For those who want to learn more about geocaching — the site explains what it is and will show you all the caches in the area. Enjoy!
On our day off from treaure hunting, I got on some of the websites that exist (and there are LOTS of them – I just can’t believe how popular this is) and tried to scout out a couple more local cache’s that we could search for – particularly one with treasure inside – as I had promised Mattea. Can I just tell you – there are HUNDREDS of these things in the area. Probably 50+ in Berlin alone. It’s strange there is like this secret society out there that we knew nothing about. You open the cache and read the log and you just see pages of names of people that have been there and found it — you want to say, “how the heck have all these people known to look for these things and I never knew anything about them!?!?”
Well I found one for Mattea so today we decided to give one a shot before we went grocery shopping. We went back to Hungerford Park for this one — turns out there are at least 3 in the park’s woods – we will probably go back there this weekend to try and find the “last” one. This one had a picture posted on the website of a part of the woods around where you would find the treasure… we knew it the second we saw it — though it did take us 20 minutes of walking to reach the spot. We looked around the area for awhile – it was a pretty spot where there was a sort of muddy brook (probably more pretty in spring when their was more water) and a rough board walkway to cross the “brook”. After searching the area for quite awhile, I got on my hands and knees to examine the crossing. Under the boards I could see what looked like a small, round black container that appeared to be attached to the underside of the boards. I must admit, I poked it with a stick several times before confirming that it was in fact a cache. Because of where it was, I wanted to confirm that it wasn’t (a) a bomb and (b) some living creatures home near the brook in the middle of the forrest! After hearing a hollow thud sound upon hitting it a few times, I decided to take a shot – what’s the worst that could happen, right?!?! OMG.
I lucked out – it was the cache. I pulled the thing off the boards and Mattea scooped it up. It was a great find. She had lots of treasures to choose from — she picked a small pink “diva” bean… the little magnet bean toys that are pretty popular right now actually. She put in a “Starwars” Disney pin for trade. Signed the log “FlutterFly Girls were here” and Mattea was happy. I couldn’t describe myself as “happy” until I crawled back on the ground and attached the cache back to it’s proper place under the walkway. yuck.
Disgusting and dirty — but victorious – we walked our way back through the woods and to the car — dirty high-fives all the way around. Took my sweatshirt off and wrapped it around my mud-soaked jeans and prayed the people at the grocery store didn’t think we actually LIVED under that little bridge in the woods. 😉
The very next day Mattea got off the bus and we decided the FlutterFly Girls needed to give this treasure-hunting thing another shot. I looked up several more in the area and decided on a cache that was right down the street – actually where many Jortner’s are buried – in West Lane Cemetery. I know what you’re thinking — you brought your 6 year old daughter to a cemetery to wander around looking for treasure… but I must tell you – yes, I did. And it was fun. I actually enjoyed this cache the most out of all so far. We wandered the cemetery for way longer than we should have needed to. This was in part because someone forgot to turn on the GPS on the phone and was wondering for 1/2 an hour why the coordinates wouldn’t update as we moved around the location.
We really did enjoy wandering around — Mattie was reading all the names on the headstones and we talked about years and how families were buried together – it was actually really a nice, peaceful time and we had lots of girl talk. I think that is why I love doing this. Mattea and I just walk around and talk — talk about school, her friends, what she likes, what she hates, what boy she has a crush on this minute (yes, even in first grade – it’s crazy!) We just get uninterrupted girl time and something about walking around in the woods (or a cemetery) makes her feel more like talking. I hope she wants to do this with me forever — it would be wonderful if I could make these talks last – even when she’s 12 and hates me most of the time. I guess we’ll see…
Anyway, thanks to many great clues provided by other geo-cachers who had already found this cache, we finally narrowed down the part of the woods it should be in – just outside the cemetery border. We still just couldn’t seem to find it. The sun was going down fast and we thought we might have to call it a night – when I gave one last look through the woods. There shining at me through the setting sun, was the cache hanging there in plain view — I swear it must have hit me in the face while we were looking – that’s how obvious it was – and how close to it we were! It proves the theory that sometimes the hardest things to see are the ones that are right in front of your eyes – LITERALLY!
Another cache caught for the FlutterFly Girls. We sure are good! This was another log-only cache which left Mattea a bit disappointed but, like me, she was just really glad we found it and didn’t give up. We signed the log and I told her I’d do my best to check comments and find one with actual treasure for our next one — it’s not always easy to know – but I would do my best. A high-five and a 2 second car ride home ended a really nice evening in the cemetery.
So, we had such a successful first find and were feeling so proud of ourselves that we decided we must try another one the same night! To be honest, I think I just wanted to prove to myself we could do this and it wasn’t just a big fluke that we got the first one. Our next stop was the cache by Little People’s Playground (LPP) here in Berlin. I figured it’s near a park where Mattea used to play all the time when she was a toddler – this one should be easy right? Well to be fair, it probably would have been easier if it wasn’t getting dark by the time we got there… and if it wasn’t quite so far in the woods. (BTW, I didn’t realize how much woods is actually behind LPP – don’t underestimate the woods people!)
Anyway, we had to search a little harder for this one and the terrain was a bit steeper and more rocky. We were basically standing on it when we found it! It was at the base of a tree with a large rock covering the hole. I have really fallen in love with that rush – that “ah-ha!” moment that you get that second when you see what you’re looking for. It always seems to come right as you are starting to give up — when we decide maybe we will just come back — and there it is.
This cache didn’t have any little toys or “treasure” in it – so we had to be satisfied with signing the log for this one. It’s funny – even I like the ones with treasures in them more than just signing the log and I’m not even taking a treasure. There’s just something about not knowing what cool thing someone else may have left that is really exciting. This one was just a log, but we were really happy we found another – hid the cache back where we found it – and hightailed it out of those woods as fast as our little legs could carry us!
Another high-five for the “MelMat team”. On our way home we decided now that we were profressionals, we should probably come up with a creative name. Being the Thirty-one addicts we are (I know, I started her loving purses and bags and pretty patterns way too early!) we talked it over and decided since we both really liked the retired “flutter” pattern (a multi-color pattern with – you guessed it – butterflys on it) we would name ourselves after that.
Our first find was at Hungerford Park right here in Berlin. We weren’t sure what to expect as I tried to figure out latitude and longitude … and a compass, oh, my. Anyway, much to our surprise and excitement, we found what we were looking for in about 1/2 an hour. To someone experienced, it probably would have taken 5 minutes or less, but cut me a break – you heard the part about directions and a compass right?!? The cache was hidden in a tree covered by a stone and a stick. We signed the log book as the “MelMatt Team” and Mattie took a “pink plastic thing” from the tube, replacing it with an old Disney pin. After that, we were addicted. We gave ourselves a high five and decided to do one more before calling it a night…
Mattea and I have a new hobby. Geo-caching — or as we like to call it, treasure hunting. We decided to start a blog to keep track of our finds and share our adventures as we learn more about the world of geo-caching. I really can’t believe how popular it is and how many things are hidden around us. In just two days, we’ve already found three treasures – and we haven’t traveled a mile away from our house!