For most of my childhood we didn’t have a television. My mom would spend evenings reading poems and stories to my sister and I, as we sat, picking at the splintering wood, on our old front porch. She encouraged summer reading programs and the money she splurged on us was usually spent at Scholastic Book fairs. Later, when I hit my unfortunate rebellious phase and began skipping school, I would go to the library. I don’t think my mom even knows that. She undoubtedly thought I was hanging out with a Bad Crowd, smoking in alleyways, sketching my first tattoo. Nope. Library.
Thanks to an early exposure to the beauty of poetry and the adventures offered in books, I love reading. It doesn’t matter what it is. If someone is blogging about the power of their mage in World of Warcraft, or how they’ve just created the very best homemade auger sealant, I’ll read and enjoy what they have to say. However, I realize not everyone enjoys very specific topics that don’t relate to them, so here’s where I give you a warning: I’m about to write about geocaching.
Geocaching has been explained like this, “I use multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.” That’s pretty accurate. You use your GPS to navigate to a hidden cache somewhere in the world. Actually, everywhere in the world, even Antarctica. Once you find the cache, you sign the log, re-hide the container, and log your find online. It’s a lot of fun! Not only does it take you to places you may otherwise never visit, it encourages activity. Whether you’re an urban ‘cacher’ or you prefer trudging through the wilds, you’re out and about.
This past weekend we started exploring Montana, geocaching, and looking for a place to hide one of our own.
We drove over to Bozeman, which reminded me a great deal of Boston, and which made me feel very uncomfortable. Bozeman is quite pretty but seems to be very shopping-oriented and designed to look like Montana without feeling like Montana. I would feel guilty walking down the Main Street sidewalks with muddy boots, is what I’m saying.
Then we traveled around Big Timber, which is an area we’ve camped near before, and love. We went up near Big Timber Peak, which still has snow covering its rocky top. It’s always impressive to see the mountains out here, after living for so long around the Appalachian mountains, which (not to be disrespectful) feel more like big hills now.
Grass Range was our next stop, a place we have also been before. Brian spent 86% of the drive there saying, “You cannot recognize a house you’ve never seen before and we’ve never been on this road!” Then five minutes before we rolled into town he said, “I recognize that house.”
Unfortunately, we didn’t find a place to hide our cache, but we did find quite a few existing caches that were inventive and placed in beautiful spots.
If you’ve never geocached before, give it a try. There’s a free app ($NO – iPhone | Android | Windows Phone), I recommend the one from Groundspeak, that will let you find a few without requiring the purchase of the full version ($10 – iPhone | Android) or a fancy GPS unit. Though they’re not as exciting as those found on the full version, it’s still a great way to get a taste for the game that’s going on all around you.
Come What Come May