Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Camping, hiking and Geochacing

This past weekend was awesome - so awesome that is has taken me a few days to get this blog post up about it because I've been so busy cleaning up and catching up since we arrived home!

We left on Friday night to a campsite we had never been to before. We have hiked around there several times but have never stayed so we thought we'd give it a try. It was beautiful! A nice wooded area not too affected by the beetle kill and not too close to other sites. Bliss! We recently purchased a new tent, a 3-season 4-man tent that we were anxious to try out. The tent we have been using for the last four years is a 7-man generic tent which has been great for having friends camp with us and for when the weather is warm (it is mostly mesh with a light rainfly), but we were looking for something a little smaller for when just Dave and I went camping by ourselves - and this seems to do the trick.

On Saturday morning we attended a park ranger talk about Geocaching. We kind of knew what it was but were uncertain of the details and we learned a lot in this little class. Basically what you do is visit a website listing all of the Geocaches world-wide and you search for some near you. You enter the coordinates on a GPS device and away you go! The GPS only shows you the direction in which the cache is from where you are located and doesn't guide you along trails so you have to be the one to follow the actual trail until you get close to the cache location. When you get close you search for the cache which can be any sort of air-tight container containing, well, almost anything. The idea is that you find the cache, open it, log your visit in the logbook and then you have the option to take a trinket from the cache but only if you brought along something to put into the cache for someone else to find. I like to think of Geocaching as hiking with a purpose or as a treasure hunt.

That afternoon we went to find our first Geocache. The trail which led to the cache ended up being longer, steeper and harder to do than we anticipated. I hadn't been feeling well the last couple of days and a few miles into the hike I started feeling dizzy, light-headed and nauseated. The sky was also beginning to look like rain so we decided to turn around and head back down the mountain without finding the cache. But before we left I got this fantastic picture of a sun dog (an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun).

We tried another trail with a cache on it on Sunday and successfully located that cache! Wahoo, our first cache!

We left a new container of "Moose Smooch" lip balm in exchange for a moose postcard, signed the log and headed back down the trail to head home; but after we made Gromit try on the pair of kiddie sunglasses left in the cache.

It was a great weekend of trying new things and I'm sure we'll be Geocaching in the future. It looks like there of plenty of Geocaches along the trails in our town!

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