the story so far

Bucketlist Check: Geocaching

For about 9+ years now I’ve had it on my list to try out this Geocaching thing. I heard about it in middle school and thought the concept sounded fun and adventurous and just all around appealing. But I didn’t have a gps or even a cell phone, so it was added to the bucket list with all the other things that sounded cool but which were for the time being out of my means. I’ve been crossing a lot of things off of that bucket list over the past few years, and yesterday I finally started Geocaching.

If you don’t know what Geocaching is, here is the website. But to put it simply, it’s a gigantic treasure hunt, in which you’re given the coordinates of a cache and you go find it and there are things that others have left inside it and you can either just sign the log book that you found the treasure, or you can take an item and replace it with another. I think it’s the kid in me that this appeals to, but I’m just thankful that that part of my personality is alive and well.

Anyway there are different levels of difficulty for geocaching I suppose, but I’m just starting with the easiest basics. From looking at the map I discovered that there are lots and lots of caches around me, so I decided that this was the day I was going to go find my first one. There are meant to be two hidden in a local park, one which I like to spend time in anyway, so off I went.

The first cache was not where it was supposed to be. I found the spot where I think it must have been, but the spot was empty, and in its place there was a large black apron hanging from a tree slightly off the beaten path in a dark part of the woods. No luck.

It was almost dusk but I wasn’t about to let failure surround my first geocaching attempt, so I set off for the second cache located in the park. This took me on about a half hour’s hike through a lot of thorny brambles in the deepening darkness with a cell phone gps whose battery was at 3%. My brother, who I brought along to share my glee with, and I got to the coordinates just in time for my phone to die. So we searched about in the wet muddy brush looking for the cache.

It wasn’t too hard to find, as it conspicuously had several large pieces of tree bark covering it. I wish I had my phone or a camera to document my first discovery. Regardless, I was out of my mind with excitement.

The cache log documented all the way back to the beginning. A man made the cache back in 2004 for his soon-to-be-wife to find. He wanted her family to experience geocaching and hopefully like it as much as his family did. It was a sweet little note. I guess he left her something special in the lockbox. All that was in it now were a bunch of kids toys and such, but that wasn’t any less exciting for me.

As the rules demand that you put something of equal or greater value into the box if you take something, I’d brought along a handful of little firework/sparkler things, and my brother had brought a lighter. So we each rummaged through the contents of the box to find a memorable keepsake for our first Treasure Map find. I took a little green toy cactus and he took a small whistle, and we left our gifts in their stead.

I can honestly say I’ve never been so excited to own a cactus.

(I’ve never owned a cactus, but I’ve always wanted a cactus garden. Somehow I just found this toy fitting for my first keepsake.) It’s sitting on my dresser right now, all by itself. I can’t think of a safe place to put it, as I’m the sentimental and very excitable sort who never wants to lose it and I vow I’ll keep it forever.

Did I mention that I’m way too excited about this?

So now I have another item to cross off my bucket list, and a brand new hobby to keep me busy long into the future. I can’t see how geocaching would ever get old. I feel like I’ll probably be doing this well into my 80s. I’m plotting trips to all the geocache locations in my area, and I’m super excited to take this hobby with me everywhere I go in the world.

Here’s to adults embracing their inner kid and allowing themselves the thrill of the treasure hunt. You should try it. I’m fairly certain you’ll like it.

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