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Geocaching

Alaska Day 12 – 7.11.12

Wednesday in Juneau! We chose not to do any excursions in Juneau so we could have a day to explore and do whatever we wanted. We decided to grab the GPS and head to the aerial tramway for a ride to the top of Mount Roberts for a hike and geocache. On our way to the tram, we saw a couple yachts, including this one.

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Just a normal boat . . . the fun part was that it was from CO!

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We had to giggle at this sign – all was normal until the second to last line.

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We had some great views from our aerial tram car as we went up Mount Roberts. Here’s a good one of our ship.

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We haven’t talked about the ship much, but it was cool! See the pool on the top deck near the middle by the green lawn? There’s a movie screen attached to the green lawn, so we could sit by the pool each evening and watch a movie.

 

Here’s a view of Juneau. I still think it’s weird that they chose a capital you can’t drive to!

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Dude and Princess thought the Totem on our hike was pretty cool!

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It was quite rainy and cool out, and we had to navigate some snow to get to the geocache.

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The waterfalls on the hillsides were beautiful! Looks just like Hawaii.

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The GPS led us to this spot, but the kiddos had a tough time finding the cache.

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With a little more searching, we found an awesome geocache in Juneau!

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Hubby had to have a picture with the airport, which was really cool! Having to fly though that valley to get to the airport – it was fun watching the large planes navigate in and out.

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Family photo at the top of Mt. Roberts – Yes, those are clouds right behind us.

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We headed back down and walked around town for awhile, because the kids definitely had not been through enough stores with trinkets, t-shirts, and slippers! We had an awesome fish and chips lunch on the dock while we watched float planes come and go. Then we found this!

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Dude thought he’d died and gone to heaven! Where else could you buy an RC airplane, Alaska socks, fabric by the yard, and shampoo all in the same store?

 

On our way back to the ship, we came across another M.A.S.H. sign – apparently those Alaskans like their M.A.S.H!

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This sign on the little Chamber of Commerce building made me giggle.

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We headed back to the ship for our 3:30 departure. Princess had been giggling at her bed the entire time and had to take a picture of it. Nice normal bunk that drops out of the ceiling …

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And then you read the warning sign…

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Really?! What else are you going to do with a top bunk other than let children sleep in it???

Anyhoo, we had a great day exploring Juneau. Princess really wanted to hang out at the pool, so we headed down there. Of course she ran into some friends from Kid’s Club and ended up playing with them in the pool for hours! Hubby, Dude, and I settled into some lawn chairs and watched a movie on the big screen outside . . . We Bought A Zoo. We weren’t going to formal dinner that night, so we all just got ice cream and shakes and pizza and burgers whenever we wanted it while we watched the movie. A great ending to our afternoon!

We headed back to the room to clean up a bit before going to the evening show in the theater. Back to the stateroom pretty early so we could get some rest before our day in Ketchikan – deep sea fishing!

Geocaching in Red Feather

We woke up Friday to another beautiful morning. They boys grabbed breakfast and I gave them my blessing to head out kayaking and fishing while I packed up camp. We couldn’t pick up the girls from Girl Scout camp until 5:00 p.m., so we weren’t in any hurry.

We packed up and had to leave the campground by 1:00 p.m. The boys, of course, had kayaked and fished until it was time to leave, so we tossed the stuff on top of the camper and headed to a small cafe next to the campground and had some lunch. We had 3 hours to kill, so we decided to go grab some geocaches in the area. I will say, that it’s A LOT easier geocaching without a pop up attached to your vehicle! I got REALLY good at backing up the trailer and turning around on forest service roads!

Our first cache was called Allen’s Cache and was on a forest service road by a small lake. What a great spot!

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It’s always fun to find the caches. We get to go a lot of places we never would’ve thought to go. But for the boys, it’s also fun to get out the loot bag and make a trade for something in the cache.

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Next up was a cache called Gnome. The note said the cache was inside a garden gnome. I wasn’t sure if there would be a spot to turn around the camper, so we walked the 1/2 mile to the cache (turns out there was a nice spot to turn around, as Dude and H pointed out to me as we hiked in the heat!).

