river. Apparently I’m still a little GPS challenged.
And so our big adventure came to an end… for now. Early the next morning, my eldest son, Dylan, asked if we could go geocaching again. I promised him we’d go again soon. It seems we have been bitten by the geocaching bug.
More to Come
The boys are already asking if we can participate in some of the more in-depth geocaching hunts. Our first step will be to master the one-step caches near home. We’ll pick a weekend this summer and travel a little further for our next geocaching adventure. I’ve learned to bring not only the GPS coordinates, but any corresponding clues as well, to help us locate the geocache more quickly. And this time we’ll pack a picnic lunch so we can stay longer and explore more.
It’s refreshing to see the boys seeking a common goal. As excited as they were about geocaching, it was the little treasures they found along the way that made the best memories. If you were to ask my 5-year-old, Christopher, what his favorite part of the day out exploring was, he’d tell you it was when they found a giant slug, that the caterpillars were cool, and that he liked the ducks because they were “really cute and quackish.”
Geocaches change often, and some locations require special-use permits that may expire. Be sure to check for caches right before you go to ensure that caches are still active. For example, as of the printing of this article, there are no caches on the Rockwoods areas mentioned here. Other locations that my family visited may also have changed. Remember that the rules and regulations of the parks, conservation areas, and public and private areas you visit should always take precedent over anything you find on a geocaching site. Not all caches are placed with permission, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you are not trespassing or breaking any rules.
The official geocaching website is www.geocaching.com. Basic registration is free, and allows you to search for geocaches in your area and share your experiences.
- Then search for conservation areas throughout the state at mdc.mo.gov/node/8911.
- Find handy information on identifying poison ivy and differentiating it from other similar plants at mdc.mo.gov/node/4686.
- Review Missouri plant identification (I realized after the fact that my children didn’t know what poison ivy looked like!).
- Have a general idea where the geocache is—relying too heavily on the GPS unit caused some initial frustration.
- Jot down any clues provided for finding the cache.
- Have backup geocache locations written down, just in case.
- Remember to bring bug spray and sunscreen.
- Wear appropriate hiking clothes, such as jeans and boots.
- Pack water, snacks and other hiking essentials.
- Make sure your GPS unit is fully charged. Bring extra batteries just in case.
During The Outing:
- Remember that caches are usually stashed near a landmark of some sort, such as a large rock, gnarly tree, sign or cluster of trees.
- If you take a treasure from a cache, be sure to leave one for the next adventurer.
- Leave the cache as you found it.
- Do a tick-check!
- Log onto www.geocaching.com to share your adventure with others or to report a missing or damaged cache.