Tuesday, February 10, 2009

5 Little Girls Go Geocaching

Today my friend and I took took our five daughters on a field trip. They played on the enormous playground, rode a little train and a carousel, and then we went on a treasure hunt.

I pulled out a handheld GPS, a clipboard with the printout for a geocache, and a large backpack full of prizes. Just as I had entered the coordinates for the cache into the GPS, the screen went blank except for a blue line. Huh? I rebooted it and checked the last numbers I entered. They were still right, so we set off on the trail it indicated.

5 little girls traipsed along through the woods while visions of fabulous prizes danced in their heads. Then they started asking "Are we there yet?" And the GPS started acting funny again. And we began to wonder if we had missed a turn-off because the distance from destination was going *up*.

We backtracked, then turned around, then in frustration I checked the coordinates I entered.

Ummm, oops.

The last numbers were right, but it had lost the north coordinates I entered first. I fixed them and all of a sudden we were only 180 meters away. So we headed down the trail with a renewed sense of hope. Until it said the cache was 150 meters off the trail. I ended up bushwhacking through the trees while the others waited. When I finally made it to the destination, I noticed another part of the trail was right there. In the end, the cache was about 50 feet from where we had started.

All told, we walked almost 2 miles today and the 5 little girls were a bit tired, but they were amazing. They found the cache and enthusiastically searched through the box for fabulous prizes, but there wasn't anything to tempt a little girl. There was a very nice fishing lure, which was a great item for a cache near a lake, but try handing that to a small child and you've got a *very* interesting drive home. I promised them their choice of prize from my stash, so they were happy.

All told, it was a great day. We spent time with friends, exercised, enjoyed nature, read about trees, observed bird habitats and theorized why there were patches of downy feathers near the trail, practiced critical thinking and decision-making skills when we thought we were off track, learned the use of a GPS and a compass, and got first hand experience in the importance in checking your data entry *before* you take an unexpectedly long walk.

Just another day in the life of a homeschooler.

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