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OMG. Geo-Tweens. #YOLO

It's all about how you look (on the internet...)
It’s all about how you look (on the internet…)

For tweens, the world suddenly opens up on many levels: They can take the bus to their friend’s house by themselves. A group of them can see a movie together without grownups in the next row. They start to discover interests and hobbies through their friends, and not because their parents tell them it’s for their own good. For those who may not know, “tweens” are young men and women between the ages of 10-12 years old. They are in-between being a kid and being a teenager.

So what do you do with a tween who won’t ever put down their smartphone besides take it away from them? How about an activity that gets everyone outside, interacting with the world, and includes a smartphone? Yep, you guessed it: geocaching.

Maxine, Rebecca, Oscar, and Clover search for GCHEGW
Maxine, Rebecca, Oscar, and Clover search for GCHEGW with the Seattle cityscape in the background.

My daughter Maxine, her friends Rebecca and Oscar are all in 7th grade. A few weeks ago on a typical Seattle day – overcast, with intermittent drizzle and sun breaks – we went geocaching. We brought our trusty dog Clover along for the ride.

We started our journey in West Seattle when we found a clever geocache on tree-lined street in an adorable neighborhood. Then we went to a hillside park with an amazing view of the Seattle skyline. That one was tricky and we spent a lot of time looking for it with our dog sniffing everywhere. But finally there was that “A-ha!” moment, and we found it!

Then we decided to hit some of the best caches in Seattle: The HQ GeoTour. We all know how physically challenging Geocaching can be, and certainly I didn’t want these kids to wilt on me, so we hit the Geocaching HQ kitchen first (working at Geocaching HQ certainly has its perks). Their bottomless metabolisms tore through chips, soda, Cup Noodles, candy, more chips, more Cup Noodles and more candy. [Special shout-out to HQ-er Maria for keeping us all carb-ed up and ready to roll.]

GC2AD97 - HQGt: Chairy True - and no, that's not a typo.
GC2AD97 – HQGt: Chairy Tree

Once we logged the Geocaching Headquarters geocache, we hit the streets hitting all that top spots in Fremont: Within Reach, Chairy Tree, A Bedazzling View, De Libertas Quirkas, Fremont Library, Toll Droppings, Ode to the Golgafrinchan Phone Workers, Beneath Aurora, and finally Geo Post Office.

The Fremont Troll is a beloved Seattle Landmark and part of the Geocaching HQ GeoTour.
The Fremont Troll is a beloved Seattle Landmark and part of the Geocaching HQ GeoTour.

We all had a great time spending time together, but we were hanging out with a purpose. We all learned something, too:

  • Maxine learned she was actually instinctually skilled at geocaching.
  • Oscar learned that he really wanted to work at Geocaching so he could eat Cup Noodles anytime he wanted.
  • Rebecca learned that she actually could be the first to find a geocache if it was a under a really big rock and everyone stayed let her find it.
  • I learned (from Oscar) how to solve for coordinates on a Multi-Cache and add waypoints to my app.
tween schmupps
Clover learned that a fun day of geocaching makes for a very happy evening of napping

It was a good day. No, it was a wonderful day.

What advice do you have for geocaching with your kids, tweens, or teens? Tell us in the comments below! 

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It was a Dark and Stormy Night… for Reading about Geocaching

Geobook
Special thanks to Julie Henning (CalORie) for the perfect lead in image for this post.

We here at Geocaching HQ love to hang out with each other during work, while throwing a few back at a local happy hour, and of course while geocaching together on the weekends. So when one of our lackeys suggested starting a book club, we got pretty excited and wondered about geocaching-themed books that may be out in the world. Turns out that there’s a LOT. There’s even a thread in our forums about it. Here are some of our top picks for geocaching books out in the world:

Caching In: A Geocaching Love Story by Tracy Krimmer
“Can a compass lead you to love?”

