Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend update: geocaching

My son had his first campout as a Boy Scout this weekend (he enjoyed himself--mostly because this time he didn't get rained on) and my wife and daughter went shopping Saturday, so I was left to myself.  I threw some essential odds & ends in my backpack, filled up a water bottle and went to nearby Jackson Nature Park.

This isn't a very well-known park, and it's mainly just for hiking and seeing lots of wildflowers during spring time.  I had never been there before, even though it's only about a 20-minute drive from my house.  I went there this time because there are six geocaches there and I wanted to get some time in learning the hobby without anyone bothering me.  I was there for nearly 3 hours and I had the park to myself the whole time.

And I had fun, going at my own pace and doing what I wanted without having to take breaks for kids who have to go to the restroom every 15 minutes.  I found 4 of the 6 there.  One of the two I couldn't find just had me completely stumped; I couldn't find any landmarks that looked like there would be a cache hidden there.  The other was supposedly in a hole under a large rock formation.  I've lived my whole life in this area without being bitten/envenomated by anything significant, mostly because when I was very young I decided I wouldn't stick my hand into dark holes under large rocks.  So I poked around with a long stick for a few minutes and didn't find anything, and let it go at that.

One of the ones I did find was in a hollow tree, the hollow of which went all the way to the ground.  I examined it carefully with my flashlight before reaching in for that one, because I've found copperheads in such places more than once.  By the way, I've known of several people around here that have been bitten by a copperhead, and every one of them was bitten on the hand.  That should tell you something.

I'm taking some vacation next week, and with Fiesta Friday coming up I'll have good, long vacation.  I'm going to do more geocaching during that time.  I've been checking all the parks in the area and those are the places I'm going to try, where I can poke around without being bothered too much.  It looks like Espada park should be a good place, and it's fairly cache-dense.  I've been to the mission itself before, but I've never explored the park so that should be fun.  I'm also going to start taking a camera with me so I can maybe get some decent pictures.

In fact, the entire mission trail has lots of caches on it, although some of them might be gone/buried now because of all the construction going on along the river.  I decided to start with Espada because it's the most remote and isolated.

Jackson Nature Park has a port-a-potty and a water fountain at the entrance; those are the only facilities.  Also a couple of picnic tables in the same area and occasionally along the trail there will be a bench in a shady spot where you can take a break.  So if you ever want a nice place to take a hike without many other people around, I recommend it.  I'll be going back there to try and find those two other ones sometime, but I'll probably take the kids with me next time.  I also want to see it during fall and winter.

FYI, pretty much every "park" in S.A. has some caches in it.  I say "park" because some of these are very small.

I've also been scouting a few places where I can hide a cache of my own.  I just want to get more experience in the hobby and see what other caches look like before I hide any myself.

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