Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hat Trick

A couple years ago the hubs and I bought a GPS to start Geocashing. We thought it would be fun to "treasure hunt" and get some exercise in the great outdoors. I first heard about it on Weirdy Pants blog. The first few times we went though were disappointing because we just were not lucky enough to find any of the caches.

We decided to try again (two years later) and brought along our friend Kerry who ended up being our good luck charm. We pulled a hat trick today and found three of three caches.

Cache number one was actually pretty near our house. A small park near some soccer fields in a residential neighborhood. With our GPS its supposed to get you within 25 feet of the logitude and latitude coordinates you plug in. Our only clues were it would be in a bison at the base of the "hugging tree". We were a little concerned the hugging tree would not be there as some of the trees in this park had been cut down right in the general area of the GPS coorindates. Kerry looked up and discovered what she thought could be the hugging tree.

As descriptions for natural things go I thought hugging tree was pretty appropriate. We looked in the base of the tree and found the bison. We were expecting to find a bison shaped container. What they meant by bison was a small waterproof container. HeHe - can you tell we are newbies?

Here is Chris and Kerry looking in the base of the hugging tree. We were able to pull out the well hidden bison with a stick. I certainly was not going to stick my hand in that hole!

Inside was a tightly wrapped "scroll" of paper where we could write our Geocashing name and date, roll it back up, stuff it back inside and place it back in the base of the tree.

Cache number two was another small park in the area. This cache was a little more out in the open. Our clue was that it was under a west facing seat at a picnic table. This one was pretty easy to find. The picnic table had metal parts and the bison was taped to a magnet and stuck under the seat.

The cool thing about this cache was the person who created it put information about Geocashing including the website on the scroll of paper you can sign. That way if someone found it by accident they could learn about Geocaching as well as discover a new hobby and not disturb for others who were looking for it.

The park was small and I forgot to get a shot of the picnic table but I did get a shot of Puget Sound from a hill near the table. The tiny specks in between the trees were a bunch of sailboats (my zoom is not stellar on my digital camera). It really was a great Pacific Northwest day to be outside!

I thought this bridge over the railroad tracks was cool. There are a few houses that are between the railroad tracks and the beach near the park with the second cache.

Our third cache was the most challenging in terms of actually finding the park. We had the GPS coordinates and new the area in general. Thankfully we had a Thomas Guide in the trunk. We pulled in to an elementary school parking lot and had a snack of apples, cheese and coffee (thank you Kerry!) while we took our bearings. By finding the school on the map we were able to locate a really small park which was exactly where we needed to go according to the GPS coordinates and the description of the site.

Here is the path in the park where we found our third cache. The picture above does not due credit to how steep the trail actually is. The photo below is dubbed "loincloth tree" due to the pattern of the ferns on the tree trunk by my SD.

Our only clues to the cache were it was about eight feet off the path to the west and if we went too far we would have a very steep climb back to the trail head. Because of the tree canopy it was messing a little with the GPS. We were not quite certain how far down the trail to go. We figured since the author of the cache didn't mention a fork we would look off the trail before the fork. My SD was hiding behind a tree just off the trail and it looked to be the right distance away.

Without even realizing it she was standing directly over the cache. It was hidden by a piece of wood covered with leaves.

The plastic container had camouflage tape over it and was filled with little trinkets and a log to place your name. One of the Geocaching rules was if there is something there to take you need to replace it with something. We took a fake gold coin and left two Chinese finger cuffs and a pack of cards. Isn't it amazing what you can find in your car that you don't need? That will remind us to go to the dollar store and invest in some trinkets to keep in the car for our next Geocache trip.

After several hours of successful "treasure hunting" and fresh air it was time to head home. If we don't go again tomorrow we will go next weekend. The hubs founds some caches in one of our favorite dog parks. My sewing machine is calling to me and I have fabric set aside for an outfit to make.


Jenn said...

Yay! We went out today too, we found 2, didn't find a 3rd and then ran out of time. Wait unil you start caching on trips, you can make driving anywhere take twice as long!

small town city girl said...

Sounds like you had a great time!

Betty Boogie said...

sounds like you had a great time! Nice too to find something SD could have fun with too. that is now always easy ;-)

Betty Boogie said...

Ok I should be sleeping cause i meant ot instead of now....

paisley penguin said...

HeHe - we can't wait to try caching on our annual camping trip this July and a trip to Eastern Washington this August.

Clean ClutterFree Simple said...

Fun! We did a little geocaching when older DD was little.