Sunday, March 18, 2012

Geocaching Adventure with TomEagle55

Yesterday was an awesome day of fun, because I went geocaching with my good friends Tom and Mary.  Tom and Mary cache as Team TomEagle55.  Tom and Mary are caching titans!  So far they've racked up almost 6500 caches, have traveled all over the country and Tom has bagged caches in China and Germany.  On occasion, they have cached at the same time, but on separate continents.  Not many caching couples can say that!

We are still experiencing record breaking high's for March, so we targeted Paul Douglas Forest Preserve and headed out in tee shirts with a list of 12 caches that we wanted to get for the afternoon.

The first cache was out on the main road.  I'd found this one already, so I sat back and watched them study the guardrail and figure out where the cache was hidden.  I can't show you the actual hide because it will give it away.  But it's a very good cache.

Next we headed down a pine needle strewn path and it smelled heavenly.  This is my favorite type of path to hike on.

Along the way we ran into a guy on his bike who asked us what we were doing with our GPS units.  When we told him geocaching, he said he had heard of it, so we invited him to join us to look for this cache and check it out....

It was an easy find, near the ruined foundation of a former house.  I dropped off 2 TB's that I had picked up last week.  Mr. Bicycle enjoyed his geocaching lesson, wished us well, and continued on his way.

We took a group photo.  Notice how nice and clean we are.....

The forest preserve we were in is especially marshy.  We headed out across open prairie and entered the outskirts of the marsh, where we crossed the first of many streams over the course of the day.....

Tom and Mary have many handy geocaching tools and brought along 2 that we were going to need.  Here's what we used one of them for....

Off to the next cache, and again, over a stream.....

This cache took Mary to new heights....

The day was a constant challenge of hiking between prairie with tall, thick grass and over and around marshy areas.  The scrub grass was especially thick and heavy and my legs were on fire from clomping through it.  It was definitely a good work out.

Here I am with one of the caches.  It's beginning to get really hot out....

Off we go to the next cache and ford another stream.....

By this time, our faces are getting sun burnt and I sit down to take a break after finding this cache.  By now I've pulled out my bandanna, doused it with water and have wrapped it around my neck....

We've come upon another stream that we have to cross.  The water is only about a foot deep, but the bottom of the stream is thick, oozy mud.  We look for a place to cross and can't come up with one.  The alternative is to pick our way across the stream on some clumps of scrub grass, or back track and hike almost a mile out of our way.....

We decided to hike downstream a little more and find an area of the stream that has a lot of marshy weeds and grass growing up.  Tom leads the way and gets across, soaking his boots and pants almost to the knee.  Mary goes next, takes 2 steps, hits a hole and goes down.  One of her knees twists one way and her other ankle twists the other.  Tom had to leap back in and pull her out.   At least she's still smiling!

I decided I didn't want to fall either, so I just walked thru the muck, and made it safely to the other side.

We hiked thru more scrub grass .....

and crossed another stream....

And finally reached another cache location.....

By now we were getting really hot and tired. As we were sloshing through yet another area of thick, sucking mud, I made a remark that "Sucking Mud" would be a good name for a cache.  We all laughed about that and continued on until we reached a nice shaded area under a huge pine tree and decided to sit down and take a break.  While we were munching on trail mix and drinking water, I looked up at the tree and said I thought it would be a good spot to hide a cache.  Mary leaned over, dug around in her caching bag, pulled out a camouflaged cache container and handed it to me.  "Go place one," she said.

So I scampered up the tree and hid a cache, which I named "Sucking Mud."  When I got home I submitted it and it was released this morning!

If you look closely, you can see the cache container....

After our rest and my tree climbing excursion, we set off again towards the last cache of the day....

This last cache was a 2 part multi cache, and thank goodness, on the way back to the cars.  Part one was near this structure and we had to find a metal tag that had co-ordinates stamped on it for stage 2.

After a quick search we located stage 2 and when Mary went to pull out her camera to take the final shot of the day, she discovered that her camera wasn't in her caching bag.  OMG!  Somewhere in the woods, between where we last stopped to rest and this final cache, she lost her good Nikon camera and attached tripod.

Tom has a really nice feature on his GPS that has a backtracking option.  It traces the route you took.  So he turned it on, and he and I headed back towards where I had placed my cache.  All I can say is that the backtracking feature works really good.  Well, that and I said a quick prayer to Saint Anthony.  We only had to hike back about half a mile and we found the camera and tripod laying in the scrub grass.  Honestly, I am shocked that we found it and I think Mary was relieved.  And like she said, it's not so much the camera, but the pictures that were on it!

So all's well that end's well!  It was such a fun day, Mary and I got sun burnt, we got 11 out of 12 caches, I placed a new cache, and we found a lost camera.  Mary iced down her legs last night and said she feels better today.  I slept like a rock last night.  Thanks Tom Eagle55!


  1. What a full day of excercise, sun, fresh air and fun! Looks like a really good time.

  2. Now that's an adventure! Wow!
    I'm pretty sure caching with you would kill me lol.

    Congrats on having your cache accepted and released!!!

  3. Wow! Sounds like an absolutely excellent day! I know the winter's been mild, but it's still kind of a shock to see you out there in a t-shirt and mentioning being hot! :p

    1. Cris: I was actually telling Tom & Mary about you and your recent mountain hiking trips. I have so much respect for you. This hike was exhausting and we didn't have anything near the altitude you've been doing!

    2. Someone's talking about me on the other side of the world? Cool!!! ;o)

      You don't need a lot of altitude for a hike to be strenuous... fighting all that vegetation seems like it would be quite a workout in itself! Plus I learnt in Belgium that supposed "flat" areas can have some steep climbs that sneak up on you... and I wasn't even climbing trees like I see you doing here!

      Speaking of climbing... I need to find some time to put together the post on last Sunday's hike. Wait till you see how crazy it was! I felt like spiderman in a couple of spots, climbing up a rock face! Awesome and SCARY! :D

  4. Excellent times with good people, beautiful weather and fun, fun, fun!
    Nice post Kim, I love to read about your awesome adventures! Great post!

  5. What an adventure! It really is a great time of year to get outside and explore! ♥

    1. Especially since the mosquitoes arnt out yet.


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