Sunday, April 3, 2011

Caching In On the Great Outdoors

On my list of Things I Really Want to Do Because I Don't Have Any Hobbies & I Think I Should (this list exists solely in my mind) is geocaching, an activity that combines two of my least favorite things: directions & the wilderness. I have distressingly terrible directional capabilities, & as a result, I am always, always lost, forever wearing down the battery on my phone because I require the use of my map app so much.

Still, I like scavenger hunts, & geocaching is basically a GPS-assisted scavenger hunt with strangers. So today, with the weather practically tropical at a balmy 50 degrees, Nathan & I set out geocaching near our apartment. We downloaded a handy app called Geocaching.com Intro, which looks like a distant relative of Geocities (may it rest in peace) & provides a vague visual guide to finding nearby caches. After eating a hearty brunch & choosing a little totem to leave behind once we found the cache, we began our adventure.

(A note: I thought about touching up these photos a bit, maybe hipsterizing them with one of the many popular iPhone apps that makes everyday pictures look trendy & artsy & like I'm a real photographer. Instead, I chose to keep them as they are - I think they're pretty impressive alone.)

This is where we started:

And this is where we wandered:

And this is how excited we were about it:
(This is where Nathan would like me to point out that he doesn't have a weird trash-'stache; it's just an unfortunate trick of light.)

And then we kept wandering...

...and wandering.

We knew we were close when the app blinked & told us, "YOU'RE CLOSE!" because we're smart like that. Don't I look excited? And not at all cold? I told you it was tropical out today!

And finally, after just .28 miles, THERE IT WAS, hidden between two big rocks, weathering the elements & just waiting to be found!

Naturally, Nathan claimed victory...

...& dove in to retrieve the hidden treasure.

We started digging through the sundry items left behind by the geocachers who came before us.

I confess to being slightly disappointed that the booty wasn't cooler (TWSS?). It mostly consisted of the kind of plastic crap you get from quarter machines outside grocery stores - a bendable alien, a baseball beanbag, a kazoo.

We debated what to leave behind & decided upon a small plastic penguin, in keeping with the rest of the cache's treasures. Perhaps we'll save the Coast Guard coin for something a bit fancier.

The log book was nearly full, listing all the folks who'd adventured there in the past. Including... someone else who was there today? We were more than a little bit weirded out to realize that the cache had only been found a few times in the past year - and that one of them stopped by hours before we got to it.

And finally, we left our mark. Can you read it? It says, "4/3/11, Nate & Kate - our first cache!"

And then we packaged it up, stuck it back in the crevice, & headed along our merry way.

Did I mention it's pretty beautiful here?


And then we went shopping & saw the new Jake Gyllenhaal movie, which is a little bit like "Panic Room" meets "Groundhog Day" without the violence or the humor. So, you know, not everything I did today was terribly out of character.
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