It’s been about a week since I last posted on here. In that time, Mother Nature decided that she didn’t want it to be spring anymore and dumped six inches of snow on us. Just when I was able to scratch my geocaching itch, she has put a damper on it for a bit again. While the forecast for this week isn’t all that great, at least it isn’t showing any snow in the future. Hopefully, it will be a short hiatus so I can get back out in a couple weeks and boost my numbers some more. I think next time, we will pack our bikes in and head to Niobrara State Park and pick up as many of the caches there.
So since I really have no adventures to write about this week, I figured I would write about how I got started geocaching. I started caching back in June of 2010 and am coming up on my 6th year now. This year I should surpass the 2000 find mark as my schedule with TannerKG8 works out better and should give us more full days of caching. When I first heard about geocaching, it sounded like such a mystery to me. The idea that people could hide something in plain sight and you didn’t know that it was there unless you had a GPS to point you to it or just happen to stumble upon it seemed like such an adventure. I was surprised when I looked on geocaching.com and saw that there were two geocaches in the small town that I live in. I was instantly curious about them and, even though I didn’t have a GPS, I had a good guess where one of them was hidden at just by looking at the map. So on that windy Sunday morning, I went to the park and walked across the suspension bridge to try to find the cache that was hidden there. I looked all over that end of the bridge without a clue as to what this cache would look like. In my mind, I pictured something hanging off the bridge or stuck to it. After about 20 minutes, I gave up on my search, still wondering how someone could hide something without it being found.
That day, I told my father about geocaching and asked him if he still had his GPS unit. He did and I borrowed it from him. After adding the cache into the GPS, I found myself out at the bridge again that evening. Again I found myself at the far end of the bridge looking in all the places I looked at that morning and again, I found myself scratching my head and wondering. I finally gave up my hunt for the day. At the same time, I had told my father all about geocaching and it perked his interest as well. Later that week, he was out at the park looking as well. He also came up empty in his search.
In the meantime, I had started looking up geocaches around Sioux Falls and was amazed at how many there were. I eventually came across a series of eight geocaches that would lead you to one final geocache. This really peaked my interest. The idea that each geocache would give you part of a clue to one final location sounded amazing. So on a Monday afternoon in June, I found myself in a park in Sioux Falls with my GPS showing me I was 0.6 miles from The Arrow. I walked to the location and found a picnic shelter there along the river’s edge. I noticed up in the rafters that someone had left a book hidden up there. I reached up for it and looked at it confused. Was this the cache? Having never found one before, I wasn’t certain. I then looked at my GPS and noticed it was still pointing towards the tree line along the river’s edge. I decided to see where my GPS would take me and I found myself just a few feet into the treeline. It was pointing at a large tree that was laying along the ground there. I walked up to it and noticed that the inside of the tree was hollow and when I looked inside the one end of it, I saw what I was looking for. Inside the tree, there was an ammo can that had been left behind. I excitedly opened up the cache and signed my name on the list. I was now hooked. That night I introduced another friend to geocaching by showing him the same cache, and we proceeded to go out and find two more.
Since then, I have introduced more friends to the hobby, including TannerKG8. Each summer now, we try to plan a road trip to some destination and find a geocache in every county that we pass through. Three years ago, we made the pilgrimage to Mingo, the mecca for any active geocacher. Two years ago, we traveled to the Black Hills and found the Ice Cave deep in the western part of the Black Hills. Last year, I made a solo journey to California for my cousin’s wedding, caching all the way out there and back. This year, our trip is planned for June as we are now going to travel to Winnipeg and Regina over the summer solstice. Needless to say, I enjoy the hobby immensely and am excited just to see where the road will take me.