Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Geocaching - The Treasure Hunt Begins

A gentle rapping beckons us to our RV door. Fellow travelers from California, ­­­Mike and Donna, are stationed at the front steps of our coach, coffee in hand, with smiling faces. Owning a Beaver Special Edition, manufactured by the same company as ours, they were interested in comparing our two coaches. While we were sharing our adventures and coach technologies, I learned about Geocaching from Donna.

Park Layout where we stayed.

So what is Geocaching? The answer is explained at http://www.geocaching.com, “It is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.” As I perused their website for more answers, I learned by reading the dates of when these treasures where hid that many of the treasures have been stationed in their out-of-the-way hiding places for years.

My interest perked and a sense of adventure was exhilarated when I was told that there was a treasure box hidden near the premises where we were staying. After Donna input the longitude and latitude coordinates on the GPS, she signed into her account on her computer and did a search for the area we were in. The Geocaching treasure box showed up on a map on her computer at http://www.geocaching.com/map/default.aspx?lat=35.10088074012803&lng=-111.02293968200684&zm=14&mt=m , along with a story of the treasures held inside stashed in this hiding place since 2008. Being anxious to get started, I followed her and the GPS, held gently in her hands, to the desert area located outside the park. I learned that the GPS shows an area, but the treasure could be anywhere in the span of that area. So she went one direction and I the other, lifting rocks and brush for possible hiding places. After about 5 minutes she called out that she had found it. Handing me the GPS she suggested I try and find it on my own. As instructed, I followed the direction from the GPS and finally found the hidden treasure. The excitement of our find not only peaked my sense of adventure, but increased my love of being a Wheel Estate Traveler and a stronger sense of community.

Geocaching treasure box was found in a span of this area outside the park gates.

Lifting the container, which for this specific Geocaching treasure hunt was an old children’s tin lunchbox, we signed the tablet with our Geocaching names and the date we found it. Donna said that these containers can hold a myriad of different treasures and that this particular one had the most she’d seen since she began the Geocaching hunt. I was fascinated with the contents of this mysterious box and she gently began pulling out key chains, post cards, tiny stuffed animals, business cards, and special notes. Everything was stacked with wonderful love and care from those who had entered that box. One interesting part of our search was when Donna found a rock on the ground that had a lot of blue in it that looked like the stone Turquoise, possibly a treasure in itself. I promised myself the next time I find a box I would place my special treasure in it, take a picture of the contents, and share it with the world. After enjoying the contents, we closed the tin box carefully and placed it back into its secret place, and then covered it with the red rocks for the next Geocaching traveler to find.

After experiencing my first Geocaching treasure hunt adventure, I registered my life away at http://www.geocaching.com for the basic program that is free and will be continuing the hunt during our Wheel Estate Travels. The kid in me will also be experiencing hunts with my three grandchildren when we are visiting them in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Live, Love, Laugh.

Happy Trails!

Elva Miranda-Newman

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