Sunday, November 28, 2010

...And So It Begins.

WARNING: The following blog entry contains spoilers to the caches listed within. If you feel you may be caching in Tucson anytime soon and don't want to ruin your hunt, please proceed with caution.

I bought my Garmin eTrek Legend GPS about 5 years ago or more, and never used it. For one reason or another, I just never got around to going geocaching. Now that I have a family to share this with, and an area where the weather is almost always sunny, I decided to take up this little hobby. Here's a picture of the GPS that we're using.

So we set out to search for our first geocache. This one was near the Pantano wash. For those who don't know what a wash is, it's used to divert water away from homes and roads, etc., and out into the desert. It usually looks like a dried-up river, but it can turn into a raging torrent when the monsoons hit Tucson, which can happen in July, August or early September. First we looked on the east side of the wash. We walked about 18 meters, only to discover that we needed to go west. The GPS was telling us that the cache was down in the wash itself. The sides of the wash were way too steep to navigate, so we had to go alllll the way back. Once in the wash, we walked about the same distance. The GPS again told us to go west... as we were standing on the bottom of another steep wall of dirt. We went back again, and ended up on the west side of the wash this time. There we found it... finally! To be specific, Savannah was the one who spotted it. Here are some pics:

This... is the wash. Water flows from left to right. Well, it would, if there was any.

Walking down the east side of the wash. I love looking at the mountains here in Tucson. I wonder how long I have to live here in order to stop gawking at them.

Now we're inside the wash. Are you coming, honey?

 Javelina footprints. A javelina is a large, hairy kind of pig, somewhat resembling a warthog.

This is not the cache. It's an old cassette player with the lid missing.

We found it! It was in that old stump to the right. I'm holding the old can that is our first geocache, and the kids are holding up the little goodies they got.

We later tried to find a cache behind a CVS, to no luck. There were a bunch of trees in the area, and they were confusing the hell out of my GPS. I'm wondering if there's a GPS available that will work better with trees overhead. Since many caches are hidden in or around trees, this is pretty important.

We found one more cache in a stump by the Hilton Hotel parking lot. I didn't take any pictures because it was pretty dark by the time we found it. It was a pretty easy find, though there were a bit of brambles and pokey things about.

The next day we headed out again. Nikki was very achy and sore from the trek on the day before, so she stayed behind, as did Skylar. I took Sarah and Savannah with me, and we found a bunch more caches. It was some good quality time with my two older daughters.

This is so named due to certain homeless people that bed down in the area. Luckily, the place was deserted when we got there. This wasn't far at all from the Pantano River Park cache.

Sarah found this one. It was in a Bath & Body Works container. Savannah got a tiny bowling pin and Sarah got a bell.

"We're here searching for the infamous Kodak Cache. It's so named for the old film container that is the cache itself. What do we have here? A part of this metal fence looks suspicious..."

"Crikey! I found the bugger! It was hung inside the post, from what looks to be a straightened-out safety pin!"

"Ain't she a beauty!"

Here's another cache that was stuffed under the very rock that I'm sitting on. Unfortunately, these tiny caches don't have room for any swag -- errr, items.

If anyone has the wherewithal to invest in this hobby, I would recommend it. I heard that Tucson is a very cache-rich area (hooray!), but there are geocaches all over the world. Speaking of Tucson caches, here's a map illustrating the placement of these caches in my area. Just look at all of them! You can enlarge the pic a bit by clicking on it.

So has anyone reading this ever gone geocaching before? Would anyone like to try it?


Samantha said...

Oh yeah, nice start to your adventures! As you know I've been doing it for a while and really enjoy it. Hopefully when we go tomorrow it will not be our last time caching together. Somehow I doubt it will be! :)

Amy K. said...

I hope it won't be our last time! When are you leaving? I thought it was the beginning of February? By the way, I have a class tomorrow, but we can go caching on Sunday after church. :)

Samantha said...

Ah, okay, I thought we were going tomorrow. No worries, Sunday is good too!