We thought for sure this was the gnome, so we all took off running to it to be the first to find it. Nevermind that we totally ignored the GPS and the fact that it said we were still 1/3 of a mile away :-)

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We started walking down the road in the animal habitat and saw this sign:

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We giggled, until we kept walking and figured out where we were. We were in the land of Gnomes! Along our walk to the gnome that was the cache, we saw all kinds of fun stuff :-)

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We had a great time looking at all the gnomes. After we all ran to many gnomes that were NOT the cache, Dude finally found it:

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Dude and H had fun signing the log and checking out the loot in the cache. What did Dude choose? Dinosaur Poop :-)

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On our way back to the car, we saw this guy flying around with the gnomes and had to giggle:

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After hiking back to the car, we had still had some time and we were having fun, so we headed out for the next cache – Fuddbutt’s Deadman’s Cache on Deadman’s road :-) Again, I wasn’t sure there’d be a spot to turn the trailer around, so I found a wide spot on the forest service road and turned around. It took quite a while . . . at one point H said “I feel like we’re just going back and forth and not doing anything.” Um – he was right 😉 But I finally got it without running into the ditch, and we started our 1/3 mile hike up the hill to the cache. Sometime I’d like to go back and drive to Deadman’s hill.

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We had some great views when we found this cache!

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We logged the cache and moved on, deciding to hike up another 1/3 mile to the next cache. We picked out some great camping spots on the way, and found a great spot for turning the car around with the trailer 😉

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After signing the log and checking out the area a bit, we headed back down the hill on the half mile hike to the car. We were all hot and tired and ready to pick up the girls.

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We were 4th in line to pick up the girls and headed out on our drive home. All told, we all had a great time! The girls absolutely loved camp, the boys had a great time doing what boys do, and I enjoyed my quiet time. The 3-hour ride home was again uneventful driving-wise; however, there was a lot more singing from the girls (new girl scout songs!), a lot more pestering from the boys, and a bit more yelling from the front seat for the boys to stop being annoying and the girls to stop whining about the boys being annoying :-)

But, we all made it. The girls can’t wait to go again next year for a whole week, and the boys can’t wait for another chance to go camping.

Geocaching 2012

Long long ago in a land far far away before baseball schedules and work got in the way, the Boedies headed up to Breckenridge for a few days to get our of town for spring break. Our awesome friends, M and MS, let us use their condo for part of the week. We were way excited to get out of town for a while, but we were bummed that the weather was so warm and the snow was terrible. We didn’t even take our snowboards with! Instead, we packed the GPS, hiking boots, and geocaching loot :-)

We headed up Wednesday afternoon early enough to stop at our favorite Mexican restaurant/bowling alley on the way up for dinner. We got a couple good games of bowling in, ate our favorite most awesomest bison burritos smothered in bison chili, then headed to the condo. The kids unpacked in about 3 minutes and jumped right into the hot tub, which gave Hubby and me an opportunity to hang out, relax, and decompress.

Thursday morning we got up, had yummy breakfast, and headed out for our first geocaching of the year! We snagged our first official cache off of Boreas Pass road. We stopped at a pull-out part way up and hiked down a little way where we met up with the trail. Here are Hubby and Princess on our first forest hike of the year :-)

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As you can see, even up at altitude, there wasn’t any snow. That gives you an indication of how warm and unsnowy it’s been up there!  Turns out we could’ve hiked up from the park in town . . . but when you hike up, you don’t tend to see as much of the good scenery as you do on the way down . . . like this awesome view of Breckenridge ski area:

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We were all pretty excited when we found the first cache :-)

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The kiddos found the regular cache loot in there . . . stretchy people, a deck of cards, other odds and ends :-) They made their trade, signed the log, and we headed back to the car to head to the next trail, which was our actual destination for the day. It was a 1.5 mile hike up to the abandoned Sallie Barber mine. We were on the northwest side of the mountain most of the time, so we had to hike on hard crunchy snow most of the way.

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It was such a beautiful day that we took our time, enjoyed the view, and took breaks here and there. Here are my 3 favorite people resting on a fence that seemed to be here for no apparent reason.

