Tag Archives: outdoors

Momma Bears and Sleeping on the Ground

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So we’re going camping this weekend.  Just me, Gary and the wilderness.  Roughin’ it, miles and miles away from civilization, using survival skills I learned from Bear Grylls, fending off bears and….Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.  We’re sleeping on a blow up mattress, near the ‘comfort station’ with water and electricity access.  We’ll be near a town with plenty of fast food choices and a zippy mart.  I will however be fending off bugs and rogue raccoons that are smart enough to open a can of mandarin oranges. 

   This isn’t my first time camping. I grew up camping for vacation.  Really roughing it.  Like taking-baths-in-a-cold-river-and-carrying-your-own-toilet-paper roughing it.  I’ve camped in the Smokey Mountains and we blazed our own trail in the Rocky Mountains.  My parents, and grandparents, were the best at camping.  I have a lot of fond memories of camping actually.  Like the time dad saw a momma bear and her cubs and swore that they were going to murder us in our sleep.  So he made us all run to the station wagon [you know the old kind with wood paneling on the side? Yeah, that one.] and nearly gave my Aunt Virginia a concussion because he was already lowing the window on the back before she was even in the car.  Then after maybe 5 minutes in the car he decided it was safe to return to the tent.  Then there was the time in Colorado when we about froze to death. In the middle of July.  It rained one night, the tent leaked and it was about 12 degrees.  However, I was nice, toasty and dry in dad’s army issue sleeping bag…on a cot.  And just for the record, do NOT wash your hair in a river that’s fed from the Rocky Mountains.  Not even in July. 

     As adventurous as those camping trips were this one will be too.  Not because of momma bears and freezing rivers but because this is the first time Gary and I have been camping together.  And the first time I’ve been camping in ages. 

     Gary is already teasing me about this trip.  You see, I grew up a tom boy.  Bugs, frogs and climbing trees were my thing.   As an adult I’m still kind of a tom boy.  I climbed a tree just a few months ago to get a geocache.  I’m the only one who’ll pick up the frogs in the garage and put them back where they belong.  And I don’t mind [most] bugs.  But thanks to all those fond childhood memories, my idea of roughing it was staying at a hotel without cable.  I do enjoy the outdoors though.  A lot.  And Gary and I have become quite the outdoorsy type.  Kayaking in the summer, hiking in the winter.  Geocaching all the time.  Although we have limited the bush-whacking-all-up-in–the-woods geocaching for the fall and winter months.  The chiggers can get out of control!  Anyway, I’m ready to give camping a try again. 

     However, I’m not that fond of the dark and I really do prefer not to sleep on the ground because spiders live there.  I’m not too girly but just girly enough to make this trip quite hilarious for Gary. 

    So I’m really looking forward to our first camping trip together.  As long as I don’t have to sleep on the ground, fend off momma bears or pee in the woods.  And we have plenty of flashlights.          

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If You Can’t Find Your Tupperware…Check The Woods

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Gary and I like to do a lot of fun things together. We have more things in common than not I think. We just love spending time together (and with the kids) so we are always searching for things we both enjoy and we do them. We’ve recently found a new hobby that we can’t get enough of! Finding Tupperware hidden in the woods! What? You don’t?

It’s a high tech treasure hunting game using GPS devices and multi-million dollar satellites floating out in space. Yep, that’s our new hobby. Tromping through the woods acting like pirates looking for hidden containers with kids’ dollar store prizes and a log book inside. At first I had no idea how this got started. My guess was some friends were sitting around drinking beer one night and one of them said “You know what, I’m gonna go hide a Tupperware container out in the woods, give out the coordinates and see how many people can find it”. And his friends looked at him and said “You’re crazy. Let’s do it”. And here we are with a gazillion Tupperware containers hidden all over the globe. Ok, so that’s not how it really happened. But I was close. Ok, I wasn’t close. It’s way more geeky than that. You can read the real history of geocaching here. I for one am super happy that this whole selective availability thing happened and GPS is now available to all of us Regular Joes. Because I just don’t know what I would do with my weekends if it wasn’t for searching for Tupperware in the woods.

I had heard about this geocaching thing years ago but just never did anything with it. Then Gary and I talked about it and thought it would be fun to do with the kids but never did anything with it. It took finding one by accident while my brother and his wife were visiting from Florida to ignite the fire and begin the obsession. When the kids headed off to their other parents’ for the weekend a few days later us adults had date night Friday and date day Saturday. Guess what we did? That’s right. Searched for caches! Gary and I were hooked. The day Yancey and Kristen left we had to distract ourselves from our sorrow so we spent the day geocaching. It was the best day! Wait….not the best day because Yancey and Kristen left. That made it the worst day. The geocaching made it the best day. Phew, glad we cleared that up!

Yancey and Kristen with one of our finds.

Our first find on our own!

I have to say that geocaching isn’t for everyone. In order to enjoy geocaching you have to enjoy the outdoors. And a good challenge. Not all caches are hidden in the woods, on walking trails or in parks. A lot are found in very urban areas such as restaurant parking lots or a stop sign in a shopping village. I enjoy all types of finds. My favorite kinds are the ones hidden in the woods though. I really enjoy a good hike through the woods. It’s so relaxing and beautiful. And it reminds me of my childhood when my best friend Brian and I would play in the woods and the only worry we had was getting home before it got dark.

Once Gary and I had some good finds under our belt we took the kids out to give it a try. It was a school night so we only had a chance to find one but they loved it! Couldn’t wait to get back out and do it again. We were thrilled because we love having cool, fun family things to do! So the weekend came and we planned a day full of geocaching. We were all excited! Gary and I learned a few things that day.
1. Paige is not an ‘outdoorsy’ type of person. She loves playing outside. In the yard. The woods, not so much. She jumped at everything and every five seconds it was “watch our for snakes”, “be careful!”, or “don’t stick your hand in there!” in a very high pitch concerned voice. It doesn’t help she is petrified of spiders.
2. Emma would rather be home playing soccer. Or doing anything else for that matter.
And
3. Kids get mad when other kids keep finding all the caches. But there’s a schedule for that.

Our first find as a family!


So Gary and I decided that the kids will go on abbreviated geocaching trips. And we’re definitely taking steps to insure that all kids have an equal opportunity to find the hidden caches. In the mean time Gary and I are going solo. Wait…it’s not solo if there’s two of us. Well, whatever. We’re on a mission to find as many caches as we can. Or at least more than my brother.

Are you a geocacher? If you are tell us your Geocache username so we can be friends! If not, leave a comment and let us know what you like to do for fun in your free time!