How to start Geocaching

I’ve mentioned geocaching a couple of times in posts, but I’ve never really explained it in detail. Because it’s lots of fun and a good RV road trip activity, I thought I’d give you a few more details about how to get started.

The simplest definition of “geocaching” is “treasure hunt.” Using a GPS device (which can be your smart phone), you navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then search for the hidden geocache, a container hidden at that location.

Here’s a 30-second intro from Geocache,com.

A traditional geocache is a container with a a logbook for you to sign, and often, small items inside. You can take an item as a souvenir provided you leave another goodie for the next person. It would be fun if we all started traveling with little mini RV models and adding them to the caches we find! And there are nearly 2 million geocaches worldwide, so that could keep us busy for awhile. Here’s a quick video highlighting all the places you can find geocaches around the globe.

Another type of geocache – one of my favorites because I like rocks, and we often see interesting formations along the roadside and on hikes –  is an EarthCache. It’s a special place that people can visit to learn about geological features of our planet. The EarthCache pages include a set of educational science notes along with cache coordinates, which make it a great way for families to explore together and learn about nature at the same time.

If all this sounds fun, this spring, in Port Aransas, you can participate in the Texas Challenge 2013. This is the 11th annual event, which attracted 500 visitors last year. You don’t even have to participate in the challenge to attend, you can just go and be part of the fun! (It’s a great excuse to get away to Port Aransas… hint hint…)

So grab the kids or grandkids, hook up the travel trailer and go stay at one of several RV parks. The kids will love the treasure hunt, and you’ll drive away with lots of great memories.

~ G. Elaine Acker

Bundle Up and Go Play Outside!

This latest blast of cold air means it’s officially winter in my book, even if the calendar says winter won’t be here until December 21.

It may be tempting to stay indoors but I’ve discovered there are plenty of outdoor activities that make it worth bundling up and leaving the cozy RV.

How about a navigation class? REI always has great classes that teach you about your newest outdoor interest. It’s easy practice navigating with short routes outside, and you can learn all about using a map and compass, and a GPS, and how to mark and follow waypoints.

And with those new navigation skills, you may want to try Geocaching.  People have hidden secret caches across the landscape – in remote areas, in city parks, and even underwater – and it’s fun for the whole family to go find them. These days, you can even use your smart phone. I’m thinking it would be fun to plan geocaching stops along the route for every RV road trip! Here’s a video that walks you through your first geocache adventure.

Finally, if you like hiking and you’re heading to a place with snow on the ground, consider snowshoeing. You can rent snowshoes and discover the winter landscape in a whole new way. Many of the National Parks offer snowshoeing trails, so browse their website to find a park near you.  They’ve also got a calendar of winter activities if you need more inspiration.

Now, the weekend is here! I suggest you bundle up and go play outside!

~ G. Elaine Acker