It was 4:13pm on a school day, the first day back from Spring Break, and I had just asked Sonny to sit down and begin his homework and Doobie was supposed to be cleaning up messes from his day at home, but suddenly I started rushing about getting my shoes on and gathering my handbag and car keys. I had just received an email notification that there was a new geocache in the park only a two-minute car ride away. Here was another chance for us to be FTF, or First to Find.
Sonny and I had tried once before. The notification came in one evening after he had already gone to bed. It turned out the new geocache was on the way to school if we took a different route than usual. I snuck into his room to see if he was still awake. He was so I asked if he wanted to try to be FTF on the way to school. There was even a prize for FTF, a bison tube, whatever that was. He was eager so I told him we would only be able to try it if he hustled in the morning and was ready to go 15 minutes earlier than usual, which is tough when the usual departure time is 7:30.
Usually, my husband takes him to school in the morning, but I offered to take him that morning. Sonny did good getting ready in the morning and we were out the door as planned. We found GZ, ground zero, easily. It was a twisty, spooky looking tree right along the street. We were able to park right in front of it. It was early in the morning so we didn’t have to watch out for muggles. It was just us and the occasional passing car. There was a knot in the tree and using our geosense we guessed that’s where the cache would be. And it was, but sadly we were not FTF. We missed it by 45 minutes. We were second to find. Sonny was disappointed since the prize was already taken.
So when I got the notification for this most recent one that was so close to our home and it wasn’t too late to try for it, I seized the opportunity. The kids eagerly joined me. I was ready to leave without them if they hesitated even for a moment. Luckily, Dad was working at home that day so I could have left them if I needed to do. I rarely see Sonny put his shoes on so quickly and Doobie left in pj’s and slippers (he’d already taken a bath). Doobie wanted to scooter to the park but there was no time for that.
Once we arrived at the park and were walking towards GZ, I started reading the description of the cache to the kids. It was called “Rancho Park Red Cross”. Before I had even finished reading the description, Sonny yelled out, “I found it!” He had seen it before he had even started looking for it. The blue container stood out like a sore thumb.
It seemed like an amateur had placed this cache. “Cache” wasn’t even spelled correctly. There was no log nor pen inside it, only a few random items like a guitar pick, a business card showing muscular men (and “HOT” scribbled next to one of them), and an electronic tracker of some sort from Elle and Christine’s 18th Birthday.
The kids were disappointed in the pickings. I was disappointed there was no log to prove we were FTF. It was kind of an anticlimactic end to what started out as something with great potential. Luckily, I had a pad of paper in my geocaching kit and ripped out a couple of pages to create a makeshift log. Doobie grabbed the electronic tracker thing. Sonny didn’t take anything. We left a couple of small superhero minifigures so the next kids to find it would feel more fulfilled. We quickly logged our find online while at GZ so no one would try to claim it before us. And then we headed home a bit dejected. Hopefully, we’ll have another opportunity to be FTF and it will feel like we actually accomplished something!