Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ick. Eek. Nasties.

It's been a couple of weeks since I got out to do any real geocaching. This weekend was a nice reprieve. It started on Friday evening. I was setting down on the couch, wallowing in the crumminess of my week, when my iPhone buzzed with an email. Cache posted, 2/10 of a mile away. I leapt (yes, leapt) from the couch and ran out of the room...quickly realizing that I probably shouldn't leave my little snack where the dog could grab it. I scrambled back into the living room, gathered up my cheese and crackers, plunked them on the kitchen counter, and ran out of the room, again. I slipped-on a pair of sneakers. No time for socks. On my way out the door, I asked Brian if he wanted to come, he declined, and I was off.

I arrived at the location to find this crappy-looking bog. The terrain rating is a 3, so I put on my backpack and prepared to bushwhack. But then, in a stroke of genius, I looked a bit further and found a neat, manicured path to GZ.

At GZ, I got an up-close look at the bog. I felt like Frodo at the Dead Marshes (formerly the battlefield of Dagorlad). If you don't know what that means, pat yourself on the back for being less of a nerd than me. Anyway, with a 3-star terrain rating, I thought I was going to get even closer to the bog. Thankfully, I didn't.

There's a funny thing about FTFs. I think I get cache-blindness because I'm so spazzed that someone else is going to run up behind me and snag the cache. Neurotic? Yes. Immature? Of course. Justified? Absolutely. Don't judge me.

The happy ending is that I did finally find it first. It just appeared, dangling right in front of my eyeballs.

On my way out, I ran into mljungquist, so I hung around while she found it, and then we caught up for a few minutes.

When I got home, our nephew (Overcast_shade) and two fellow Marines had arrived. Two of the three stayed with us for the weekend. Had I not intervened, they would have spent the entire time playing xbox. I think I did them a favor.

I was supposed to spend yesterday studying, but the weather was just too nice to pass up. Plus, it rained all day today, so I had plenty of time to hit the books.

The first cache we visited is about a mile from my house. It's one I've wanted to do since I started geocaching, but was apparehensive because of the previous logs and the fact that it hadn't been found in over a year. I've had it on my watch list, and a few weeks ago, someone logged it.

The water near the car was stagnant and icky. Further down, it was clear but deeper with a bit of a current. We started out on the east side, but soon had to cross over to the west side on this downed-tree. The path ahead was dense with trees and had a high probability of spiders. Plus this log was like 2 feet wide and very easy to cross.

Here, overcast_shade and his buddy cross the stream in front of me. That's the benefit of caching with Marines, they try everything first.

On the west side of the creek, there was a well-beaten path leading almost to GZ. The description had noted that there were two ways to approach - wet feet or bushwhacking. We had unknowingly chosen wet feet. Not to worry, the creek looked shallow, so the three of us took off our shoes, rolled up our jeans, and waded across. It was almost as shallow as it looked, except that the sand was soft, so we sunk a few inches lower than we'd thought. But no harm done, really.

I spotted the cache almost immediately on the other side. It's some kind of box with a cool locking mechanism and a bunch of ferns glued to it. The description says it from a helicopter (minus the ferns). That's all cool, except that helicopters aren't made to be in water, and neither is this cache. It's absolutely disgusting inside. We couldn't even find the log, I think it broke down into it's original elements. Nasties.

This is the cache in it's "natural" habitat. Blends quite well, but I suppose some wanderer could come across it eventually. We saw ATV tracks. The nearby mobile home park is called Sherwood Forest, so the greatest muggle of all, the Sheriff of Nottingham, might obscond with it one day. Avert your eyes, I just got a little dweebier.

Then we moved on to a cache Brian and I tried almost a year ago, but didn't find. Turns out, the coordinates were off by a good 20 feet. Also, the clues were misleading or just irrelevent. I have to wonder if this cache isn't where it's supposed to be. Anyway, overcast_shade finally found it. There was a yay and an eek at the same time - the camo was covered in enormous red ants. You can just make them out in this photo, which should show you that these are no ordinary ants. I was ready to give up then, but the Marines brushed the ants aside and extracted the bison tube.

Not far away was another cache. The coordinates put us in the middle of the street, but obviously it wasn't there. The clue made reference to hanging, so we scoured the trees nearby. No cache. I was getting ready to call it a DNF, when I made one more loop around the trees and spotted the cache hanging from a piece of fishing line attached to a cinder block fence.

We found two more caches before we had to had home to a very hungry Brian. It was my first DNF-less day in a long, long time. Fingers crossed we get nice weather next weekend. I'd like to do some of the kayak-only caches in the area before it gets too hot and buggy here.

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