geocaching.gifI hate it when plans don’t work out. It’s embedded in my personality I think. And, you know what’s crazy? The forecast on Friday was for a pretty miserable weekend, so I had planned (in my mind) for a pretty miserable weekend. And, wouldn’t you know it? It turned out to be a beautiful weekend. And in some small corner of my mind, I was irritated that things didn’t go as planned! Crazy.

Anyway, despite the expected miserableness, we planned to grab a few geocaches down in Stanley Park on Saturday (the expected better of the two days). If it was wet and cold, we’d go to the aquarium. As it turns out, it wasn’t. We grabbed four caches while strolling around the park in the morning. For the most part they were pretty easy but one of the caches, near the totem poles at the eastern end of the park, was pretty challenging. For one thing, it was out in the open — a magnetic micro cache attached to the back of a interpretive plaque. For another thing, there were somewhere between one and 10 million tourists milling about. Ok, maybe a little less, but there were seven (7!) tour busses parked at this particular spot. So how did we get the cache? Gwen went into Ninja Mode! With me shielding the plaque with Aidan and the stroller, she bent towards the cache and slipped the cache so stealthily from the back of the plaque that even I didn’t see her do it. We retreated through the throngs, logged our visit, and with equal casualness, Gwen replaced the cache like it had never been moved. Frankly, I was in awe. Here’s a shot near the cache of a Great Blue Heron doing some fishing. Stanley Park is home to more than 70 GBH nests.


The boy was getting pretty antsy and tired so we beat it back to the house for a nap. Well, that was the plan. First we stopped by the statue of Lord Stanley (sans Cup) because we were supposed to get a photo of the statue with the GPSr in frame in order to log one of the caches. Unfortunately the statue seemed to be the site of a drug deal, so Gwen took the photo from a distance.


And then, we thought we’d check out *one more cache* near the head of the Lion’s Gate. Unfortunately, I drove by the parking lot nearest the cache, and what with Stanley Park Drive being one-way only, we had to drive to the top of the hill (at Prospect Point). This wasn’t too bad; the cache was at the bottom of the hill (a 45m drop according to the topo in the GPS) so we got out and back-tracked down the trail. Some 10-15 minutes later we were at the bottom of the hill, milling about the inside of the hair-pin turn peering at one of the Real Big Trees. 5 or 10 minutes later, we were searching around in quiet desperation. See, I had left the PDA in the truck and so while we had the coordinates of the cache, we had nothing else. Purists will say that’s the way to do it, but we’re not purists. We don’t mind *easy*. Anyway, you can see where this is going. We didn’t find the cache, and went back up the trail empty handed, tails between our legs.

The drive out of the park was interesting. It was the first time since the Big Wind Storm (an extratropical cyclone that blew through in December) that we had drive through the western part of the park, and seen the amount of devastation of the forest there. It seemed incredible to see the huge tree trunks and blow-downs on the side of the road. And, to see West Van from the road.

Back to the house, time for a nap. After the nap … back to Stanley Park to grab the cache that we didn’t get! This time, we stopped at the correct parking lot, watched a cruise ship leave the harbour (there were 5 or 6 in or leaving port that day) and cross under the Lion’s Gate Bridge.



As you can see, I had Aidan in the backpack. He loves the backpack, but he doesn’t get to ride in it too often. Side note — like the haircut? You, of course, read about that on Gwen’s blog, right?

Well, it took us about 5 minutes to walk to the hairpin (on level ground) and less than 5 minutes to find the cache. In fact, Gwen walked right to it.

Buoyed by our success, we wandered drove down to First Beach to grab *one more cache*. This one was also within easy reach, but unfortunately there was someone sleeping on the bench that we think we were supposed to be looking around/under. Darned muggles.

Hmmmm, it’s late. And I’m almost totally engrossed in watching Jamie Foxx on Inside the Actor’s Studio. What an incredibly intelligent, charismatic, and engaging man. A little later in the week, I’ll serve up “One More Cache: Part II, or In Richmond, Bunnies are Evil.”