How I ended up with 27 mosquito bites

Yes, I’m enough of a nerd to take a photo of the map before I walk back there.

“Honey, can I go out for a few minutes?  I really need a bit of quiet.”

That was me last night, and my wife answered in the affirmative.  It just got to be one of those evenings where I was taking care of the kids, making dinner, and trying to do a dozen other things at once, and I needed to downshift into a little solitude.  So after getting the go-ahead, I hopped in her car and started driving.

I didn’t have any grand plan, but earlier that day I had prepared a pair of my own geocaches to hide — might as well go all in with the hobby, right?  I purchased a couple of lock ‘n lock boxes for the occasion, which are essentially air-tight sandwich tupperware containers, and then added a Geocaching label, a log book in a ziplock bag, and a few trinkets in each.  I knew where I wanted to go put one, so I went and hid it, then started randomly driving around looking for inspiration.

Inspiration came in the form of a local park that I’ve visited once or twice.  I never have, however, entered the few miles of hiking trails that exist, and so I thought that that might be a good idea.  With only a pen, my phone, and the geocache on hand, I plunged into the wilds of suburban forest.

I was not thinking ahead.  This ended up being a problem.

Okay, I *did* take a picture of the trails, which was smart, but I lacked my geocaching kit or any solid plan.  It turned out that there were a few stagnant pools in the woods here that served as a launching pad for a billion mosquitos, and as my bug spray was in my kit, my defense became “move swiftly and constantly swat yourself like you’re a medieval monk performing rituals of penance.”  A part of the back of my brain kept saying that I should just turn back, try it another day, but by that time I was a half-mile deep into the brush and determined to find a good hiding spot.

This proved surprisingly difficult, as tons of hikers were around, the bugs were everywhere, the ground outside of the paths muddy, and most of the trees not a great place to hide anything.  But I kept going, and all the while that voice in the back of my head kept yammering that I only told my wife I was going out for a few minutes, and these few minutes had now become an hour and a half of trailblazing through the most extreme wilderness that a highly populated area adjacent to a shopping mall could offer.

Then came the kicker.  So I’m way, way back in the woods (at the top of the map there) and I look up the geocache app to see where I’m at on the map — and it’s then I notice that this place is littered with caches.  Another point in favor for doing homework ahead of time, I guess.  Geocaching asks for space between the caches so that they can each have a distinct GPS coordinate, and in this park there were like nine or so.  It didn’t feel special anyway, so I ended up double-timing it back to my car and feeling quite foolish.

And yet — adventurous.  As with most of my geocaching trips, even the most spontaneous ends up being a memorable trip to a place I wouldn’t have gone otherwise.  I’m already planning a return trip to the park to find all of these geocaches, but I think I’ll hide my remaining container elsewhere.

P.S. — Great to hear that a few of you have tried geocaching because of these posts!  It really is an addictive little pasttime.

P.P.S. — If you missed it, I wrote an article about Richard Garriott’s geocache on Massively.

5 thoughts on “How I ended up with 27 mosquito bites

  1. clumsygrrrl May 23, 2012 / 12:13 pm

    1. Your link to Richard Garriott’s piece isn’t going to work – I believe because you didn’t put “http://” at the beginning of the link. It’s trying to find the page on Bio Break.

    2. Downloading the Intro App on my phone at this exact moment!

  2. quadzi May 23, 2012 / 12:15 pm

    Yeah, I saw the Richard Garriott article and I’m going to be in Dallas for work in a few weeks. It’s about 3 hours away so I’m not sure if I’ll find time to make the trip or not. However, it is extremely tempting…

  3. Jim Adams May 23, 2012 / 7:00 pm

    I should say I got into Geocaching shortly after you first mentioned it last month on Massively’s podcast. This weekend my family and I celebrated both our 37th cache but also a new daily record of 6. Thank you, Syp, for the great new past time. I even lost a couple o’ pounds!

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