Saturday, April 18, 2009

Geocaching: It's raining squirrels!

Today turned out to be a beautiful Spring day. We spent some of our afternoon out geocaching.

A quick description of what geocaching is: Basically, people all over the world hide small containers in public places for others to find and log their arrival. Some times they contain goodies in them that you are allowed to take as long as you place something else in the box. The boxes are found using a GPS and (for us) clues. Once you get to the Long/Lat location then the search is on. It typically takes some moving around of leaves, branches, or other material to find the cache box. It's a mini modern day treasure hunt if you will.

There are lots and lots of them here in Overland Park (and probably lots in your area-visit here to find out).

I've been wanting to do this for quite some time and keep running into information about it. I finally talked to Chris and my dad about it and decided that I really wanted to go try it out. Chris was a bit reluctant, but I knew once we got out there, his inner Eagle Scout would resurface again. Dad didn't get to go with us this time, but was very excited about joining us.

So this morning, we got Aleeyah geared up telling her we were going to go look for a box. It didn't quite work, but then we told her we were going to the trails and then she was game. Even more, we got some rain this morning and she would surely get to play in the puddles and mud.

So with my iPhone with the geocaching app loaded and an additional trail GPS, we were headed to our first cache. As we approached the cache location we parked the car and started walking down the paved trails.

The clouds in the sky were making it difficult to get a good signal and we couldn't figure out the other trail GPS. So we relied on my trusty phone to get us there....yes, a phone. Once we got to the spot, it was up to us to do some searching.

After about 30 minutes of walking in thickets, over fallen trees and limbs, and even seeing a squirrel fall from a very, very tall tree while hitting branches on the way down and finally ending in a loud thump on his side, we had given up.

Truth of the matter is, all three of us were having a great time, but ummmm...someone needed to find a bathroom with toilet paper and a sink to wash her hands-something the woods just doesn't provide. I know, I know, it does provide ground where people without toilets once roamed, BUT this city girl has not had to squat on it's soil in a very, very, very long time. As I tried to figure out how I would even do it without peeing on myself, I said it was time to go.

Speaking of city girls, can you believe I kept getting in trouble by the Eagle Scout for being more concerned about documenting the trip via snapshots than actually trying to "quickly" find the treasure box??? That is what I do. I enjoy myself, my family, and I take pictures in the process-no matter how much time it might add to our journey!

As we were walking back, I looked off to my right, there she was. Shoved in the cove of a fallen tree.

I might have yelled a little in excitement. I wanted to open it since I found it, but thought squatting down next to a tree wouldn't do much for my full bladder. So Chris and Aleeyah did the honors.

We didn't bring anything to exchange so we didn't take anything, but enjoyed looking and finding it. We logged our visit and returned the box to it's original state.

We took a shorter route to the trails and headed back to the car. Took off our muddy shoes before getting in the car, mapped our next adventure, and after a quick stop, we headed off to cache site #2 of the day.

It was only about a mile or so away from our first stop. We parked the car and headed back down the trails. Not far away from the car, but into the woods, just as we were looking at the details on my phone when it died. Since we still couldn't figure out the trail GPS, we decided to call it a day.

We were about halfway out of the wooded area, when Chris stopped and said, "WHAT IS THAT?"

Hello! Need I remind him that I am a CITY girl? Do not say those words to me while we are standing in bushes and fallen tree limbs. Yes, I can see the trail just ahead, I can hear cars going by from the nearby street, and I might even be able to see a building, BUT that doesn't change the fact that things lurk in these parts!!! I mean seriously, these are the shoes I wore to go walking in the woods and they provide no protection for something wanting to eat my feet!

Then the next words out of his mouth were, "It's a BAT!"

Me: It's a WHAT?
Chris: a bat!
Me: Is it dead?? (praying that very moment that the poor creature was lying dead in the brush)
Chris: NO!

Yes, in that moment the incident of our untimely death was playing in my head. Three amateur geocachers went out in the woods and was bitten by crazed bat foaming at the mouth!

Chris: Come look at it
Me: Is it going to bite us???
Chris: No it's sleeping
Me: Oh, thank goodness....wait, will it be angry if we wake it?
Chris: just come look at it!

Inching slightly forward, I saw it just hanging there on the bush that Chris was just about to walk into a few seconds before. Sleeping. From a distance, I did what I rarely do...

I handed Chris my camera.

He can roll his eyes as much as he wants, but this really could not go undocumented! I remember my first time of ever seeing a wild bat. Aleeyah should have some pictures to go with her first time!

So he snapped a few shots and after I realized that the poor sleeping creature was too beat to actually care about us being there, I got close enough to take a pic of him too.

Of course, Chris being a boy had to well, be a boy. And boys poke things with sticks. As he reached for a stick, I quickly reached for Aleeyah and went back a ways to a safe distance. Chris poked and poked and no movement. We saw him breathing so we knew he was alive.

In the video below you hear me trying to keep her with me to avoid getting bitten when the crazed creature comes out from his sleep to suck our blood! So there is a lot of crazy movement in the video which reminds me a bit of that Blair Witch movie. (don't mind my nasally voice today either-allergies suck-especially when you forget to take your medicine!)

Chris didn't listen to my pleas and he finally woke it up and it just flew to a top of a nearby tree.

Don't worry, Chris got the lecture of disturbing the wildlife....from the 3 year old! (I don't know what the deal is with her walking like that)

And we headed home.

All in all-we had a great time and are excited to go again!

Oh, and PawPaw-we took this one for you!


GinSpaghetti said...

Fun!!! That is a big box, I thought they were small ones. Hmmm... I think D would enjoy geocaching. Our outdoor club has talked about doing it and having teams. Ooh geocaching in Boston, hmmm... Ok regarding the bat, Aleeyah covered my lecture, thanks girlie! Those boys... poor little bat. Although I loved you saying how tired he was to Chris so he'd stop in the first video! So funny! Looks like you guys had a great time... well, minus the mud and lack of sanitary facilities!! :D

Steve said...

We love geocaching, and it's a great way to get to know new towns/areas!

Britt said...

LOVE the one of A. looking into the should dress her up in some princess outfit and take a picture of her near the tree....I'm thinking black and white would be nice???

Also, we saw a wild bat once. I think it had rabies was flopping around near the girls' playground. Lilli freaked out and of course, I didn't go near

By the way the videos won't play for me :(

Domestic Goddess said...

HOW FUN!!! I so get it now. I had no idea what you were talking about but that does sound like SOOO much fun. The bat and the video creep me out. It looks so scary up there. Ick! :) This city girl would have been in flip flops and more concerned with pictures too, LOL! It looks like you guys had a great weekend and from what I hear we have great weather coming this week! WOOO HOOOOOOO!

Ben, Kelly and Sophie said...

We have some friends here in Wichita who love geocaching as well. Looks fun.

Oh, and my favorite line was, "He's clearly tired." Hilarious!

Da MiMi said...

Well this is one MiMi that is glad that she went potty before reading this entry and looking at those adorable pics! Geocaching sounds like an awesome family/friends kind of activity.
...and p.s. the pic of your flip-flops is a riot!

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