My husband and I just started on a new adventure hobby — geocaching. If you are not familiar with this fun activity, here is a quick overview. It is similar to a tech-y scavenger hunt. You take GPS coordinates, a few clues, and go hunting for the cache. We love it! The caching has taken us to some great parks and reserves that we would never have found on our own. We are out hiking - enjoying nature and the brain teasers. While this is a fun challenge, there are a few risks. As with most things, though, if you are smart and safe, geocaching is a lot of fun.
- Ouch! Scraps, cuts and bug bites happen while hiking out in the bushes. It can also be a dirty time as well. Your first aid kit does not need to be similar to a medic’s. You can either purchase a small kit or put one together. Include band aids, ACE wrap, and something to clean out a wound. While out on some of the more adventurous hikes, you may be on your own for a while, so plan accordingly.
- Screening it! Remember to bring a hat and sunscreen. If you are popping in and out of the car or hiking, you may not realize how much sun you are getting. Put on the SPF 50, and remember your neck, ears and, for some, the bald spots!
- Icky ticks. Wear long pants and sleeves. Ticks are everywhere. They can carry nasty things like Lyme’s Disease. Remember to check yourself and your adventure partner for ticks. If you do have one that latches on, remove it right away. Keep a tweezers with your first aid kit.
- Water, H2O, hydration. Whatever you want to call it, have it with you. If it is a quick grab 'n go cache, bring your bottled water. If it is going to be a marathon hike to the cache, try using a CamelBak. Just make sure you and your adventure buddies have enough to drink.
- Halt! Not everyone is familiar to what geocaching is. We do look a little suspicious climbing in bushes, looking in/under things and hanging around areas. If you are approached by the police, managers, DNR and the like, just tell them what this is about and answer their questions.
- Can you hear me now? Take your cell phone, or use walkie talkies with your group. If you are separated, you will still have means to get a hold of each other, especially if someone is lost!
- Back off. Know when you need to call off the hunt. Realize your limits. Some cache sites can be treacherous even for the seasoned cacher. Your safety is not worth the find.
We just started the geocaching adventure. Our niece and nephew have now joined us as well. We have a "go" bag for geocaching that has our supplies in it. This adventure hunt can be a lot of fun. It gets you outside, and you'll even get some exercise. There are free apps for your smart phone for the novice. Try it. What do you have to lose besides dead time on the couch?