By Chris & Sarah Jones
Back when Sarah and I first got married, we were a young couple with little income and were quickly starting a family. Like most people we found ourselves getting stir crazy around the house and we wanted to get out and do stuff. We didn't have the money to spend on things regularly so we got into a bad habit of "going out" to places like Walmart just to walk around. This became a norm and it really bothered me over the years.
As our first child got older and was able to become an active participant in our activities, I started keeping my eyes and ears open for activities that we could do regularly that wouldn't break the bank. While I was in Iraq this last year, I discovered Geocaching from a friend and was so excited to try it out with our family.
Geocaching is a form of "Treasure Hunting", as we like to call it in our family, where you search for hidden treasure with a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) receiver. Once you have a GPS, the only thing you "have" to pay for is gas to get you to your sites.
To know where to look for these treasures, all you have to do is visit www.geocaching.com and type in your zipcode to do a quick search for "caches" in your area. More than likely, you will find a lot more than you think you would around places that you visit everyday. You then decide which caches you want to look for and enter the coordinates into your GPS receiver and you are on your way. Most caches have some sort of container that you find and you can trade miscellaneous items in the container.
Most caches are placed in areas that you would want to find so a lot of the time, the treasure is also the location. Maybe it's a neat park or location in a park that most people don't know about, or just a great view. We have found several places that we have enjoyed including a creek that has a great swimming hole that we will visit again next summer.
Caches we have done as a family have been accessible by car or improved trail that we can access with a stroller, but there are many more out there for the more adventurous. In fact, Sarah and I spent some time geocaching without the kids and had one of the best dates in a long time. You can read about it here.
I did a lot of research for GPS Receivers when I purchased mine because I have other uses for it in my career. I was most impressed with the Magellan SporTrak Models because they seem to have the best antenna which gives it the most dependable signal available and long battery life. From what I found out though, even the least expensive GPS receiver will be perfect for Geocaching. I've also heard a lot of good things about the Garmin eTrex which you can pick up for less than $100 dollars.