Snowshoes & Geocaching.
CamMan and I had an adventure with both recently. His school club had a geocaching & snowshoeing event on the calendar that he could sign up for. He was all for it… Especially since he loves geocaching and many friends don’t know what it is. He had a chance to be the leader… The top dog. He likes being the kid who can show others what to do. So… We signed up.
Once there, the staff starts asking questions to see what the kids know about geocaching. CamMan’s hand shot up in the air after every question and was the only one up. Every answer that he gave was correct. Despite the whole “geocaching capitol of the Midwest” being near us… We were the only geocachers in the bunch.
I’m proud to be a part of such an elite group! 😉
After a 30 minute spiel that, in my humble opinion, got a little too in depth for the ages of those the event was meant for… We met our GPS units. I was pumped! I use the geocaching app on my phone for my hunts. I’ve never actually gotten my hands on a handheld GPS unit before. Since I really want one… It seemed like a great starting point.
*insert inner groaning here*
So much for new finds for my numbers.
Ahhhh. Who cares? CamMan was still riding his “you’re such a smart kid” showing off and impressing his friends wave. The extra finds don’t matter. We are going to have an awesome time.
Since we were now all formally introduced to our GPS… It was time for snowshoes! Ever the one to be nervous over anything new (no matter how small), CamMan definitely had a case of the jitters. What about “Snowshoes” could so nerve racking… even if you don’t know what it is?
We got the kiddos all strapped into their Snowshoes and we were off. (Sadly, they didn’t have enough for the adults) The other mom in our group and I decided to let our group’s kiddos attempt find the cache with the GPS. We wanted to promote independence and exploration… It had nothing to do with not wanting to be the reason we didn’t find a cache.
We got off to a GREAT start. The kids were cooperating and sharing the GPS wonderfully and with no bickering. The handheld said we were a mere 300 feet from our cache. The kids were pumped!
That’s when things started to go south. We veered onto a path that was going the direction that the GPS was signaling. The big path then became a smaller path….then a smaller path…then an even smaller path. Then it just seemed to vanish and all a sudden were traipsing through the woods. We were now 200 feet from the cache and the kids were NOT going to turn back now… vanishing path or not. I admired their determination.
Then… the brush of the non-path woodsy area became thick. Snowshoes were getting tangled in it requiring stopping and adult help in freeing the Snowshoes. There was plenty tripping and falling and a quick abandoning of the formerly admired determination to make the find. Kids got frustrated and Snowshoes got removed for easier maneuvering of the woods.
Then…. There it was. A path! It was just beyond the woodsiest wooded brush we encountered, but…It was there none the less. Our light at the end of the tunnel. We all but ran to it. A quick check of time told us our woodsy walking adventures took up all our time and it was time to head back…. cache less.
The kids were good sports about it all… even though they were bummed to have not found a treasure. Being the ONLY person in the whole group to have geocaching experience, I felt like I let kids down. So, I began puttering away on that darn GPS. (I don’t know what kind of unit it was…but I hated it. No real map to show where you were and where you wanted to go. Just a compass like spinning arrow and a distance to go) Turns out there was one on our way back to the building. The other mom and I quietly agreed we’d walk that way to see if it was an easy find before getting the kids hopes up because we were already late to get back. We saw a trail loaded with footprints… Always a good sign. We started walking that way and sure enough… There it was pretty much in pain view. CamMan gave me a “Are they serious, mom? This is to easy! ” face and graciously let the other kids find it first.
After some obviously needed treasure trading… We headed back. Only 20 minutes late. Oops. We got so many “what took you so long” and “about time” looks but we didn’t care. The kids from other groups showed off their treasures. Ours not only had treasures to show, but had stories to tell of being stuck in the woods and of trees that pulled off their Snowshoes. It was like listening to an explorer tell tales of a newly discovered world.
What could have been a bad experience became an awesome one worth bragging about because of kids with a great imagination and positive Outlook and two mom’s who (despite the issues encounteed) spent the whole
messy ordeal unexpected adventure laughing it off.
It goes to show that having a positive attitude and Outlook does make a difference,. If not for you, then maybe for someone!
But seriously…. snowshoeing and geocaching….NOT a good combo. 😉