Mike and I attended a local geocaching event at Baskin Robbins Wednesday evening, the purpose of which was to give cachers a chance to log a geocache on February 29. (Some spent the day geocaching in order to log the memorable date – 2-29-12.) Several new area geocaches were discussed, and Mike was enticed to get out and find them.
It was a pleasant day – just a little chilly – when we set out from the house. I was comfortably warm in a sweatshirt and my little blue fleece jacket, and in my haste to leave the house, I totally forgot the cardinal rule of outdoor activity in Idaho: “Take your coat, take your coat, take your coat.” No matter the season, no matter the day’s temperature – take your coat. By the time we reached Mann Lake, a manmade irrigation reservoir roughly 15 miles east from our house, the sun had disappeared and a biting wind was blowing. I was miserable!
Mike didn’t bring his jacket either, although he keeps an old ski jacket in the pick-up for emergency purposes, and we commenced to fight over it:
“You take it.”
“No, no – you take it.” And so on.
I was even so bold as to suggest we just go home and come back on a better day when we could enjoy a spring outing, but Mike didn’t want to. So in the end, I wore the emergency jacket and Mike wore my little blue fleece. The jacket was too narrow in the hips for me while my fleece bound Mike’s shoulders. So much for beautiful clothes!
After we resolved that battle, I suggested we drive closer to the cache sites rather than hiking. It took some convincing, but Mike came around to my way of thinking. And once we had driven to the other side of the lake, we saw that we could drive even closer – wonderful!
We were particularly interested in a four-part multi-cache – three preliminary caches, each leading to the next, also provided the combination to the lock on the fourth cache. But when we arrived at the final cache, we couldn’t find it. The site seemed reasonable – a deteriorating covered bench – but there was just no place for the cache except under the bench, which appeared to have been recently re-braced – and it just didn’t seem feasible to remove that. We spent five minutes there and Mike was dejectedly turning to leave when I blurted out, “Humor me – can we take this apart?” So Mike set to work. The brace actually just slipped out, the blocks were pushed aside, the boards lifted – and there was the cache box in a neat little “grave” all its own. We were the third party to find the cache. Mike dialed the numbers we retrieved from the previous three caches and the lock opened. He did the paperwork and easily re-braced the bench as we had found it.
As we wended our way back to the pick-up, I was so grateful we didn’t have to hike to the other side of the lake. In the warmth and protection of the pick-up, we took off our ill-fitting jackets. It was after 4:30 by the time we arrived at the house, which was also cold. Mike lit a fire in our stove while I heated the oven and finished the cookies.
Logging onto the cache site, Mike discovered that the two previous finders had received help from the cache owner in order to find it. We congratulated ourselves that having arrived at the site we persevered on our own to find the cache.
I had been thoroughly chilled. After supper and a hot shower, I was ready to sleep. KW
[The first photo looks north-westerly from a site near Mann Lake to the confluence where the Snake River is in view. The next two are Mann Lake on a bleak winter day. The last illustrates the cache site at the old bench.]