A month or so ago, I was asked to write a story for the Northwest Regional Library for one of their summer reading programs. This sounds like it will be a really fun program, when they get it all up and running. In conjunction with the area state parks, the libraries hope to offer an Intro to Geocaching class. The librarians have commissioned mystery stories, one for each park involved, to teach a bit of the history of the area of each respective state park.
The kids who attend the class will receive the initial part of the story, and after finding a series of caches will eventually find the end of the story. I think this is a really great idea. What a fun way to learn a little state history and get some fresh air at the same time. And it also encourages people to make use of Minnesota's excellent state park system.
I was assigned Lake Bronson State Park. I took a day off from motherhood and my other various vocations. I escaped to latitudes further north yet than those I generally frequent. I suppose, technically, Lake Bronson is within the same 48 degree latitude as our home. Even though it takes an hour and a half to get there, latitudianlly speaking, it's approximately 46 minutes further north.
After my hour and a half drive northward, I spent a day exploring the area around Lake Bronson and its history. This task was made much easier due to the wonderful help of Cindy at the Kittson County Historical Society. They have a fantastic museum up there. Really. I could hardly believe the extent of their collection. The museum is in Lake Bronson and is free to the public but donations are accepted.
Eventually I got my little story done, thanks to Jolene at the library and others for their help in keeping it to the requisite maximum length story. I originally thought it was Winston Churchill who once apologized for writing a long letter. But I see a couple of different phraseologies of the same idea attributed to Blaise Pascal in his Lettres Provinciales, "I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter." (Boy, how embarrassing to have wrongly attributed this saying in the past.)
At any rate, I got the story done, had great fun with my day off for researching, and finally, I decided I should find out what geocaching is all about. I'm not going to explain it here, since the web site listed below does it so much better. But I'll just say it's a global GPS treasure hunt using Latitude and Longitude coordinates.
When we were at the library recently, Joe pointed out The Joy of Geocaching, by Paul and Dana Gillin. I was reading it the other day on the way to a family outing at St. Hilaire City Park. (Yes, Joe was driving.) We picnicked and the kids played and Joe fished. After cleaning up, I took a little walk/run around the park.
When I got home, I checked the Geocaching.com website to see whether there were any geocaches in this area of Minnesota. Wow. There are a bunch, including two in the St. Hilaire City Park. Weird. I probably was very near them during my walk/run.
But I had not yet gotten my geocaching act together. Now I have. Or at least I'm in the process of getting it together. I have printed up the info on the two geocaches in St. Hillaire in case we are again at the park. I've also printed up several other clusters of caches in other areas that we frequent, so when we have a few extra minutes we can do a little searching. (There are two in Lengby, Amy; and four in Red Lake Falls, Laura.)
But today, yes today, I found my first cache. Dustin and Adam at Carco put two new tires on the van. (Thanks, you guys are great.) On the way home, we detoured to see if we could find the Twin Pines cache near Cross Lake. I really hate to have to admit, but...Joe found it first. But I was right there on the cusp of the find. Joe, however, does not have the geocache user name. I do. Hee, hee.
The cache by the Neptune Bridge has us stymied. I was over there with Elsie the other day searching, and again today with Joe. But it is surely well hidden. Yes, David and Darlene, that is us tramping around across the river from you.
So we have a new family hobby. I hope it is something we can all enjoy. Perhaps we can take some coordinates along when we go on our vacation to the North Shore in a few weeks.