My son loves to find treasure. He is outside right now playing his latest favorite game where he rides his trike around the patio a few times, then the “mail man” hands him a padded envelope with one of his little toys in it – a bouncy ball, a hot wheels, a sticker, etc. – and he opens it up and either takes the toy or gives it back saying “Return to sender.”
We just got back from a geocaching trip where we hiked through a wooded park named Wilderness Park that is near our house looking for a peanut butter jar that has been wrapped in camouflage tape and stuck into the head of a decapitated statue. He only likes the geocaches that are big enough to hold toys – some are just a log book, and others may be just a puzzle or marker.
We didn’t find that cache today, likely because we took the wrong fork in the path, but we did see a lot of amazing things we wouldn’t have if we had stayed home.
Not long after we parked and started walking on a grassy trail, we found a painted turtle. We picked him up and felt his claws and his shell and talked about how he can hide in his shell when he wants to, then let him go on his way.
Soon, we crossed over a creek on a bridge made of cement blocks from some torn up street or building. We saw some trees that had fallen into the creek to make a dam.
Farther up the trail we noticed a doe watching us. She stood perfectly still even as I picked Rowan up and we pointed at her.
Then we found a muddy puddle with lots of tracks. He wanted to know what left the mountain bike tracks and the goose tracks and the dog tracks.
We followed the compass on my phone until we realized we had passed the cache and it didn’t look like our trail was going to turn the right direction, so we turned around. On the way back, we walked to the edge of an embankment and looked down at a creek that had flooded recently and washed several dead trees into a pile in an elbow of the creek.
Just before we got back to the boulder bridge, we noticed some deep purple mulberries within reach from the path and enjoyed a few while talking about coming back tomorrow with a couple of buckets so that we could make some mulberry syrup.
On our way to another cache, we stopped on the gravel road to see a flock of wild turkeys. We parked and walked toward them and were impressed at how well those big birds can fly!
After we traded a little monster toy that lit up from the inside for a couple of google-eyes, we talked on the way home about wanting to make the world a better place by leaving toys that were better than the ones we took in contrast with some of the pieces of garbage we find in geocaches sometimes.
Our adventure was under two hours, but we really packed it in! Not every excursion is this successful, but its nights like these that make such great memories and are worth sharing with you.