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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My epic adventure

A few days ago my friend Nicole introduced me to Geocaching. If you don't know what it is and you like adventure/treasure hunting I encourage you to look it up. But here's a quick overview for the purpose of my story. You have a gps and it navigates you to pre-registered caches which may or may not contain treasure. There are a ton of these things everywhere, especially in Denton. Well today Mitch, Crockett, and I decided to go find some. We started by heading to the gas station and after filling up and getting one bottle of gatorade or water each (and a pack of sour nerds for me) we headed out. Mitch navigated me to a nature reserve (we think) way out in the middle of nowhere and after parking we began to hike. There was a path and we followed it. Our gps lead us along the path for a short while and then we had to branch off the beaten trail and walk through some overgrown shrubs. As we wandered away from the trail I begin to wonder how we'd make it back to the trail as our gps was only set to navigate towards the cache. The boys were confident in their navigation abilities and soon we found the cache. Standing still while Crockett unloaded our treasure we commented on how still the air was and how hot it became. Soon enough we had put the cache back where it belonged and I blindly followed the boys back to the path as I had no idea which direction lead where. Within a few minutes we were back on track. The path at this point was winding through some trees near a river and there was a slight breeze. It was hot, but definitely nothing too bad. We got the smart phones all set up to track the next cache and we headed off. (It was only .27ish miles away.) We walked the path until the gps told us to stray. The problem this time was that the direction it was pointing was in the middle of some serious tree/shrub/log/bush mess. It didn't look like a person could get through without a machete. Mitch and I took seat on a low tree branch/ground ready to give up and find the next one while Crockett walked around the debris to find a way in to the cache. After a while he gave up and we set up for another. We walked further on the path until we were directed yet again by the gps to stray into the wild brush. Here's where we made our mistake... We did just that. We walked through some crazy plants that scratched our legs (we were all wearing shorts) and stung like the dickens. I was also under attack by the local skeeters. We walked for much longer this time off the trail and our gps was so confused. It told us 8 feet in one direction and then without us moving it would say 18 feet in the opposite direction. Once again Mitch and I were ready to head back to the trail as we were covered in spiderwebs and fuzz from the greenspurpokies which was very uncomfortable. (For those of you unfamiliar with the greespurpokie plant, I named it today. It's pronounced green-spur-pokey.) Crockett, however, was once again determined to find this cache. This time his determination paid off and he found it! After discovering it's treasures we headed back to the path. Quickly we realized we weren't sure which direction that was. But after many more scratches, our legs feeling as if they were on fire, and a quick and startling appearance of a fox (we think) we discovered a path! We continued down it ready to go back to the car. Our legs hurt and we were out of water/gatorade. After a good while the path let out into a field. We were no longer under the shade and the ridiculous Texas heat was pouring out it's wrath on our heads. (And faces and arms and legs.) We eventually got back under some trees and noticed we were walking into a swamp. The path slowly turned into mud and we saw hundreds of baby frogs. I was wearing Toms today (unaware of where my feet would be taking me on this journey.) and they became completely stuck in the mud. I was beginning to get upset because these Toms are only two weeks old and very expensive for a girl who buys $2 flip flops at Old Navy. I was the self-designated caboose throughout the hiking as I wanted the boys who are taller and broader than me to catch all the spider webs first. (Also, they had the smart phones with a gps.) Right as I began to complain that my shoes were getting stuck in the mud Mitch turned around to tell me not to walk in the middle, but along the edges where it wasn't as wet. Before he finished his sentence we both saw that I was about 2 feet from a mud colored poisonous snake curled up right in the middle of the path. I immediately panicked and turned around only to get stuck in more mud. I made it to the edge of the path about 4 feet away from the snake where I held on to a tree and stood in complete and total fear. Tears began to come and my brave husband rushed to me, picked me up and carried me away from the snake. We decided we would turn around and go the long way around the reserve so we didn't have to pass through the swamp/snake. So on we walked for about an hour along a path without tree covering. Mitch, who had been to this place before, began to recognize the area and said we were getting close. We were on the edge of the pond and would just have to walk around the edge and we'd be back and the place where we parked the car. At this point I was just telling myself I had to make it because we were incredibly close and the more I pushed through now the sooner I'd get water. I was so thirsty and getting very dizzy. I prayed silently that God would give me some endurance because as anyone who knows me can testify to, I have NONE. I didn't want to be a sissy because I was the only girl, but at this point I was pretty much over this adventure. So we begin to round the edge of the pond and we notice that the path dead ends. We couldn't go any further. I saw some shade and sat down thinking this wasn't possible. The boys went on a little to see if there was any way to pass through only to come back and report we had no choice but to turn around and go back at which I responded with, "Who do we know that has a helicopter?" After a short break in the shade and mustering up some strength to push forward we turned around and walked another hour in the blistering heat. Mitch turned his shirt into a turban and we began to tell stories to pass the time. (Mitch's good idea to distract me. I was quite miserable because at this point my fingers were so swollen that my rings were stuck on my fingers and hurting pretty bad. I walked the rest of the way with my hands raised above my heart.) We took turns telling a tale of 2 adventurers and a lady seeking treasure on the top of a mountain which was guarded by monks until finally we came back under the shaded part of the path. We took a right at the fork because the left lead to the snake and shortly our path came to a dead end. I think we were all a little shocked at how much worse things seemed to be getting each time we thought it couldn't get worse. So I sat down and Mitch was left to guard me while Crockett ran back. I wasn't sure where he was going. I was trying to convince myself that I could get past that snake because the swamp path seemed to be our only option. Mitch and I heard Crockett telling us to follow so we did and soon we came to another fork where we realized left was to the snake and right was the way we had come. We headed right and soon after heard a loud and startling noise that can only best be described as the sound a T-Rex makes. (Crockett says it was a tree, but I know a T-Rex when I hear one.) Soon enough though we began to pass familiar ground and eventually another human being! We took turns telling another story to pass the time and it was quite a tale I must say. Lancelot and Arthur saving Guinevere from the tower which was really a maze guarded by a magic dragon. Eventually we came to the open field which was the beginning of the path; the car was only about 1/4 a mile away!!! I however, was done for as the last leg of the path into the field was uphill. Mitch spotted the road through the shrubs and I walked straight to it and laid on the pavement on the shoulder. Mitch once again was instructed to guard me and Crockett ran all the way back to the car and drove up the road to where we waited. Utterly exhausted and a little dehydrated we arrived back at home over FOUR hours later than when we had left. I enjoyed a tasty glass of water and waited until my fingers went back to their normal size so I could take the rings off. Now I'm in need of a shower and some food. Man... what. a. day.

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