Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Still Suck at Geocaching

We got a few hours of sunshine this morning in between storms, and I really wanted to get out.  I couldn't do much with the dogs and horses because of all the mud, so I chose to go geocaching.  I don't mind getting my own boots muddy, but I don't want to take the dogs somewhere and have them leave muddy paw prints all over inside my car.  I was trying to avoid the lunch hour, because I've had problems with people parking next to geocaches to eat their lunches.

I knew exactly where the first geocache was, but was waiting for an opening to get it.  Each time I drove past it in previous weeks, some construction worker was just sitting in his truck right next to it.  This time he was there again, but parked far enough away that I decided to go for it.  Of course, as soon as I did, two trucks parked right in the street near me and the drivers got out to adjust their straps.  I grabbed the cache anyway and took it to the trunk of my car, so that they'd think I was just adjusting my vehicle contents too.

The next cache was off to the side of someone's private driveway, which was clearly marked with a NO TRESPASSING sign.  You know how I hate it when people trespass on my property, so I didn't want to be a hypocrite and park in their driveway to find a geocache.  I pretended like I was turning around, jumped out and dug around in all these chopped down Cottonwoods really fast, but there was so much bark and so many rocks and so much garbage that the geocache could have been anywhere.  I moved on.

The third geocache was hidden on the back of a sign that led to a bunch of businesses on a busy road.  All these people kept pulling into the driveway and stopping to look at me while I climbed through rocks and bushes.  I wasted more time trying to act casual and act like I belonged there, waiting for these nosy drivers to move on, but I did eventually get a chance to grab the film canister and sign the log, which was wet because the lid was broken.  That seems to be the theme of geocaching this winter:  Wet logs.

The fourth geocache really ticked me off.  Somebody hid it right in front of a pharmacy drive-thru.  These drivers who were waiting for their prescriptions had nothing to do other than to sit in their cars and watch me, wondering why I was so fascinated with a fire hydrant.  I suspect they thought I was going to pee on it.  I couldn't find the geocache and was too uncomfortable to hang around longer while drivers watched me, so I left.

The fifth geocache was the strangest.  The GPS coordinates led me to an empty lot.  There was nothing but dirt and an occasional rock.  I looked under all the rocks, but found nothing.  If I stood at the exact coordinates, there was a hard mound of dirt under my feet, but I would have needed a shovel to dig there, so I gave up.

The sixth geocache appeared to be hidden in a drainage pipe that was closed off with bars and clearly marked as being unlawful to trespass.  It was right next to one of the busiest intersections in town, so there was no way I could sneak down there to look around unless I came out at night with a flashlight, and if I did that I'm sure the police would stop me and question me.  It took me several minutes of waiting on each side of the street before I could even cross.

At this point I realized that I was getting angry.  Finding the geocaches wasn't fun.  It was frustrating, and I had my fill of drivers studying me to try to figure out what I was doing. There were several more I wanted to look for, but they were in parks around town, and it was the lunch hour, which meant that a bunch of people would just be sitting in their cars eating and watching me, so I went home and ate my own lunch.

Soon, if the wind dies down, I will try again.  I'm thinking I may have to track down a geocacher in my area and ask him or her to teach me some tricks of the trade, because other people seem to have no problem finding these treasures.  I probably only find about 25% of the ones I look for.

I'm also thinking that I might start hiding some myself in nice places where people can go and not just look for a geocache, but enjoy the location.  I certainly don't like digging around in dirty things like sewers and dog poop while vehicles blast past just inches away from my rear-end going 55 MPH.  I don't like going places where I call attention to myself.  Geocaches should be hidden in locations where it is normal for people to loiter and pass the time, like parks and hiking trails.  I always worry that I'm going to cause a car accident because of all the drivers who gawk at me while I search alongside highways and busy roads.  Then there are those geocachers who hide them in residential neighborhoods, and my presence there gets all the dogs barking.  Next thing I know, window blinds are parting all around me.  I also worry that I might get stopped by the police for my suspicious behavior when I geocache.  It should be an enjoyable activity -- not uncomfortable.

I read about one guy who planted a geocache in his own back yard.  He then sits on his patio in the evenings and watches people look for it.  How creepy is that?  It makes you wonder who's the hunter and who is the hunted.


Rebecca said...

There is a cache in a park near my work I have looked for a few times, but can never find it. It doesn't help they are doing construction all around the park, and I am sure I look funny out there in heels clearly looking for something. :p

Breathe said...

Never have found a geocache. I'm sticking to letterboxes.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I have trouble finding those darn things so I decided to plant some instead. Now, I'm finding out they are getting stolen, lost, etc. I should just give up, huh?

achieve1dream said...

That last guy sounds horribly creepy! What is up with that? Sorry you're not having much luck or fun. I don't think I would worry so much about the cops because you can just explain what you're doing (maybe print off info about it), but your cops may be more suspicious than ours. I bet you'll have fun planting some though. :D

Anonymous said...

I'm brand new to geocaching and this post made me laugh sooo hard. I feel the same way. I've only found 1 out of the 4-5 I've looked for, because so far the only ones I've had time to search for are in my neighborhood, lots of traffic, and I instantly feel creepy and that people are watching me. I might as well strip down and go streaking, that is how uncomfortable/exposing it feels.