Last weekend, Deb and I woke up early and continued on our Geocaching adventure by heading out to Burke Lake. Getting up and motivated before 8am on a Saturday is difficult for both of us so just accomplishing this was a feat for which to be proud. We packed up the backpack with bottles of water, some breakfast bars, some trinkets to exchange in a cache or two, the camera and the GPS and jumped into the car. Of course we had to make that stop at the Starbucks first to get our heads on straight before stepping one foot on the trails around the park. Mmmmm…coffee. So with a little caffeine in out system we were ready to start the day.
We arrived at the park a few minutes after 9am and it was already above 80° so we knew it was going to be a scorcher. The weatherman was calling for temperatures in the upper 90s and late afternoon thunderstorms so we wanted to get here early and hopefully be on the road before the crappy weather kicked in.
Still being new to this sport we had a few issues finding our first cache. The GPS was spinning us around in the tall trees and we walked back and forth around a small inlet a couple times trying to zero in on our goal. We did eventually stumble on the object of our search after a bit of poking around every dead log and pile of sticks. The GPS coordinates were a bit off from where we were supposed to be looking and the hint from the website didn’t help us at all…so we just kept looking until we found it. There were a few “muggles” on the path nearby so we moved away from the cache’s hiding place to examine the cache and see what goodies were inside. We picked through the toys and other trinkets and decided on taking a keychain and replacing it with a small Wolfman fingerpuppet that I picked up at a local Dollar store earlier in the week. We signed the log and replaced the cache just as we found it and left our first find with a sense of accomplishment.
Part of what I am really loving about Geocaching is that sense of accomplishment when you find the object of your search. Stumbling around in the woods without a purpose was a lot of fun when I was twelve but I am pretty sure it just wouldn’t have the same draw without that carrot out there on the end of the stick. That little adrenaline rush you get, after several minutes of searching under every rock, is a great feeling. It also is pretty cool seeing the beaming smile on Deb’s face when she is holding her “pirate’s booty” from the treasure we just unearthed.
After making our initial find we moved on to the next cache on the list. The night before I had looked up the area around the lake and plotted our course from cache to cache so that we would constantly be heading in the same direction around the lake and not be doubling back over and over for the caches that we missed.
Things started out well too as we found our second and then third cache of the day with little problem. But we then hit a string of a couple where we spent about 30-45 minutes searching the areas and not having anything to show for it. That adrenaline rush from finding what you are looking for has its evil twin brother that sets upon you when you fail. It is pretty frustrating when you are about 98% sure you are standing in the exact spot where the hidden container has to be but you just can’t find it. Both Deb and I really hate giving up and we probably stay in these areas longer than we should have before sucking it up and moving on but it is just so hard to let it go. It feels like the person that hid that damn tupperware container beat me and I am not the best loser in the world. I hate failure.
But, as tough as it is to do, we do eventually give up on those fruitless searches and move on to the next on the list. We kept moving on around the lake and every so often ducking off the path to search for our next little hidden gem. There were a few times when we climbed out of the bushes and jumped back on the path when we received some startled glances from some joggers and bike riders. Just gotta wonder what is going through their heads when two people climb out of the thick brambles and emerge on the path in front of them. especially when we are on the far side of the lake…the side that is not quite so traveled.
By sometime around 1pm we were starting to drag and the heat was really trying to drive us into the ground. When we were in amongst the trees it wasn’t that bad but as soon as we emerged into the sun it was stifling. We were both sucking down the last of our water when we realized that we were only about halfway around the lake. We had made a bunch of finds but the weather was really starting to get to us. I was completely drenched with sweat and Deb was starting to look terribly uncomfortable. But there wasn’t much we could do but keep going…so that is what we did.
We did eventually make it all the way around Burke Lake and back to the car. We were both sweaty, itchy and exhausted but pretty happy about our day at the lake. We made a bunch of finds and placed our first travel bug along the way. We are looking forward to tracking its progress over the summer and seeing all the places the bug travels. And even as tired and footsore as we were….we spent a bit of the car ride home talking about where we would go next weekend.
I think we are both hooked.