Just looked at this blog and realized that I haven’t posted anything on this blog since May. I’ve continued to geocache.
In June I went to ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia and found my northern most cache to date.
In July, I introduced my 81 year old mother to geocaching. We even spent my 61st birthday finding my 61st cache.
In August, I went into DC with 2 friends and did a day of logging Virtual Caches. So far that day holds the record for the most caches found in a day. What a fun day finding caches around our nation’s capital. I also reached the milestone of 100 caches found since I began geocaching.
September brought a return to school. Nevertheless, I tried to fit in some caches when I could.
In October, I went with friends to a State Park filled with various caches. I did my first difficult hike up a “mountain” only to find the cache was missing. That was a bummer but a great workout.
November was a slow month for me as far as going geocaching. If I hadn’t found some over Thanksgiving vacation, I might have had a month with no caches found.
In December, I went to Florida to visit my mom for Christmas. I found my 200th cache while I was there. In fact, mom and I found around 45 caches the week that I was there.
In January, I decided to try and find at least one cache every day of the year. Unfortunately, I was sick and missed a day. The weather has been great for geocaching as we have been having a mild winter.
This month, February, I am getting close to reaching my next milestone, 300 caches found. I have found a way to get off the couch and enjoy nature and undiscovered areas. I have met some great people and want to figure out a way to integrate geocaching into my teaching. The big stumbling block is that I need GPS units for my students and a plan.
My goal is to be more consistent in sharing my geocaching adventures.
I’m so excited. When I heard about the Find the Gecko contest by GEICO. I immediately went to the website to request a GEICO Gecko Trackable. Last week I went back to the website and was sad to see that they had all been taken. Saturday when I checked the mail, I found a letter from Groundspeak. When I opened it, there he was. Now I need to figure out where to start his journey. I am hoping that he will visit all of the 50 states. The cool thing is that I will be able to track his movements.
If you are interested in starting out a Gecko Trackable, you have great news as I just found out on their website.
Great News! Due to the remarkable demand, GEICO has aggreed to provide another batch of GEICO Gecko Trackable Tags. We Expect to have them available within the next few weeks, so check back soon for the request form. We will be sending them out to new homes as soon as we get them.
This is another great activity to do with your students. Decide what you want to use as a trackable. Activate it on www.geocaching.com. You can decide the mission of the trackable that correlates with your curricular objectives. Easy to do. Why not give it a try?
I use my the geocaching app on my iPhone to navigate to caches. Sometimes it is right on and other times it is a little “off”. One thing I need to remember is I need to go with my gut. It usually leads me in the right direction.
When geocaching, one also needs to notice what looks out of place or “unnatural.” Putting yourself in the shoes of the one who hid the cache is also helpful. Where would you hide the cache in this area?
It isn’t about just finding the cache. It is about the journey. Taking time to enjoy the environment around me. Reading the signs that tell about the history of the area. Slowing down to enjoy the journey helps me slow down to enjoy my life.
I guess Walmart and lamp posts are usual places to hide caches. I can now say that I have found one of those caches. I have to admit it was quite easy. The cache was inside a plastic film canister that I don’t see very often now that digital cameras are being used. I think the construction workers were wondering what I was doing to the lamp post.
Tuesday, I found the most unique cache so far. In order to get the cache, you had to pull out a screw. There was a wire attached to the screw which pulled up the cache. It was about the size of a Sharpie with only the log inside. I had trouble finding it at first and almost gave up. It was worth the search.
This second cache brings my total to 20 found. As I’m geocaching and seeing where caches are being hidden, my mind is getting ideas of what I can do with my students. I’d love to have them find caches but also problem solve creative ways to hide them for other classes to find. First I have to work on a plan to purchase a set for the students to use. 15 units could be used with a class of 30 students. I’m still checking out what to buy but leaning towards Garmin eTrex Venture.
Friday after school, I headed to a nearby cache. It turned out to be by a childcare facility where the playground was filled with “muggles”. Borrowed from the Harry Potter books, a “muggle” is a person who doesn’t geocache. The cache I was looking for was placed in a small wooded area that bordered the playground. I could imagine the students at my school, playing on our playground, watching someone walking around the woods that border our school property. As visions of police cars with sirens blaring entered my mind, I decided to forgo my search.
Today I headed back to the cache. As I thought, the place was empty. I headed into the trees apparently walking right by the cache. I did find it within a small amount of time, being more relaxed and not worrying about being surrounded by police.
