Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I use multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware hidden in the woods...

What do you do?
That's probably the funniest and most accurate description of my newest hobby, geocaching.
I first learned about geocaching in Wondertime, a really cool parenting magazine. It sounded a little nerdy, but there was something so interesting about it. I mean, how can there possibly be thousands of treasure boxes hidden throughout the world, some in my own town, that I had never seen? Or even heard of for that matter?
I try to be honest with myself about what kind of person I am. I am the first one to admit that I'm not athletic nor am I outdoorsy. However, I am a mother of three boys. I'm working hard to discover activities that we can all do and enjoy together. I sort of talked it up to Brett and he thought it sounded pretty cool, too.
The problem: We didn't own a GPS.
The solution: Merry Christmas, 2007.
The Crimp in the Plan that caused the GPS to sit unused in a junk drawer for 6 months: Ben and Sam.
I finally broke it out this summer. Myself, J, L, and 4 kids hit the "Beach" for our inaugural cache. It was sort of fun, but maybe not the best thing to do with two infants and a pregnant lady. It was one of those ideas that you though would be really exciting and take a lot less time, and then BAM! Before you know it, you've forgotten about lunch, the babies are way overdue for their nap and you're dragging a double stroller through the woods. Sounds so fun, right? We were incredibly sweaty by the end, but we did it. We had found one of these modern day treasure chests! Really, treasure chest might be an exaggeration, since it was basically filled with trash, but for me, the prize/ treasure/booty your child receives is nothing compared to the thrill of the hunt. I was about to find out that I wasn't the only one in my family to feel that way.

My next cache didn't happen until late October of this year. On an unseasonably warm day, Brett and I packed up the kids and headed out to some nearby conservation land. The geocaching guide described the terrain as a 2 out of 5. Whoever wrote that is retarded. Clearly a 3.5 MINIMUM! 5 when you account for the fact that Brett and I each had a baby strapped to our chests. Brett was like a crazed man, out in the woods. I was puffing on my wheezer nonstop. The sun started to set, and that unseasonable warm faded into raw dusk. Runny noses all around. We were there for nearly two hours, but we refused to give up. Again, we were victorious. And on the way out, we ran into another group looking for the cache. Experienced cachers, who had come up empty at that location TWICE.
My mother-in-law was here over the weekend (more on that later), and Brett and I were so excited to get our hands on our GPS, which we stupidly did not pack. We packed the kids up, dragged my mother -in-law around, and only had to muscle our way through on tantrum on our 4-stop 100% successful geocache tour.
We saw some really beautiful sights, and also stumbled upon quite a few animal remains. One skeleton, which I assume was a cow, had Will convinced he had just discovered dinosaur bones.

At our next stop, Brett and I turned around to his shout of, "Look at this, guys!" only to see him holding the bottom portion of a deer's leg, fresh with fur and all still attached. Bust out the Purell.
So as it turns out, I have come to thoroughly enjoy this nerdy, outdoorsy activity. Who ever would have thought? It gets you outside, away from the dreaded Family Destroyer. You are spending quality time with your family. Really spending time together, not doing something in different rooms of your house.

You become a member of a community. Sometimes that community exists online, and sometimes that community is a weirdo you encounter in the forest, but you are part of something that stretches across the globe. And, you get to see places, some in your own town, some in far away places that you may not have never seen otherwise.


The Bean said...

As usual, Liz...you had me laughing out loud. I think it's amazing that you guys do this. If I allow my kids to do PlayDoh, it makes me Mom of the Year, at least in their eyes.

Priceless! Also, the fish stuff had me cracking up. Pets...fucking love 'em.

K said...

What do you do once you find the cache? Is there something in there you take or you're just happy you found it? I looked it up in my area and there are 8 bazillion of them within like 5 miles!! Maybe I'll have to look into this more. Cal would love it!

Anonymous said...

Again Liz, love the story. LOL. You should write as a job for a magazaine or something!! Get paid for it too!

Doing something with the family; that says so much. Good for you two!!!
PS not sure how to post on here the right way!