Posted in Geocaching

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. 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. 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. 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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