The week before last I was talking about my new geocaching hobby with Bill, my company’s IT department. Then over the Thanksgiving break he was visiting his family, and his sister had just gotten a new GPS receiver. He told her about geocaching, and she seemed interested. She home schools her kids and thought it might be a good thing to add to their curricula. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but from what I have found, I think geocaching can be very educational. There are many caches located at historic sites, and many of those require you to solve riddles related to the historical events before the coordinates are revealed. So I guess that has potential.

Bill told me all about this yesterday, and I told him I had finally found the cache that had stymied me for so long. Then I asked him if he wanted to go looking for another at lunchtime. He countered with suggesting we do it today (instead of yesterday). OK!

We decided to get a burrito at Boloco first, because a) it’s near the cache we were going to look for, and b) they make pretty good burritos. We snagged some food, and then parked at the nearby park where the cache was alleged to be hidden.

This was my fourth time there looking for it. I was hoping that an extra pair of eyes would help. I had also been thinking that this cache was probably gone, but was disabused of that notion recently when four other people found it. They even logged it as a “quick find” or as a “park and grab.” Easy? I don’t think so! How can they even say that? I know I have wasted at least 30 minutes looking for it, and maybe more!

We went to ground zero and looked about. We fully explored a hole in the tree root. It seemed to open into a cavern big enough to hold a soda can (the opening was about an inch and a half in diameter). But the only thing we found in there was leaves and dirt. We examined the tree branches. I was thinking the cache might have been tied in place or something, but we came up empty there too. Right next to the tree there was a sign declaring that the park was a carry-in, carry-out park (in other words, no garbage cans, so please take your trash out with you). I examined the sign for a magnetic capsule, but still saw nothing. Until I did.

The sign was held to the post by two small bolts and one very large one. Wait a minute! That bolt is way too big for holding a puny little sign to a post! And why would it need three? I reached up and tugged on the bolt, and it came right off. Cool, I found it. And it was devilishly clever.

The bolt had been mostly hollowed out with a drill, and the log was rolled up and tucked into this cavity. Then the open end was screwed into a large nut. To the other end of the nut was fastened a magnet. So from the outside, it looked like the bolt was projecting through the sign and held fast with the nut. But it was all an illusion. Very clever.

We signed the log, and since we had only been there for 10 minutes or so, I suggested that we look for another nearby cache. We found the second one in short order (hidden in a guardrail at the edge of a parking lot. I think this is the first time I’ve ever found more than one in a day. I’m up to ten now, and Bill is up to two.

I think he might get a GPS for Christmas.

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