Ahh, romance and Tupperware in the woods. In Tracy Krimmer’s Caching In: A Geocaching Love Story, we meet broken-hearted Ally Couper who’s, “…had enough with her ridiculous life. Her job at the bank is going nowhere, and her love life might as well be non-existent. Determined to try something new, Ally becomes absorbed in the world of geocaching. The high-tech driven scavenger hunt introduces her to Seth, and she realizes the game isn’t the only thrilling part. Ally’s bad luck may finally be changing, until the past threatens to halt her future with Seth. Can they find happiness together, or is love the one cache Ally can’t find?” I hope this doesn’t have any DNFs!

Romance & caching seem to go hand in hand, but apparently not as much as mysteries & ammo cans. Check out these “whodunits”:

Cache a Predator is a geocaching thriller about a father’s love, justice, and the unhinged game of hide-the-cache .
“Cache a Predator is a geocaching thriller about a father’s love, justice, and the unhinged game of hide-the-cache.”

Cache a Predator: A Geocaching Mystery by Michelle Weidenbenner is a Gold Medal Winner in the 2014 Readers’ International Awards and gets high review marks from online book seller sites. “M. Weidenbenner plants the emotion of one vigilante’s mission into the cache boxes of a gripping tale that will leave readers locking their doors…” Plus, someone is planting body parts in geocaching sites. I wouldn’t want to be FTF that geocache!

"While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton..."
“While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton…”

The synopsis of Cached Out: A Cliff Knowles Mystery by Russell Atkinson already has me on the edge of my seat. “Newly retired from the FBI and alone after the tragic death of his wife, Cliff Knowles takes up geocaching. While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton and reports it to the sheriff’s office. Then a second body is found – a fresh corpse this time – right after Cliff found another geocache nearby. When it turns out the first remains are those of a fugitive he was supposed to arrest years earlier, he becomes a suspect in a multiple homicide investigation. He has no choice but to use his sleuthing skills to identify the mysterious cache owner, known only as Enigmal, and free himself from suspicion.”

But what about the kids? Oh the little ones certainly have a lot to choose from, too:

“Congratulations!” the note says. “You’ve found it!”

As a kid I loved the Boxcar Children series and the adventures of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden. In The Box That Watch Found (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #113) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, their dog Watch discovers a mysterious box that turns out to be, you guessed it, a geocache! But just as the Alden kids start to embrace their new found hobby, they find that several geocaches in the area are disappearing. This book is a great way to introduce kids 7-10 to the world of geocaching or enhance their already established hobby.

"...Using his GPS, he uncovers the geocache-a small metal box-hidden deep in the woods..."
“…Using his GPS, he uncovers the geocache-a small metal box-hidden deep in the woods…”

Young teenagers might actually consider taking a break from texting and putting their smartphones GPS to use after reading Hide & Seek by Katy Grant. This 240 page chapter book follows 14-year-old Chase who, “…finally gets a chance to go on his first solo geocaching adventure. Using his GPS, he uncovers the geocache-a small metal box-hidden deep in the woods in some undergrowth. Inside, with a few plastic army men and a log book, is a troubling message for help in a child’s handwriting.” This one gets high points from both readers and educators in online reviews. 

Our Co-Founder Bryan and his family are on the cover of this good read.
Our Co-Founder Bryan and his family are on the cover of this good read.

Is this a good place to plug The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching: Third Edition by The Editors and Staff of Geocaching.com? No? Alrighty then, moving on… 😉

A geocaching novel in a geocache! Geogirl by Kelly Rysten can be found on Kindle

Finally, you clever cachers really have thought of everything, haven’t you? Including a book club themed geocache! If you ever find yourself in Ridgecrest, California and need a new read, hop on over to Paperback Book Cache GC1ADKF. The Ridgecrest California Geocachers Club says that this 2d/2t geocache is and easy to find, and bring a book if you want to take a book. One log said, “I took two books, one by Gordon R. Dickson that I haven’t even heard of, and one in the Honor Harrington series by Weber. Left two of Rysten’s books, signed by the author. Enjoy!”

So how about you? Read any good (Geocaching) books lately? Tell us in the comments below!