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We reached the entrance to the mine, and were a bit disappointed. The notes said it was a very scenic area! Instead, we found this:

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So we took some pictures and looked around for the cache. Then someone had the very bright idea to actually check the GPS to see where the cache was. Turns out, we were still 1/10th of a mile away! So we kept hiking up the hill until we came out at this!

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The views from the back side were very cool. The kiddos enjoyed dropping rocks down the shaft to see how far down it went and exploring the old pieces of machinery used to operate the mine.

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Up in the forest a ways, the kiddos found geocache #2 for the day!

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Princess was way excited to find a neat deck of cards, and Dude was beyond happy to find a CD of Louis Armstrong, who is his trumpet teacher’s favorite trumpet player guy. Dude decided to take the CD so he could give it to Jon. Can I just say how happy it makes me to see him think of other people and get so excited about it :-)

After some more exploring, we headed back down the trail back to the condo for some lunch and game playing. QT and Ed came to stay with us for the night, which we were very happy about :-) After a yummy dinner at the brewery, the adults played a fun new game, while the kiddos relaxed their tired selves in the hot tub. I had to giggle because the hot tub is right outside the window to the condo. The screens were off the windows when we got there, so the kiddos requested that we turn on The Big Bang Theory on TV and open the windows so they could watch from the hot tub. Ahhhh – a dream come true 😉

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After hot tubbing, snacking, and showering, Princess was apparently too tired to make it the 5 feet to her bedroom for the night.

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A definite sleeping beauty!

A great ending to fun, outdoorsy day to start the spring :-)

Pancakes Anyone?

After my adventure in Manhattan, I was TOTALLY needing to get up to the mountains with my family. So on Sunday morning, we loaded up the kids, the dog, the backpacks, and the GPS and headed out for a hike.

We decided to hike to Pancake Rocks. We’d been on the trail before to go to Horsethief Falls, but had never taken the additional 2 mile trail to the pancakes. The first 3/4 of a mile is up hill – not bad, but definitely up hill. We were geocaching on the hike, so we took a little detour on the Ring the Peak trail to hunt for our first cache.

Have boulder, will climb.

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Half a mile down the trail we got to the location . . . but had no luck to start with. Then Dude (who must’ve actually been listening to me at some point in the past month!) mumbled the finding-the-cache-mantra “Natural, but out of place . . . natural, but out of place.” He rummaged around under a giant pine tree and found a string hanging from a branch . . . he followed the string and VOILA! We found our first cache of the day.

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It’s always fun to see what’s in the caches. This one was a microcache, so there wasn’t really room to trade anything, but they signed the log and left a little bouncy ball anyway.

After back tracking to the regular trail, we finally came to the turnoff for the Pancake Rocks trail. Woo hoo! We were totally unprepared for this little 2 miles one way hike. We didn’t know we would gain 1400 vertical feet in 2 miles of trail . . . that’s like the trail hiking up Pikes Peak. We kept going, switch back after switch back, waiting for it to level out. I have to say I’m proud of the kiddos for doing so awesome – it was toasty in the woods with no breeze – they did awesome just hiking and hiking without complaining.

Dude and Princess always seemed to find something to “do” during our little rest stops.

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No they didn’t build that, but it sure was fun to plan on/in/around :-) Off we were back up the trail. We were so excited when the trail leveled off at “the top” cuz when you reach the top, you’re there, right? Wrong! After a brief flat walk, the trail took us DOWN  . . . which of course meant going up on our way back down . . . ya, I know. Turns out we had to go down and up three times after we’d reached the top! But, looking for the geocaches always makes it a bit more interesting – we found cache #2 at a perfect time we all could’ve used a little rest and snack anyway.

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Checking out the log is always fun. Dude and Princess also dropped their travel bugs in there . . . we’d picked one up in a cache in MAY when we went to Grand Lake and the other a week or so ago at Fox Run Park – so the bugs are now officially travelling. Yay! Signed the log and Princess traded her compass for a teeny tiny eraser.

Off to the pancakes! We had to be close . . . but we started to doubt it a bit because it seemed like we’d gone more than 2 miles and it didn’t seem like there would be any coolness just around the next bend or at the top of the next hill.

