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Geocaching with a 4yo

Geocaching LogoBernie Goldbach in Cashel | 388 words

WE REBOOTED OUR ENTHUSIASM for geocaching, led by our four-year-old daughter who proved her sleuthing skills by discovering two local geocaches within an hour of walking out the front door.

I tried basic geocaching for part of a weekend in early 2002 shortly after we had the house set up in Kilkenny but the scavenging wasn't very lively unless I bumped into a fellow geocacher. Today, there's wonderful geocaching energy online with smartphones. I use the excellent Geocaching Live on my Nokia Lumia where I can see "there are 1,717,029 active geocaches and over 5 million geocachers worldwide." Two international geocachers were in Cashel today. I know because we visited the same local caches and spotted their notes today. We became part of the buzz, adding our two log entries to the 7,415,544 new logs already submitted during the past 30 days. You can watch the video below.

Geocaching with Young Ones


Local merchants running shops within 300 metres of the Cashel geocaches were fascinated by the enthusiastic reports of our four-year-old as she breathlessly explained how she found the caches, one behind a tree and another behind a sign.  The local chamber of commerce would be surprised to learn that people are getting off buses or driving off the motorway to walk the land, find a geocache, and then buy something local. In the case of the longest-placed local geocache, more than 300 people have visited the site. Their electronic footprints are recorded online and the path they've created to the cache shows their physical interest.

We'll be putting several geocaches into the wild throughout the summer of 2012. We'll have clues tagged as "geocache" on our Flickr photostream and we'll share other info through the main Geocaching website

The Geocaching Live Windows Phone app includes a Live Tile that automatically updates to show the nearest local geocache. This means as we travel, we can watch the phone update places to explore. While this is an excellent way to convert heads-down phone time into real world hiking, the Live Tile will flatten my Nokia Lumia's battery within five hours so I'm a wary user of that update mode. It is a very impressive app, offering clever ways of sharing  caches to social networks. Because our little girl wants to hold an intelligent compass, we're probably going to get her a colour Garmin and download the geocache map info into her own device.

Image from the public domain GeoCaching community, rendered by a Geocaching Mainer.

Bernie and Mia's geocaching adventure has just started, thanks to Gabriela Avram's recommendation to Mia and Rafe Blandford's well-appreciated tip about "geocaching with your Windows Phone".