Steen boy #1 pulls a geocache vial out of a log. This was a hard one to find!

My family has been getting outside everyday during these quarantine times.  As you know, under Michigan rules it is acceptable to get out for physical exercise.  So we have been going to the wide assortment of parks in the Huron River Watershed.  At this point we have figured out which are too crowded for comfort and which are nearly empty.  I’m not going to pass on that little tidbit because I don’t want my empty parks to get crowded; each of you can discover your own favorite empty areas. That said, Pam shared some great tips for getting outside in her Nature is Open blog so check it out for guidelines and resources for finding parks to visit.

To spice up our nature walks and hikes with a bit of technological fun, we have picked up a new hobby.  Geocaching!  This is a great activity for adults and kids alike.

  1. The basic premise of geocaching is that you look for hidden bins, vials, and  in the woods or around the neighborhood. They range in sizes from “pretty easy to see” to “too small for Paul’s eyes to see”.  There are actually geocaches scattered all over the place!  There are many in our Metroparks and state parks, and there might even be some on your street that you don’t know about.
  2. The geocaches are marked on a map that you have on your phone, so you know when you are getting close.  Then, there is often a hint or description of the cache to help you find its exact position.  Some caches are easy, but some are really hard even when you swear you are standing right next to it!

    Paul with Steen boys #1 and #2 after find a pretty big and easy geocache at Kensington Metropark.
  3. There are many different apps that allow you to geocache.  The one I use works great.  It is called “Geocaching” by Groundspeak, Inc.  It costs $5 to use per month, but you can cancel anytime.
  4. Geocaching is a great activity for social distancing.  One of the primary rules of geocaching is that you try to avoid muggles (aka non-geocachers) because you don’t want them to see where the caches are and disturb them.
  5. So get out there and geocache, and keep away from those muggles!