Parks and Recreation Dept. adds geocaching to the Super Bowl festivities roster
Adventurers of all ages are gearing up for Westfield Parks and Recreation Dept.’s Cache for the Big Game geocache series.
The high-tech hunt for caches is bringing the fun and competition of the Super Bowl to Westfield, Fishers, Noblesville and Washington Township, as they are offering a county-wide geocache competition to win specially-made Super Bowl geocache tags.
Stephanie Fix, Westfield Parks and Recreation Dept. administrative assistant, says she thinks the free geocache series is a unique way to show the amenities Hamilton County has to offer in their trails and parks. Plus, it provides a well-rounded and free activity for families.
“The great thing about your community hosting the Super Bowl is there are activities for everybody, and you don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy the Super Bowl,” Fix said. “The Cache for the Big Game is another activity for visitors and residents to participate in and be a part of this great event happening in our city.”
Fix said the activity brings families together and it builds relationships in the community, as people are searching for caches filled with items that represent the cache creators’ interests in locations they want to share with other people.
Rob Lambert, Westfield Public Works Dept. supervisor, has been geocaching with his family since 2008. He’s looking forward to seeing the activity being introduced into Westfield for the Super Bowl.
“It’s a great idea. It brings people to parks and makes it fun,” Lambert said. “It gives visitors a different way to a see a city.”
Lambert’s wife, Jackie Lambert, said geocaching is an easy activity to get involved in, even if you’ve never done it.
“If someone is just starting out,you won’t have to go very far. The caches are all over the place. You can get a free app for your phone and find a cache almost anywhere,” Jackie said. “The technology and the popularity of the activity make them easy to find,and that’s very gratifying for your first attempt.”
Rob, who first started geocaching before convincing his family to get involved, said you can really challenge yourself if you want.
“A neat thing is you can choose your level of difficulty. Jackie is,what we like to say, an ‘urban cacher.’People wanting to stay in open areas can find caches in plenty of places in nearly every town,” Rob said. “If you’re looking for a challenge, you can go to a state park,really get in the woods and you can hike and get dirty.”
Jackie said she and her son weren’t all that interested in geocaching, but eventually it became one of Jackie’s favorite hobbies.
“We don’t share a whole lot of common interests, but we do share this one. The kids would hang out at home and we’d go on a date. Geocaching is a good way to go out and do something together,” Jackie said. “Part of it was being dragged along at first, but it is interesting once you get into it, and a fun way to spend time together with the kids or just us.”
Jackie and Rob’s shared interest in geocaching surprisingly lead the couple to another one of their favorite shared hobbies.
“We like walking around small, old cemeteries and looking at the headstones. The neat thing is geocaching lead us to different cemeteries near our house, and we didn’t even know they were there,” Rob said. “Because of geocaching, we’ve seen a lot of really historical cemeteries.”
Jackie said she never expected geocaching to enhance other activities she enjoys.
“Pretty much every cemetery you go to will have a cache,” Jackie said. “It adds to the whole experience. I’m a person who likes finding things, and those items lead you to discovering other things or places, like the old cemeteries.”
Although geocaching has developed into a shared activity between Jackie and Robert, their 9-year-old son, Keaton, said once his Nintendo DS loses its charge, he doesn’t mind geocaching with his parents on camping trips.
“I don’t usually like it, but I found a really cool one that was a cache with two codes. It was likea puzzle,” Keaton said. There were two caches and the first cache had a code to help you find the second cache.”
According to Geocaching.com, there are more than 12 different types of caches. The two-code cache Keaton found is a multi-cache. Robert has a traditional cache, filled with toy firefighters and fire trucks to represent his work as a volunteer firefighter. Jackie has a letterbox-type cache, which includes a paper log inside a small tube for the cache finders to sign their name.
The Lambert family has traveled to several state parks within Indiana,and said geocaching is always the highlight of their camping trips.
Coordinates for Cache the Big Game will be posted on geocaching.com on Friday.
Caches have been hidden by participating Parks and Recreation agencies. Noblesville, Fishers, Westfield and Washington Township each have caches hidden in two of their parks. The challenge is to locate each of the eight caches using a handheld GPS, and you must have a GPS or smartphone app. Caches will include a logbook and a special code. After collecting the special code from each park, log your find on geocaching.com and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with all eight codes, your name and your address. The first 100 people will receive a commemorative pathtag. Log onto any of the Websites for the Parks and Recreation agencies listed for more information.
By Lindsay Eckert
Lindsay is the managing editor of Current in Westfield.