One of my geocaching goals is to find a cache on every date of the year. I don’t expect to do this in one year and I’m wondering how I will accomplish this in the winter. On geocaching.com, I can see my statistics. This may be part of the pro account. Today I went to Finds for Each Day of the Year which stated You’ve found caches on 9 of 366 days of the year and has a table listing each day of the year. Days I have found caches are greyed out and have the number of caches found on that day. As you can see, I have a ways to go.
If you would like to start geocaching but don’t have a GPS system, GEICO is having a Find the Gecko contest. They will be giving away 20 Magellan eXplorist GC GPS units, valued at $150 each! Also, 6,000 trackable Geckos are being released to spread the word about the Sweepstakes.
Today was the Discovery Education Geocaching Day across the US. After a bumpy start, I headed to Maryland to meet Riptide AKA Fred Delventhal at Clearwater Nature Center in Clinton, MD. We began our day by checking out the Nature Center itself. One of the “critters” there was a little owl who had lost one of his eyes after flying into a car. It reminded me how often wildlife is injured because of the spread of humans into areas that once was theirs.
Then it was time for our first cache. I found the Clearwater Nature Center cache and dropped my first trackable, the DEN 2011 Geocoin. It was Riptide’s first time doing a trackable also so we learned how to do it together. Before heading to look for the next cache, we checked out the birds, a couple of red-tailed hawks, a couple of owls, and a bald eagle. My opinion…bald eagles are really awesome. Rip also gave me some tips on using the iPhone, better than going to the Apple Store.
Wendy, a fellow teacher from Bennett ES, met us in the parking lot and we headed off to the second cache. I love geocaching with Wendy because as a former National Park Ranger, she continually teaches me about nature. Wendy found the Clearwater cache first. Great hide I must say.
The third cache took us for a walk beside the lake, where there must have been a turtle convention today, and wandering into the woods. The Cosca Cache was an easy find but the terrain gave me a bit of a work out.
We then headed back to the parking area and jumped into our separate cars to caravan to the Surrat House cache. Learning more about history is one of my favorite reasons I love caching in this area. The cache itself was really easy to find. I dropped another DEN coin trackable into the cache. This find surprised Riptide as apparently it had been moved from the last time he had found it.
After lunch at Chipolte,Thanks DEN, it was time for us all to head home. It was a fun day filled with beautiful weather, exercise, and good friends. Hopefully DEN will continue to offer this event.
The adventure continues……
Years ago, one of my ITRT professional development days included using GPS systems with students. We were given a GPS unit and went outside and I HATED it. I couldn’t figure out how to do it. For some reason the idea stayed in my brain.
Then came……the iPhone 4, which I stood in line for 8 hours to purchase in July, 2010. There was a geocaching app and gps right on the phone. Suddenly I kept hearing about Geocaching everywhere. ISTE was publishing Geocaching and GPS in Education by Burt Lo. (I just purchased it for the Kindle. I am reading it on my iPad2 using the Kindle app) I started subscribing to podcasts about geocaching. One of my favorites is podcacher and on one of their podcasts, they had an interview with Burt Lo. My interest was peaked.
Because of health and weight issues, I need to get more exercise, like walking, and loose weight. I don’t like to go walking by myself or for no reason so I decided that going out geocaching would fit the bill. I went to www.geocaching.com , became a member, and found out there is a Northern Virginia Geocacher Organization (NOVAGO) I noticed that they were going to have an event in Fairfax on February 27th and decided to attend. So with iPhone in my hand and boots on my feet, I was off. I actually found 3 caches that day. I was hooked.
I ran into a bump when I started to geocache on my own. I couldn’t find the caches because they were too small and I’m a “newbie”. I went on geocaching.com asking for help and/or a mentor and actually got both. It was suggested to not to search for “micro” caches when you are a beginner as they are hard to find because they can be extremely small. I also received an email from Valerie in the Haymarket area asking if I’d like her to go with me. When I began looking for bigger caches, things looked up. Because of our schedules Valerie and I haven’t met up yet, but I am looking forward to meeting her. I have learned more about the area I live in since starting and Wendy, a colleague from school, and I went out once together so I sometimes have a “buddy.”
Last Saturday I went to Discovery Education’s Day of Discovery in Silver Springs, MD and attended a double geocaching session. For the first part, Bridget talked about geocaching. The second part, we went out and about Silver Springs geocaching. I had a chance to find my first ghost cache.
As of today, I have found 13 caches. Hope you enjoy my reflections as I continue to ramble through the world geocaching as I go.