Thursday, December 23, 2010

10-10-10

On October 10, 2010, some 78,313 Found It! logs were posted to geocaching.com. Without me, there would have been only 78,309. Like many, I had the goal of finding 10, but it just didn't happen. I had a feeling the iPhone app would be slow or dead (it was spotty at best), so I spent a lot of time planning, which contributed to a late start. Anyway, I did my part.

I started with a newly-posted cache by my house. If you're local, it's part of the Princess Anna series. For some reason, this one took me forever to finally see. Neon blue blends in so well with the trees.

Next, I revisited a cache I'd attempted earlier in the week. Shortly after arriving home from work one night, I got the onimous cache-posted email. Instead of making dinner, I grabbed a flashlight and headed for the door. I parked in front of EyeoftheSeeker's house, debated telling him I was there for about 3 seconds, and then went to find the cache by myself. He showed up about 2 minutes later, which was good because I needed someone to blaze a trail. Heels and a skirt weren't really the best choice for a level 2 terrain. Seeker8 joined the hunt and we waded into the waist-high ferns togethr. We searched for at least 30 minutes, but we came up with nothing. It was much easier to find in the daylight.

Two finds down, I headed for phase 2 of the Princess Anna series. The cache is located on the Cross Seminole Trail near an elementary school. Since this was Sunday afternoon, I parked at the trailhead (in the grass, not in a parking space) and walked to the cache. After a few minutes of stealthy-ish searching, I looked back up the trail to see a police car parked behind my car. I briefly contemplated ignoring it and continuing the search, but then I figured I might be able to avoid the ticket if I just offered to move...plus there was the possibility they would tow my car. So, I walked back, grudgingly. As I approached, the cop got out of his car and started talking into the mic on his shoulder. Here comes the SWAT team.

"Is this your vehicle?" he said, clearly addressing me.
"Yeeeeah," I said, in shame.
"Is everything alright?" he said.
"Yeah," I gestured back down the trail, "I was just geocaching...heh." My shoulders gave a mini-shrug. As I was preparing for the geo-whatnow conversation, he cut me off--
"Oh! There's one of those down there? I see people all the time looking for them. We must have a bunch in Winter Springs. Especially at the golf course, you know the one that's closed. These people come out of the woods with just a GPS and a pen. My partner and I, we think it's pretty cool."
My thoughts at that moment ranged from awesome to whoa. I replied, "Yeah! It's a blast. There are sooo many around here." [insert awkward silence] "Do I need to move my car?"
"No, you're fine. The school is closed today and you're off the road."
"So it's ok if I go back and find it?"
"Oh yeah, go find it! I just wanted to make sure you were ok. Have a nice day, now."
And that was it. I walked back to GZ and resumed my search. But that's not all - a minute or two later I saw this thing dart out from under the bridge I was standing on. It turned back and looked me straight in the eyes. We just stared at each other, until I had the presence of mind to take a photo. The clicking sound scared him off, so unfortunately I didn't get a second chance. The pic I took sucks, thanks to a combination of the distance (about 30 feet) and me being a spaz.

The picture below is a better representation of what I saw, but it's not mine. Anyway, I've thought about this moment a lot. It was part wonder, part terror. Wonder because I had no idea those things were around here, and terror because it challenged every notion I had about the nice kitties of my childhood. The look in its eyes said "I will munch your brains and bathe in your intestines!" I realize now that lot of his mean look comes from the "eyebrows". Those are textbook angry cartoon eyebrows.


I didn't realize until later that in the minutes before I saw it, I heard it. I kept hearing this bleating sound, like a sheep. I assumed that there was a farm nearby, or a sheep got loose, but it turns out that it was the bobcat. Fascinating.

After this little episode, I finally spotted the cache. Now I had the coordinates I needed for the final stage of the Princess Anna series.


This last piece seemed to take forever. I'm not sure which was worse - the tree cover or the swarms of mosquitos. Either way, it made for a miserable experience. When I signed the log I didn't really care what was in the cache, I just wanted it to be over. Now that I look again, there was some cute junk in there. Oh well.

Thus concludes my 10-10-10 caching experience. If you haven't seen it yet, here is Groundspeak's commemorative video.

The video was originally published on Latitude 47, the official geocaching blog.









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