Hot on the Trail
A family outing on the Delaware Geocaching Trail proves quite an adventure.
(page 6 of 6)
Four, five and sick
Our fourth geocache is another micro hidden somewhere near the nature center.
Audrey has a brainstorm. “Maybe we could drive, park on the side of the road and get out when we’re close,” she says, only half kidding. Then she notices something slimy crawling on her leg. “Ewwww. I think it’s a leech.”
“We weren’t in the water,” I explain. “It’s not a leech.”
“There are land leeches!” she screams.
Not to be outdone, Jake is suddenly exhausted and asks what diseases ticks carry.
“You don’t get bitten by a tick and get instantly tired,” Janell snaps.
After a little glitch in our navigation, we hit the boardwalk loop behind the nature center in search of a micro geocache. This one’s called “Enjoy Nature,” I explain.
“Well,” says Jake, jabbing a finger into the air, “there’s nature here, here, here and there.”
The girls go right, boys left. We meet in the middle and about 20 minutes into the search for No. 4, I strike gold. I see Jake smiling, but it’s not because he’s happy for my success. I can see dollar signs in his eyes because we agree to do just one more geocache.
On the way to our final cache, called “I Like Turtles,” we stop in the parking lot to dial up the coordinates on the GPS. The kids and I look up and see Janell seated in the van, AC blasting.
It’s back through the barbecue smoke en route to No. 5. Jake, a staunch competitor, can’t help himself. He wants to find this one in the worst way. And he does, after only 10 minutes.
Tickled with himself, he opens the box to unveil its treasure. The only trinket is a miniature doll with puffy hair. Jake was less than thrilled, but his sister was amused by the irony. Unfortunately, we couldn’t leave a trinket because we lost the Ziplock bag.
We get in the van and drop the girls off near the site of No. 3, where we think Jake may have left the bag.
Back in the car, I try to gauge the day’s success.
“I didn’t really have any fun,” says Jake. “Well, I did have fun, but it wasn’t like a lot of fun. It was kind of grueling.”
“What was your favorite part?” I ask.
“Finding it,” Jake says. “My least favorite part was finding out there was a Cabbage Patch doll in there.”
After about 15 minutes, the girls return, swag bag in hand.
“Guess where they were?” Audrey asks Jake. “You put the whole flippin’ bag of trinkets in the box. No ice cream for him.”
Luckily for Jake, Audrey isn’t in charge. Five minutes down the road, we pull in to Kirkwood Creamery. Janell and the kids pile out to order. Now trying to freeze my sweat-soaked shirt with the AC, I grin when I look at the sign and see Kirkie the cow’s smiling face. It’s about three hours since we left home and the payoff is finally here: a vanilla shake for me, an apple crisp sundae for Janell and raspberry cones for the kids.
The smiles on their faces tell me the day was a success. I ask Audrey to share her favorite part of the adventure, anticipating it will be the fact she found the first cache, or even that her brother found a cache with a girly doll inside.
“It was when I had to walk back to get the trinkets that he lost,” she says. “Not.”