Look Before You Touch: A Geocaching Lesson

Last Saturday, Jerry and I had a plan to go geocaching. By the end of the morning, we had learned a valuable geocaching lesson: look before you touch!

Our plan for geocaching

We headed to an area about half an hour away from home to Miles, IA, to attempt a series of geocaches that we found on the are geocaching app.

We thoroughly enjoyed the series! It was called Couples Cache, and had a dating theme. The name of each cache included a question that we answered when we logged the find. For example, one was How You Met. Then First Date. Another was called Perfect Getaway with the question, if you could go any where on a getaway trip, no expense to you, where would you go, and what would you do? First Gift asked what your first gifts to each other were. Favorite Movie asked, obviously, about your favorite movie.

We found every cache in the series, even though some were a higher difficulty. And we had a great time answering all the questions. We met at work. His first gift to me was a gold watch with a diamond chip in the face. My first gift to him was an FM converter for his 1973 Malibu. We went to a Jackson Browne concert in Iowa City on one of our first dates and still talk about it.

Rocky IV gets the favorite movie award, but only because of the back story. We had been going out for a few months and went to see Rocky IV in the theater around Christmas. The theater was full so we were in the front row. When Rocky beat Drago, Jerry stood up in the theater, raised both arms above his head, and cheered. True story.

On our way to lunch

Our plan for the day included lunch at a restaurant we had picked out. Then I noticed a couple of caches along the way on country roads so we decided to grab those as we went. The first one was in a cemetery and was fairly easy to find. We only had to walk through the cemetery to the back fence where we found it quickly.

The next one was located along a gravel road in the country. The county had recently cleaned the ditches which means they took a backhoe and dug it out to make it deeper. That meant a lot of scrambling to get up to the other side with only bare dirt to dig into. Well, we got up to the top of the ditch where the fence was, where we assumed the cache was hidden. I was still staring at the app on my phone trying to figure out how many feet away we were when my husband started yelling at me to get out of here.

The next thing I knew, I was on the ground and my phone had gone flying. I had fallen on my face and my phone was lying several feet away from me. Then I was falling down into that steep ditch, grabbing onto grass and a fence post lying on the ground…anything I could hold onto. We probably looked like flailing whales.

When I finally got to my phone and got to my feet we both ran/slid down the steep ditch, up the other side, and jumped into our car.

What just happened?

What had happened?

Jerry had been running his hand along the bottom of a rail of the fence, which is a common hiding place, when he felt something. Sure that he had found the hidden cache, he grabbed it and pulled it out. He had actually grabbed a wasp’s nest. In the process, he got stung on his pinkie finger three times. It was extremely painful. We also were worried about him having an allergic reaction when we were a half an hour away from a hospital.

So we sat in the car panting, trying to calm down. He held out his his hand to me and I saw three painful stings. His hands were trembling and his pinkie was starting to swell quickly. I don’t usually carry my purse when we go geocaching, but I remembered that I had grabbed it on the way out the door. I had bottle of lavender essential oil in my purse, which I have heard is good for bug bites and stings, so I started putting lavender on it every few minutes.

He decided he was going to live, and that we were going to get the heck away from there! Definitely a DNF! (Did Not Find)

We still made it to lunch!

He didn’t want to cut our day short since he was doing OK, so we headed to Krumpets, our lunch destination In Fulton, Illinois.The restaurant was in a state we don’t have a find in yet, even though it is only 30 minutes from where we live. So we crossed the Mighty Mississippi and grabbed a cache quick so we could add an Illinois souvenir to our collection. By the way, lunch was fantastic and we both highly recommend Krumpets. They even have some vegan options. I had a veggie wrap that was wonderful. Then we shared a piece of chocolate pie. Sorry, diet. It was chocolate pie!

Tell me again what happened

That night, after putting ice on his hand off and on for a few hours, we went to bed. I still wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. My memory started with me on the ground. I couldn’t remember what led up to it; I just remembered flopping to the ground and seeing my phone go flying. When he told me again about grabbing the wasp’s nest and flinging it away from us and screaming at me to get out of there, all I could think about was how ridiculous we must have looked. I seriously got the giggles for a while.

I kept thinking, if that was on tape, Bob Saget would have us on Funniest Home Videos. Guess it’s a good thing it isn’t on tape!

We learned our lesson

Well, Jerry’s hand healed up. After a couple of days the swelling went down that had spread across his knuckles, so he no longer looked like his beloved Rocky after a fight. We have been back out geocaching since then. We even looked for one on a fence along a gravel road. But we approached it differently. We bent over. We looked under rails and posts. We got down on our hands and knees and looked up. One thing we didn’t do was put our hands in places we hadn’t looked in first.

So, lesson learned. When geocaching, look before you touch.

Maybe I should add this to my Ten Tips For Geocaching Beginners!

Have you learned any geocaching lessons?

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My name is Peggy McGranahan and I started this blog, Shaped By The Waves, to share my experiences and life lessons as I navigate the waves of change in my middle-aged life. I love reading, chocolate, geocaching with my hubby, and Jesus. I am actively battling my weight, and sometimes I win the battle! Now that all 5 of our homeschooled chicks have left home, my nest may be empty but my life is full. So welcome to Shaped By The Waves. Come ride the waves of change with me.