Geocaching with Kids

Kids and geocaching go together like unicorns and glitter, but before you trek out with your little ones, you need to make sure you’re prepared. As with pretty much everything, geocaching with children is not the same as doing so with just adults. Here are a few things to consider:

Apisphere Geomate Jr (photo from

Get the right GPS device

If you’re like me, you have your geocaching app on your phone and just hand it off to the kids when they want to take a look at the cache’s location. If you want something a little bit more specifically kid-friendly, however, you might want to try the  Geomate Jr. Handheld Geocaching GPS by Apisphere. It is rugged and built for little hands, and the interface has been greatly simplified. Basically, geocaches registered on the website are preloaded into the GPS, which finds the closest one and then tells you how far you are from it. Its streamlined functionality is great for young kids, who just need to know which direction to walk in, but I recommend also having an idea of where the cache is, what’s in it and how difficult the terrain is. You can determine this either by looking at the website beforehand or by using a geocaching app on your phone while you’re out. More on that in a moment.

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Pennsylvania’s Hiking Week Coming up!

If you’re like me and will be looking for something to do when you don’t get taken up in the rapture, you might want to consider Pennsylvania’s hiking week, which starts on May 28th and goes through June 5th. The state has organized over 100 hikes in order to provide an introduction to and get people excited about the activity. There are a variety of hikes organized: easy strolls and more arduous treks up the mountains, wildflower walks and walks for people with disabilities.

More information about hiking week is available can be found at

Appalachian Trail, Photo by Michael McDonough (Flickr)

Oh and while you’re in Pennsylvania, why don’t you check out the Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners, PA. Located at the midpoint of the trail, it tells its story through photos. If you come in June, you may catch some of the thru-hikers (people who hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one shot). It is a tradition for them to stop in Gardners and eat a half-gallon of ice cream.

Appalachian Museum Celebrates Hiking (Toronto Sun)

Pennsylvania’s Hiking Week to Showcase State’s Trails, Walkways

What’s the Right Hudson Valley Hike for You?

Having lived in the Hudson Valley for almost my entire life, I can tell you that while there are things about it that aren’t so great, the options for hikers is not one of them. We have a wide variety of trails, ranging from the easy stroll to strenuous hikes up the mountains. We have places to camp, swim, climb rocks, geocache or just sit and admire the view. Especially now with the recent construction of the Dutchess and Ulster County rail trails and the Walkway Over the Hudson, the options are seemingly endless.

Found on the rail trail in Poughkeepsie

But which trail is right for you? In this article, I will cover a few factors that I consider when looking at trails: How hard is it? Will I want to bring my kids along? Do I want to learn about history while I’m there? Am I in the mood for some spectacular views? What else do i want to do while I’m there? I hope that my discussion here will help you choose the right trail for you.


There is a wide variety of high quality, fun walks and hikes in the area, from the flat, paved Walkway over the Hudson to the famously difficult Lemon Squeeze in New Paltz.

Easy Walks:

  • Walkway over the Hudson — One of the area’s great successes in “recycling”, this used to be a railroad bridge that was destroyed by fire. It has since been paved over and restored for use as a pedestrian walkway. It’s a fun experience, walking over the Hudson River, with nice views (I also think it’s fun to watch all the people with their kids and their bikes and their dogs. There really is a cool communal aspect to this path.)
  • Rail Trail — Similarly, old railroad tracks throughout Dutchess and Ulster County have been paved over in order to create a network of walking trails. They’re still working on it, but eventually they’ll all be connected. Well maintained, wide and paved these are excellent for an easy stroll or a bike ride, and they’re everywhere!

More difficult hikes:

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Civilization World

So Sid Meier’s newest creation, Civilization World is set to be released soon…for Facebook. People (myself included) have some mixed feelings about this. Can a game released on Facebook possibly be as good as a “regular” game? I played Civ3 on the PC religiously (probably a little too much, and I never managed to win the darn thing!) but can this newest addition to the Civ family of games stack up? Or will it be like a Farmville with centurions?

