Maybe not unusual, but thought I'd share my first hunt and the story behind it. This all transpired on Wednesday the 23rd.
After a night of adding about 23 local caches within 10 miles from my zip code I found one that intrigued me, GCP5FF aka "The Dragon's Lair". This cache was left by the owners son and had a cute little blue dragon to guard the cache.
I had drove to the location the previous day (Tuesday the 22nd) on my way home from work just to check it out and get an idea of where to go, and how to read my unit, as all I used it for was navigation on roads while in the ambulance.
In any event. The next day (Wednesday 23rd) I was getting ready to go out and eat with my 5 year old daughter Lillie, and my girlfriend Becky, then head out to teach an EMT class at the local fire school. I had spoken to my daughter about "treasure hunting" and she was all excited, I could have sworn it was Christmas the way her eyes lit up. Well we ended up misjudging time a bit and started to cut it close to eat and get to school. So we broke the news to my daughter that we might not go treasure hunting that day. Lillie was broken hearted and did her little 5 year old disappointed pout. So we loaded up in the car, I took one look at my GPS unit (Magellan eXplorist 200) and remembered I was within 500 feet of it while in my Explorer (I enjoy that I bought it BEFORE I took up geocaching, kind of fits now!) sitting on a through road in the park. So I headed that way, my daughter said "Daddy, food isn't this way, im hungry" so I told her "We have to look at something first". So we headed into the park and began to navigate the road which I was on the previous day. I parked along the road in the muddy grass across a bridge from where I thought the cache was. Her eyes lit up again and she screamed "We're finding treasure?!" "Yep" I said. We got her out, she reopened her door and tried to climb on the roof. I asked "What are you doing?" she simply replied "Daddy, I need your shovel to dig for the treasure, treasure is underground silly." So watching my daughter try to climb from her seat, onto the door, watching Becky cringe and ready to catch Lillie if she fell, I was amazed and at that moment I got excited about the hunt. I told Lillie that we don't dig, we only dig when daddy is stuck in mud or on a trail we need to move rocks under the tires and caches we do not dig up to preserve the earth and keep earth mother pretty. She climbed down and began to take off over the bridge. So of course we chase her down and I explained how the GPS unit and how to find a cache. So she followed me with Becky in tow as I navigated across the field torwards the waypoint. My GPS showed an accuracy ranging from 30-100 feet as we walked. We got in the area and looked around, I saw a few deer paths with some thorn vines here and there, another "alcove" of sorts that I thought it might be. So Becky headed to the "alcove" and I began up the deer path. Suddenly I feel a tug at my coat, I look back and there's Lillie. A quick glance about 50 feet away and there's Becky doing good and within ear shot. So I told Lillie to follow me, well she did, right into a thorn vine she freaked out a bit, thrashing about, of course snagging her coat more and more each time she thrashed. A quick calming down, and a lesson about thrashing about when caught we hear Becky say "Lillie! I think the treasure may be over here." Myself and Lillie head out of the path, torward Becky. Once there I immediately saw a little bit of blue where it was hidden (exact location with-held). I told Lillie I thought Becky was right and she should start looking. Lillie spun around and around, stopped and said "Wow daddy, pretty blue flowers there" and spun around some more. I asked her to pick one of the flowers for Becky, she likes blue flowers. Lillie walked over, went to grab it, she shrieked and yanked the cache out, threw the lid off and dumped it upside down...DOH! Thankfully it wasn't wet on the ground, and the log was in a baggy. So I explained to Lillie what to do now, I told her she can pick one toy (there was a lot of kid stuff in there, bouncey balls, hair wrap kit (still leaves me awestruck to read the previous finder that left it) and a few other things including the cute little blue dragon. Lillie wanted the dragon, so I explained how the dragon protects the treasure and it must remain. She dug in her bag and pulled out another stuffed dragon, put it in the box and took a light up wand of sorts that was left. She said "Blue dragon can have a friend, and the little boy can have my dragon". We returned to my Explorer and she wanted to go find more! I've created a monster in her, Becky and myself!
It was a very fun 15 minutes, cache was easy to find and was a load of fun for all three of us. Needless to say we've already scheduled more days off when I have my daughter and Becky and myself are off work to go hunt some more.
What a GREAT family sport! The cache's are fun and enjoyable to find, as well as fulfilling, however nothing is compairable to seeing that look on my daughters face when she found her "treasure".
Thank you GC.com for introducing me to this sport, and thanks also for the many fights I can see myself getting into "But hun, there's a TB in a cache, just dropped off!" "Jeremy it's 1:30AM go to bed" "I'll be back Becky" haha. I doubt that, she's just as excited to go on more as I am. Lillie already wants to hide her own treasure. I have an idea for a spot (southern York County...BIG lack of caches down in the muddy creek forks and surrounding area) but I told her to wait until we found more, to make the hiding sport extra special.
Thanks again guys! What a great, fun way to get out, enjoy nature and spend time with the family. My father wants to join me, can't wait for Saturday!