Thursday, April 8, 2010

Geocaching With The Kids

I don't often get to see my daughter's half-sister anymore. Once her mom and I split up, I lost all parental rights to her because we're not biologically related. Still, we managed to remain somewhat close over the years and I've settled into the role of something akin to being an eccentric uncle to her. I've taken to calling her Squirt. When she asked if she could spend some time with my daughter and I this week, I, of course, readily accepted.

While taking the kids out to dinner, I was running through some ideas for fun activities. I thought about the three of us playing Mario Party on the Wii or perhaps flying the kite or the Havoc Heli. I just happened to click on my Geocaching app on my phone and found that there was a geocache a mere 200 feet from where we were having dinner. Geocaching is an outdoor activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System receiver techniques to hide and seek containers that usually hold a log boog (to record your visit) and perhaps some small trinkets. It's basically a high tech game of hide and seek.

The girls seemed very interested in hunting down this high tech treasure and we set off across the parking lot to find it. When we arrived at the co-ordinates, I was dumbfounded. According to the online listing, the cache had last been found two days before, yet a hiding place was not immediately obvious. Frustrated, I stepped back, thinking that perhaps I needed to re-configure my GPS device. It was then that Squirt matter-of-factly turned and lifted the base protector on the street light, thus making the cache fall out. This was a breakthrough. Thanks to her little maneuver, I finally realized why I had been unable to find a number of caches. The girls were excited at finding their first geocache and asked if we could go and find some more.

We drove to a spot that had a lot of micro-caches nearby, and as we walked from geocache to geocache, I had an opportunity to talk to Squirt.

"When your Mother and I got married, I made a commitment to you. I promised that I would always look out for you. That promise doesn't end just because your mom and I split up". She told me that she knew that, and that I had constantly told her that family doesn't abandon family. Still, I think she needed to hear it. And that is the great thing about geocaching. Not only do you get to have a fun little adventure, but you get good exercise, and you get a chance to spend some quality time with someone who is important to you.

When it comes to geocaching, it's not about the treasure. It's about the hunt and everything that goes with it.

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