BGS Student Plays Hide and Seek
We all played it as children – outside on hot summer evenings or inside on rainy fall days: the easy and eternal game of “Hide and Seek.”
Today in this world of sophisticated gadgets and electronics, Hide and Seek has gone high tech with geocaching, and BGS student Jim Schmedding and his family participate in what is now a global game.
“While visiting a park with my children, I noticed two people searching for something while holding a GPS unit,” said Jim. “I asked what they were looking for, and they explained what geocaching is. It sounded like something my kids would enjoy, so we started to search for cache sites via the internet.”
The rules of this sophisticated game of Hide and Seek are actually quite simple. According to the Geocaching website, it’s an easy game: Geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online. Essentially, when someone finds a geocache, there is usually a logbook to sign. Some players leave items, and it’s quite interesting to see what has been left. One rule is that if you take an item, you leave one of equal or greater value behind.
“The caches are usually in a waterproof container and vary in size,” said Jim. “The ‘treasures’ are usually of insignificant value. The kids love it!”
Players most often use GPS receivers, but also other mobile devices or other navigational techniques are employed. Sites are listed on the geocaching site on the internet: www.geocaching.com. A player creates an account, reads about the process (and all sorts of interesting information about geocaching), and uses the site map to find caches.
“We began close to home,” said Jim, of Geneseo, Illinois. “We really like driving around the countryside as a family. Everyone gets involved. My wife drives while I help get us in the general vicinity of the cache. Once we arrive near it, our 11 year old son Noah takes the GPS unit, and we scout around for the cache. Then five year old Nina runs around looking for it. She loves to trade the treasures.”
The whole-family activity has led them to have some wonderful conversations.
“Once, our adventures led us to some old hidden cemeteries that were off the beaten path. This sparked all kinds of good conversation ranging from historical questions to the affirmation of strong religious beliefs,” Jim said.
Their trips have taken them to some very unusual places
“We once found a cache located near an abandoned, broken down bridge. I had to scale the structure and balance myself across the beams to get to the other side,” said Jim. “On the other side I finally found the cache!”
Noah boasted, “I like it when my dad has no idea where the cache is, and I’m the one who finds it.”
Nina added, “I like the toys!”
This high tech game of Hide and Seek is one that can be played anywhere. You can play it within a few hours of your home, across the country, or around the world. For someone with a GPS, an adventurous spirit, and a bit of the heart of a child, it’s an excellent and very fun game.
If you already play, email us and let us know the most unusual place YOU found a cache, and we’ll publish it in the January issue of Transitions!