It’s been over a year since we began geocaching as a family, inspired by a few friends to seek out “just what is they are doing anyway?”. Our first cache was a quality street tin in a nearby forest walk, hidden in a tree. With the free version of the app, dodgy phones and an unconvinced four year old we began the first of our “looking suspicious in woods” activities. That day we found 4 of the 6 we went after, ranging from the large tin to a tiny nano hidden under a rock near Abingdon Marina. Geokid’s interest began when we sent my partner up trees and it hooked me the moment there was one we could not find. I’m happy to say we’ve since got those two and I’ve also climbed my share of trees.
Why does it work for us?
- Purpose. It can be very hard to get ourselves outside, even though we must – no matter what the weather! Geocaching gets us outside and if things go badly, to places without an audience. It gives a clear goal and takes the pressure off us as parents to keep our boy engaged.
- Technology. Both me and my partner are web developers, so you can guess the technology aspect appeals. It’s a perfect way to acknowledge our tech-heavy society but bring it back to nature, getting you exploring unknown places and getting fitter.
- Wildlife. Anything from deer or hares crossing the path in front of you, kites soaring overheard to a robin sat guarding the nest and glaring as you leave it in peace. Some geocaches are disabled in certain seasons due to nesting birds, and the ethos very much encourages you to clean up after yourselves and be respectful of nature. There are downsides such as unexpected wasps nest though so be careful!
- Adventure. Geocaching gets us out creating memories together. Some of the best ones might require co-operation to solve a puzzle before you can claim a find, or working out the clues to get the co-ordinates to start with. We’ve climbed trees, crossed streams, explored quarries and places we never would have found.
So would Geocaching work for you? that’s up to you. The terrain and difficultly rating means you can find a suitable route whatever your abilities. The attributes tell you anything from whether you can bring your dog or if you need specialised equipment to retrieve the cache. There’s a few near me set by someone who likes sending people into the Ock River. I don’t see me doing that anytime soon, but I’ll run out of nearby ones eventually…perhaps.
And that’s the beauty of it, 300+ cache finds later and we’ve just set out our first 5. It’s a hobby that is constantly growing. Public footpaths are a source of interest now, leading us to load up the app to check if there are caches to find and if not, let’s explore and see if it’s worth bringing people here to look! The first route we’ve set takes you up to see Northmoor lock, via a decent playpark if you have kids that need energy burnt off.
Why not take a look, and see what geocaches are near you?