Wednesday morning the Island King and I decided to get what we needed to do for the day done and then do something fun that evening.
We debated between fishing and geocaching and geocaching won.
I have almost reached 900 cache finds so I thought we could spend the evening in the woods and I could hit the milestone.
I only needed 8 caches to reach 900 but I loaded the GPS with about 19 caches – just in case we had some extra time after finding #900.
The caches I picked were in the Timberlake area and the first one was supposed to be a quick and easy park and grab at the edge of the woods.
I walked to ground zero looked around and spotted the cutest cache.
A fake bird feeder.
I stood up on a picnic table bench, unscrewed the bottom and grabbed the match container from inside.
At the same moment I saw this.
But it hadn’t moved through the entire process of me bumbling around and getting the container out so I assumed it was one of those fake plastic ones. Cachers do that all of the time, knowing they will gross people like me out.
I’m standing there on the bench, holding the bird feeder, getting ready to let go and step down so I could sign the log and IT MOVED.
From there, things get a bit blurry.
I do recall falling off the bench, hearing someone scream and then hitting the ground.
Since the Island King came running when he heard the screaming and I was the only other person around I realized it was me. I stopped screaming, picked myself up off the ground and then started laughing.
He took a picture for me and then shook it out of the container so the next person doesn’t break a bone falling off the bench. I signed the log and it was time to leave civilization for a while.
We’re off to a good start - an adventure on the first cache. This is going to be fun.
The next cache was another quick grab along the side of the road and the following was a relatively easy to find ammo can.
Alright! 3 down and 5 to go.
Our next destination is a cache called Dead End and according to the GPS it’s 2.79 miles to the northeast of us.
Off we go. Until the road turned into a trail that hasn’t seen a vehicle in years.
We continue on and eventually came to an intersecting trail.
With a trail marker.
Almost all of the roads and trails that are open to the public on the Reservation have a number and at the intersection of most of these roads is a small post with the road numbers on it.
Correlate the numbers with the map and even though you’re in the middle of nowhere you should be able to figure out where you are.
Neither of us have ever seen a marker painted over like this.
The cache was to the north of us and we were heading east but then we’d pass a trail that went north so we’d turn onto it.
Only to find more of this at the next intersection.
The cache is now 3.1 miles to the northeast of us.
We are not doing something right.
The Island King really does have a good sense of direction but he was seriously off and the more turned around we got, the more determined to find out where – on the map – we were.
We turned this way and that way and finally came to a 4 way intersection.
He was so happy to see that the numbers hadn’t been covered because now he could figure out where we were on the map.
Out of the truck he goes with his flashlight and map, determined to pinpoint our location on the map.
I’m used to being lost and I love driving through the woods so I was sitting in the truck, eating chips and listening to the woods when I hear him say “Now you tell me how this is possible and where is it on the map?”
Being lost is not something he enjoys so he’s long forgotten about the geocache – which is now only 2.5 miles away - and is on a mission to find out where we are.
He’s out there by the trail sign getting madder by the minute so I go over and he shows me this.
Well, I’m not a directional genius but I do know that this marker shows that this road goes in 4 different directions but has the same name no matter which one of the four roads you’re on.
And no I don’t see that on the map either.
He starts rooting around in the back of the truck and comes out with his compass.
It’s so funny to watch him get lost because it happens so rarely that it takes him way out of his comfort zone. This caching adventure is getting better by the minute.
I watch him walk out into the middle of the intersection, turn this way, turn that way and then scratch his head.
“Compass not working?”
Bwaahhaaa!!! You’re lost!
He adamantly denied being lost but told me that the compass might not be working right.
I thought it was even funnier when the compass on the GPS said the same thing as the compass he has in his hand.
He thought about that for a minute and then declared all of the road signs to be wrong.
Normally, I would have laughed even harder at that but seeing these painted out signs make me wonder.
“Ok, no problem, let’s take the next road to the northeast and as we get closer to the cache we’ll probably find the road in.”
Bless his heart. He just couldn’t get past not knowing where he was.
The trail markers are wrong. The compass is wrong.
He formulates a theory so we get back in the truck and go due west. I argued that the cache was almost due east of us and that we should go the other direction but no one who knows me listens when I give directions anyway so west we went.
He’s headed for a larger clay road in order to get out of the maze of trails we were on and then we could turn east on another clay road and make our way back to the cache.
But on our way we run into a downed tree across the trail.
He tells me that there is NO WAY he’s going back so out he jumps, grabs his saw and moves the log.
Little saw plus pine tree equals a lot of sawing. But he was determined and after a lot of work on his part, the tree was out of the way.
We found a nice wide clay road but he was convinced that the sign was wrong and we were somewhere else.
Well, the cache is exactly 3 miles to the north so how about we go that way?
He agreed, still convinced that we were on a different part of the map but off we went.
It was like the movie Groundhog Day. I may have no sense of direction but, surprisingly, I am really good at observation and it wasn’t long before I noticed that we were on the same trails as before. Again and again.
And yet no matter how far we drove we were never farther than 3 miles from the cache and never closer than 2.5 miles. Yet we’d driven for hours.
The Reservation closes 2 hours after sunset which gave us til about 9:30 to get off the range and at 9:30 we were once again lost on the tiny trails.
Where is the Range Patrol when you need them? The Island King was pretty intent on asking why all of the makers were blacked out. Directions out would have been the next question.
We came out at an intersection just north of Timberlake that we know well and that man almost had a stroke.
“We’ve been driving around for three hours and we end up here?”
He grabbed the map and at this point it was obvious where we were on the map, which made him realize that we’d driven around and around in circles within a two mile radius.
Even I knew that.
We got home and laughed really hard when we saw our GPS trail on the computer.
I may get confused about which way is which but I do know when I’ve been up and down the same trail a couple of times in the span of a few hours.
Of 19 potential caches I only found 3 and I’m still 5 away from 900 but we had a ball and we’ll be back for Dead End another day.
I do think we’ll try another road in though.