What, you've never geocached before?
If you're smiling and nodding in agreement right now, you either know what I'm talking about, or you're backing away slowly and hoping to make your escape. Fear not! Geocaching is a game - a scavenger hunt, really - played with the use of a handheld GPS unit and a website such as http://www.geocaching.com, where some people hide things*, and some people look for them**.
They're hidden all over the world, in cities and out in the wilderness, in local parks and on the tops of mountains, and they're a great way of exploring parts of your surroundings that you might not ordinarily know about. So, when my parents came to town and I wanted to show them around... we went caching. Conveniently enough, there was one "multi-part" cache located right in the heart of downtown Spartanburg that led us around two parks and several monuments, and right by this fella:
|It's a dinosaur. Made out of bicycle parts.|
As I've mentioned before, The Cajun and I think that the Furman University campus is really lovely, so we also spent a big chunk of a day poking around the park and lake there, confronting the scary ducks (they ran away from Mom) and finding 4 caches while we were at it. Not only is the campus beautiful, but the park is, too, and far more extensive than we'd guessed. There's also the Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail running alongside, and a disc golf course, so it's a great place to spend some time. After a morning there, I wanted to show them downtown Greenville***, so we headed down to Main Street for some lunch and a wander.
One of the nice things about caching is that it tends to lead you places you haven't been before, and our run through the Falls Park was a prime example. I've been across the bridge several times since we've moved here, but not down to the bottom of the park or towards the back where (as we discovered) Furman University used to be. It was fun to see the rest of the park, and there weren't nearly as many people down there.
|A great view of both the falls and the Liberty Bridge|
* Sometimes the traditional Tupperware or ammo can in the woods, filled with a log book and cheap trinkets, sometimes just a tiny capsule with a piece of paper for your initials. Here's one I made earlier...
|It's a Lock-N-Lock container, covered in camo duct tape. Lasted 3 years in the woods and never leaked.|
|And the insides. A log book, an explanation sheet, and some wee plastic toys (optional).|
** See also, letterboxing. Similar, but without the GPS. You'll need a compass, though.
*** Specifically, the gelato shop. And the waterfall, too.
**** Apparently, it's next to the Chick-fil-A. Who knew?