Well, a trailer has now been released, and as Brenna Hillier says in this blog post on the trailer: “Emotions I feel having seen the trailer through the cut: relief; burgeoning hope and anticipation.”

Follow the link, watch the trailer. How do you feel about the upcoming Facebook Civ Worlds game?

And of course, if you need to elaborate further, you are more than welcome to do so in the comments!

Women play games too

This post is partially a rant and partially a transcription of a conversation I had with a friend of mine regarding this post on an LGBT blog about a man who complained on a forum about BioWare (a video game company’s) lack of concern for their “straight male” demographic. The game in question allows for a wider variety of gender and sexual preference choices than the man was comfortable with. To quote him:

To summarize, in the case of Dragon Age 2, BioWare neglected their main demographic: The Straight Male Gamer.

I don’t think many would argue with the fact that the overwhelming majority of RPG gamers are indeed straight and male. Sure, there are a substantial amount of women who play video games, but they’re usually gamers who play games like The Sims, rather than games like Dragon Age. That’s not to say there isn’t a significant number of women who play Dragon Age and that BioWare should forgo the option of playing as a women altogether, but there should have been much more focus in on making sure us male gamers were happy…

…Its ridiculous that I even have to use a term like Straight Male Gamer, when in the past I would only have to say fans…

If you read the article I linked to above, you will see that this post garnered a reply from David Gaider, who works for Bioware, who basically told the guy to get over himself and accept the reality that the game is made to appeal to a wide variety of people.

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Top 5 Games to Play with Friends

Top 5 Games to Play with Friends

I like a lot of different kinds of games: video games, board games, card games, word games, you name it. I’m a bit of a game geek. I like to play games by myself (like Red Dead Redemption), but I also love to play games with my friends. Below is a list of five games (both digital and “real world”) that I think are particularly well-suited to either two players or a group.

Portal 2

Portal 2 is known in part for its innovative co-op gameplay. Basically, it goes like this: You and your friend are robots who need to get through a series of rooms full of booby traps and obstacles. To help you, you each carry a portal gun which shoots two different portals: one you go in and one you come out. It’s basically teleportation. Anyway, the game is simple yet mind-bending and highly cooperative. You are not fighting against one another: You are cooperating in order to find the way to the end of the puzzle.

Why is it an awesome game for friends?

  • It’s cooperative in the best way. You need each other in order to complete each puzzle. The collective problem solving is both intriguing and a fantastic bonding experience. Really.
  • It can be played either remotely through XBox Live or in the same room. I prefer playing in the same room, but the option is there to play with your friends that you can’t physically be with.
  • Even the achievements are co-op. There’s an achievement for shooting a portal underneath your partner while they’re gesturing at you. That requires you both to take part in order to earn the achievement. I think that’s pretty clever!

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Why Am I Taking IST600 — Blogging for Information Professionals?

Hi there!

My daughter Chloe and me, last year at the Dutchess County Fair

My name is Veronica and I am a graduate library science student at Syracuse University. I live in the Hudson Valley region of New York, where I grew up and where I have spent most of my life, and attend most of my classes at Syracuse online. My undergraduate degree is in East Asian Studies with a concentration on  Japan. My interests in the library science realm tend a bit toward the technical: mobile librarianship, Web 2.0 technologies and gaming in particular. I really like the idea of the library as an exciting community meeting place and promoter of active learning and creativity. When I’m not at my job (I currently work at a sporting goods store) or doing school work, my life sounds like that of a 10-year-old: Video games (Portal 2 right now), geocaching/hiking and watching cowboy movies.

Why am I taking this class in particular? Well, I have been blogging nearly every day (sometimes multiple times a day) since early 2003, but my primary blog is a personal one, and obviously very different from something that I would do as part of my professional persona. I think it is important to know how to promote yourself online, to be able to strike a balance between presenting yourself professionally while still allowing your unique personality and interests to shine through. Since I have been writing in my personal blog for so long, I am already comfortable with the idea of speaking to an audience online, but I will need some reprogramming to learn how to do this in a more controlled, well thought-out manner. So, here I am! IST 600 — Blogging for Information Professionals to the rescue?