While we were there, we spent a few hours finding geocaches. Using chassy's GPS unit, we traipsed through woods, swamps, fields, and teenage make-out overlooks to find plastic containers of hidden treasures.
Each cache contained little trinkets of negligible value, and the idea is that you take a trinket but leave another in its place. Each cache we found also contained a golf-score pencil and a notepad so that you could leave your name and the date.
Here's the third of the four caches we found:
What I like about geocaching is that it takes you off-trail, and when you approach the cache location you have to hunt around and look closely at your surrounding to find the cache. I think that all too often we take in our nature at too brisk a pace and overlook some of the smaller but no less amazing sights. Hunting for the geocache offers incentive to slow down and contemplate and observe your surroundings.
Although, now that there are over 100,000 geocaches worldwide, I also wonder if sending so many cache-hunters off-path might damage some of these fragile natural areas.
My favorite was the swamp. mrrranda and I were lagging behind, but we managed to find our friends with a quick "ca-CAW!" -- not to mention it doesn't take a real Daniel Boone to track four people through tall grass and swamp. I think each one of us took at least one wrong step and nearly left our shoes in the muck. We crossed fallen birch branches that looked solid enough, but were so badly decomposed that they didn't crack so much as disintegrate underneath us. The frogs didn't so much croak at us as they did laugh as they leaped out of our way.
This particular geocache also contained a disposable camera, so that cache-hunters could photograph themselves at the site. Maybe someday that photo will show up on a Web site somewhere.
At one of the locations we found a Travel Bug, so we now need to find a new geocache home for it--perhaps one here in Ann Arbor.