Last Sunday, February 21st, Outdoor Outreach invited us on their hiking and geocaching trip with a group of students from San Pasqual Academy.
We met them at the Elfin Forest in Escondido Forest around 9am. A few of the Outdoor Outreach staff greeted us with warm welcomes and sun-shining smiles 🙂 It was the first time geocaching for both Jordan and myself so we were excited to be learning alongside the students!
Before we started the hike and search for geocaches, OO organized an opportunity for us to learn about the Elfin Forest from two park rangers that run the recreational reserve.
From the trailhead to the top, our route stretched two miles up and around the mountain. Using a geocaching app, we stopped along the trail and searched for multiple geocaches. In case you are unfamiliar, the way it works is the app informs you when you are within 30 feet of the geocache, or hidden object. It is usually camouflaged and obviously hidden out of clear sight.
A few of the kids had keen eyes and found the geocaches. When they found them, a flash of pride showed across their faces. It was a rewarding feeling to find one.
Once it is found (usually a pill bottle container), you open it up, pull it out the slip of paper and write your name and date on it. It is a lot of fun scanning the names to see how many times the geocache has already been discovered. Then, you hide it again in a similar location for the next person to find.
At the end of the trail, we stopped, enjoyed the views of a beautiful lake and then made our way back down the trail. Outdoor Outreach brough sandwich materials and delegated the art of sandwich making to their finest leaders.
We explained to the kids the idea of the project and what we hoped to accomplish. They thought it was really cool! It was awesome for us because it was our first time explaining the project to a group of kids in the outdoors. In that moment, we had a glimpse of all that our trip has in store for us.
Special thanks goes out to Mallory at Outdoor Outreach for inviting us to join them on the trip and experience hiking in the Elfin Forest with their group!
[Photo courtesy of Outdoor Outreach]