Started on 8/29/03 at about 4pm
So, what's everyone doing for Labor Day Weekend?
We initially were going to go out to MDI, Bar Harbor, and recreate the havoc of July 4th weekend. But instead A is going to his parents in CT to see his brother and sister in law who are flying out this way from their West Coast home. A may stop here tonight on his way down, then again, he may breeze straight through. He's got his bike back on the road and is cruising down in style.
If the weather sucks on Monday, we'll probably stay here, and if he wants he's more than welcome to stop in and visit.
If the weather cooperates, Doug wants to do day trips this weekend and come home. Geoff wants to camp, so I will suggest we pitch the tent in the yard and perhaps burn some firewood in a fire circle (get some rocks, figure out a perfect spot) and make it an at-home camping trip.
And there is, of course, geocaching.
Check out this map from Geocaching's website of the state of Massachusetts:
Each of those dots is a cache. One year ago, there were about 1/3 the amount of caches out there. This is insane.
I suppose we could keep ourselves very very busy and do all those Worcester county caches!
Revisited 8/30/03 9pm
Well, we didn't make it to Worcester county, but three more of those little dots in the Billerica/Carlisle/Concord stretch were conquered by Team Screamapillar today. Jessie asked if she could bring a friend, and the friend of choice was not available, so I suggested another one, one who went to her birthday Aquarium trip and seems to be on the fringe/periphery of the group of friends. Jessie agreed.
Of all her friends, I thought she would get the most out of the GPS, the hunting, the finding and the seeking. The science of how geocaching works, the concepts of logging in to get coordinates, she knows what latitude and longitude mean... she was the perfect candidate.
While she is a tad weird, I know she and Jessie get along wonderfully. She makes Doug roll his eyes. She tells fibs or hyperbolae and Jessica nails her so she laughs and says "yeah, I was kidding, yeah." But she thought she could get away with a fib. So she did enjoy herself.
The first cache was pretty much 300 feet from the truck. In and out. I found it and took her picture, giving her mad props for her first cache ever. The second one was a quickie too, pretty much .15 away from the parking area. We deliberately took a longer walk so the dogs could get out and run. They were jonesing.
So our guest was totally enjoying herself... until the last cache.
We basically kicked her ass today, without intending to. See, I thought of all Jessie's friends she was one of the ones out riding her bike all day. She walks to the library all the time. I figured a 2 mile round trip 3 on a scale of 5 for terrain hike wouldn't wear her down. Having experienced Jessica on such trips, I know she can do it so I figured a kid who is more physically fit than her could definitely jump in there and take that hike. The way in to the site was great. .82 from the truck as the crow flies, but as the trails dictated it was more like 1.2 miles. Not bad. Very fun.
We left when we heard a couple peals of thunder (or advancing British Soldiers, depending on who you want to believe, me or Doug). A half mile back to the truck she started to break. "I can't make it back there," she tells me and Jessica, stopping in the middle of the trail, arms crossed. Shit... Meanwhile, a squadron of bloodsucking fiendish mosquitoes from the pits of hell were divebombing us, ignoring the fact we deet-ed ourselves and were supposed to be invisible to them.
Jessica started to show her true colors -- not just because I was standing there watching, but because it is who she really is. She became the trooper. The supporter. The leader friend.
I must say.
I was impressed by her behavior. Blown away even. Another friend might have started whining too "see I told you geocaching was too hard, meh meh meh!" Or blown a strand of hair up from her face and stomped ahead, unable to deal with the drama. But Jessica -- I swear to God. I don't give this girl enough credit. I am so gushing about her right now. Her strength, her abilities -- her amazing spirit. Gah. I'm speechless.
She offered to carry her friend's fanny pak, she started to try and think of ways to distract her friend from her discomfort as we still had .47 miles to walk, as the crow and mosquito fly. One of my favorite games to play with Jessie is "It could be worse" where we make up ridiculous things that could be happening to make this experience worse...
"It could be worse, it could be raining."
"It could be worse, a bear could be trying to eat us."
"It could be worse, we could be getting stung by yellow jackets!"
"It could be worse, it could start snowing and we're out here in shorts."
Her friend mustered a smile or two as we continued to walk but I knew that our little "It could be worse" game really only works for those who want to add to the sublime ridiculousness of playing the game to pass the time, and she didn't want to.
Her friend eventually said she needed to pee, climbed over a low stone wall, did the deed while Jessie and I stood with our backs to her swatting bugs. I then heard "thud" as she tripped coming back over the wall.
She twisted her foot, and we were still .37 from the truck. I had sudden recollections of Kinger walking a mile on what I thought was a broken leg and my stomach filled with rocks. She could walk but was very sore. Jessie told her that if Kinger could make it, so could she. I said, baby, if I, the big fat lady, can do this walk you can do it on one leg. And I offered to shoulder her burden. I let her lean on me and handed her the GPs so she could watch the tenths of mile drip away.
When we got to the last house before the trail began, she perked up and no longer needed my shoulder. By the time we were on the highway heading home, she and Jessie were playing handjive games and all was right with the world.
Tomorrow I do believe we're going to Mystic Seaport in CT. We've never been. And while it is an historic recreation and sure as hell we could go to Plimouth Plantation... dude, this is half as much money. I printed two geocaches close to the seaport museum. I don't know that we'll get to them, but hey -- may as well have them close by. Then we can say we've geocached in yet another state. Wooo.
Here are some pictures.
This first one was at Fawn Lake geocache. While we were looking for this cache, I let the girls do the "driving." I gave Jessie's friend the GPs and she was intently following the arrow, and getting frustrated when the tree cover interfered, showing us at 9 feet for a second, and 30 feet almost immediately after. I'd read the clue, so I knew where to look. I told her to get all Zen and the Art of Geocaching and take her eyes off the screen. Look with geocacher eyes. Grasshopper, ah so.
What doesn't look natural, what looks forced and out of place. Both girls snapped to attention when they saw the spot and they sprinted. And they were right.
While searching, Doug went over the ridge and found this chair. He carried it back over his head and brushed as many spiders and buggs off of it as he could. Tess, you never would have wanted to sit in this chair. Anyway, he sat in it for a while, and when we went to leave, it looked so weird sitting at the crossroads of the trail. Doug made a crack that it looked like the chair the devil would sit in if he were to be waiting at the crossroads in the woods.
So, this is the crossroads. Make a deal if you dare. Oh, sorry, he's stepped out. You'll have to wait.
|Both girls after finding the cache. Even though I saw it first, I give them all the credit.|
Kinger enjoying a swim in Bateman's Pond.
Disturbing the lilly pads and looking out onto the boathouse of the school across the way.
He didn't jump off the ledge to get to the water today. He followed Doug very nicely down the side of the ledges, down the trail, to the lowland, to the bottom, into the pond, and then adventured up, learning the cliff from bottom up... the right way.
Jessie with the Travel Bug we picked up. His name is Cartier. He's a Canadian guide dog for the blind.
I will have a very hard time getting this one out of her hands...
And notice that giant bugbite on her left cheek. We were quite the feast for the beasties.