A bit of nerdiness…
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my geocaching adventures, mostly because during the school year I don’t have much time for either blogging or geocaching. I thought I could use this week’s “7 Quick Takes” to tell you about some of the more interesting caches I’ve found in the month of June. Since July of 2013 when I cranked up my geocaching habit to a new high–interestingly, around the same time I decided to become a runner–I’ve found an average of 12-13 caches per month. Of course, it’s higher during the summer and much lower the rest of the year. Now that school is out I have a bit of an excuse to indulge in this little guilty pleasure of mine.
Instead I Bought Some… (GC5B910)
When our boys used to attend their annual summer day camp, the last day of camp always culminated in a program for the parents that highlighted some of the fun activities that the kids got to do that week. They also performed some camp songs that they had learned, and since all three of them went to this particular day camp every year from first grade to sixth grade, we all became quite familiar with them. One of the songs went like this:
“My mom gave me a penny, she told me to buy a henny. I did not buy a henny, but instead I bought some… My mom gave me a dime, she told me to buy a lime…” and it goes on like camps songs do. I won’t tell you what was bought instead because it might be a major spoiler; but if you’re curious, take a look at this link.
You Mad, Bro? (GC3FVP5)
I dropped Nick off at school for not quite the last time, and went by a local park where there are several geocaches that I have yet to look for. This one was my 400th geocache find, a typical Tupperware in the woods. Finding caches like this is what got me hooked on geocaching in the first place.
Last Saturday morning I got up and took a drive to Mason Neck State Park, to meet my friend and fellow LIFE Runner Marilyn and her husband, and run a 10K race there. (I’m eager to tell you all about that one, stay tuned). The race started late enough that I had time to stop for a couple of geocaches on the way. They were just off the road and they looked like they would be fairly easy to find (I didn’t want to spend a half hour wandering around looking for them). This one was so easy I spotted it as soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the little white church where it was located. I guess it helped that the cache page had pictures and descriptions detailing exactly what to look for.
(Can you spot the geocache?)
Meadowood Pollinator Garden (GC2P9YA)
On the way to Mason Neck I pulled over to the entrance to a lovely recreation area that features hiking and horseback riding trails, and several geocaches. In the parking lot there is a lovely little butterfly garden with a geocache hiding underneath a great big fake rock. I’ve added Meadowood to my ever-growing list of places to explore and geocache.
Famous Last Words (GC123C)
I’m fortunate enough to live in an area rich in history. We are surrounded by historic homes, famous birthplaces, and civil war battle sites. These are great places for “virtual” caches, where instead of finding a physical container, you might see something interesting and maybe learn something new. Virtual caches are fairly rare, and you can’t put out new ones anymore. Apparently some folks were placing virtuals in decidedly uninteresting places (if you ever go to Ocean Isle Beach, I recommend you skip this one) and leaving no room for physical ones. Anyhow, if you want to find a virtual cache, you have to answer a question–sometimes several–that you would only know if you visited the site.
This particular virtual is located at the site of the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, on the spot where the commander of the Union VI Corps, Major General John Sedgwick, was killed. If you want to know what he said just before he was shot by a sniper, click here.
I would have explored more of this area, but I didn’t have much time, and it was getting hot.
A Side Note…
Every summer Groundspeak (the company in charge of Geocaching.com) gives geocachers a challenge to help you earn “souvenirs,” which are nothing more than cute little badges on your profile page. Last year during August–National Geocaching Month–you could earn souvenirs for finding certain types of geocaches. This year it’s the “Geocaching Road Trip,” it lasts the whole summer, and they’ll release souvenirs at different times between now and September. Right now cachers have a chance to earn the “Fun With Favorites” souvenir for finding a cache with ten or more “favorite” points. If you have a premium membership, you can award points to caches you really like. I decided to visit the “Famous Last Words” virtual cache because it currently has 22 favorite points. Boom, souvenir earned!
On July 3 Groundspeak will release the next souvenir, “Meet Your Road Trip Crew,” which requires you to attend a geocaching event and meet up with other geocachers.
Smiley in the Gazebo (GC5H946)
The great thing about geocaching is that it’s free. All you need is an app on your smartphone (I use this one). If you’re really into it (or you don’t have a smartphone; I know not everyone does) you can buy a fancy handheld GPS, which we did when we first started and, well, didn’t have smartphones. When you sign up at Geocaching.com, it won’t cost you a thing. Last year I decided to cough up the $30 annual fee to Groundspeak for a premium membership, which has a lot more features including access to even more geocaches.
Just a little ways off in the woods beside a commuter lot, there are a couple of premium-only geocaches. On the last day of May (OK, not quite June, but close), I decided to grab them after a local 5K race. (Of course, when you”grab” a geocache, it means that you open it up, sign the log sheet, and put it back as you found it. Please don’t take it with you. Some people do that, and it’s annoying.) When I found the one called “Smiley in the Gazebo,” it really did make me smile.
(Instead of spoiling the surprise, here’s a photo of me and my friend Laura just before the Owen Lea 5K that we ran that day. If you’re REALLY curious and want to see what the cache looks like, I posted a photo of it on Instagram.)
Thank you for letting me share some of my nerdiness with you! If you want more 7 Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum. Have a great weekend!