Friday, September 6, 2013

29th New Thing ~ Watch Out For Muggles

I set the Saturday morning aside, trying hard not to let my thoughts cross over into speculation.
"What could it be? What could it be?"
It was like trying to keep from guessing what one might be getting for Christmas.
I wanted to know but I also wanted to be surprised.

Some weeks before, Darcy had asked me how the New Things were going.
"Why?" I texted back.

"Well I have one for you but it's going to take some arranging. I want to surprise you but you may have already done it and what if you hate it like camping?"

I reassured her that I trusted her judgement. And over the course of a few discussions we picked the best date, for the Mystery New Thing. It had to be a day that would work for Darcy's calendar, my calendar and the calendar of Darcy's daughter, Hannah, who would need to be home from school for the New Thing....??....whatever that might be....??....hmmmm. 
I had to distract myself with many a truffle to keep from speculating about the Secret New Thing ahead.

Loving the idea of the surprise, I'll need a bit of general information...

"Am I planning for an activity indoors or outdoors?"
"Walking shoes?" "High heels?"
"How long should I expected it to last?"
"Where are we meeting?"

All the answers to my questions are neutral and vague enough that I still have no idea what to expect. Secret intact.
Just before the day, Darcy adds,"Bring a trinket."
"A trinket?"
"Yeah, something you don't mind giving away."
A trinket. Okay. Curiouser, and all that. Quick, give me another truffle.

Our mutually available Saturday approaches, the planets align precisely, the weather cooperates nicely and an essential I-5 bridge collapses. Apparently the Gods of Bridge Integrity are not on their game. When I learn that the Skagit River Bridge (a bridge Hannah would take to get home from school) fell into the Skagit River just a day and a half before our scheduled New Thing, I figure, "Gonna need to make more truffles." 

But never fear, the intrepid and unflinching Hannah doesn't flinch.
And undetoured, she takes a detour. With thousands of other travelers.
I was ready to reschedule if needed but we all meet right on schedule.

Hannah (the Facilitator),
her brother, Benjamin (the Devoted),
myself (the Excited)
and Darcy
(the Loyal Friend and Photographer
...not pictured here).

I'm very excited to find out....what's the New Thing?
Hannah tells me to bring up the coffee shop wifi
and go to
. . .

 . . .

29th New Thing ~ Geocaching!
This is very exciting.

We're going on a high tech treasure hunt. I love this!

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.

I can't wait to get started.

Benjamin and I are color coordinated.

New Thing 
Spoiler Alert:

If you might ever go geocaching around Bradley Lake, stop reading. And especially, don't look at the pictures below as they may reveal secrets that you might rather discover for yourself.

And off we go...never mind those one-way arrows.

More from .... Wikipedia ...

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.

Let the hunt begin....

Our first cache is called Do Not Enter
Follow this link to read the hints and details.
I find reading the online Logbooks fascinating.
You can create a free account to read them. 
See if you can find the comments that Hannah and I left.
(Hint: Watch for a date late in May.)

One hint for this cache says "Tweezers might be helpful,"
so we think it's probably going to involve something very small.

Indeed it does.

With that….we've found and recorded our first cache.

Now it's my turn to figure out which direction to head next.
I love the fact that my first time using a GPS ever . . . . is for fun!

I don’t know what Hannah’s majoring in but I’ll tell you she’s a natural teacher. I found out later that she’d just started Geocaching earlier this year. She explained each step with confidence and expertise.
Her interest in Geocaching is infectious. 

Our 2nd cache is called Medieval Times.  

The coordinates take us
deep into the dark and gloomy forest.

Okay, maybe not so deep...
...and not at all dark and gloomy.

Then we spot something...

Well, I think Benjamin spots it
but he lets me retrieve it.

We look through the cache contents and
I leave my first Geocache trinket:
A Red Choker Necklace. 

After we log our entry, we
place the cache back as we found it.

Now onto our 3rd Cache....Mammoth's Lake.

A note on Muggles:
I’m new to Geocaching but quickly learn that Muggles are those people nearby who are unaware of the Geocaching in their vicinity. I love the play on the Harry Potter reference. Those non-magic folk. 

We encounter
our first Muggles...
but I think I have them fooled, 
the GPS is a phone.

I'm pretty sure my quick thinking
saved the day!

Three's a charm for me.
This is the first one that 
I spot myself!

This cache is an 
Altoid tin painted black.

An Altoid tin that is . . . 

. . . really difficult to open.

Tiny notes from
previous visitors.

Inscribing our version of "We were here!" 

Muggle Alert!

Our 4th and last Geocache of the day: Bradley Lake Kid Treasure Hunt.

Hannah discovers this fun cache.
We look through the loot.

Reading the log, I see that on 7-24-12, my 50th Birthday,
"The Chosen 1" found this same cache.

It's a Kid's Treasure Hunt 
so I leave a Hot Wheels car 
for a future cacher to find.
But Hannah definitely leaves the
coolest treasure of the day!

We hide the cache where we found it. 

It's a beautiful day at Bradley Lake.

Done with our magical hunts, we blend in with
the Muggles and head back to the cars.
I'm a lucky girl to have such a good friend,
not to mention talented photographer.
It was a great surprise and a fun, unexpected New Thing!
Well done, Darcy!

And special thanks to Hannah and Benjamin. 
It was such a fun day, I'm up for geocaching again anytime!


  1. That was a fun day. I liked that you had no idea what we were up to and yet you color coordinated to the scenery.

    I love your sense of adventure and the way you give all to each event. It makes these new things so much more fun to read. Well done, my friend.

    1. Yes, all the green was wonderful. The scenery, Benjamin's sculpture, the origami...even one of the geocache containers. It was positively providential. And pretty.

  2. Way too cool. Looks like a lot of fun. We hike in an area where we've seen this done.

    1. I recommend adding a cache or two to your next hike.
      It was a blast! ~ B