Outdoor Apps: Get Outside!
Check out these two cool (free) apps that will help you and your family get outside and enjoy the land and water!
Geocaching is a type of global treasure hunt where people look for caches, or hidden stashes of objects using a GPS or other mobile device. After registering online, you can take a look at a map of hidden treasures near you, including hints on where to find them. Usually the “treasure” is a waterproof container with a log book, and sometimes a few little trinkets inside. Valuable objects, food, or other items that could be easily damaged are not allowed in geocaching.
Geocaching is a great way to get outside,
and to develop your powers of observation – and who doesn’t love looking for hidden treasure!
How to Geocache
· Download the app and/or create a membership on geocaching.com. Both are free and allow you to see the coordinates for geocaches near your home or wherever you are traveling.
· Choose a geocache to search for. Many are located in parks or along trails, so outdoor activity is built right in. They’re also found on city streets and on both public and private property.
· Using the Geocaching app or a handheld GPS tracker, navigate to the coordinates.
· Search for the box. Geocache boxes come in all different shapes and sizes. They can be anything, but they are usually small, weatherproof boxes made of metal, wood, or plastic. You might find a camouflaged Altoids tin, a can of mixed nuts, or an ammo box. The cache will be hidden (but not buried) in a safe, non-intrusive place.
· When you find the box, there is usually a log book or sheet inside so that you can record your visit. There may also be small treasures--if you brought something to share, you can trade for what’s in the box. Just make sure to replace the treasure you take with something of equal or greater value.
· Always put the geocache back where you found it.
We are very fortunate to live in a part of the world where we are surrounded by the beauty of forests, beaches, mountains and rivers. There are so many places to walk, run or hike, either alone, with our children, or with the family pet.
AllTrails is a free app that allows users to access a database of more than 200,000 trail maps, which includes crowdsourced reviews and images. Upon opening the app, you’ll be greeted by a list of nearby hiking, biking, and running trails. Scroll through and you’ll find plenty of trail options, each categorized by difficulty level as well as user ratings.
Tap on one and you’ll find a short description of the trail along with distance, elevation gain, a full trail map, user reviews, and weather icon. Once you find a trail you like, you can select the heart icon to save it to your “plan” list.
The app provides categories to explore like “Best Waterfalls” or “Dog-friendly trails nearby” so you can choose a new outdoor adventure according to personal preference.
While these tools can help you plan for and enjoy being in the great outdoors, don’t forget to be present in the moment. Put the phone back in your pocket, take a look around you, breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds calling from the trees or the waves lapping against the shore and soak in the good medicine that is all around you.
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