My family has been trying on a new hobby the last two weekends: geocaching. We take the GPS unit, log on to an area we'd like to search, and print out the co-ordinates to find the "treasure" located at those points. So far, we've chosen easy finds with easy terrain, but the fun has been in hunting down the stash!
We found our first treasure in the Loudonville Cemetery. Cemeteries are our favorite locations right now since they are public property and usually quite easy to access and the caches are somewhat easy to find. Coming out of the Loudonville Cemetery, we discovered this sign:
We then drove to the Millersburg airport and tried to find the stash there. We followed the clues and searched for several minutes. The skies had clouded over and the wind was blowing cold by the time we finally thought we were licked. In desperation, my husband asked the employee who was manning the terminal for help. He came out, and gave us hints on where to look. Turns out it was a very tiny magnetic key case--stuck under a roof edge on a metal shed. Now that was sneaky.
This past Sunday, we decided to look for stashes closer to home. Again, we went with the cemeteries, but the "easy" finds were not ours on two locations. At a cemetery quite near our home, we found the right tree (the cache had a name of "Medusa" and the tree in our sites had those long, snake-like pods hanging down from it, so we KNEW it was the right place), but after MUCH looking and searching and trying to get the GPS to just TELL us where the cache was (no, not really!), we finally had to concede defeat. Our first loss. Sigh.
Next, we headed northwest to a country church that had its cemetery across the road. The clue said, "This cache is not near any markers." But our GPS took us right to a tree that had TWO old, very large markers under it. Could this be it? The clue didn't fit!
We went to every corner of that cemetery and kept coming back to the tree. My husband took the GPS and walked entirely around the little cemetery. No luck. The sun was starting to get hot and one of us (me) was beginning to get cranky. Finally, just as we were ready to give up (another defeat!), my son spied the tiny little camouflaged container deep in a hole of the tree. Yay! One for two. Not bad.
Our next location was at a very sad and depressing little "Potter's Field-like" cemetery connected to the old County Home. Those who were destitute were evidently buried in this barren field with only a pipe or little blue plastic button in the ground as a marker. It made me sad to be there. Again, we searched the place over and never did find the cache. There was NOTHING in the field--but in spite of the lack of hidey-holes, we could NOT find that treasure. All we did find was a rubber bottle stopper in the cleft of one of the trees...hmmm. Maybe something got that cache! Another loss. Sigh.
Finally, we stopped at the last location on our list. It was at a small cemetery near a busy shopping area. The GPS kept taking us to a stand of trees at the edge of the cemetery, but though we looked and looked, we could not find the stash. And this one was supposed to be a good sized one, too. Oh man.
Finally, I took the GPS and started sleuthing the ground. I noticed a trail that led a short way into the woods. Ick. I DIDN'T really want to go INTO the woods! But I spied a large and hollow fallen tree---my eyes followed the length of the log--and...got it! The stash was a tool-boxed sized metal container. It had lots of goodies in it and we were happy to end our day with a final success!
We spent several hours outside on both weekends...got plenty of fresh air...and actually did some walking. Geocaching accomplished the goals of why we decided to start this hobby in the first place: we left the TV and laptop behind, and spent quality and fun time with each other--outside! We think geocaching is a fun and healthy way to be together as a family. We can't wait to go find the next treasure!