It’s been awhile since we had a full day of caching, and it was a good one. All my favorite things about caching happened.
The first we found at the entrance to a park on the edge of the valley that we didn’t know was there. It was a tiny historic ranch with a falling down barn that we very much wanted to sneak into. We figured we could easily get through the fence and stealthily sneak through the long golden grass and examine that barn, but just as we talked ourselves out of trespassing and risking our bodies to collapsing walls and ankles to sleeping rattlesnakes, a park ranger drove by. We would have been so busted before we got halfway. We eventually turned our attention to the cache, and found it neatly stuck under a sign and not in the thorny bushes the GPS sent us to at first. Ouchie.
There was another at this historic ranch that we tried to find but didn’t. We did try, walking along paths with small lizards to a natural spring with cute little fishes and a pair of ducks, hauled ass up a steep hill, just to come sliding back down again on our rear ends, because it wasn’t up there. We didn’t mind, because we found something better than what we were looking for. What we did get to see were 4H gardens and chickens and a better look at the ranch. I had a nice talk with those chickens. And we ate a couple loquats fresh off the tree. We went into the cow pen and saw some old machinery, and gazed longingly at the old falling down fenced off barn from another angle. We saw a cute deer who wasn’t a bit spooked by us. I half expected it to walk over for some petting. The buildings are unfortunately closed on Sundays, so we couldn’t go in the ranch house, but we made use of the rockers on the porch and imagined what the valley looked like 100 years ago. There were signs all over describing the duties and chores of a 10 year old back in the day, including hauling water from the spring we had visited earlier. We decided it sucked to be 10 years old back in the day.
Another on the edge of the valley was a nice walk down a path to the Mounted Ranger Station. I didn’t know we had Mounties. It was hidden at the base of a steep steep hill (thank goodness we didn’t have to haul ass up that). We watched a man on a bicycle tackled that steep path. It didn’t look like fun. I’ll stick to caching. The cache was hidden right next to the station. The GPS did not take us quite there and we needed the clue, but we found it, and we found another deer, too.
Then back into town for lunch and town caching.
We found a metal box that had been cleverly camo’ed to match the big metal box it was placed against. It needed to be unscrewed, so we used a pen knife for that and pawed through a shoebox sized cache. We filled it to the brim, which is another of our favorite things to do.
We found one in a large community park with baseball fields. No one was playing on such a pleasant afternoon.
We found one in a gate that also held a wasp’s nest. After prior near catastrophes, we’ve gotten a little better about looking in holes before sticking our hands in.
We looked for one on a large hill. We walked the base of the hill, we walked up the hill and down the other side, and along the base again. Didn’t find it. Just as we decided we’d had enough hills and weren’t going back up, a man walked by with a trombone. He walked right up that hill with his horn and, as we checked a few more bushes, he began to play Taps. It was a lovely, mournful sound that must have echoed for miles and miles. It was touching. It was Memorial Day. We heard a man somewhere shout “thank you”.
We found one poor muggled cache at the base of a giant oak tree. The tree has a badge on it that says “Historic Tree”. Curious. It’s huge, gorgeous, standing all by itself in a huge field. The lid had been torn off the cache and the contents strewn all around. The log was in good shape, fortunately, so we put the box back together with plenty of swag and hid it in a way that it will hopefully be safe. When I got home I looked up the tree on the city website and saw all the other trees that have the historic designation. I hope I find some more of them.
We went after one named Geek Heaven. “We’re going to Fry’s, aren’t we”. “Yep”. So we follow the GPS and end up at Fry’s Electronics. The GPS just would not settle down, however, and we spent a lot of time wandering the parking lot, navigating the geeks and their geek cars. Eventually we find it.
We found one in the cutest little green bird house, hanging on a tree behind some bushes.
We didn’t find one in a little boutique filled downtown area, and, too bad, all the stores were closed so we couldn’t even find something else to look at. This one kind of sucked.
We didn’t find one near a commuter station, but dammit we sure tried. We went over every bit of the area. The GPS eventually settled on one specific tree and there was nothing there. Hmmmm. It’s a difficulty four. It’s cleverly hidden or, you need special equipment? Could it be in the tree canopy up over our heads? It could be, probably not……….I’m going to look. So we back the pickup under the tree and stand in the bed on wobbling legs, reaching up into the branches. One of the branches had a curious bulge in it. It looked like a big fat almond grew inside the skinny limb. It sure looked like a cache, but it wasn’t a cache. It was just something very strange I had never seen before. Oh well, we had been as thorough as possible, and it turned out the cache wasn’t there anymore after all.
By now we were tired out and filthy, had found new parks, found a big one to fill up, found one who needed some fixing, and many clever ones as well. It was a good day.