My nefarious plan is to condition my kids to become backpackers so that our family can do bigger outdoor adventures together beyond day hikes and car camping. I have to approach this by stealth. The allure of air conditioning and things with screens makes staying home a very attractive option for kids so I devise evil little schemes to lure them out of the house an into the wilderness. The best magic bullet I keep in my bag of tricks is Geocaching.
Geocaching is a world wide scavenger-hunt. Small GPS devices are hidden everywhere in our midst. By using the Geocaching.com app on my phone we can navigate to these hidden caches, find them, sign our name to the log (our handle is “4Overlanders”), and feel like we’ve really done something. For a while this Spring every Geocache we found was, just days before, visited by Tropical Joe. We developed a little self-imposed competition with Tropical Joe. Now when we find a cache that doesn’t have Tropical Joe’s name on the log we feel very pleased with ourselves.
Tonight I was feeling a little cooped up. The Mister was working late so I prepared a disgusting one-pot dinner of mac ‘n’ cheese with ham pieces and mixed veggies stirred in, threw it and some paper bowls and plastic spoons into my backpack, and announced that I’d found a trail with lost of new Geocaches on it and that we were going out to find them and have a picnic dinner.
We walked straight up a mountain. It was so steep that sometimes we would slide backward a little. I swear there is no way in the world my kids would have done this hike voluntarily if it hadn’t been for the lure of Geocaching. It is like mining for gold, you get the fever. On the way up the mountain we found 2 caches. The second was at a tiny clearing at the crest so we plopped ourselves down right there in the middle of the trail and ate dinner. We continued on to find one more cache before heading home for bath and bed.
There’s nothing like dinner with a view and a little treasure hunting thrown in for good measure.
Our dinner view to the left and right of our mountaintop perch: