This weekend I got to see my son working on his second and third hides. We'd gone on a hike last Saturday morning and discovered that his first cache had been muggled. Now, this was not unexpected, but nonetheless, it's got to be disappointing when your first cache disappears, especially if you've put some effort into placing it and making sure that it has some good swag in it.
I posted over a year ago that the Tadpole, my youngest child, is the one who has taken to caching. The others went along from time to time, but when other interests came along, caching became the thing that was quickly dropped. Now, this may happen again as he ages. Last September, he turned 13, which means that his interests could change, especially when he gets to high school next year. It was about that age when his older siblings started to drift away from geocaching. He's assured me that it won't happen to him and I tend to believe him.
I'm not sure if him turning 13 is making me feel old or the fact that my youngest turns 20 next month. I can remember a camping trip to Yosemite one year when he was about 5 years old and he looked up at Half Dome and proudly proclaimed "I'm going to the top of that some day." I immediately started calculating how old he'd have to be before I figured it would be safe for him to climb to the top and I figured that 13 was the magic number. Then I started figuring out how old I'd be at the time and that just wasn't computing very well.
He told me recently one of the things he enjoys doing when he finds other people who geocache is to literally name drop. He loves telling them that he geocaches and that his father also geocaches. Apparently he really gets a kick out of people's reactions when they find out his dad is Webfoot. As he likes to tell it, "YOUR DAD IS WEBFOOT!!!!!" Apparently, I'm developing quite a reputation in the local area for some strange reason. I hope that's a good thing.
After lunch on Saturday, we went out for the second leg of our caching expedition. The first leg had been a maintenance run. The second leg in the afternoon would be a hiding run. We'd already hiked along the trail and had scouted out some locations. Now it was just a matter of setting things up in my case and him picking the right spots for his caches in his case.
I have to say I'm impressed with his hiding ability. After I hid a my letterbox hybrid cache, we then started back working away from my cache to find the perfect spot for his. After getting past the requisite 528 feet as per the geocaching.com rules, I suggested several spots that I thought would be fine for a cache, but he would have none of that. He wanted the spots to be perfect. I kept thinking to myself, wouldn't it be nice if all people took this much care in hiding caches? He scoped out several spots before deciding on a location.
He started taking coordinates for the cache, determined where the cache would be and started doing all the things an experienced cacher would do while hiding a cache. He let me verify his coordinates with my unit and then he hid his cache not three feet away from the trail. Yet the cache is so well hidden that a person would have to stop in that exact spot in order to see it and there's not obvious reason for a person to stop right there. In other words, it's a perfect spot for a cache.
After the first hide, we did it again in another spot along a side trail in another very good spot. At both spots he decided on the names for the caches using local features as his guide. He asked me for help in writing up the cache page for each cache and then they were submitted. Within a half an hour, he was the proud owner of two new caches, Bike Ramp and Reservoir View. Within hours of publishing both caches had two finds apiece.
The way he went about hiding these caches makes me believe that he'll be into caching for the long haul. He enjoys going out and finding, but he also likes to hide them and he takes great care in his hides. One of the first two finders sent me an email regarding the caches and had this to say about Tadpole's caches:
"I really enjoy Tadpoles hides, there is always lots of swag in the decons."I showed my son that particular note and the grin on his face lasted most of the evening. That really made his day. I think he's also been checking his email more frequently as well to see if there have been any more finders. That's the sign of someone who seems to care about what others think about their caches.
Pictures were taken at the following geocaches:
Are We Not Men? - by Firehouse16
Wupatki - by wolfb8 (libby)
Grand Prix Crache - by crash77
Sunset Crater - by wolfb8 (libby)