Hidden Treasure

Geocaching—A Quest for Family Time

The morning air was a bit chilly, but I was ready to get up. The soil beneath the tent seemed to have turned into concrete overnight. Our day was planned out with fun activities, including a family favorite—geocaching. Geocaching is a grown-up version of treasure hunting and hide-and-seek all rolled into one. Usually, some kind of container has been hidden in a real-world, X-marks-the-spot type of place. Wannabe pirates can use their GPS to find treasure. The real fun is in the hunt and thrill of the find. The treasures themselves are often just a notebook and pencil where you can record the date and a message. Some caches are a bit bigger and include a small toy or trinket. Courtesy and the unwritten rule says to take a treasure, you must leave a treasure.

The really cool thing about geocaching is that there are usually far more geocaches in a given area than you may think. Chances are pretty high that there is a geocache within a mile of you right now—maybe more than one (there are seven caches in Voice of America Park). All you need to find them is a GPS-enabled mobile device, a free membership to a geocaching website and a free app which can be downloaded to your phone directly from the website.

Family vacations for us always include at least one geocache quest. The Quest must be completed. On this trip, our Quest unexpectedly expanded. We had already found one cache near where we were camped for the week. Inside that cache we found, drum roll please….a Lego Guy! This was no ordinary Lego Guy; this was one of five hidden Lego Guys—a premium prize. Another family left this awesome treasure with a note that indicated there were four other Lego Guys to be found. That was all my 10-year-old son needed to know.

The kids were in hot pursuit of Lego Guy #2. We just had to drive down the road a few miles to a city park and check out the two caches there to see if they had also been visited by the Awesome Lego Guy Family. Watching my three children talking excitedly, walking down the trail in front of me, anticipating the find and enjoying the hunt, I think to myself that these are the memories they will carry into their families someday. This is the true treasure of geocaching.

Just so you know, we did find another Awesome Lego Guy, but we did not find all five to complete the Quest. It’s possible another family found some of the Awesome Lego Guys. Our family had a lot of fun together on that Quest, anyway. Now, we are starting to hunt down the caches around West Chester and Liberty Township. My hubby and I have even gone geocaching on date nights to hunt down the really hard finds without frustrating the kids.

Maybe we will see you on the hunt someday. Maybe you will complete the VOA Quest and visit all seven caches before we do…

And to Awesome Lego Guy Family—thanks for the awesome Quest!

Lisa Bacu is a West Chester scientist, mom and educator. She is committed to passing on a passion for every kind of “-ology” to kids in the Greater Cincinnati area through her new business, Scientific Mayhem, launching this fall. Lisa recommends Geocaching.com to get you started on your geocaching quest this summer.