*** I don’t have any idea why we didn’t check the GPS at the beginning to see how many miles we’d hiked so we had some clue. We’re smart that way. GPSes are for geocaching, not personal location, right? 😉 ***

We kept on and finally made it here…

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… stacks of pancakes! Got butter? Syrup?

Nope . . . but we did have PB&J and chips and water and beef jerky . . . so we all picked our spot for lunch. Dude and Princess always find the coolest spots – literally and figuratively :-)

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The boy and his dog always have fun hiking and climbing around. Every little boy should have a dog!

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We had to take our family photo – you never know when we’ll get that one shot we want to actually put on the Christmas card.

*** 1) it’s not easy to set a camera up to take your picture higher than the camera will be, even with the coolest little tripod ever made 2) after hiking to the pancakes, it’s not easy to make your legs RUN up rocks and climb a bit to get into the picture before the timer goes off in 10 seconds 3) I have no idea where Duma was when we took the picture – probably off pretending to be a mountain goat. ***

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We wandered around for a while and found a REALLY cool old sleigh thingy – wooden skis that were rounded to form the sleigh and they had metal nailed to the bottom so they’d actually go on the snow. Definitely looked like there was a spot to tie up a horse . . . maybe it was old, maybe it wasn’t . . . but it was still cool, and we’ll still pretend it was super old and someone tried to be pulled over the mountain with their horses in winter and had to dump the sleigh and just ride the horses down the other side with all the rocks.

We did find cache #3 on our way down.

On the way up, I may or may not have told the kids they couldn’t possibly be going the right way to get the cache and they needed to get back on the trail because the trails usually turn and go right to the caches when they’re a 1 or 2 difficulty and oh my god you don’t know what’s behind that big stack of boulders and you might get eaten by a mountain lion or you might fall right off a cliff to your death and how would we get you out and I don’t want to return all of your school supplies to the store because I can’t handle going to Walmart twice in one week!

They may or may not have found the cache exactly where they were headed on the way up.

I probably hung my head and apologized to them.

But oh – the pancakes . . . look at the pretty pancakes!

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Ahhhhhhh . . . family, rocks, trees, SILENCE, and amazing blue sky with big fluffy white clouds.

Home Sweet Home.

Memorial Day Weekend – Day 2 – A Complete Bust

It only got worse from Day 1 . . . on Day 2, we woke up and headed back to Grand Lake for buffet breakfast at the Fat Cat Cafe – TOTALLY worth it. Yummy! The English couple that runs the place is delightful, and the food (especially the pastries and other desserts) is amazing.

With full tummies, we headed back to the cabin to change and get ready for some geocaching! Lo and Behold, the lure of a gravel road around a large beautiful lake got the best of us. There was a campground? Only 9 miles down that dusty dirt road? Of course we went to check it out!

We were not disappointed. The drive itself was fun, but we were happy as clams when we discovered the campground. Finally, a secluded campground that didn’t have all the trees cut down from the beetle kill. We decided to head up the road a little further to check out a little lake that was supposedly up there . . . we were not disappointed. Always ready, we grabbed our gear out of the Highlander and did this.

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Again, no luck in the actually catching fish department, but it was quiet and rustic and beautiful and the kids were content. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Back to the cabin, we got our gear to go geocaching! The first one said “there might be a little brush bashing if you take the direct route from the trailhead rather than stay on the trail.” A little brush bashing my ass! THIS was the brush bashing:

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Along with the first successful geocache find of the day, Dude and Princess also found this awesome little “fort” as they called it.

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Back on the trail, we had successful find of geocache #2 beneath a Juniper bush about 100 yards up (and down and around) the trail.

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Back on the trail, Dude started to lead us to geocache #3. After a little while, I made him read me the clue again . . . something about an awesome view of some Peak off to the southeast. Hmmmmmmm . . . if the peak we can see is to the southeast, why are we heading DOWN the trail to the northwest? “Because that’s what the arrow says!” I just have to say that if it weren’t for my logical thinking that maybe, just maybe, the trail that goes up might take a sharp turn, we’d have followed Dude into lala land. The electronics are not foolproof – or 9 year old proof (or 39 year old proof for that matter).

