Monday, August 30, 2010

A Cross Country Treasure Hunt

This year for our summer vacation we went to Wyoming.  While we were there, we visited Afton (Star Valley), Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Gardner (Montana), Fossil Butte and Fossil Safari, Intermitent Springs, and even Granite Hot Springs where we got the chance to play in a hot spring pool.  Afton was where we spent most of our time because we had relatives there.  My dad's Aunt Margaret and Uncle George have lived there for 33 years and know a lot about the area.
Evelyn and me with Aunt Margaret and Uncle George in Afton, Wyoming

As with most every trip we take, geo-caching is part of close to every day.  If you're not familiar with geo-caching, go to the website and check it out.  You basically plug in coordinates into a GPS and follow the directions to take you to a micro, small, medium, or regular cache.  A good GPS will take you to within 10 feet or less of the cache. 

One of the first caches we did on this trip was a "dino" cache that was micro.  It looked like a bolt on a sign, but actually it was the cache and had a log inside for us to sign.  While we were there, we got to go into the "dino" shop across the street that the cache was named after.  I was astonished when the shop owner actually took us back to his workroom and showed us all of his fossils.  You might just jump out of your socks when you hear this next part.  He let us use his tools to uncover a fossil!  You held the air tool like a pencil and went around the fossil being careful not to break it.  He let my dad and my sister, Evelyn, try it as well.  I can't wait to uncover it all!  What a great start to the geo-caching vacation.

A micro cache

Dad and me with Earlvis

During our trip to Yellowstone, 5 days and 4 nights, we didn't go hunting for geo-caches.  National Parks don't allow geo-caching because some people view it as a form of littering. 

Upon our return to Afton (our home away from home), we went geo-caching again.  This time Dad and I went by ourselves.  I think it was Bridger-Teton National Forest and Swift Creek where a bridge was that lead to a trail.   We went less than half a mile to another trail that went upward towards the geo-cache.  It took us a few minutes to find it, but we found it.  Believe it or not, we discovered that it was made by Scouts!  It was a regular-sized cache with some goodies inside.  We took a surfboard eraser and left some Amazonite (from Moorefield Mine) and some shells.  That might end up being my favorite cache of the trip since it was assembled by Scouts.

Star Valley has an actual star on the mountainside that we can see from Aunt Margaret and Uncle George's house.  Aunt Margaret says," When the senior class is getting ready to graduate, the upcoming senior class is changing the date and fixing up the star.  They even light it up for graduation night!"  I knew that as soon as I saw it, I wanted to climb up and see it.  Luckily, it turned out there were TWO geo-caches up there.  One was at that very star and another was at the old star...even higher.  Dad and I did these together.  The one on the lower star was regular-sized and I took a dog tag and a squirrel pencil topper.  The higher one was a long walk up and was a micro-cache.  Once again, we put Amazonite into each cache.  We signed our geo-caching name and headed down towards the car.  It was an exhausting walk, but definitely worth it!
Located the Lower Star geo-cache

My dad and I with Earlvis at the Lower Star

Micro cache at the Old Star from Star Valley...see Earlvis?
If you've never geo-cached before, you just might want to start.  All you need is a GPS and possibly a friend to do it with.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.  Either I can help you or my dad can.

Off to look for another cache!