Years and year ago I was getting an American magazine in the mail. It was my little indulgence - my little piece of America. These are the best, loveliest, 'real-life' magazines available on the planet! The magazine was Country Woman. There are no advertisements, except 'in-house' and are almost entirely written and contributed to, by the readers. I love it, and I still do. On and off over the years I have renewed my subscription when we were going through 'plentiful' times.
In one of those magazines I read about Geocaching, and was so intrigued by it.
Geocaching is hunting down a 'treasure box' secretly placed in any part of the world with public acccess. The GPS coordinates are then shared on the Geocaching website, and anyone with a GPS, or in our case, a printout with the clues can go and find it. You sign the little book inside the box, and can (it's optional) replace a little 'gift' item, then tuck the box back where you found it ready for the next hunter.
When I first read about it in this little American magazine, I looked up the website and found that there were only a handful in New Zealand. The one most accesible to us at the time was in the Marlborough Sounds at the start of the Queen Charlotte Track. But now, several years later, there are hundreds and it's a hobby that seems to be growing and growing in popularity.
At New Year's Robin's brother James and Mary (Uncle James and Aunty Mary) came out to the bach for a couple of nights, and re-introduced geocaching to us, by suggesting we look for the two or three out near our beach that is listed on the website. How exciting!!!
However, the GPS had been accidentally left at home, but fortunately Aunty Mary had printed out the instructions so we trekked over the hill to Tawhitokino to have a look. I must say, as James scaled treacherous rocks and some of us climbed and skidded up into the bush, and overturned rocks, it felt a bit like being on the reality tv show, Survivor, and hunting for a Hidden Immunity Idol.
We couldn't find it anywhere, and then reading the instructions again, we realised that the box must be out on the point! Here, to be precise.... which is no easy feat to get to.
But the children did find one on the track over to Tawhitokino and replaced the little toy with a marble from Theodore's stash. Such great fun, and it's free, and it's now all over the world.