Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

August 1, 2007

I Suck at Geocaching

So there I was last Wednesday, standing in Waterwheel Park in Chemainus BC at about 9:00 a.m., GPS Unit in one hand, waypoint and clue info in the other, pockets full of trinkets for trading. I was psyched. The info I got off the internet showed that both terrain and difficulty were at "1", which is "easiest".

I read the first clue: "If H.R. MacMillan could take his brassy stare of the tour buses and look to the left, he would see the hiding place." I easily found the statue of H.R. MacMillan and looked to its left, towards a small wooded hillside. Nothing major. I figure, "oh this will be easy!"

I decoded the next clue, "If the cougar on the tree could do a long backflip, he would abridge the cache." And there was the carved cougar on the tree, with his back to a small wooden bridge. "Abridge the cache"! Hey, I was banging on all cylinders now!! My heart beat excitedly as I walked over to the bridge. The waypoints on my GPS Unit were spot on. I could see H.R. MacMillan and the cougar, so I started to search under the bridge first. Nothing. I felt around under and over all of the supporting wood planks under it. Nothing.

OK, there are a few trees in front of the bridge on the hill, so maybe the cache is hidden in the ivy which covered the hillside. I went to the first tree and narrowly missed putting my entire face and head right through a large spiderweb with a spider in the center. Anyone who knows me, knows what my "spider shriek" sounds like. Fortunately I managed to keep it down to a quiet'ish squeak as I grabbed a stick and decimated the web. I resumed searching for the cache box around the tree. Nothing.

Now I can feel my frustration level rising. "OK, Jo, calm down....check the waypoints on the GPS again, and start from the beginning." So I tramp back up to the bridge and start over. I am supposedly on top of the damn thing. I start poking around under the bridge again....what did I miss? The sun is beating on this hillside & I'm getting really hot under the collar about this seemingly easy cache. I can feel sweat running down my back. Still nothing. So I start checking around ALL the trees on the hill. A slippery hill full of ivy. Nearly losing my balance and slipping on my kiester about 6 times, I was grabbing wildly at the tree branches to help steady me. Remember, when you geocache, you are trying to be discreet and quiet....neither of which are my strongest qualities.

All I got for my efforts geocaching in that alleged "easy" spot was 2 twisted ankles, major low back pain and sweat-soaked clothes. I was lumbering around that hillside like a crazed T-Rex. I didn't care how much effing noise I was making either. People are riding by on bikes down below, looking up at this weirdo chick with 10,000 cameras slung around her neck, rooting through the ivy around all the trees, rivers of sweat pouring down her face, glasses all fogged up, muttering copious quantities of four letter words and other swear-combo's that I usually reserve for traffic situations and people who piss me off.

I was so angry that I was really, really close to pitching the GPS Unit into the Strait of Georgia. I stomped back to my car, angrily tossed the geocaching crap into the back seat and continued on with my day. When I got back to the hotel, I pitched a major hissy fit, stomped my foot like a 2 year old, whined "I QUIT!" and threw out all the geocaching info for other places I was going to try on Vancouver Island.

I was keeping the hope alive that maybe the Chemainus cache had been "muggled" and was, therefore, missing. Yeah, that has to be it, right? Those hopes were dashed when I logged on to the website yesterday and saw that two separate people located the cache on Sunday, a mere 4 days after I was there.

Since I got the GPS unit in May, I have been out a few times around Bonney Lake and Sumner, and have only found one cache, so clearly it's me.

Brian's offered to come with me, once the weather cools off and the trees and underbrush start dying this fall, help me try to find the caches and, hopefully, figure out what I'm doing wrong.


  1. I was hoping you were going to tell us that this was easy and fun:) Maybe I'll wait awhile before I start. It sounded good and I am interested but if it's that frustrating I think I'll pass.

  2. aw dont be too frustrated. im sure you'll find it!!

    ok this may sound dumb but...what's a cache?

