10 November 2006


In August, I went geocaching with my friend Dan. He is really cool and rather clever, always able to make interesting conversation. Since he had just recently bought a GPS, he was excited to go geocaching. For those of you who don't know what that is, geocaching is rather a fun way to spend an evening, kind of like a hike with a prize at the destination! You get coordinates off of the internet that are nearby somewhere you would like to visit and set them on your GPS (global positioning system) then you get close to the area and hike in the right direction as designated by the GPS. When the GPS says that you're within a few feet of the coordinates, you look around for a container of some sort. Some are harder to find than others. Once the container is found, you can open it to exchange small tidbits, such as stickers, or a pen, or a small action figure with whatever you brought. There is usually a book to sign which makes it fun for everyone to see who has been there and how recently, etc.

So, anyway, Dan told me about a new one he'd discovered called "Night Vision" or something like that--one that had to be done at night. Supposedly, the coordinates would only guide the seekers to a first reflector. After flashing the light around, another would be found, and another, and another, deeper into the forest. Sounded awesome! We tried the first time on a Tuesday night. We went with Dan's friend Ben. Unfortunately, the first time I had talked to Dan on the phone, I had called him "Ben." I'm not sure that he ever noticed, but several times since I had had to catch myself. These reflectors were tiny pieces of reflective tape (probably no wider than half an inch) wrapped around thin branches--harder to see than I thought, but more fun to look for! We went up and up the mountain. At one point, we were stuck for quite some time until I finally saw a faint reflection on the forest floor. Several branches had broken, perhaps in a recent storm, and broken the weak branches that the tape was on. After that, we could not find another reflector. Although they (and I) wanted to keep looking, my curfew was quickly approaching, so we headed back down.

A few days later, Dan and I went up and when we got to the point where we could find no more tape, we went in the direction of the ending coordinates that Dan had gained by emailing the creator of the geocache. Eventually, we ran into more reflectors and went clear up to an open hill. We could see cabins and winding roads, grand forests, and the bright moon. It was beautiful. We searched round and round for the container, eventually finding it in the one tree that was split in several ways. It was a brown and green military box snuggled into the heart of the trunks. We sat in the bushes and looked through the ledger, looked at the prizes (I don't think we took any). It was awesome. On the way down, there were several times that there was an opportunity to hold hands, awkward! It wasn't awkward because I didn't like the idea. It wouldn't have been awkward if he had just grabbed and held on. But he just gave me a hand over a log or down a steep part, etc., and then I let go because it didn't seem like he wanted to hold on. Anyway, then I accidentally called Dan "Ben," and he joked that I liked Ben. While driving down the canyon, I saw an animal. I wasn't sure what it was. Dan didn't see it, so we turned around and it crossed the road in front of us: it was a coyote! Cool! I was glad that Dan got to see it. It's always more fun to point out interesting things if others are there. I remember traveling alone in Switzerland was frustrating some days. The whole place was novel and gorgeous to me, but whenever I wanted to point at something and say, "Wow! Look at that!" I'd turn and realize that there wasn't anyone I knew around. I'm sure a few people caught me turning to point something out to a non-existent companion. Well, geocaching is cool, and the idea of a reflector trail rocks!

0 comments. I love comments!:

Post a Comment