Have you ever heard of geocaching? It's sort of like treasure hunting. There's a website, Geocaching.com, where you can plug in your location and it will pull up literally hundreds of hidden 'caches' close to wherever you might be--all around the world! The site will give you the coordinates of each cache and often a clue so you have a hint of where to look and you're off! Happy hunting! Well, Michael and I have tried this game several times to no avail. We are not good treasure seekers. We've not been able to find a single cache.
But over the weekend while making plans to try again with friends who are seasoned successful cache seekers, I discovered a new app for geo-challenges! I'm always a sucker for a challenge! The app connects to the Geocaching website and instead of finding hidden items, it gives you coordinates and a task to complete instead--this is definitely up my alley.
So, I planned to attempt our first challenge adventure yesterday afternoon, after church and lunch, then the afternoon was ours to tackle the task at hand. Our specified location was a park some twenty-five miles away, the task: to complete one full lap of the walking trail around the perimeter of the park and find the swimming pool, pavilions, soccer field and the south restrooms, earning bonus points for sitting on one of the park benches. Simple enough, right? I thought we'd take Tucker along since it had been a while that he'd been out and about with us. I figured he'd enjoy a nice stroll around the park as well.
Off we went. There was a possibility of thunderstorms in the forecast but the sky looked promising enough-I just wanted to go enjoy what we could of our day. In our rush to leave, I didn't give Tucker his ginger snap cookie before we left. He gets car sick and the ginger soothes his stomach when we take him for a ride. But I figured it'd been at least a good six hours since he'd had breakfast, surely he wouldn't get sick. Wrong. He threw up. Three times. Sat in the back and drooled, whimpering in his discomfort. So sorry Buddy!! Then when we arrived at our challenge destination, what do I see but big signs prohibiting pets in the park!! Really?? This was not how I had hoped our day would go.
What to do? The sun was still out. The dog had already emptied his tummy all over the back of the car, did we really want to throw in the towel and just call it quits? Hecks no! We decided to take our adventure elsewhere--pooh on this silly No Pets Allowed Challenge!! (They really need to post these details before you waste your time driving out of your way--ugh!) So we headed instead to Moraine State Park. I knew for a fact dogs, on leashes, were certainly allowed. We'd go walk a trail there and call it Challenge Completed--the main point, to me, after all, was to get out and enjoy some fresh air and a little exercise together, not really finding swimming pools and soccer fields or sitting on park bences.
Okay, I'm not the world's most affluent navigator. If I didn't have a GPS, I wouldn't venture further than Walmart. I knew we could get to Moraine and find a trail. I was just a little worried about getting too turned around and not finding my way back home (even though I still have said GPS...just how my disturbed mind thinks...) So we get to the park and see a sign for the Hilltop Trail. That sounds good. We'll go there. (Mind you, the last time I said a certain trail name sounded good--Chimney Top in Frozen Head State Park--it had us lost in the mountains for several hours, scaling ridiculously hazardous paths barely hanging on to the mountain face and we ended up having to be rescued by the park rangers after we'd hiked some fourteen miles from where we'd parked--without water or food or map to aid us....bad, bad memories...)
This is how my luck was running yesterday. We pull in to the parking lot for the trail head, help a reluctant Tucker out of the back of the car and try scooping out as much of his mess with McDonald's napkins from the glovebox, then...then...notice the bright yellow sign tacked to the trail marker that the area was currently open to hunting and, if you wanted to attempt the hike, they recommended wearing flourescent clothes so you could "be seen and be safe." Neither of us were wearing flourescent colors, Tucker's reverse brindle blends in to our backyard so well I have trouble spotting him out the kitchen window most days. Getting shot was not a challenge I was willing to take on, sun holding off storms or not. This simply was not our day...
Three sad faces piled back in the car and headed home. I knew at least the ABCFamily Harry Potter weekend was still running. I made a date with the couch after I took the time to scrub the carpet in the back of my Kia. So our first geo-challenge was an epic failure. Tomorrow, however, not to be deterred, we have plans to try geocaching with our more successful hunter friends, hoping to get a good cache or two under our belts with their help, and to bolster our hopes of doing this on our own some day. If our luck will just run a little more in our favor...*sigh*