I was a pioneer in the geocaching craze. Well, really an early adopter. I got my first GPS in 1998, long before anyone realized how these might revolutionize the world. My plan at the time was to use it to mark locations for genealogy – home places, grave sites, etc. However, I wanted to do more, perhaps something fun with the GPS.
I had competed in several orienteering events, and had taught lessons on map reading and orienteering to my GT students. It seemed like the GPS was a perfect match. Then, in 2000 Dave Ulmer and Jeremy Irish came up with the perfect solution – Geocaching. It was the perfect match, and I became a charter member of the fledgling website. I placed one of the first geocaches in our town, and received several newspaper write-ups.
Yes, I was a pioneer, but now, thirteen years later, I only have 150 finds to my name. I’ve conducted many, many workshops on Geocaching, and have gotten friends started in the hobby who now have thousands of finds. But, for some reason, I’ve just not reached those numbers.
I think one of the reasons I don’t have many finds is that I don’t like frustration. When I can’t find a cache, I get frustrated that I’m wasting time. I started to feel that I could spend that time better kayaking, exploring, or doing photography. I love it when I DO find a cache, but the frustrations seemed to be outweighing the fun. The funny thing was that when I was out geocaching with someone else it seemed much more enjoyable. Most of the finds that I do have were found with someone else.
I’m still an advocate for Geocaching. I enjoy when I get out on a hunt and I try to participate in our local Geocaching organizations. However, my stats don’t reflect my long association with the sport.
Geocaching in Florida
Amy is one of those with whom I enjoy geocaching. We’ve been out on several hunts, and this Christmas decided to see how many we could find on our brief visit.
Our Christmas Day outing actually started as a non-Geocaching trip. Laura, Amy and I headed over to Indrio Savannahs to walk Amy’s dog, Luna. The trails wind through wetlands and scrub forests typical for this area. We started with a bit of bird watching. A family of sandhill cranes were making a racket as another crane came in as an interloper.
On a whim I checked the Geocaching app on my iPhone. It turned out that there were bunches of caches very close along the trails. We set out in pursuit. In short order we knocked out two of them. It seemed that there were Geocaches at every trail intersection.
At one intersection we encountered a weird sort of memorial. Amy said that the first time she saw it she thought it was a Geocache. It seems it was a strange shrine started by some hiker. Other hikers have added to it over the years. Amy even brought a little token to add to it. It was almost a compulsion. A suspended dream catcher watched over everything.
We found one more cache before deciding that the turkey dinner needed our attention. Just around the corner we encountered a group of very friendly scrub jays. One landed on Laura’s hand, then, to her surprise, hopped over to her head.
We hiked back along the lake to the car.
The next day, Boxing Day, we decided to make it a Geocaching day. We had looked at the map, and Amy and I were both amazed at how many geocaches were in the area. We decided to head up US 1 toward Vero, and to the Indian River Aquatic Reserve. Here we found a very nice series of trails along the banks of the Indian River. We were able to knock out five caches along the way.
We hiked back to the car then drove through Vero and on up to Wabasso. We got some fast food for lunch and had a picnic overlooking the Indian River on the Wabasso Causeway. From there we continued on to North Hutchinson Island, then turned south onto the old Jungle Trail Road.
Jungle Trail was one of the earliest roads along the island. It’s a dirt road that now runs between the river and some very expensive housing developments. Along the way is one stretch of woodlands set aside as an environmental study area. The Forrester Woods area had several Geocaches listed, so we decided to stop. The trails were narrow, and quite lovely.
We attempted a multi-part cache. We found the first two with moderate difficulty, but just could not find the final stage. We also struck out on the other two caches in the area. The frustration was starting to set in.
We headed home, but we had a couple more caches to find. Just across the channel from Amy’s there was supposed to be a couple of them, so we decided to walk over there. Again, we struck out on both accounts. The area had seen some illegal dumping since the last time I was there, and it was getting to be a bit scary.
Even with the DNFs (Did not find), it was a great day out geocaching and it inspired me to do more. With that in mind, I’ve decided on a New Year’s goal. By this time next year I’m going to try to hit 500 finds. We’ll see if that happens.