Adventures in Geocaching with my Cousin Part 1

 

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During summer of 2014, I arrived in the beautiful city of Bellingham to visit my cousins who is nearly the same age as me.  Among other things to do, we hoped to be a bit adventurous; we do have a history of going on adventures together. We have had several misadventures with the city bus system when she still resided in California. My cousin already had an idea for this and instructed me to bring my handheld GPS unit. She is aware of my geocaching ventures and wanted us to attempt to find some geocaches near her home.  For those not familiar with geocaching, it is a technology based sport which involves the use of a handheld GPS device and internet access. Having its beginning roots in the US, geocaching is now popular in many countries The cache is a hidden container and can be almost any type of container and any size. Some caches are very small while others are very large containing items for trade. One rule in geocaching is trade fair or trade higher so that there is always a “treasure” to be found by the next geocache seeker. The “treasures” are usually small inexpensive trinkets such as key rings, small toys, and tiny ornaments. Some geocache seekers will track their items via the website to see how far away their items travel.

Once a hidden cache is chosen, I record its coordinates into my GPS and note any helpful clues. Usually, I research the geocaching.com website to find nearby hidden caches. There are other sites to use. I logged onto this site and began research based on my cousin’s location. We found several hidden caches within walking distance.

The first cache we focused on was described as an easy cache. Many geocache seekers have reported success in finding it. I record the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates into my GPS and review for clues about it on the web page. As I scanned the log entries about it I commented, “It seems to be near the co-op store.”

My logical and detective of a cousin, well versed in Nancy Drew mysteries, came to a very quick conclusion even before I finished inputting the coordinates, “It must be near that park.”

“We’ll soon find out.”

Soon we were on our way being also accompanied by a new friend. It was a beautifully warm and sunny day as we all journeyed along. I also enjoy the bright green scenery here. I scrutinized my GPS as we walked along and my cousin’s reasonable conclusion appeared to be accurate. We were headed to a nearby park. Just to test the GPS, we walked a bit past the park but, sure enough, it directed us back. We returned to the park area and found we needed to venture further into the woods surrounding the area.

That part was a disappointment because my cousin uses a motorized wheelchair which cannot travel over rough terrain. We discussed this. The fear of her getting stuck deep in the grass or other rough terrain was real. The chair was heavy and if anything happened I knew I wouldn’t be able to help her get out. She decided to patiently relax near the park while we continued the search.

Following my GPS reading, we journeyed a short way through the woods arriving at a parking lot on the other side. A few business buildings were nearby.  The readings indicated the cache was hidden in a tiny area of small bushes and slender trees.  We searched and searched the same bushes and trees without success. I have learned to check areas where the cache would be safe from the elements of weather and be completely out of sight.

After seeming to exhaust the area, we tried wandering to a different location only to be instructed by the GPS reading to return to our original search area. We rechecked and considered giving up. I didn’t like to give and tried to continue the search. In doing so, I happened to bump the heavy metallic base of a light pole. The circular base around that pole moved. My new friend stared as a strange expression must have appeared on my face. I turned my attention to the movable base and started to lift it. My friend came running to help and we found success. The cache was carefully hidden beneath it; it was a tiny camera film container with a log. As I record on the log of our find she took a picture of it to share with my cousin. We soon returned to her to report our success and show her the picture.

With one success met, we confidently continued to the next hidden cache recorded on my GPS. This one proved to not be so easy. The web page for this next cache had instructed us to find a spinning globe. The coordinates in my GPS led us straight to it. Then we were supposed to perform some calculations to continue our geocache hunt. We did not determine those calculations and were now stuck. Having no clue of what to do next we returned home unsuccessful with the second cache.

My cousin was so excited by this first find though, that she lost no time getting onto Facebook to share this with our family and friends. She very enthusiastically described my trek through the woods in search of it.  And we weren’t ready to give up on the second hidden cache. We had an idea, a new plan to implement. We all enjoyed the sense of adventure in searching for the hidden cache and were determined to try again. And I hoped to determine a way to get her closer to the next geocache site.

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