outer banks child Summer 2008 : Page 17

“What kind of GPS unit do I need?” Expensive, complicated models are not required. Go for a basic, user- friendly unit with a screen large enough to see what’s important: the coordinates. Also look for something durable — pirate proof. www.geocaching.comoffers additional buying tips on their “Getting Started” page. to operate a basic GPS unit — forever when compared to the technological acumen of today’s elementary age whiz kids — then we decided to start with a cache classified as “easy” on the site. The post noted that it was created by a four-year-old and listed a general location. After decrypting the clue, I thought for sure I had it figured out. It was hidden in the playground. It had to be. I didn’t even need to look at the GPS — it might be too easy. The lesson? Any four-year-old capable of operating a GPS unit is way more sophisticated than a playground. When we finally found the cache — I won’t say where, in case you go looking — it was a thrill unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. In true pirate style, I immediately wanted to do it again, and so did Dad. On to the next. The second cache was easy to get to but cleverly hidden. The clue for this particular hunt was rather obvious, but still, the thrill was there again while we watched the GPS unit count down the feet as we moved closer to the cache. After a quick bite to eat, it was on to the third and final cache — a “multi-cache.” This is where the post gives you one set of coordinates to a cache that then directs you to another set of coordinates; the final cache. This hunt required a ride in the Jeep (only because we didn’t have bikes) for a short trip to the north end of the island. Without spoiling the hunt I will tell you this: I would give anything to be a spectator as dad and I circled a holly tree with our arms outstretched above our heads trying to receive satellite signal on our GPS units because we simply could not find the first cache. Even though it was right there before our very eyes. Hidden with profound creativity. I realized then that the trick to a successful find is to forget logic. The GPS already knows where it is. So don’t think about it; just look for it. After all the searching, we couldn’t help but plan and hide a cache of our own. To participate, go to www.geocaching.com, register, enter 27954 in the zip code field to search for caches and look for “Pirates at the market!” I can say without question that my favorite treasures found that Sunday are the memories made with my Dad and husband, trekking around town, seeing new sites and simply enjoying the outdoors and being together. A 100% family friendly activity that will also hone valuable skills, geocaching will have you and your little pirates hooked!  JOIN THE FUN find the hidden cache! 11 am to 6 pm 10% Off Entire Check Family Friendly • Affordable Hand Cut Beach Fries • Coney Island Dogs Better Burgers • Sandwiches & Wraps Sundaes, Shakes & Malts MP 8.5 Bypass, Kill Devil Hills 252-441-5900 Coupon not valid with any other offer. One coupon per order. Expires 12/31/08. 19

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