Monday, November 25, 2013

Fall In Our Backyard

It seems that this year fall was an especially beautiful season.  The colors just kept improving and as we'd drive down the road I'd marvel at the loveliness.  At our latitude most of the leaves have now dropped, and we're preparing for the long months of gray skies and leafless trees.  Hopefully, these bright colors will be emblazened in our heads when it's bleak and cold.

11 on the 11th

We must admit that we both felt it very odd that we didn't have a weekend excursion planned for Veteran's Day--the last three years we've filled 3 day weekends with mini-trips across Europe, but now it seems we're still recovering from move-mode.  So, instead we decided to check out the local geocaches.  Imagine our surprise when we found out that there was one right across the street in the park where we take Nickleby to play!!!  So,  Monday morning we headed across the street in search of our first cache.

We immediately decided that we needed to improve our clothing if we were going to continue on a geocache adventure--Veteran's Day was windy, gray and cold.  Eventually it even rained, but not before we were able to track down 10 more caches...

Clifford the Suburban proved a great adventuremobile
We found a series named for the 12 days of Christmas and hidden at local churches--3 of which were very near our house, so we searched for them next.
(by the way, look for the flags in the pictures.  We tried really hard to find a flag nearby every cache to include in our pictures.  Only the last two caches were we unable to locate some sort of American pride in the background)

That makes a total of 4 finds now...

We also found one in a nondescript wooded are across from some local businesses.
What you can't see is the crazy woods we bush-whacked thru for this one (note the tiny flag between the girls) 

5 Caches found.

The kids loved finding the three in a cemetery not far from our house.
Cache hidden in a fake bird in a tree - loved it!  The flags around the gravestones gave us a good way to talk with the kids about what it means to be a Veteran.

That makes 6, 7 and 8!

And a quick grab after lunch at Chipotle at another fast food restaurant--Fazoli's (We have yet to darken that restaurant's door.  Afraid we might weep.).
If you have eagle eyes you can see a flag in the car license.

This was our ninth.  Then it was a quick find in an undeveloped area across from a hospital--no pictures of this one because I decided to stay warm in the truck!  But it was number 10, nonetheless.

But the big, exciting cache was the 11th, in the same area as number 10, but way more exciting...I'll let Ted tell the story.

As mentioned earlier, we had not really mapped out the day.  While eating lunch we noted three cache's were within an easy few minutes of our location and one of them included a tree climb.  The kids are always up for adventure so that helped me to decide to push on to that cache as part of our "11."  Number 10 was very tame and an easy walk from the car.  Number 11 (the tree) required us to adventure some on foot.  While walking a paved path a man drove up to us and asked if we were geocaching.  We smiled and said yes.  He quickly asked a follow up question wanting to know if we had the one in the tree.  I mentioned we were looking for it but had not found the proper location to enter the forest.  (An earlier cache in the day involved lots of unnecessary bush-whacking so we were waiting for a better entry into the dense undergrowth).  The guy seems annoyed that I'm not really answering his questions about the tree.  Then he says, "I'm 65 years old, and I climbed up there (points to me) you have no excuse not to go."  I'm not sure what to think but I just say OK.  And we move on.

We eventually find the best entry into the forest.  Our tree is just 50 feet in from the edge.  The kids all scramble in wanting to the lucky one to climb.  Mary and Cory arrive first, and Mary is quickly in the tree.  She climbs up 6 feet or so and cannot find the cache.  I tell her keep looking because it has to be close.  Then I suggest she go up one more level and look around.  No luck spying the cache.  We double check the coordinates and we are right on it.  This must be the tree.      

So we all double our efforts to look in and around the tree. I crane my neck and look up up up.  There it is, many levels above where Mary has climbed.  Oh My gravy it is up there.  But I remember the dude in the truck throwing down the challenge, so I can't give up so quickly.  I suggest to Mary that she get down (because she says she can't keep going - she can't reach the next level up).  I climb up to about the 8-10 feet level and I'm not even close.  It's really far up there.  I say - well let me just get up to the next branch and then the next and soon I'm 20+ feet up and still not there.  Kristi mentions the Emergency Room is just across the street - so no need to worry.  I keep pressing on - mostly out of wanting to keep my Man-Card.  Kristi has the kids climb up a few branches for a quick photo while I'm still going up. 

I finally make it to the cache.  I wedge my feet in as best I can, loop my arm around for dear life, and retrieve the cache.  Yowza it was high.  The pic below gives you some perspective.  The pink is Mary...and she is in the tree easily 5-7 feet off the ground.  I think the cache is over 30 feet up.  The wind was blowing me in the tree and I was happy to get down as quickly as I could.  It was a great cache to end on and claim victory for our Veteran's Day geocache adventure.


How do I get so far behind?????????  Here are the kids in their cosutmes before trick or treating on a windy and somewhat wet Halloween night...