Anyhoo, we had successful geocache #4 find about a mile later.

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For those of you who are not familiar with geocaching, you go online to the geocaching web site, locate geocaches you want to find, and download the coordinates into your GPS. You can also print the clues and decipher them for a little help. Then you head out hiking and follow the arrows and distances on the GPS to get you to the cache. Caches can be of all shapes and sizes . . . they usually have a log book to record your name and the date of the find and also have little trinkets inside to trade. If you take something, you must leave something . . . this, of course, is the most fun of geocaching for the kids – the hike is the fun part for me and Hubby :-) Princess hit the motherlode in this geocache and traded a little marble maze toy for a shiny purply fish necklace.

Then we headed on to geocache #4 . . . which required a drive in the car. Successful find #4 was here:

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Princess got HUGE eyes when she saw a tube of glittery lip gloss in the tin! I put the cabosh on that trade because it didn’t have a safety seal on it – explaining to Princess why she couldn’t have lip gloss without a seal. She was all bummed, but wasn’t willing to give up the fish necklace for anything else in there.

Then we got half way back to the car . . . and Dude decided he didn’t like his trade and wanted to go back – so he and Princess went back while Hubby and I went to the car. The kiddos got back and we were off. Then we realized Princess had taken the lip gloss; so we made her give it to us so we could throw it away. Oh. My. GAWD! Complete tired hungry thirsty 7 year old girl tantrum – right there in the car. We got to the trailhead of geocache #5 and I stayed in the car with Princess while Hubby and Dude went searching . . . it was an easy find. I got out to help them because they found the location, but not the cache. Princess followed me . . . we had successful geocache #5 find for the day, and Dude made the appropriate trades and signed the log.

How fun! 5 for 5 – WOO HOO!

Time for awesome dinner at a little pub in town before heading to a local kids’ fishing pond to try for some more fish. Amazingly, this happened!

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And then this happened!

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Could it be a trout big enough to actually keep and maybe eat? Why yes, yes it is . . . until it falls off the hook back into the lake because Dude didn’t bring it onto shore while I shouted over and over at him to look at me so I could get a picture of the very first big enough to eat fish he’s caught.

No fish for us.

Oh well – s’mores at the cabin were a good consolation prize.

Awesome breakfast, great finds on campgrounds and secluded fishing lakes, successful 5 for 5 day hiking and geocaching, yummy dinner, successful fishing, and s’mores. Yes – Day 2 was definitely a complete bust. Check back to see how terrible our last day – Day 3 – turned out to be!

What I Learned Over Spring Break Part IV – 03/20/10

I learned that . . .

. . . for the 3rd morning in a row, my kids did not eat a good breakfast.

. . . Hubby took the kids to get donuts while I showered and packed.

. . . my kids could probably live on sugar if I let them.

. . . they were ready to get in the car and drive home so they could play with their friends.

. . . they were less than thrilled when we said we wanted to walk across the bridge to shop.

. . . they were very excited when we took the GPS with and found an earth-cache!

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. . . the hot spring earth cache is cool!

. . . you need to answer some questions and post a picture of yourself by the cache before you can consider it found.

. . . skunks do not survive when they climb into a hot spring.

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. . . one reason Hubby loaded the 2nd cache into the GPS was because it was at the airport.

. . . Dude refuses to believe that the GPS isn’t exactly on target.

. . . Dude will stand exactly where the GPS told him to be and pout when he can’t find the cache.

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. . . Dude will refuse to consider the clues for the geocache when trying to find it.

. . . Hubby and I will continue to look for the cache while we consider the clues.

. . . Dude will be ecstatic when we find the cache.

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. . . Dude will be bummed when there aren’t any cool things in the cache.

. . . Princess is more than happy to trade her really neato Hot Springs Resort and Spa hotel card for a rubber purple bracelet.

. . . a hotel card fits perfectly into an Altoids tin.

. . . all pilots will think that a plowed runway with mountains in the background is cool.

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. . . my Hubby will wade through shin deep snow to try to get a picture of said runway and mountains.

. . . my kids will moan and groan when you tell them we’re eating dinner at a Mexican restaurant before we leave town.

