I’ll Always Remember our Water Date!

I didn’t want to get wet.  Let’s just make that clear in the beginning.  I was wrong. You should probably know that early on too.

When we planned a geocaching day with our friends Leigh and Tony, we specifically planned for hiking caches.  The Bug said she wanted to go hiking and get in the woods, and that suited the rest of us.  So, we found a couple locations in Delhi, Ohio (basically Cincinnati) where we could get in the woods, find some caches, and enjoy time with our friends.

Our second location was a set of hiking trails made by Boy Scouts on a hillside.  We parked on the side of a road and started hiking.  It wasn’t long till The Bug saw a creek at the bottom of the hill.  “Guys, it’s time you start thinking about me and go down to the water.”  (We’re still working on the whole humility thing, but you can tell she likes water.)  Well, we ignore her and kept up our hike.  Up the hill we went, then swept down through the woods, finding “treasures” all along the way. Come to think of it, asking an 8 year old to hike 6 miles without a creek break may be a bit extreme… but she did do remarkably well. 

Finally, toward the end of the hike, the trail met up with the creek, and we stepped down into the rocks.

The Bug took off for the water.  As the dad, I had to keep up with her in case she fell.  Her balance isn’t what it should be and it helps to have a spotter.  “Honey, don’t get your feet wet.  Hiking with wet feet is not fun.”  That lasted 7 seconds.  As she splashed her way around the little pools of water, it didn’t take long till my hiking boots were submerged too.

We sloshed around for a while, till we were beckoned back to the trail.  As we walked the last quarter mile or so back to the car, The Bug never let go of my hand, as she kept telling me sweet nothings.  “We need a date night again.”  “I love you a billion times!” “I’ll always remember our water date.” “I love you more than anything.”

Sometimes I can be such an adult. I can only think of the practical side of things — what has to be done or what is the best way to do something.  It’s so easy to forget to have fun with my kid.  I’m thinking it was a good idea to get in the water.  What do you think?

Pro Tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to get wet, but make it at the end of the hike.
  • Waterproof your boots or wear hiking sandals. (Wet boots, socks, and jeans were not fun to hike in, even if we were basically done.)
  • Keep dry shoes in the car.
  • It’s OK to be a kid once in a while.

When was the last time you were a kid with your kid?

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Geocaching in Ault Park

Geocaching has been one of my favorite hobbies for years.  Well before there was a Bug, we loved to get out on a Saturday, visit a local park, and find a few hidden treasures.  In fact, I’m proud to say that our Cache Find #1100 was at a Buddhist temple in Seoul and The Bug’s first ever find was in the shadows of Seoul’s Olympic Stadium.  Anyhow, after we brought The Bug back home with us, our caching excursions ground down to an almost complete halt.

But…wait…you may not know about geocaching and everything I just said sounded like gibberish to you.  Let me explain.

Let’s start with the satellites floating above us in space.  You probably already know that many of these satellites can team up together along with devices here on earth to pin point our locations pretty much anywhere on the planet.  This may freak you out in a Big Brother sort of way, and I’m sorry about that.  There’s not much I can do about that.  Just enjoy the fact that your phone can now tell you where the nearest Starbucks is and give you directions to it.  Now, keep reading.

There are people who enjoy using this cool yet creepy technology to hide things and make other people find them. These people are called geocachers. So, here’s how it works.  Someone goes out and hides a container.  It can be big like a box or small like a little magnetic dot about a centimeter in diameter. It can be in the woods five miles from anything or along a crowded city sidewalk. The important thing is to get the GPS coordinates before walking away.  Go to www.geocaching.com and write up a description of your cache, including what to look for and any hints or stories you want to tell.  Eventually your cache gets approved, then you sit and watch your email inbox. Other cachers will use your coordinates to go out and find your cache.  When they open your container, they may want to trade stuff they find in it with something they brought along.  (Think cheapo toys that somehow invaded your house when you became a parent.) They will also sign a log book you left in the cache to mark their success.  Eventually, they will sign a digital log book to alert you that they were there.  It’s a fun — yet geeky — activity that can be done in all weather and relatively inexpensively.  (When I say all weather, I have cached in pouring rain, burning sun, and falling snow.) Every geocacher has a special code name.  Our family is called the Steagles.  (I’m an Eagles fan, my wife is a Steelers fan, together we make Steagles.) I call The Bug “Steaglette” in my posts.

If none of that made sense, here’s a video to explain it better.


Now that you’ve had that introduction to geocaching, here is what we did on Father’s Day.

If you recall, we celebrated Father’s Day a week early.  We were going to go camping on the real Father’s Day Weekend, but that didn’t happen.  Instead, we decided to go to Ault Park in Cincinnati to do some hiking and geocaching.  It was a HOT day and The Bug was more interested in playing on the playground, so we only logged a few finds. I still had fun, though.

As we walked through the garden areas, I realized there was a cache only a few hundred feet away.  This can be deceptive, since those distances don’t take into account that most humans can’t walk a straight line to all caches. We got to within 100 feet, and saw that we were on the edge of forest with a steep decline toward the cache.  So, our nice little walked turned into a hike.  We had to find a trailhead and weave our way through the woods to the cache.

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Hiking to the cache. (Yes, the eye crossing was a complete surprise to me when I opened the pic on the computer screen. Oh well. She’s cute!)

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This is very typical of what you might find inside a cache. I tend to leave the toys and stuff alone. I’m sure you can figure out why. The Bug always wants something but rarely brings something to trade out.

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Sometimes caches aren’t quite on the beaten path. The Bug followed me off trail a bit too late to make it to the cache, but this is a good example of what you may have to hike through to grab your find.

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Heading back to the main path.

The Bug finally got to a swing and all was right with the world once again.

The Bug finally got to a swing and all was right with the world once again.

As always, here are some pro tips for you.

  • Get the geocaching app on your phone, but it’s also good to have a good handheld GPS.   I once cached with a family who tried to use their car GPS. Not such a good idea.
  • Bring plenty of water, a pen, and junk to trade if you want to trade junk. Don’t forget the bug spray too! I could tell you stories…
  • Always plan time for playgrounds. Once you get going you just want to keep finding the next one, then the next one, and so forth.  Always be prepared for the inevitable swingset to mess up your plans.
  • I asked The Bug for good geocaching advice.  She said, “Nuttin’.” She doesn’t like geocaching nearly as much as I do.  Sad, really. (One fun fact is that she doesn’t call it geocaching or caching like we do.  To The Bug it’s called, “finding treasures.” Cute.)
  • Make it a fun time! Enjoy the hike, race to see who can find the cache first, and always end with ice cream.

I’d love to hear your geocaching stories!  Drop a good one in the comment section.

Garmin GPSMAP 64st, TOPO U.S. 100K with High-Sensitivity GPS and GLONASS Receiver