Found My First Cache While GeoCaching

Even though I have already written a couple of posts about geocaching, I had not gone myself until last week. Instead I guess I was just an armchair geocacher although the fact that I do not yet have my own GPS unit is a factor.

But last week my middle son and I were visiting my oldest son, who just happens to have a handheld GPS unit, so we went to geocaching.com, looked up the caches near his house, picked one that said it was easy, put the coordinates in his GPS unit, and got on our bikes to head to the park where it was hidden.

I almost made it unscathed, but not quite (I may not have mentioned it yet, but I do seem to be accident prone and somewhat of a klutz). We were on the bike trail leading into the park, which goes around a corner, downhill, and then through an underpass so bicyclists can avoid having to cross a busy road.

I was okay until I got into the underpass where recent rain had apparently washed some of the dirt down onto the paved path. It was about 3 inches deep and had started to harden in some places making it rutted and bumpy. My bike (has road tires) got caught in one of the rutted areas another bike tire had made and tossed me into the the cement wall (yes, the wall won). Luckily I didn't go down completely and the bruises have since gone away, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a scar on my arm where it scraped along the wall.

After that our geocaching adventure got much slower because I was hurt and kind of whiny.

Then when the GPS unit said we were close and we went to lock up our bikes and walk the rest of the way, we realized there was a hornet's nest on the light pole where we all had just put our bikes (I may not have mentioned this yet either but I'm allergic to bug bites). My oldest son retrieved our bikes, and got a bite on his hand from mad hornet in the process.

Now we had two "walking wounded" in our group of three and we hadn't even gotten serious about finding the cache yet.

We kept going though.

Once the GPS unit said we were in the area, we started looking under picnic tables, by trees and bushes, and by a grill.

Even though the cache was supposed to be easy to find, 10 minutes later the three of us were still looking. I kept going back to the grill because it seemed to be the most likely spot for the cache to be hidden. My middle son finally got down on the ground, laid on his back under the grill, and found it. It blended right in because it was the same color and looked more like a piece of metal on the grill than a cache.

We got really excited! It was a small cache so we had brought our own pen to write on the log. We had also taken a dollar coin to put in the cache but it wouldn't fit which really disappointed my middle son. He wanted to put something in so bad so he put in the only thing he had, which was his ticket stub from seeing The Dark Knight the day before (awesome movie!) that he had planned on saving.

Then we took our tired and injured, but happy and successful cache finding bodies back to my oldest son's house where I washed the debris out of my wounds and my son rubbed a skeeter stick on his bite.

What did we learn?

- Geocaching is lots of fun but a person should be a little more prepared than we were - Take a first aid kit in a backpack, just in case - Take a variety of different sized trinkets so unless the cache box is really small, something will fit - Take a camera to record the happy moment when the cache is found

Truthfully, until I went geocaching myself, I really didn't understand why people were so excited about hunting for hidden items. I couldn't believe how excited and giddy we were after we found the cache. People watching us would have thought we found a hundred dollar bill from the way we were acting.

I now have the geocaching bug. Next up is geocaching on a camping trip next week. I still haven't decided on what GPS unit I want to buy, but luckily the family we are camping with has just gotten a GPS unit so I'll be able to use theirs and see if I want to buy one like it.

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