Stormy, fractious, blustery, peevish, squally, turbulent, gusty, truculent, garrulous! The current political climate? Perhaps but this humble hiking blog isn’t going anywhere near that. No, it’s the change of seasons here in Southern Oregon as we move from what was a hot, dry summer into what will be (hopefully) a wet, but not too wet, snowy, but not too snowy, winter. This time of year leaves us stuck between too much rain for a long hike and too little snow to justify unleashing the snowshoes. What to do, other than binge watch Blacklist? Well, we’ve started doing some geocaching.
Geocaching is something we were vaguely aware of for years without ever giving it a go. Then two things happened: (1) we stumbled (almost literally) upon the huge geocache on Soda Mountain in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and (2) our new Garmin 64s came pre-programmed with some geocaches. The first illustrated the enthusiasm folks have for wandering around with their GPS units on “find” and the second took us to caches atop Old Baldy and Anderson Butte when we were otherwise just on a hike. Kinda cool in a good geeky sorta way. This lead us to the Geocaching website with its listing of thousands and thousands of caches all over everywhere – a whole other layer to the world. Who knew? Turns out to be an interesting mix of:
- Navigation practice (Where’s the GPS “on” switch?),
- Whole body exercise (Exactly how far up this tree is it supposed to be hidden?),
- Mental agility maintenance (North is which way again?),
- Memory strengthening (I thought you had the map?),
- Puzzle solving (They call THAT a hint? Really?),
- Frustration management (We’ve been looking under rocks for AN HOUR! Where is that stupid cache!),
- Entomology (Yes, that’s a tick.)
- Herpetology (Yes, that’s a rattlesnake.)
- Botany (Yes, I’m SURE that was not a poison oak vine next to that cache!)
- First Aid (Yep, those pustules definitely look like you got into some poison oak.),
- And so on….much fun.
Anyway, with plenty of non-urban, low-altitude caches out there, we’ll have something to keep us occupied until the snow settles. And, come summer, we’ll see if we can work some cache-finding into our usual hikes. In the meantime, we’ve been practicing on the Upper and Lower Table Rocks in the Rogue Valley.