"If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A-caching We Will Go!

On the way home from Steamboat, we just had to pull out the ol' GPS and do a little geocaching. After all, picking up a few more caches was what this trip had originally been all about. We only found four because the kids didn't like the fact that we wouldn't let them out of the car. Still, it was fun.

The first one we stopped at was a multi-cache. This means that were are more than one stages to find before you find the actual hide. In this case, the first stop was a historical marker placed by the Daughter of the Utah Pioneers. It told the tale of Jensen's Ferry that helped so many pioneers make it across the river. There's even a tiny replica of the ferry on top of the monument.

To find the next step, you had to find a date on the marker, then using that date, plug the numbers into a coordinate and voila! You had the completed coordinates to the site of the cache, which wasn't very far from the marker. I was wearing sandals. The Man had to go find this one.

The second cache of the day was actually located in the front yard of a cacher. That was a little awkward, walking up to the front of someone's house and trying to look like you belonged there while looking for a cache. After that one, there was another historical marker as a virtual cache. A couple reasons why I love geocaching is because we find all these awesome parks all over the city, that we would have never known existed if they hadn't been harboring a cache, and that we learn abstract pieces of history. In this case, the marker spoke of the town's first bank and how the bricks for the building were originally mailed via the postal service from Salt Lake City because postage was cheaper than freight! This was a virtual cache, requiring the cacher to write down a crucial piece of information from the actual plaque in order to claim it.

This one was fun! The Boy about blew a gasket when we pulled up...well, just have a look for yourself.

We were passing through Vernal, Utah, which is very close to Dinosaur National Park. They take pride in the dinosaur-ness and have the ancient amphibians on virtually every building. This guy changes with the seasons.
Now, most of this stuff you've learned from my previous posts on the sport. So here's the next lesson: Travel Bugs. These are very specific to the geocaching game and are highly sought-after items. The travel bug can be anything: small toy, plastic card, stuffed animal, etc. As long as it's small enough, just about anything works. The thing that sets is apart from everything else in the cache is the dog tag attached to it. These dog tags carry an ID number, which, when entered into the Geocaching website tells you many things about the travel bug: who started it, where it's been and, most importantly, where it wants to go. See, every travel bug (or TB) has a goal. For instance, a plastic astronaut figurine might want to visit locations (or caches near those places) important to the Space Race, a rubber crawdad might want to see the various lakes or streams of the world, or a small Jeep might want to go on adventures while entering you in a contest to win an actual Jeep. We've found several TBs and have tried to send them on their way towards their goals. We also have a geocoin, which is similar to the function of the TB but is, in fact, a coin and not attached to anything. It's even a Utah Geocoin and we log it into every cache we've visited as a way to "track" the miles we've cached. It's just for fun and we don't leave it in those caches; it stays on my desk. Right next to my chocolate calendar.


Kristie said...

Fun! Weston would have loved to have seen the dinosaur monument as he LOVES dinos!!! Sounds like a great trip home!

Debi said...

Very interesting post! I love the giant dinosaur....I can see why the boy got so excited! Good job on walking another mile....

Amanda said...

I have never been a fan of Dinosaur's! Hence why I never did a Dino. unit in Kindergarten:)

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