It’s a good job we quite like a walk as our two lively Tinies regularly need to run off their energy. We often joke they need walking like dogs, and while this might be a bit tongue in cheek, it is definitely true that things are more peaceful at home if we’ve had a good stomp.
Buddy was 19 months before he walked confidently unaided, a product of a willing big sister and a vocabulary which started with “Mimi, dis,” and “Mimi, dat”. (He actually named her Mimi in his early attempts to say her real name, and it’s stuck). Despite this somewhat late start he could walk the three miles around our local lake just after he was two.
As the kids have got older and become more able to moan we’ve had to use more persuasion to get them out and about, Mimi in particular. We soon learned that suggesting we go on a nature trail was far more welcome than a walk, even though we took the same route. And we’ve had to get more outrageous with the things we suggest we have to spot in order to keep them challenged. A feather, some red berries, a peacock butterfly, a four leaf clover, a cloud in the shape of a frog.
Today’s walk was a local one with a difference, as we went looking for geocaches. It’s kind of like a modern day treasure hunt where the treasure is a flight from a dart or a small plastic soldier and the kudos of writing your name in a tiny log book. A kind of “I was here” but without the graffiti.
Having explored the Geocache site I discovered a circular walk starting from our village with seven potential Geocaches to find. I downloaded the free app and took a look at the location of each of the treasures, then off we went.
We walked for just over an hour and decided just to find two geocaches as the sun was going down and the wind was getting up. The Tinies were most excited to find the first under a tile in a tree trunk and to open it up to find the treasures inside. We’d forgotten to take a pencil but the container was big enough to hold one along with the obligatory mini notepad, plus a few odds and sods. You can take one of the treasures if you have something to replace it with, but being newbies we’d come out without goodies to leave.
The second one we found didn’t have a pencil inside so we couldn’t record our find, but we took a picture of the notebook and we can go back another day. I think I’ve got a pencil small enough to put in the tube, so we might make that our first benevolent geocaching act.
The app makes finding the geocaches pretty easy, using GPS technology to plot them and you on a map. It even ‘twinkles’ when you’re getting close and most have a hint if you reach the location but can’t find the geocache itself. There’s clearly a huge community of people hiding boxes and tubes all over the world and taking pleasure in creating trails for people to follow. I guess it’s one of those things that gives you a warm glow, as well as presenting the challenge of what to hide and where. The ones we looked for have been there about three years and you wouldn’t have found them if you weren’t looking. It’s like being in a secret club, but anyone can join.
So what’s the link to camping? Well, we’re often looking for a local walk, something with a purpose that doesn’t just involve a wander to and from a certain point. Using the Geocache app I’ll be able to see all of the ones nearby and create our own treasure hunt wherever we are, and with no prior planning. Maybe we’ll even hide a couple of our own when we’re on our travels.