Parents everywhere spent days in March looking for fun, safe activities for their families while practicing social distancing and avoiding the spread of the coronavirus. The Martin family, Lithia residents, found a solution that provided them, and other locals, with hours of entertainment.
“With our spring break cruise being cancelled and all that was rapidly changing in our world at lightning speed, my husband, Josh, and I started looking into activities to get our family outdoors, active and just enjoying the many places literally in our own backyard,” said Mandy Martin. “Geocaching came up on a blog I was reading, and once I researched what exactly it was, I knew it was a perfect fit for my two kids, ages 8 and 5, who love finding the little ‘treasure’ in life.”
Geocaching, from the words ‘geo’ meaning earth and ‘cache’ meaning anything hidden, also known as modern day treasure hunting, requires only a GPS, which comes on most mobile phones. Searchers begin by downloading a free app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, and navigating the GPS to a certain location.
Once 10-20 feet from the cache, searchers use their eyes and follow clues left in the app. Caches vary in size, but many contain prizes and a log to sign once found.
The Martins started by finding the Osprey Observer cache, which is hidden in FishHawk Ranch (Phase I) on Lithia Pinecrest Rd., 1/4 mile south of Fishhawk Blvd.
After locating that, they decided to take adventure into their own hands by hiding their own cache for their friends to find.
“It’s easy to find once you get going, but just enough for the young ones to get excited,” said Martin.
They filled their cache with stickers, trinkets and small toys and asked that anyone who finds the box leaves a treasure of their own. Caches logged in the geocache app are categorized in many different ways, including difficulty and terrain.