  3. No such thing as a dumb question, L'Oreal! A cache is usually a tupperware-type container that is hidden, and which has little trinkets inside (toys, keychains, etc) as well as a log for you to write your name & date. You trade the trinkets. The Geocacher hides the container and then posts the latitude and longitude waypoints on the Geocache website. You are supposed to try to find the cache based on those waypoints. Some caches are as small as a film canister, others are large tubs. I, apparently, can't seem to find any.

  4. I wish Brian had filmed that demented scene, I would love to see it!

  5. Anonymous3:04 PM

    No, see, I don't even understand the questions, so I'd be lost as hell!

  6. Diane, I liked your "No, See" Eames'ism. lol

  7. Lizzzzzard4:27 PM

    Hey Jojo,

    Cache is from the french word to hide. Let's just blame the French for your inability to find the treasure and be done with it!

    I thought for sure you were going to say you got a handfull of icky bugs for your search under the bridge. Please tell me you brought gardening gloves with you!

    I have spent the last few minutes reading and envisioning you coming down that hill and have scared my dog laughing about it!

    Really, when are you going to write a book about your adventures?

  8. Liz - Oh yeah, I definitely had gardening gloves with me!!! As for my clumsiness, you know me, "Geldof Syndrome" to the max. Of course you understand, being a fellow Sag (Holly too. hmmm, do you see a pattern here?).

  9. I was looking around JoJo's kitchen for a glass the other day to get a drink.

    I couldn't find one so I took a baseball bat and decimated her cupboards.

    Man do I feel better!

    Hee hee hee... Spider karma is the worst kind - creepy, crawly, creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly...

  10. I would have the same luck Jojo.I am afraid that roller derby with encounter a similar fate with me!

  11. Anonymous9:22 PM


    you are so funny. i have an idea. when you and i meet up in portland soon, we'll give it a try. seriously. we'll have some fun.

  12. Julie - GREAT IDEA! I'll research some sites. That are on flat, sea level ground, NOT Mt. Hood. lol

    Mark - Decimate kitchen needs to be remodeled anyway.

  13. I would love to try this, but I'm so obsessive I'd probably have a nervous breakdown.

  14. I couldn't find my way out of a paper bag. I have a gene deletion in the 'directional instinct' portion of my DNA. Your story was very funny to me. My hubby(the gadget freak) bought a GPS and I set it to talk in a British accent for this San Jose trip we're on. I thought it was funny anyway!

  15. Kristy3:06 AM

    Oh, yes--you MUST take people with you. Definitely, the more the better in making the final find. I've had the husband and kids out geocaching several times. It never seems to work as a solo venture. Give it time...

  16. when do we all get to hear the spider shriek??
    at least you made it outta there without further damage to your...psyche...still, it does sound like fun, in a frustrating way!!

  17. oh, and i thought geocaching was fun? i get really obsessed with those kind of things and i'm also very ambitious to fulfill my tasks, so if that had been me there i probably would have damaged something there out of pure anger... although it's all nature and nature's innocent, right? ;)
    but hey, better luck next time. maybe you just overlooked something and the other to fellas were just darn lucky.

  18. Hmmm, I had quite a simmilar experience afew years ago, thank God, I thought I was the only lost one! LOL!

  19. Anonymous9:26 PM


    suhweet, JoJo. I am excited about that. We will have a hell of a hoot.

    Oh, Mt Hood is so beautiful this time of year.....

  20. You know, this reminds me of an episode of CI. I think it was in season four where this actor had his girlfriend killed to get more work or something.

    Anyway, they mentioned geocaching in the episode.

    Leave it to me to somehow think of Vincent.

  21. ....not a clue....need I say more?

  22. As someone who can get lost in a city full of signposts,I don't think I'll be trying this anytime soon!!

    Good Luck for the next attempt,you have to keep trying,just to show off to the rest of us :-D