Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wire scorpions, DNFs, and a cemetery night cache...

Recently, I've had the opportunity to exchange email messages with quite a few geocachers. Many of these messages have been with local cachers providing information about their hides or recent finds such as Sawdust92, Alphatexana, and Aggie99. On other occasions, I've been swapping horror stories about poison ivy with The GeoGoes. But most recently, I've been exchanging emails about how to post images in the Groundspeak forums and creating avatars with losel2. In exchange for my assistance, he is going to send me two scorpions made from wire that he made. One will be for me to keep, and the other to place in a central Texas cache. Overall, I've got to say that I've really enjoyed getting to know these geocachers even if only through email and cache logs.

Secondly, I went 0-for-2 with the last two caches I've searched for and am getting a little frustrated. Although I've had several DNFs while acquiring my geosense and learning the ropes of geocaching, it still frustrates me every time I have to log another DNF. It especially frustrates me when I consider how much time I've spent looking for a cache that either doesn't exist or is WAY off of the posted coordinates. I guess that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

Finally, I want to share my recent experience night caching. Last Friday night, my wife and I had a chance to enjoy a few hours alone without Geo-Baby (although we love caching with her very much!). After a nice dinner for two, we decided to go look for Stanford Chapel Night Cache near Hewitt, TX. This experience was such an emotional roller-coaster for both of us! The cache is located in a little cemetery tucked away in a remote neighborhood. Although I've always known it was out there, I have never had an opportunity or reason to actually stop by and see it. I've never been a big fan of cemeteries at night since they tend to bring up mental images from a slew of 1980's, low-budget, horror films, but this one seemed extra peaceful for some reason and I was pretty comfortable being here for a short while. As we were entering the cemetery, my wife mentioned that she knew two people that were buried here. One was a former teacher and another was a high-school classmate that was killed in a driving accident. (Add my 80's horror imagery to the peaceful nature of this cemetery with the recent knowledge that we actually know people buried here and you already begin seeing the hills, valleys and twists of the roller-coaster beginning to build.)

As we approached the location of the bench mentioned in the coordinates, we noticed a very recent grave site along our path covered in flowers and Easter Lilies. When we stopped to read the small metal marker with our flashlight, we noticed it was for a small infant who apparently had died just days or weeks ago. (By now, our roller-coaster is beginning to hit an all-time emotional low point.) While we continued on to the bench mentioned in the cache description, I began to think about some of the previous log entries and remembered about another nearby bench from a log entry by BikerMike, "If you want to see something else in the cemetery, go to N 31 28.344 W 097 14.162. You'll come to a grave with a small bench there. Under it is a tupperware box. Inside is a picture and a notepad for people to leave thoughts etc...about the 15 year old boy there. Interesting and sad all at once. I read a few of them, and most are quite touching." Shortly after reaching the bench and remembering these entries, I spotted the cache blinking in the direction of the cemetery entrance. Now, the adrenaline is pumping again and the "I Found It" emotions are roaring! After signing the log and replacing the cache back in its hiding spot, my wife and I talked on the way out about how incredibly odd this whole adventure has been. I'll never know if her "roller-coaster" was anything like mine, but it must have been similar. So many intense emotions like fear, remembrance, sadness, excitement, joy and relief were all rolled into this one night cache adventure that I will always remember.

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