Did I jump up and down in excitement? No. Did I shed a tear of joy? No. I dusted off my backpack. Then, I wore it around the house while I packed an ammo can with bottled water and snacks. After a 111-day hiatus, Evelev (and Brian) returned to the world of geocaching.
Here's us at our first find post-surgery, a nano on a guardrail. Our latest geocaching experiences are different than they once were. There is no quick park and grab. Instead of jumping out of the car and into the nearest bush, we now have to assess the terrain/distance and decide if the cache is best-approached by walker or wheelchair. For this first cache, Brian used the walker to get to the guardrail, and then he sat on it, scooting around to look for the cache. I "found" the cache, but being that it was right under where Brian had decided to stop looking, I think it was a gimme.Magnet-on-a-guardrail is one of those caches that is so hard the first time you encounter it, but basically screams at you each time thereafter. Finding them is now much easier with the aid of a telescoping mirror-on-a-stick (courtesy of Vikki4FSU). Useful for finding caches, and cleaning their teeth.At the suggestion of War1man, the remainder of our caches for the day were located on or near the Seminole Wekiva Trail. The trail is paved, and mostly level, making it ideal for wheels of all-sorts. The caches weren't quite so friendly, but the path was. Mostly.
The first cache required me to enter the woods, by myself. Spiders everywhere. After I found the cache and emerged from the wilderness, I felt like I was a mile away. In actuality, I was about 20 feet from where I entered. *sigh*
The next cache was definitely not Brian-accessible, but as I approached he said, "look in that log," and the cache was there. Team Evelev works. Mostly.
Next, we off-roaded the chair through a substance that looked like grass, but was actually sand. So, I ditched Brian a few feet from the cache and found it sitting on a tree with absolutey no camo. I attempted to take a nice picture of us with the cache. Brian photo-bombed it.
Against my better judgement, we ventured down the sandy path ahead. If you've never pushed a wheelchair in sand in 90 degree heat with 2000% humidity, just try it. I expended a tremendous amount of effort to find one cache. It was a super cool cache, but it still only counts for one.
I've made a point of not kissing caches (not even FTFs) but I couldn't pass up this photo op. Plus I needed the motivation for the death march that ensued.
If you've seen Lost, this tumorous tree will remind you of the sonic fences used to keep the smoke monster at bay (we don't know why, it just does). This should have been a clue that the remainder of our foray would be exhausting, confusing, drawn-out, and ultimately pointless. First, the geocaching app failed. I don't know if it was a signal issue, iPhone4 issue, or an evelev issue. It just didn't work. So I tried to look for the next cache, with what little information I could remember. After about 20 minutes of bushwhacking (in a circle), I decided the cache must be on the other side of a nearby fence and resigned to a DNF.
At this point, we were exhausted and only about three-tenth's of a mile from the car. Three-tenths as a crow flies. A crow, I am not. In between us and the car was a ditch, then a hill, all covered in grass, and a bunch of very active softball fields. One option was to go back the way we came which was easily over a mile, about a 1/3 of which was on sand and partially uphill. But Brian, in his infinite wisdom, suggested we brave the ditch, the hill, and the grass. It's easy to say that when you're the one in the chair. So...I positioned myself behind the wheelchair, took a running start into the ditch and road the momentum most of the way up the hill. Then I struggled like hell to get us both the rest of the way. That itself was a miracle. Then we began our journey through uneven grass past the softball fields. I was narrowly missed by an errant softball, believe it or not, and nearly tipped the wheelchair several times.
I learned two things. First, I'm a freakin' ox. And second, we need a wheelchair with skis. Somehow, we made it back to the car. And somehow, Brian talked me into making another attempt at the DNF from the other side of the fence. While he stayed with the car, I hiked quickly back to the cache. Now that I had a signal again, it seriously looked like the cache was on the other side of the fence (the one I had just been on). I spent 30 minutes looking - 27 of which I thought about how to hop this 6' chain link fence. After several visions of getting my jeans or boots caught, falling and breaking my ankle, or impaling my eyeball on some exposed chain link (it happens)...not to mention all of the above scenarios PLUS spiders, I gave up. I shrugged back to the car and we went home. It was a good day of finds, marred by over an hour of misery. The things we do in the name of a find.
This cache doesn't really fit into this blog posting, but it deserves honorable mention because I found it within the same week. I've seen these before, so it wasn't tough for me to find, but it made me realize how my perception has changed. To geocachers, this bolt couldn't stick out more if it was glowing. Most muggles wouldn't give it a second thought.