Wednesday, August 6, 2008

You know you are getting odler when...

you decide to play Disc Golf and go Geocaching all in the same weekend and you haven't done either in years.

Disc Golf - the sport of champions. Known to many as the stoner sport. Much more fun than regular golf since you have to walk the whole course and try to dodge the trees, and apparently the Ohio bloodsuckers, at every turn. Nevertheless, we ventured out to play. The first day of playing, we only made it through about half the course. It never fails that someone will throw the perfect S curve on their disc and it will end up in the lake. So, of course since it has been years since I have played, I came unprepared without an extra change of clothing and jumped in the lake fully clothed in my only dry pair. Mind you, earlier in the day while walking with the animals, I broke my toe. Luckily for me, I broke the the middle phalanges so I was still able to walk/hike with little pain.

So, I did my little hop through the murky waters trying desperately to find my disc. After about an hour of looking I found one! Unfortunately it wasn't the one I was looking for, but it was a very nice Diablo in good condition. The bottom of the lake was much ickier than usual. It used to have a sandy bottom and now it was more of a sludgy bottom. But, have no fear, and I have none, I trudged along. Our other teammate came in to join me but stayed near the shore as she was not real comfortable with bodies of water where she couldn't see what was in there with her. She was just about ready to come in when I suddenly pulled up another disc and voila - it was ours! The look on her face was priceless as she hurriedly climbed back to the shore. Years earlier they used to pour about 10,000 gallons of pesticide in this particular pond and we would come out of there looking like we had chicken pox - itching like crazy for weeks. I was very happy to report that I was not covered in bumps nor did I itch after retrieving our discs!

On day two of disc golfing, we stopped at the local head shop to look at the new gear. They now have this neat contraption that opens up into a triangle shape and has a 50 foot rope on it to "fish" in the missing discs. This keeps the golfer dry and keeps them from getting a heavy fine from the local law enforcement officers who do not understand the measures a disc golfer will go to retrieve their $20 driver. Apparently it works quite well as we saw someone out using it while we were playing. Day two we made it through the entire course will very little bloodsucker bites and no discs in the water. When we woke up the next day, we were all very sore! Is disc golf shoulder a recognized CPT code? I think it really should be right up there with Wii Elbow. I recovered well other than my little charge walking me all over G-d's creation for a 2.5 mile walk yesterday evening. If only I could bottle their energy! We did find a baby bird along the way who we thought might need our assistance. He was a little robin out in the middle of the road. I scooped him up and started walking with him until he started to screech loudly. The next thing I knew, here came mommy robin ready to peck out my eyeballs. So, I put the baby safely back in the grass and my charge and I headed back home again.

Geocahing - Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. Today, I woke up and felt much better. Maybe the 2.5 mile walk did my old bones some good. We were going to do some caches yesterday, but we ran out of time since I had to work that night. So we decided to go and do a few caches today. We picked a few nearby and decided to start on a lovely 4 stage multi-cache. Apparently a couple of the stages were quite difficult since the first stage is in a now construction area and most of them are by the river - thanks Riversurfer! We head over to stage one and find the construction area. It wasn't until after we traipsed through the rocks and loud noises that we realized we were in the wrong place.

Finding the correct place, we now had to search for a place to park. Now on to the cache! We began our ascent up the 38 stairs to the top of the bridge. Did I mention the bridge is an overpass bridge on the highway? No problem! We get up there and the GPS zeros out dead center. We start to search. We search for what seemed like hours while cars were passing us, wondering if we were going to jump. We searched and searched through every bolt and cranny until I finally looked back at the cache sheet. We were looking for 11 numbers to fill in to get the coordinates for the next stage. I looked back down and found it! Sneaky guy had pressed the numbers into the guard rail. We placed the numbers into the coordinate puzzle and plugged them into the GPS. 4.3 miles to the next location. Oy vey. How bad can it be right? So stage 1 was listed as dangerous, probably because of the exposure to the interstate and stage 2 was listed as you might get wet on this ride and deemed virtually impossible if the river was high. Joy. We find the coordinate parking area - park on the northwest side of the bridge - and we start walking. In accordance with the you may get wet on this ride notion, we knew we had to be near the river. We kept walking in the direction that the GPS was pointing us in but we were troubled by the barbed wire fence and no trespassing signs, and the putrid smell coming from the obvious water treatment plant. We get to a 90 degree angle and find out that we have found the right spot - but we are on the wrong side of the river *doh*! Not good. So we make the trek all the way back, bush whacking our way through G-d knows what and get back to the car. We see another path by the bridge and decide to take that one, after we feed the massive grumbling in our stomachs.

We drive up a ways and stop at Hardees. Being a vegetarian often makes it difficult to eat at most fast food places. I settled for french fries and a chocolate milkshake. We get back to our parking destination point and park while we eat our scrumptious dinner. We look over the terrain in front of us and find that clearly we were going to have to walk across the bridge to get down to that side of the river. So, we walk. Our destination was still .3 miles away but we found a paved road to walk most of the way. We got down to where we were at a 90 degree angle and found a semi-decent path to cross into the woods. The trail required no bush whacking but we had to manage to get through many mud puddles without getting sunk in. I managed to not use that manner of thinking and one of the treacherous puddles tried to take all of me. So now, covered in mud, which by the way got rid of most of the bugs, we made our way to the river and found our destination.

Our clue was a well. We looked around and all we could find was this pipe looking thing sticking out of the riverbed. We looked over it, and dug through the river water and rocks in it and found nothing. We looked at this metal tag on the side and really didn't see anything. Finally, I looked again and there were numbers - 10 of them, barely. We needed all 10 for the coordinates to the next location plus the extra one for the final. We could barely read it through all of the rust. I plugged in what we thought were correct and tried to find our way back to the car. Minus the mud accidents and more spider webs to crawl through, we realized we made a wrong turn in the woods and it was getting dark. We kept walking towards the passing cars and eventually found our way out. Mind you, now I look like an Aborigine, with a slight limp from hurting my still broken toe and realizing my bones aren't 20 anymore. We make it to the car and head on over to the next stage. Our clue - Arch Enemy, another bridge. We find the bridge and realize wth it is down the street from the first clue! Okay so our hint for this one was second one from downstream. We climbed underneath the bridge to the arches. There were four arches. Downstream was east with the arches facing north and south. We look everywhere. Of course this stage was listed as also dangerous but the river wasn't too high and it was dark out by this time. We searched through rocks, water, muck and murk and found nothing. We looked high and low and still found nothing. This cache was hidden in May 2007. Only 13 people have found it with about as many posting a did not find note. We decided to go ahead and head back home again and go back tomorrow for stage 3 and 4. *Update* Stage 3 was muggled and replaced. We sent the children up the arches under the bridge for the cache. Grabbed it and wrote down the code but not before a run in with the local peace officers when he saw the boys - not standing on the ground level. We told him what we were doing and he knew right away what it was. Told us to be careful and all that jazz and went off on his way.

Stage 4 was asked to find in daylight hours only and we were clearly not seeing sunny skies at this point. When we got home I immediately headed for a hot shower. I think it took 45 minutes just to get all of the mud off of me. Now I sit here blogging, coding, and ready to crawl into bed with a book. We did get to see a doe and her baby while we were out heading to stage 2. That was nice and made me smile thinking of another time.

*Stage 4 Update* The final was the best! Sadly we didn't get smiled at like some of the other cachers but the cache was the best I have done yet! So to Riversurfer - thanks for a fun, and slightly painful evening. I look forward to more Disc Golf and Geocaching in the future!

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