Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Geocaching with your family

Well it is official, our camping season has started.  This past week-end many campsites have opened in Ontario including where our RV is parked.   So we packed and drove to Logos Land to open up our “cottage” like my mother-in-law says.   And once there, we realized we forgot some things…   But we were able to open it, spend two days there and enjoy the nature.   The Ontario provincial flower, the trilliums were in full bloom and we even found the loon’s nest.

So has the camping season opens in our area, we also pondered on what we could do while we are at the RV (and not on the road with it) this summer.   What are fun activites that our family could suggest to the you.   We are blessed to have a variety of things we could do around Cobden, Ontario.   To get the most out of your summer in the Ottawa Valley, you need to be open to try new things too!

You could rent a pontoon on White Lake and go fishing with your family.   It is a wonderful way to spend time in the outdoors, swim in a lake, make memories together and observe the nature around a lake.   We did that last year and plan to do it again this year.  The kids enjoyed their time on the boat and we were able to see some bald eagles in the area too!    It was a wonderful time with the whole family.

You could grab you binoculars and observe the birds as a fun way to discover nature around you.  This past week-end we were blessed to observe for the first time for us a Baltimore Oriole which is very colorful in the shades of orange.   It was such a pleasure to see it.

You can study the forestry development from the early years at Chutes Coulonge on the Quebec side at the historical park.  Not only will you have the opportunity of learning more about how timber travelled the river, but you will also have the opportunity to walk in nature.   They also have an aerial park where you can zip above the falls and be challenge with an obstacle course.

But the activity we discovered last year is about discovering nature and using your scouting skills to find something.  I’m talking about geocaching.   What is geocaching?  Simply put it is a treasure hunt anywhere in the world.   There are tons of geocaches around the world – literally.   All you need to have is to get a gps device, grab good shoes and be ready to search a while.

We decided last year to try geocaching.   We had my husband iPhone with the geocache app on it.  So one morning while we were camping we grabbed a lunch and went on a discovery adventure.    The first cache we were looking for was on a dirt road close to our campsite.    A long dirt road that was going straight from the highway 17 to another parallel road further down. Somewhere along that road there was a cache and our objective was to find it...    With the app you get the location of the cache using some positioning codes.   So we stopped where the GPS was telling us the cache would be. And we proceeded to look for it.   We walked through tall grasses, turned around a big tree, put our hands in holes on the ground to try to find it without success.   This was our first attempt to find a cache.    And the kids were looking as much as they could.    My husband decided to go down the road to see if we could have missed something.  The kids went with him.   I stayed close to the truck and thought... "If I were a cache where would I be?"    There a bit down the road there were some rocks.    Could it be?    So I went and looked around and I found it.    So I turned around and yelled at the rest of my family which was way down the road by now...    The kids ran to me and proceeded to search for the cache.    Dominic found it at the base of the rock - it was well hidden.

Each cache can be hidden in different ways.  You can find little trinkets in the caches and usually if  you take something you should leave something else for the next family or group of person searching for it.

Our next stop was in a cemetery.    A bit weird we found but we walking around, trying to figure out where it was.  This one was hard too.   When using the app, you can look at cheater pictures to figure out where the cache can be.    We gave up.   We looked... and even though the cheater pictures are not clearly indicating where the cache is, you can figure out the background and then look around there.   The cache was inside the hole of a tree...  No way our kids could have grab it.    This time the cache was a plastic container with army print duck tape around it.  This type of cache is easier to include little trinkets in it.  You could find toonies or loonies (2$ and 1$ in Canada), little toys, a piece of paper and a pencil to write your name and day you found the cache, and so on...


We did a third cache that day.  But it was located in between very passing roads and having little ones (my daughter was two and my third son four at that time), we decided that I would be the one looking for it.    I went and followed the footsteps of a previous group of people looking for it.   It's easy when there is tall grasses that have been walked on...   I looked and looked and was going to give up when I spotted it.    A small birdhouse was hanged on the fence.  Could it be it?   So I went and discovered the cache in the hole - an old film container.    A small cache that gave a lot of trouble.

I prefer finding bigger caches but there is different ones all over the place.   When we were back home we even found some close to our house.   All we have to do is pack a snack and bring water.    Geocaching is definitively a good way to create wonderful memories with your family during the summer.   If you don’t have a smart phone on which you can download a geocaching app, you can purchase a handheld gps device for about 150$.    I am looking forward to do more geocaching with the family this summer.

This year I think I would also like to visit the Bonnechere Caves.   It would be a good way to study geology with the kids and discover something else around our campsite.

So what are you planning to do this summer?   Which fun activity are you going to do with your kids?  What are your Summer Success Secrets?   Please take the time to give us some ideas.

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Personal blog of a homeschool family. We love to travel with our RV when we can. Fishing, discovering new places, photography are some of our favourite activities!

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