The other morning I got up at 5am and started working and determined to get stuff done that morning I went right to it. I really have to turn off the sound my computer makes when I get an e-mail because no matter what I am doing it breaks my concentration and I just have to check. This particular 5:30am e-mail was a notification that there was a new cache just published in my area. Oh no….I have to work but I could be the first to find. I tried to talk myself out of going but my thoughts quickly started to betray me and I was soon on my way. I would not be gone long and since it was before 6am and I had a very good chance of being the first there and besides, it didn’t sound like a hard cache to find. Can I stop this hobby from being an obsession and constantly taking me away from work? The important thing is that I was first to find!!!
Later that day I checked the other logs (the ones after me…hehe) and the second person to find the cache also discovered a bear in the area near the cache. Oh Great…I didn’t need to know this. There are certain areas that I have decided not to enter alone because of bears but this cache was well outside those locations and this cache was not that far from town. If I have to stop my 6am walks on these trails as well it does not leave me with many areas to go walking near home.
Also on that same day, (later than the FTF but before learning about the bear) during my actual scheduled walking time, I chose a trail within my original ‘bear area’ caution zone. I figured that seeing a bear would be unlikely on this particular day because there was a kayaking festival on the river and I figured the extra people would make the trails bear free. Unfortunately I must have read the schedule of events wrong because the trails, and the river, were pretty empty when I arrived. There were some caches I really wanted to find so I decided to push on despite being alone. I had found the first two geocaches and I was on my way to find the last one for the day. About 500 meters from the cache site I heard this large crack in the woods. After I recovered from the initial scare (my pants were still dry but my heart was racing), I peeked into the bushes only to see a friendly deer. About a minute later a couple of cyclists (yay people) came down the trail. When they saw me they asked if I had a dog. When I said no they mentioned that they saw an orange coloured animal the size of a large dog run into the bushes which they now concluded was a cougar. The best part was they saw it about 50m down the trail. I never attempted that final cache.
The next day I drove to a larger town south of home and did some urban caching where there should not be any bears or cougars. Even thought I never left town limits I was still treated to a memorable wildlife experience. One of the great things about living on Vancouver Island is the abundance of nature and even in a town you are never far from it. On this day I followed a puzzle cache to a beach a couple hundred stairs removed from a suburban street which was like stepping out of the town and into the wild coast. I was concentrating on finding the cache location when I saw some eagles flying around. I have seen many eagles in the past so I thought nothing of it. When I finally got to the beach and looked towards the direction of the cache I was astounded at what I saw. You may think I am leading towards a scene of bears and cougars but no this is real life and I am not that good of foreshadowing. What I did see was dozens and dozens and dozens of bald eagles. I have never seen anywhere close to that many eagles at one time. The tide was out and there must have been a lot of fish near the surface to bring them here in so many numbers. There were many young eagles (ones that have not yet developed the white head) with the older ones. When you see a sight like this caching instantly loses its priority and I ended spending at least an hour on the beach before finally finding the cache that brought me here.
I am going to continue to spend time on the trails as I cannot miss experiences like the one I had with the eagle beach. I am still not thrilled with the idea of meeting a bear or cougar on the trail, and I will take precautions, but this will not stop me from getting out and explore. Maybe next time I will have a good bear story to tell and another FTF.