Sunday, October 12, 2014

Once Upon A Geocache

I've found a new hobby: geocaching! Check out to learn more. In short, it's a worldwide, real-world "treasure" hunt using GPS satellites and receivers. I've been at it, sometimes with help from Aidan and Peyson, for just over a month. It's a great way to get outside and discover places you may not otherwise have known about. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, today is International Earth Cache Day, a day on which you can earn a special badge for your Geocaching profile if you find an earth cache. You go to the given coordinates and, instead of finding a container, you learn about some geological process (that God put in motion) exemplified by the location. To get credit for the find, you have to email the person who created the cache, answering a handful of location-specific questions and sharing your adventures.

I went to one such place early, early, early this morning on my way to work. The site was one with which I was already somewhat familiar: Aquarena Springs. The information I learned was fascinating. I don't want to spoil the fun in case you want to go find this cache yourself; I do, however, want to share the adventure I wrote and posted on my Geocaching profile.

Note: The following account of real events has been fictionalized for your reading enjoyment (in case you couldn't tell).

It was a dark and stormy night. It sounds cliché but it’s true. The evidence was everywhere: wet, slick streets and small branches broken loose by the wind. I didn’t have time for a fresh pot of coffee and yesterday’s was cold; I drank it anyway and headed out into the night.

Anonymous contacts at GC, known only by their codenames, Waterweasel and Tygress, had tipped me off to the location of the hideout of an old “friend.” I thought the case had been closed years ago, but this new information led me to believe otherwise. The perp was Ralph Swimbacon. Everyone knew the slob was guilty of submerging children and forcing them to watch him bathe, but it had proved difficult to find evidence of the swine’s activities. Investigating his old lair just might turn the case in my favor.

Mazy, my trusty partner on countless cases, helped me navigate the darkened streets. Her experience has proved invaluable time and again. She guided me right to the location given me by Waterweasel and Tygress. The place looked abandoned. It could have been the hour; I may never know for sure because a locked chain blocked the most obvious route to the front door. Perhaps it would be best to observe from the shadows, an old fashioned stakeout.

I pulled out my file to review my old notes. I must have grabbed the wrong one in my rush to leave because, instead of notes on Swimbacon, I found information on geological formations and the flow of underground water. Despite my frustration at having the wrong file, I read intently. The dossier was lengthy but seemed incomplete; further investigation at the office would prove necessary. Mazy and I agreed to come back another time for more observations of Swimbacon’s lair, but before we left, I snapped a few photos. I doubt they’ll turn out very well because of the darkness. We’ll see.

During an uneventful drive to the office, with a brief stop at a local dive for fresh coffee, I continued to ponder the early morning’s discoveries. I attended to my regular routine, ensuring I was ready for a day’s work, and perhaps, a visit from some dame asking for help with the supposed murder of her beloved husband. Then I set about filling in the gaps in my file on the pig’s old lair.

The information proved interesting, educational even. But still no further leads on Ralph Swimbacon. Rumors circulated more than a decade ago that he’d finally met his maker, but I’m not so sure. My usual informants have been quiet about him since then. Maybe I’ll never know for sure. I’m closing this case again...for now.

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