2011-10-11

Prospecting For Geocaches

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada and since we had already done Thanksgiving dinner with the in-laws on Saturday (leftovers on Sunday) we took Monday for just family time.

The offspring slept in a little bit, so we got to sleep in a little bit for the first time in a long time.  We had the whole with nothing to do so the night before we had planned to go geocaching at a local park.  We would get as many caches as we could in the park before the little one needed to a break and then we'd stop and have a picnic.

So I loaded up a dozen or so caches in my iPod Touch and GPSr and we headed off to Prospect Park.  It's a local park with an indoor gymnasium, 2 baseball diamonds, a splashpad, tennis courts, a leash park, and the site of the Acton Fall Fair all on a peninsula that juts out into a small lake.  the terrain to & from each cache was fairly tame and mostly a gravel path.  But there was still some adventure.  All in all we wound up being 3 for 3 for the day.

Prospect Park during the Acton Fall Fair
Incredible Acton - Prospect Park (GC32VB9) was the first find of the day.  Up until now all my finds have been micro/small urban caches.  This cache actually offered little bit of a challenge terrain-wise.  While searching at ground zero I had to be careful not fall off the sloping hill into the water.  The log container was a little chincy but the cache itself was well hid.  Once I read the hint I saw it right away.

Interesting Acton 1 (GC2T8D8) was the second find of the day.  As the name suggests this cache is part of a series of places in Acton (my hometown) the cache owners find interesting.  Again it was very easy to get to.  I just had to hop back on the trail and keep walking.  As I approached GZ I was fairly certain I knew where the cache was but as I got closer I started to doubt myself.  I check the hint on my iPod and my initial instincts were right.  As I filled out the log and carefully replaced the cache in it's hiding spot my wife checked on the youngin' who was passed out in the stroller.  SWEET!  I can keep pushing on for the 3rd cache in this park before breaking for lunch.

Interesting Acton 2 (GC2TCP1) was the third and final find of the day.  The crazy thing is that despite being the lowest terrain & difficulty level of all 3 caches it proved to require the most effort to find.  It was easy enough to get to the cache but we had about half a kilometer of backtracking to get to GZ.  Then, despite being in a relatively open field with on 2 or 3 trees that stood 3 metres high my GPSr started jumping all over the place.  Ugh!  So I give it a minute and try walking in a straight line hoping it will even out to no avail.  Stumped again I resorted to reading the hint.  It still meant checking 3 spots about 20 feet from each other.  On the way back to the 3rd spot my GPSr evened out again and declared THIS spot to be the winner.  But I had already searched here.  Or so I thought.  Because I stick my hand into the hiding spot again to find my fingers to come across a well hidden micro.

We then found a nice picnic table in the shade of a tree beside the splash pad and sat down to have lunch: PB & J sandwiches, chunks of honeydew melon & pineapple, with Dr Pepper to drink.  While the wife packed up the containers I logged the finds with my iPhone thanking the owners for a day of "'prospectin' for caches".  Before leaving we got some cute pictures of us with the little one in a Bumbo Chair and a few on the ground in the leaves.

A Bumbo Chair helps a baby sit up straight without falling over
I learnt a few things on this caching trip:
1. I think I have a better idea of how people hide caches.
2. I also learnt that I need to be patient and trust my gut.  I think my first (non-urban micro) cache find without using a hint will feel good.
3. I'm also excited about finding caches in more natural settings.
4. I forgot the level of awesomeness that is a PB & J sandwich.

2 comments:

Dave said...

"I think I have a better idea of how people hide caches."

I have been doing this for years and I still get surprised by peoples ingenuity at hiding things.

"I also learnt that I need to be patient and trust my gut. I think my first (non-urban micro) cache find without using a hint will feel good."

It takes a while to get in your geosense. One thing to remember is that GPSs are not that accurate, so often the best thing to do when you get close to GZ is to put the GPS in your pocket and just start looking. This becomes easier with experience (and something I still struggle with - the magic satellite box should hold all the answers, right?)

"I forgot the level of awesomeness that is a PB & J sandwich."

There are few things finer in this world that PB&J.

Debbie said...

when we travel we will take a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jam and a knife and have spontaneous picnics on the go.

We have had more of these in the last few months than I have had in years!