Sunday, August 14, 2016

Geocaching ... Or How To Become Frustrated in One Easy Lesson

Treasure hunting is fun ... like shopping or finding things on the beach.  Geocaching on the other hand is a wonderful way to become frustrated while supposedly having fun.  Yesterday was not the fun it was supposed to be.  In fact it was so bad it made me laugh out loud!!

Barbara and Tom Westerfield, geocachers extraordinaire, reminded me to look at Dismal Nitch for a cache.  I had completely forgotten to check my App and see if there were any treasures to be found close by.  It really is fun following clues and trying to find hidden boxes.  The first thing I discovered is that my subscription ran out and all of my over 100 caches found back East seem to have disappeared.

I went back to Dismal Nitch anyway.  After searching around for quite awhile, I discovered a pile of trash where I thought the cache would be.  I admit, I cheated and looked at a picture that was posted.  I found the two trees and the two rocks, but that's when I scrambled back up to the monument.

There was someone living there.  Littered with a big bag of marshmallows (probably his pillow), blankets and food containers everywhere, I quickly headed back to the car.  If there WAS a container there, it's gone now.  RATS!!!  I recorded that I found it anyway and left a message about the live-in caretaker.
Next up, the big parking lot close to the bridge.  There's nothing worse than a single gal pulling into a wide space on the road with three other vehicles, two of which have men in them.  It's scary.  I pulled to the far end and scouted the area with my long lens camera before exiting the Jeep.  

If there's two of you, one can distract any passers-by ... like pretending they have ants in their pants, or dramatically pointing towards the water while the other makes the grab.  It's more difficult when by yourself to be casual and pretend to take pictures while you scour the rocks.   
That's why you are looking at all these pictures from the same spot.  It took me awhile to find the rocks, gracefully descend the two foot drop with camera in hand and grab the container I finally located, while keeping an eye on those two cars.  FOUND IT!!  Now to casually walk back to my car where I sign the log and take a couple more pictures before trying to relocate it.
These guys figured it out pretty quickly.  The boat Captain was pointing at me and yelling something, causing the guy in the back to look also.  Four people (even though one was too young), four poles and one dog.  What could be wrong with that??  Maybe he thought I was a Pokemon person, or whatever that new game is!!
With that one in the books, I found there was one at the Fish Hatchery.  No, I'm NOT going back there.  Well maybe later.  Saturday is not the day to go geocaching.  It took me fifteen minutes of pretending to check out the house for sale on the corner of the main highway while I waited for traffic to clear out to make a grab from the City signpost.  If you aren't careful, people will go see what you were doing and throw the container away.  Stealth is an asset.

The container behind the sign was an easy find.  As I made a grab and run, I rounded the corner and came face to face with a police car.  Oh no ... now I'm going to jail!!  I tried to be nonchalant and talked on my phone with my mother, who died many years ago.  Thanks mom ... you saved me.  I replaced the container and made a beeline for my Jeep.

Chinook Park was right on the way home, so I stopped in there.  This is an easy one!!  I pulled in and headed to the small tree at the back of the park.  As I rounded the corner and came back, a white pickup truck pulled up next to the tree and parked.  Well for heavens sake!  Fifteen minutes later when he hadn't moved, I gave up.  What's a guy doing parking far from the waters edge and just sitting?

Next up, Beards Hollow.  This used to be a great place to play in the early 1900's.  With the creation of the North Jetty however, the entire area was filled to the brim with sand and debris, eventually becoming overgrown with trees and brush.
This picture below is what it looks like today as I headed to the lower parking lot with my $10 bill in hand.  What the heck?  There's no place to pay ... just signs saying you have to.  I made a quick trip down to the State Park to the pay machine, read $10 day pass in the window, stuck my card in to pay (they don't take cash) and hit the print button.  

Out came an Annual Pass to the tune of $30.00!!!  WHAT????  It said $10 day pass.  I said a bunch of bad words loud enough for the Ranger to hear.  If you want people to pay to park their car, why isn't there a machine in the parking lot ... and WHY did it charge me for an Annual Pass when it showed Day Pass?

He just looked at me ... I know, there's that crazy lady ... but really, they need to get their act together.  
A few minutes later, I was back at Beard's Hollow parking lot, lucky enough to get the last spot.  Off I trotted down the paved trail to the beach.  In case you're a bike rider, this trail goes eight miles all the way to Long Beach.
I followed the Geocache display until I had gone too far.  That trail must be around here somewhere.  Uh oh ... my battery was getting low.  I checked out all the hints and pictures I could find, cheating at every corner.  I just wanted to get this one over with.  See that little tree at the top of the rock?  It's up there.  In spite of my trepidation, I followed the overgrown trail into the wilderness.  I just know I'm going to meet up with a bear!
According to the directions, if you can't get to the top of the rock, which I couldn't without my rock climbing equipment, you can find another canister in this cave.  Did I tell you about my claustrophobia?  This entrance is barely two feet tall and maybe a foot and a half wide.  Crawling on my knees into a dark hole with no one to watch my back wasn't my idea of fun.  I declined.  Good grief ... this day is not working out well at all!!
Back on the trail and heading out, I found yet another overgrown trail around the east side of the rock.  Well let's just try THIS one!!  I got about 50 feet before becoming entangled in berry bushes, vines and trees resulting in a lost shoe and blood.  I'm a pretty determined lady, but this one got the best of me.  
Out of nine tries, I was able to get TWO geocaches.  There were too many people at the Ilwaco Farmers Market and the boat dock, a big truck (with driver) parked next to the College geocache and the guys at the boat yard yelled at me.  Now I think I remember why I quit geocaching last year.


  1. Clue number one 2 guys sitting in two different vehicles in the parking lot
    Clue number two what's a guy doing parking far from the waters edge and just sitting?
    More or less equals a pickle park.
    That's probably why the cop showed up or either that or was after your cache That's why he's a cop and not a detective he couldn't find it
    You'd be surprised how many patrols do geocatching

  2. Yeah two out of nine that's only about 70% loss rate. But if it's any consolation you got 2 and the cop didn't show up to confiscate them

  3. After a year of not caching that was pretty good. Honing your skills of finding is good, but Honing your skill of which ones to go for is better. šŸ˜ We will have to get you up to speed again. Did you notice I looked you up on and saw your posts?

    1. You're right about the skills ... but who would have thought it was on top of a mountain, or the cave would require crawling on your belly?? Groundspeak fixed my account, moving the payment to my 97 (now 101) caches!! YAY!!