going. We watched an awesome sunrise and took a short stroll. Excellent morning activity. I even took my coffee and our dog.

Image taken from auhtor’s photo album

Geocaching is like a scavenger hunt. Somebody hides a box and places items for other explorers to discover. The idea is to follow the map, find the box and sign your name on a list contained in the cache. The expectation is that you take an item from the box and in return, add an item. So simple, kind of silly, but really fun — for me. I liked knowing in some strange way a bond developed between me and someone I would never meet. It made the world seem smaller.

Randy didn’t get it at first, but he drove while I offered directions. Being directionally challenged, he usually doesn’t follow my lead, but this system was infallible. On my phone the app displayed a line showing our location in relationship to the treasure. As we approached closer, a car icon moved along the line. On the top of the display a measurement in feet announced the distance. When we climbed out of the car, the numbers decreased with each step, taking us 97 steps into the desert.

With a grimace, Randy warned me to watch out for rattlesnakes, but he accompanied me on the adventure. In fact, he first spied the cache and seemed quite proud when he announced, “There it is.”

Image taken from auhtor’s photo album

I started to think we might need a shovel but sitting in front of a bush sat metal art attached to a metal box with a brick on top to secure the contents from the weather. The container opened easily. I withdrew a small, plastic owl and left a pair of sunglasses given to us as advertising. I am hooked! Not because I expect to find anything of great value but for the adventure.

Image taken from auhtor’s photo album

When traveling, we need short breaks to stretch our legs and wake our minds. Gas stations are a bore, and my waistline can only tolerate so much ice cream. When the kids were young and they traveled with us, we stopped at so many parks with swing sets and slides that it was mind numbing. If geocaching existed then, I didn’t know about it but wish I had. It would have been fun as well as educational providing us something unusual to do while providing a topic for discussions. In fact, geocaching will be a great activity with the grandchildren. Fun for all ages, great for a budget as it requires zero financial investment other than gas . . . and if you are traveling anyways, a perfect opportunity to explore.

I encourage my RV friends to download the free app and experience a new way to sightsee.

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