Just Say No To Micros 3
Homosassa Springs, Florida
We went to Homosassa Springs to swim with the manatee and since we'd just started geocaching we wanted to look for a cache or two around Homosassa Springs.
This was only the 4th cache we'd hunted and of the three previous caches we'd only found two.
So why not go big for this one?
My Dad was with us and we wanted to really explore the area so we picked a cache in the Chassahowitzka Coastal Swamp management area.
Finding the cache would require a long hike through the woods but that would give us a chance to enjoy that beautiful area.
It is absolutely gorgeous there! We would never have had a reason to hike such a beautiful place if we had not been hunting the cache so thank goodness for geocaching!
The Island King, my Dad, the Oldest Island Boy and the Youngest Island Boy and I started out about 9am and had no trouble finding the road we needed to park on to begin our hike.
From there things were a little touch and go.
The logs on the geocaching website for this cache made the walk seem very easy and one comment was that it would only be hard for the handicapped.
Apparently, handicapped and directionally challenged are not the same thing.
The Island King is still learning to operate the GPS and since we bought the wrong kind it doesn’t allow us to enter the GPS coordinates for the place we are seeking so we have to walk along (aimlessly it seems) until we stumble across the right coordinates.
There were several trails to chose from when we parked the car and of course we picked the wrong one initially.
We walked about a half mile down that path until the Island King decided we were not on the right trail.
We returned to our starting point and tried another trail. This one seemed to be more in line with our desired heading so off we went.
It was cloudy but not too cold and the area is gorgeous.
My Dad and the Oldest started finding different types of shotgun shells and Dad explained the different types of shells and what kinds of hunting they were used for.
The Youngest found a petrified grasshopper and was our official trash collector. Luckily the area was mostly litter free and he only ended up with a few cans in his trash bag.
There were several huge clearings along the trail and we really enjoyed the beautiful trees and flowers we saw.
Not much wildlife to be seen besides a few birds but since I don’t like snakes or creepy crawlies that was fine with me.
Spotting a deer or two would have been nice though. There were some huge Tortoise holes but no tortoises to be seen.
We ran across one Muggle – an older man on a hike. He was very nice and let the boys show him their shotgun shells and the petrified grasshopper.
He didn’t go very far down the trail we were on and turned back after reaching one of the big clearings.
I got the impression that he hikes there regularly and I can’t help but wonder if he’s the man who hid the cache. He didn’t mention it and neither did we so I guess we’ll never know.
As my Dad, the boys and I have been walking down the trail and enjoying the scenery, the Island King has been trying to figure out which direction we should be heading.
He left us at a clearing and started off down a different trail saying he would be right back to get us if the GPS indicated he was on the right track.
We continued on down the trail we were on and didn’t see him again for quite awhile.
I was starting to get a little worried about him so I used Dad’s cell phone and called him.
He said he had given up on the actual trail and was crawling through the swamp along a deer trail.
He had his machete and was on his knees, hacking his way through the swamp.
The directions to the cache mentioned there was no need to get wet and stated it was a hike on an actual trail but he was trying to follow the GPS straight to the cache and the GPS led him into the swamp.
The rest of us continued wandering down the same trail and eventually he called back and said he had found the spot and would meet us on the trail.
Turns out Dad, the boys and I were on the right trail all along and so after a short walk we found him.
We veered off the main trail onto a more overgrown path and after about 50 yards we came upon the cache. It was an ammo box next to a palm tree right at the edge of a small creek.
The area is very secluded and even in the dead of winter bug spray was required to keep the mosquitoes at bay but once we covered in bug spray that problem was solved.
The cache contents were bone dry even after the massive storm 2 nights before and was almost overflowing with treasures. There was an American flag, a jump rope, bandaids and lots of other cool stuff. There was a disposable camera in the box with a note telling us to take our picture and leave the camera – which I think is a great idea.
There was also a wooden Buffalo Wings geocoin and a real Buffalo nickel to go with it. I was excited about the coin even though I wasn’t sure what it’s significance was.
It turns out that some coins are trackables while others are collectibles. Mine is a collectible and I haven’t decided if I want to place it in another cache or keep it for myself.
We left a Destin key chain, the Diabetes Travel Bug I found at Rook’s Bluff and the Island King was so glad to have found the cache that he added his own personal compass to the box.
We signed the log (which was a waterproof notebook) and left our calling card.
It was after noon by now and since we were planning to visit the Homosassa State Park we needed to start back.
The walk to the car was another pleasant hike and the Island King commented that it was much better than crawling on his knees along a deer trail in the swamp.
When we got back to the parking area we met two older hunters who were there to check out some good spots for a managed hunt that is coming up in a few weeks.
The Island King talked to them for a few minutes about the hunting in that area and they both seemed like nice guys.
I don’t know how far they go to hunt because they were both older and one used a cane (he said he’d had a stroke) and the other was missing most of one hand (wonder how that happened?) but they were friendly and gave us the 411 on hunting in that area.
After talking to them it was time to end our hunt and head to the State Park.
This was a fantastic hunt and I know my Dad enjoyed spending time with us as much as we enjoyed being with him.
I think he’s going to be hooked on geocaching himself soon.
We also learned something from this cache.
There is ALWAYS an easier way in. And if the cache log tells you it's an easy walk down a long trail - there's no need to crawl through the swamp.
Labels: Done, Staying