. . . my kids will love the food and eat a ton of it.

. . . the drive back on Saturday is more car-filled than the drive to there on Wednesday.

. . . when semi-trucks have an accident on the highway outside of Alamosa, the cops will flag you to take a detour.

. . . the detour is not marked.

. . . the detour is not paved.

. . . the detour is a sand road in the dessert.

. . . you just drive around on the sand roads and hope you get back to the highway.

. . . you may run into a semi truck that looks like it got stuck in the sand 10 years ago and have to turn around and find a different sand road to take.

. . . following the dust from the vehicles in front of you is helpful.

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. . . someone had big plans for this area of land.

. . . someone went through the trouble to plot lots and even name roads with road signs for the new neighborhood.

. . . the neighborhood would have had a great view of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

. . . the neighborhood never happened.

. . . the road signs are all rusted and bent.

. . . it was kind of sad to see someones dreams and hard work not completed.

. . . driving over Wolf Creek Pass in the snow gets your car wet.

. . . driving on a sand road with a wet car makes your car dirty.

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. . . snowboards on a hitch rack also get dirty.

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. . . there are still small towns out there that are actually small towns.

. . . gas stations do exist that sell only cans of pop.

. . . the drive over La Veta pass is pretty.

. . . you need to pay attention and be ready to completely stop on the highway behind a huge line of cars.

. . . you need to be flexible enough to realize there’s nothing you can do about it.

. . . you need to be fun enough to push your kids into the snow when you turn the car off and get out.

. . . 11 year old boys think they’re the smartest people on the planet.

. . . 11 year old boys think that 37 year old women don’t know what rumble strips on the side of the road are for.

. . . 11 year old boys need to know when to stop talking.

. . . kids think walking down the middle of a 2-lane highway is really cool.

. . . it is possible for there to be 2 different single-semi accidents on the same highway in the same day, causing detours and backups.

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. . . Texans need to take courses in gas station etiquette.

. . . two vehicles with Texas plates will pull into a busy gas station and stop at the first pump, making you throw your hands in the air and mouth “Um, really?”

. . . owners of two vehicles with Texas plates will innocently mouth to you “Oh. Do you want me to pull forward to the next pump?”

. . . those kinds of things annoy me.

. . . my Hubby is much better at not getting annoyed by those things.

. . . gas station bathrooms are still gross.

. . . taking swimming suits used in natural hot springs out of plastic bags is yucko.

. . . even if you unscrew the hose from the faucet, the water in the hose will freeze.

. . . when there’s frozen water in a hose, you can’t use it.

. . . when you can’t use the hose, you have to use a bucket and sponge to clean off dirt-covered boards and bike/board racks.

. . . cleaning dirt-covered snowboards and bike/board racks in 30 degree weather makes your hands chilly.

. . . my family sleeps really well when get into our own beds after an awesomely fun mini-vacation.

Stay tuned to see what I learned in part V of Spring Break!

The First Three Geocaches Have Been Found!

Dude has been wanting to go geocaching – he LOVES to hike, and ever since we found 3 caches by accident last summer, he’s been dying to try it. Lucky him, Grandma and Grandpa bought him a GPS for Christmas (yes, he’s spoiled by his grandparents – all 6 of them!), and his Godmother bought him a Geocaching log book and portable shovel.

So last weekend, he and Hubby got the GPS all ready to go, loaded 3 geocaches into it, and we headed to the park down the street. It’s a huge regional park with tons of hiking trails and trees and ponds and playgrounds. Dude and Princess had a couple friends over, so I took one two-radio and they took the other (another Christmas gift – thanks Aunt Dawn and Uncle Pat!) and off they went while I played ball with Duma. It took them one hour to find all 3 geocaches! Each time they found one they’d call me on the radio and tell me all about it – they were so excited! And I was totally excited that they had so much fun :-) It’s so great that they are such good kids that I could trust them in the park finding the caches.

Next time, we’ll put some more challenging caches in there for a family hike. I can’t wait to get out there and find some caches – I just wish we’d had the GPS last summer when we got to go on all of our awesome hikes. I see some rehikes in our future this summer :-)

How about you – do you Geocache?