Saturday, April 24, 2010

Geocaching again

Julia really enjoyed our geocaching last weekend, and has been asking me when we could do it again. With a nice forecast for today, and a lousy one for tomorrow, we had planned to go to another local park and see if we could find two or three of the six or seven that are in that area. I knew that this was going to be all that was possible, as the different sites were scattered over a wider area than these little legs could do. As it turns out, when Julia and I began talking about it this morning, Grace insisted on going too. I was thrilled. Julia was less thrilled, but was talked into it.

Our intrepid explorers, ready to set out on their great adventure. It was great to have both of my girls outdoors with me on a beautiful spring day, anxious to find some treasure. So, at about 10:30am, we are in the lot at Darlington Park, off Darlington Road just north of route 1.

Almost immediately after leaving the lot, where there were a few fishermen getting back into their cars, the trail comes upon the Chester Creek, which it will follow for almost all of our short day. Grace was overjoyed to see a few fish in the shallows, and this mother duck and her ducklings enjoying the sun.

After maybe 20 minutes of leisurely walking, we got to the area of the first cache (Middletown Trail: Darlington Daze), and had to go cross country for a couple hundred feet. Both girls thought it was great that we were off the trail and I was telling them it was ok to get a little muddy. Getting to the area where I knew the cache had to be, I checked the rock pile thoroughly for snakes, spotted the box, and then allowed Julia and Grace to search for it. Grace found it; her very first cache! In the picture, you can see the corner of the box nestled down in the rocks to her left. We signed the logbook, exchanged a couple of pokemon roller toys for a couple of dog toys, and took a commemorative picture.

During the course of our walk, the gurgling sound of Chester Creek was our constant companion. Birds were out in force, squirrels and chipmunks were all around, and the girls were thrilled to see hundreds and hundreds of tiny tadpoles in some of the stagnant water areas. The temperature was perfect (maybe 70), with a bit of a breeze, and bright sun. From time to time we saw small fish in the shallows, and minnows in some of the little feeder streams.

Perhaps 20 minutes after our first cache, we found another one. Julia and Grace stayed below, in sight of me, while I climbed a steep hill and poked around in the rocks until I found it. After getting our two, we wandered around for a bit, exploring somewhat aimlessly, and just enjoying the day. I knew there was a third cache nearby that I wanted to get, but it was at the top of a steep climb, and the girls had already been walking for the better part of an hour, which is a lot for short legs.

Not wanting to burn them out and make geocaching and/or walking in the woods an unpleasant thing, we packed it in for the day and headed back to the car. It was another beautiful day in the outdoors in a nice local park near my house, in another one of those areas where you manage to leave civilization behind almost immediately after leaving the car. When I got back to the house and downloaded the track data from the GPS unit to my computer, I was able to see that we had done 1.8 miles of walking in about an hour and a half. Certainly not a good hiker's pace, but a fine pace for a day in the woods with a couple of little girls.

1 comment:

  1. Hi - I found your blog through my daily Google alert on geocaching

    It’s nice to read another cacher’s tales – we might live on different continents but the experience is the same – a nice walk out in the country with uncomplaining children – mine would moan and groan if I said “let’s go for a nice walk in the woods” – but “let’s go caching!” has a much more positive response :)

    I’m interested in your last comment about downloading track data from the GPS to the computer to see how far you have walked, I wonder if my GPS can do that? I do often wonder how far we end up trekking on a day’s caching….I’ll have to look into that….thanks for the heads up