Goal #67 - Go geocaching with husband
What is geocaching, you ask? Basically, it's a high-tech treasure hunt ("treasure" is a liberal term - there are no pots of gold here). You use a GPS device -- my husband uses a Garmin eTrex Legend -- and you input the waypoints (i.e., longitude and latitude) into your GPS and then go search. A great site is http://www.geocaching.com/, where you can learn about geocaching, find caches in your area, and download waypoints. When you find the cache, the etiquette is to take something, leave something in return, and leave a note in the logbook. You can also generally go back to the website where you got your original download from and leave comments there.
So husband, teenage son, and I went on a hunt this past weekend. Useful tip #1 - make sure your GPS has the adequate road software for the area to be traveled. Otherwise, like us, you can end up going miles out of your way because the unit will not know any shorter routes. Useful tip #2 - make sure that someone actually knows how to work the GPS unit. Enough said. We found the general area without too much trouble, mostly because we picked a cache nearby and knew the area that the cache creator was referring to. Finding the cache itself is a bit trickier, and the GPS is not too helpful with that -- it is accurate to within a few meters, but the caches tend to be quite small. This one was a vitamin container wrapped in duct tape. Useful tip #3 - pay attention to extra clues that may have been provided by the creator or other hunters so that you don't spend hours wandering around and not seeing the cache that's right under your nose.
I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy this goal, but it was quite fun and can be an excellent way to get out and spend some quality time with loved ones. Keep in mind that it's the search that's important -- the "treasure" is not the point. For instance, this time the cache contained a rubber band and a golf tee. I'll definitely do it again, with the caveat that I'm going to learn how to use the GPS beforehand and the next cache we pick will be in the city and not the country -- too many bugs!