Geocaching for Beginners

Like I mentioned before, our family enjoys Geocaching. This is an admittedly somewhat geeky hobby, but it is a fun way to get outdoors and enjoy nature as a family, with kids who are still too young to play organized sports.

What is Geocaching? Many who enjoy it call it the hobby where nature meets technology. You can find geocaches all over the world, and probably there are many very close to your town if you just knew where to look! That is where the website comes in. You input where you want to look, (a nearby park for example) and up comes a map with lots and lots of treasure chests on it. You just click on one, and it gives you the name, GPS coordinates, details, and sometimes a hint, on what you are looking for & where. Download the set coordinates into your GPS unit, and then follow the compass and/or map on the GPS, you find a small treasure at the set location.

Once found, you “log” your find, often with a cryptic hint for the next person to see and perhaps help them on their way. It is not considered “found” until you sign the log and then log your find online. Then your treasure chest icon becomes a smiley face… that treasure is found!

So you may ask, why is this fun? Well, we find it a good excuse to explore a local park we haven’t visited, to see a cool rock formation or vista, and to just enjoy God’s creation with a bit of an agenda. The kids enjoy the hunt, unless it is too hard, then they get frustrated and whiny. It makes a hike or a bike ride more interesting somehow. Sometimes, if your kids are lucky, there will be small trade items for them to ooh and aah over and then “trade up” with something from their bag of treasures. Things like pencils, silly bands or small toys are common trade items for a fun treasure chest.

Anyone “in the know” can hide a geocache for others to find. And Geocachers seem to be an interesting breed. A cool climbing rock or tree can hold a geocache. A playground hidden in the woods. A walking path that you didn’t know existed, these are common locations for caches. Those are the ones we enjoy the most.

We adults like to look for ones that have a bit of a puzzle, to torment us and challenge us a little. Ones with names like “Cruel and Unusual Punishment, (that you not only have to find, but then figure out how to open), or “Fort Knox” where you first have to find the key in another cache before you can open the primary treasure box. They add a bit of excitement to the find, some preparation and logic.

But with these, and geocaches in general, is that often the treasure is not worth finding. Once we planned and studied and found the key to “Fort Knox”, we went back and opened it, only to find a moldy log book, some mildewed toys, a giant spider in it’s web and poison ivy on the way to the box. The kids are disappointed, (and itching for a week after from the poison ivy), the adults pleased the task was accomplished but somehow let down. The treasure was NOT what we thought it would be.

In contrast, God’s treasures are ALWAYS worth finding. They never disappoint. They are easy to locate, with the coordinates found in your online or on-lap Bible. True, it takes a bit of work to locate what is TODAY’S treasure, what God wants you to find today, but once found… you won’t be let down.

When searching for God’s treasures, you first and foremost need a Bible. It can be online (BibleGateway is a good option), or on-lap (I like NIV). Using the concordance or topical index in the back of the bible (or online) just find/input what it is you are searching for today. Like the online map, there are many tiny treasures for each topic, you need to do the work to find the one God wants for you to find that day. Looking for a bit of peace? go to: Psalm 119:165. Want some hope? try: Isaiah 40: 31. Need help with worry? look at Matthew 6:25

His Word is full of tiny treasure chests. Once you find one of God’s treasures, it forever changes how you read that verse and becomes a smiley face in your heart. In my Bible, I underline, notate, sometimes scribble a picture near a verse that was my daily treasure. Sometimes, if I remember to, I even date it for future reference.

One thing I often forget to do though, is log my find with it’s creator. I forget to thank Him for the treasure he placed in His Word, for me to find in my time of need. I suppose I need to take a hint from the world of geocaching and bring it into my Godcaches… logging my finds with Him, and telling Him daily… TFTC!

(Thanks For The Cache!)


(originally posted 8/2/12)


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