Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Geocache Champions

Late last year, my boys got into geocaching.

It's basically like a huge treasure hunt, using a GPS device to find a box hidden in a location specified by very exact coordinates.

Texas Parks and Wildlife sponsors the Texas State Park Regional Geocache Challenge each year. Each state park has a hidden box. Inside each box (which is a drab colored metal sealed vessel) is a log, where participants register their presence. There is also a unique hole punch, which you use to stamp your Geocache Challenge passport. Then comes the fun part. Each participant (or team) leaves a trinket in the box. And you can take one with you. Trinkets vary from custom created coins to fast-food toys to almost anything small under the sun. It's always a treat to discover the treasure.

The boys were late getting in on the Geocache Challenge last year, as you had to find 11 of 14 geocaches in state parks in the East Texas region. But this year, Santa brought Brian a GPS for Christmas. Sure, you can download the GPS app on your smartphone, but you're at GREAT RISK for finding a stretch in the wilderness in a state park that does not have a phone signal.

This year, Brian and the boys started on opening weekend and knocked out three immediately. Then I went away the following weekend. I don't really get into geocaching, which is OK because boys need things to do with their dad only. And honestly, anyone who knows me knows that I can get lost driving from work to home. GPS or not, I'm directionally challenged. But I did go on the Purtis Creek State park excursion.

And we had a blast. But this was THEIR thing.

They completed the challenge in three weekends.

And today, they received a gold coin in the mail emblazoned with the crest of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

And they are HAPPY.

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