First Treasure Hunting Experience



“This is boring.”

My 9-year-old granddaughter said this recently as we were treasure hunting. Who would say treasure hunting was boring?!

Not pirates, I’ll tell you that. But we’re not pirates. And this wasn’t a traditional treasure hunt.

We were geocaching.

It was our first time heading out to find these cleverly-hidden caches. Users download the geocaching app, locate the geocache they’d like to find, and follow the coordinates to the site of the treasure. I’d downloaded the app weeks ago and promised myself I’d have an adventure. I called L this morning and told her we were going treasure hunting! With big exclamation marks in my voice.

A Hyped Treasure Hunt

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have hyped the experience as much.

The first dot on the map was near the park. We have a park nearby where there are a few lakes, ponds and trails. It’s mostly used for walking and feeding the ducks. Closed on Sunday mornings if you can believe that. We were limited to the outside parking lot. There was a dot there, but I couldn’t figure out how to work the app correctly.

The dot said it was in the tree directly over my head. Huh? Not in the tree. The bushes? Clearly, I was doing something wrong.

We headed to the second dot. The location was easy enough to find since it was on church property. By this time, I realized that there were descriptions of the cache left by the person/people who had hidden it.geocache

I also realized that the dot lies. Right to my face.

There are two dots. The location of the cache is one dot, and my location is the other. The two dots never matched! One step past the dot put me approximately a mile from the cache dot on the map. That might only be a slight exaggeration.

That’s when L declared this trip was boring.

Finally, after 10 minutes or more of walking and watching my dot fly past the cache dot, I gave up on the map and just searched on my own. By this time, the temperature was soaring up into the high 80s.

Dizzy, with a bored kid on my hands, I was still determined to find this stupid, little cache. It didn’t even have treasure in it, so I’m not sure why I was so bent on retrieving it. Pride perhaps?

I’d told the kid we would find treasure!

The Treasure in the Church

The sign for the church was in a raised flower bed surrounded by stones. Could the cache-hider have been so devious as to remove a stone and place the cache behind it?

I felt like any moment there might be a click and a large, round stone would start rolling towards me ala Indiana Jones.

Indiana Jones style?
Indiana Jones style?

I really did pull two loose stones out of the wall, and then hastily put them back when I realized there was nothing behind it. I pulled myself out of the Indiana Jones movie playing in my head and checked the flower bed. Yep. There it was. Sitting right in plain sight.

Now, L was excited. WE’D FOUND TREASURE!

It was a plastic baggy with crumpled papers in it. She was still excited, and so was I. I’d solved the puzzle! She left her name and the date on the paper. She wanted to leave a token for others to find. I hadn’t prepared for that part of the hunt, so all I could find in my purse was a shiny penny from 2016. Like a small time-capsule trinket.

We were renewed and ready for the next dot.

This dot was near the local animal shelter a few streets away. I was more prepared for this next challenge. There are hints for these geocaches, which I hadn’t noticed either. The app is a little confusing to navigate.

A woman left a tupperware container and a sort of memorial for her bunny who was deceased.

Treasure Hunting Conversation… It Wasn’t About Treasure

L said: Aww. That’s sad that she lost her pet. (Out the window of the car as we’re driving) Sorry for your loss!

Me: …

We didn’t find the container, but we did find a secret area next to the animal shelter with old benches and chairs along with tiny plaques on the large stones. I hadn’t even known that existed.

Hidden treasures

I’m not sure how I feel about the app. The coordinates/GPS mapping seems to be a bit wonky. And so many of the marks for hidden caches had buttons that require you to upgrade.

Since it was hovering around 90, we called it a day with a 50 percent success rate. Next time, we’ll bring trinkets to leave behind in the cache.

L was disappointed that we had to stop, but I promised we’d go out again.

Some of those upgraded cache spots said “mystery”, so maybe I’ll get my wish of an Indiana Jones style adventure in the future.

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