Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Evelev School of Flip Flop Geocaching

Brian and I were on-campus last night for the Robin Williams concert. We started out the night with falafels and ended it with a little caching while the traffic cleared out. It was a cache I've been eyeing for several weeks. I've stopped by after class a couple of times but always find the area crawling with muggles.

I had a hunch as to where it was, which happens when you observe rather than look. My hunch was right, it was under this piece of concrete.

This morning Brian and I went out for breakfast and then grabbed a few caches in the Oviedo area. I hadn't planned to do any geocaching today, so I wore flip flops. Best idea ever.

Brian found this one. It's a slight variation on the fence pole cache.

And the cache in it's full glory. A bison tube hanging from a piece of fishing wire.

This is a close-up of how they screwed the wire into the cap. I've never seen it done quite this way before.

Here's a shot of Brian using Geocaching Intro to look up the next cache. Now that we've used it a few times, I can say it's pretty accurate and user-friendly. The major drawbacks being that there is no satellite map and you can only look up the three closest caches. I highly recommend it for any beginning geocacher.

This cache was described as a "redneck pumpkin." I'm still not sure what that means.

The next cache marked my 175th find and opened a new chapter in my life as a geocacher. First, I learned I should start wearing closed-toed shoes all the time. Second, I really should look at the ratings before I go trapsing through the woods. Although I probably wouldn't have ever attempted this cache if I had. I have to give a lot of credit to Brian for nudging the crap out of me.

Let me just say, this sign is less of a warning and more of a challenge. Did they really think I couldn't do this in flip flops, with a NY&Co purse? (btw, thanks Aunt Rachel.)

Our first challenge was hopping across this little stream. Brian went first and lost his shoe in the muck. So he laid down these palm fronds for me, which actually held up quite well as a makeshift bridge.

Then we wandered down a trail parallel to the creek until suddenly we were 51 ft from GZ. I walked to the edge of the creek and realized the cache was on the other side. I assumed there must be a different way around, but then I looked at the cache description (for the first time) and discovered it was a 2 for difficulty and a 4 for terrain. The description reads: To get to this cache you must have very good balance since the only way across the little creek is to walk across a fallen tree. Great.

Brian pointed me in the direction of the most sturdy-looking tree and threatened to go across without me. I slipped off my flip flops, rolled up my jeans, and put my iPhone in my purse (couldn't take the chance I might fall in). Brian suggested I take his cane, lest I lose my balance or find the need to bash something with a stick. Off I went, shimmying accross the log, Dirty Dancing style. See below for a slideshow.

I poked around a bit on the other side before deciding I would need shoes if I was going to go farther. After Brian frisbee'd my flip flops over, I bushwhacked my way in the direction of the cache. Mind you, I left my iPhone with Brian, so I was bushwhacking "blind" with only a rough idea of where the cache should be. After a few minutes I noticed a suspicious-looking tree, peeked my head around it and found the ammo can. I picked it up and yelled "I got it!"

The next thing Brian heard was a scream and a thump. For when I had looked back down at the cache, there was a wolf spider (2" diameter) perched near my hand. I screamed like a much littler girl than I already am and threw down the can. Turns out, the cane wasn't such a bad idea because that's what I used to shoo the spider, who was far less afraid of me than I had hoped. It took several jabs for it to scamper away.

When it was gone, I picked up the can and looked for the nearest clearing so Brian could take a picture. See below. This might be me, it might be the missing link. I can't really tell.

Then I began the task of opening the cache, which was rusted shut, as ammo can sometimes are. I had to use my patented Evelev technique. It involves turning the can upright, steadying it with one hand and stomping it until it opens. Inside I found some decent swag, on account of this being seriously more than a park and grab. I took this cigar tin from the Dominican Republic. It doesn't have any cigars in it, but it's pretty cool.

Now you know. It is possible to do a level 4 terrain in flip flops...but I wouldn't recommend it.

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