Geocaching the Town

In which we find out how many hills the Arb actually has and theorize that anyone who lived on a street that had an inconveniencing hill petitioned the city to have that hill relocated into the Arb because damn!

TheMan and I had the day off today (go us!) simply for the luxury of it. I get a small happy “nyah nyah” feeling when I’m at home (not sick) and all my coworkers are at work working. Suckers (but in the nicest possible way, of course). Unfortunately, I couldn’t totally enjoy the happiness of our lazy not working luxury because I had errands to run. That meant I had to be up at 9 in the morning and that’s just harsh. My day off, man! On the plus side, my errands were a lot easier than I htought they were going to be so I was done at noonish. I think. Anyway, noon sounds good so I’ll stick with that.

Hey, I even did some dishes. Of course I was procrastinating doing other more important chores and errands by doing the dishes but I’ll take what I can get. Eventually, everything was said and done and we headed out to pick up Scott H. for some Geocaching. On the way there we stopped off at the camera docs and finally had our poor camera admitted. A good thing too! Starting in June (which would be tomorrow for those of you playing at home) they are no longer taking in sick cameras that are past warrantee. Ratbastards. Hopefully we will be getting our camera back shiny and ready to snap the snaps before Origins. Otherwise I think I may have to resort to a quainter method of taking pics and pick me up one of those disposable cameras.

And appropriate a scanner. This will mean no live(ish) Origins updates. Hmmmm.

With the camera safely on its way to being fixed, we did a drive by Scott H. napping and headed out to the Arb. There are at least two entrances…well two official ones I think (back in the day you could also get into the Arb surreptitiously through the cemetery fence line and also from North Campus via the railroad bridge (shades of Stand By Me if you walked that way, which I did most Wednesdays for Art class)) and seeings as I lived smack dab across from the Geddes entrance I never really had the opportunity to sidle through the Markley one (that’s the entrance listed on their website). Today I remedied that and I have to say it sure is a different look. The Geddes entrance just sort of pops you onto the Arb in media res, if an arboretum can actually exist as such, with the hills and the woods and the paths and blah blah nature cakes. The Markley entrance puts on a show with tended gardens and all sorts of visitor Arb amenities. I never really knew that the Arb had gardens but there they were, rows of planted peony ready to burst into bloom. Huh!

Our first cache had us hiking down to the Huron and, much to our chagrin, the wrong side of the Huron. The cache was supposedly nestled on one of the islands that hover near the shore and was “an easy wade” (from the correct side of the river) if you couldn’t cross the downed trees that formed a “path” from island to island. We had to first figure out how to get there (preferably without the whole wading across the Huron since we had neither swim trunks nor the insanity to purposefully dunk a body part in that water. Blinky the Three Eyed Fish, that’s all I’m saying here) and lo! What should come upon us but the railroad bridge. Huzzah! Scott H. and I immediately hoofed it in the tracks general direction while TheMan hung back and asked us such questions as “Ahhhh…train tracks?” and “How active are they?” and “What about the pedestrian foot bridge just down the way?” but we two Arb veterans (or rather one veteran and one person who was somewhat familiar with the trek from the Geddes gate to the fields across the river, which included said railroad bridge) just poo-poohed his concerns and scrabbled up the path. Hey, the train doesn’t run that frequently, what’s the worst that can happen?

Sadly I have no quaint tale about racing a train to amuse you, although I am actually quite glad I don’t.

On the other side we walked here and there (and saw lots of poison ivy. Joi!) and over this and through that, but it wasn’t a bad walk mostly. Some enterprising Arb do-gooder(s) had put down logs and bits when the going got rough or mucky to help with the whole going down the trail thing. Eventually we ended up by one of the small islands and balanced our way across the water on a downed tree. I’m not the most dexterous person ever encountered so I opted to go last and very slowly. The tree was about 8 inches in diameter, but it was a rounded knobbly diameter and I’m pretty sure my birks have been talking to my boots. I did make it all the way over without taking a short but wet side trip but I think the success of the last six feet was due to pure luck and a timely overhanging tree branch. Sadly, the cache wasn’t on that island, it was on the next island further out. Oh, you could still get to the next island by traveling the much smaller and knobblier end of the tree that got you out to the close island in the first place…more or less but not to worry. Where the end of the bridge tree just up and sunk into the river bed, some Arb do-gooder haphazardly balanced a couple of logs in a “helpful” fashion to create a “foot bridge” to the further island.

I opted to stay on the near island and cheer on the boys as they hopped over to cache island and rooted about. I know my limits.

They found the cache, deposited the travel bug from our caching up north, put in an origami guy and came back with cache goodies. TheMan found a DVD of Somewhere Tomorrow and snapped that right up. Score! You know…if you happen to be a Smithee fan because apparently Sara Jessica P’s character sees ghosts (or ghost) and falls in love with him. Right.

Cache two took a little more time (and a lot more poison ivy) to find and I think we had to walk every hill in the Arb at least once before we got close. My word but is that area rolling in a festive “make boo hurt” way. Up and down and up and over and up and up some more and over and a little down and then up again! It didn’t help that the GPS receiver doesn’t work as spectacularly under a canopy of trees, of which the Arb has quite a lot (they keep them stored with all the hills), so we did a bit of cache circling. Quite a bit. Eventually Scott H. located the cache and we did our cache thing. The sky was getting grumpy (probably from watching us walk around for about an hour looking for the second cache) and we were getting bitten alive (them mosquitoes love a nice sweaty exposed body part. YummmMAY!) so we headed to Scott H.’s place for some aqua and a bit of a sit down before heading home.

Things I do not have a picture of because our camera is in the shop were: The very Tolkien tree at the edge of the river, the tree “bridges” that did not throw me into the river (HA!), a deer, a bunch of cool blue and white flowers, some other flowers and the planted daffodil line that zigs its way around the Arb. I expect there will be a lot of entries full of pictures I didn’t take.

I have no camera and I must photograph!

Last year at the booniverse: Don’t bother me about entries, I’m trying to balance here!

Last last year at the booniverse: Shhhhh! You want me to fall into that mess? Come back later when I’ve written something.

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