Earthcaches

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Unintentional Night Caching in Florida and a lesson learned


I made a trip to the Orlando area to participate in a conference at the John Wycliffe Center. As is typical the conference took advantage of most of the day and even went into the night. It didn't leave must time for geocaching so I got up early on the first day to go out and find a few. I didn't know what time the sun came up so I set my clock for 5:30 a.m. I got up in the dark and discovered that the sun just wouldn't come up. After piddling around all I could, I decided that with a keychain pen light I might be able to find the first cache. The first one was On the Way to Weewahottee (GC1GZKW) located just half a mile from the apartment where I was staying. I got into my rental car and headed out. The cache description said the cache only involved about 20 feet of bushwacking. Hey I can do this even in the dark...as long as there are no alligators. The cache is located on a paved secondary road bordered by some trees and then cow pastures. There were no houses nearby. I parked beside the road and followed my needle into the trees and vines. With the clue I was able to discern where the cache would be. With several flashes of the pen light I found the cache. Nice cache! I made the drop of a TB, signed the log, no trade and turned to leave. Just then I saw headlights shining on my car. A car went by immediately followed by another. Just as I though all was well the second vehicle stopped behind my car. I crouched quietly in the dark just 25 feet away. Then the truck pulled around my vehicle and stopped. I saw the image of the driver get out. He knocked on the driver's window. Then he hollered out into the woods. The tone of his voice (read frustration, suspicion and maybe anger) convinced me that I didn't particularly want to meet this guy. I stayed still and quiet and he finally drove away slowly. Not knowing if he would turn around again or call the police I decided it was time to get out of there. It was still pitch dark. I didn't want to risk using my pen light so I moved swiftly through the vines and trees to get out to my car. Somewhere along the line I ran into some branches and vines that tangled me up. I twisted my head around and slipped through an open space, got to the car and backed out to a little turn-around space with the lights off while watching the truck slowly move up the road. I got out of there. About half a mile down the road I realized that my glasses were missing! What do I do? I can see at a distance but can't read a thing without them. I went back but it was too dark and it would prove too hard to find the glasses. I returned to my apartment and prayed that the Lord would help me find my glasses. These were a new perscription and would cost me to replace. It seemed like forever when it got light enough. I went back over to the GC and spent almost a half hour on my knees feeling around for the glasses. A few cars came by making me feel particularly awkward. I couldn't see clearly enough to find the glasses. They just didn't seem to be there. I went back to breakfast at the conference center where I met up with some colleagues. I convinced two friends with 20/20 vision to go back with me at the break. These guys aren't geocachers so it also gave me the opportunity to teach a little about the sport. We started looking around the GC and pretty quickly one of them found the glassess, not in the woods but right in the road where the passenger side tires of a vehicle normally pass over the road. It had been four hours since I lost my glasses and there they were in the road undamanged. To say the least, the rest of my day was a good one. It had gone from hunting caches to hunting glasses. I returned to the meeting giving thanks to God for returning my glasses intact. During lunch I was able to break away and find three more caches. I have decided to ammend my geocaching practices in Florida. There might be alligators out there. There might be wild muggles too! In the famous words of Charlie Daniels, "I think I'm gonna reroute my trip. I wonder if anybody'd think I'd flipped if I went to L.A., via Omaha"...
Image borrowed from Flicker Commons: typical Florida country road similar to the place where I met the mad muggle.
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