Sunday, November 22, 2015

What is more fun than geocaching?

What is more fun than geocaching?
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association

“When geocaching is no longer fun, go home folks.”  If you have attended one of my geocaching 101 classes, you have heard me give that advice.  I know what I am talking about here, because in this wonderful game, you will reach this state of mind, guaranteed.  It can happen to us at the first cache too.  Often, we struggle on and possibly get our mojo back, but many times, something will happen that makes us leave the game and head to the house.

In Texas I am fairly well known for having fun playing this game.  I have a high quality prosthetic Bubba set of dentures and a couple different wigs I like to wear at events and I have been known to take an occasional selfie and post it in a log also.

My Bubba teeth had to be adjusted by my dentist last year when I accidentally got my front teeth knocked out after hiding a high terrain geocache in a park near my home in Baytown.  I named it: “BB's Bust Your Chops Cache!” (GC55G1J0)  For a few minutes there, geocaching was no longer fun.

It was a lot of fun the other day at the 2015 TXGA Lone Star Round-up when we were playing an accuracy game called Place the pin.  I acquired the coordinates with my Garmin Oregon 650 and these were announced to the crowd.  Everyone who played placed their red flag where they felt was the most accurate point.  I observed the distinguished Dr. Deborah Burswell (DJBTEX) and friends walk off after placing their flag and I promptly created a sockpuppet name and replaced her flag with it.

I then moved her flag up on a hill 75 feet from the field of flags.  Later just before we revealed who had won, I was talking to her and pointed at the lone flag up on the hill.  We both laughed and she told me, “There is one in every crowd.”  I guess you can imagine her expression when it was revealed she won the booby prize for being farthest from the flag.  It took her all of 2 seconds to look in my direction and since most everyone knew of the prank, it was hilarious.  She has vowed she will get her revenge too.

Now, on my left calve is a brown scar about the size of a dime.  I got that in Pedernales Falls State Park in October 2014. I walked past an underground burrow of bald face hornets and the guard popped me.  Thank the Lord for psycho motor reflexes, because I can’t think that fast.  I took off like the roadrunner and it chased me about a hundred meters before it swerved off.

I’ve had my share of stings, but that was a solid 3 on the Schmidt Pain Index.  Before it really started throbbing, I realized I was at GZ, but the hint was “stump” and feral hogs had rutted all ten stumps to Cut and Shoot and gone, so I hiked back to my Jeep and my sympathetic Bride.  Geocaching was not very fun the rest of the day as my leg throbbed relentlessly.

A group of us were geocaching in George Bush Park on the west side of Houston and I witnessed something I still find hilarious.  Chad Courtney (TAZ427) attempted to cross a log over some cold water and went into what I like to call, a low-speed wobble and not wanting to risk getting his 15 electronic devices wet, he bailed off the log into the shin deep water.  I wish it had sound effects, because it was awesome!

What’s more fun that geocaching with friends who can laugh when you bust your buns? Here’s a little bit of advice; if you know you are going to fall… SCREAM.  It heightens the whole effect and if you don’t get hurt, it makes it much more dramatic.

About 5 years ago, I made a couple of serious mistakes while caching and all of us are guilty of the same stunts.  The good part is I walked away basically unscathed.  See if you can count my mistakes. I was caching alone and no one knew where I was. I did not have a cell phone and was going after a cache that hadn’t been visited in months.  It was slightly raining and about 50 degrees.  I parked my Jeep on a lonely road and hiked about 300 meters down a muddy trail in the East Texas piney woods.

This area was hilly with many declinations and rises.  I located GZ and it was a tree of about 12 inches in diameter and it grew out over a washed out creek that was about 20 feet below.  The tree had slowly been drooping due to erosion and jutted out at a 45 degree angle over the edge.  I could see a tether about 5 feet up and it appeared that there was a hole on the backside of the crotch.

The ground was wet, and I am agile and I pondered it for a while before I leaned out and caught the tree, hugging it.  Well, the tether wasn’t attached to anything, so I did a forceful push-up backwards and regained the path.  I then wondered if it had fallen into the basically empty creek bed, so I took a few steps to the side for a better angle.

My feet started to slide and there I went, down the side of that 20 foot drop off, bumping my butt on the edge, which sent my torso forward into a push-up position.  I slammed into the sandy muck up to my elbows and pants pockets, but otherwise, was okay.  In most parts of the country that would be rocks and probably would have either killed me, or injured me to the point I couldn’t walk out.

I got up and left the area, DNF’ing the cache and leaving a long log on the cache page.  Geocaching wasn’t fun that day and it was my own fault.  These stories are all true, but sometimes it’s the little things that ruin your fun.  Mosquitoes, a blister on your foot, thorns, poison ivy, fear of snakes, spiders and webs, and often, here on the Gulf Coast of Texas, it is high heat and humidity that zap you like a good thrashing.

Remember folks, this game is supposed to be fun and when it ain’t?  Go home.

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