Traipsing through unknown woods when you aren't sure where the path is located would generally be a bad idea. Take it from me. Emily. I know. This is just one piece of the sage advice I have learned while participating in one of the lesser-known sports â€“ geocaching.
Geocaching, for the uninformed, is a sport in which you use a Global Positioning System device (GPS) to find small items called "caches." Think of it as a worldwide treasure hunt for grown-ups. People hide small items in a random location, then using their GPS, record the location, and post it on the Internet. Locations are given in latitude and longitude measurements, such as 41.02 degrees North, 28.95 degrees East. I believe that's somewhere in Istanbul.
It was approximately twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit on the day I collected the aforementioned pearl of wisdom. My good friend Stephen convinced me it would be fun to go on a geocaching adventure in the middle of winter. In the snow.
I tried to put up a protest. "But the cache will probably be buried in the snow and nearly impossible to find," I wailed.
"Oh, but that will make it fun, Emily!" Stephen exclaimed.
I don't recall exactly how he conned me into going, but before I knew it, we were driving to the park, with the exact location of our cache in hand. "Exact" is a rather relative term here, as Stephen's GPS device is only accurate within thirty feet. You don't know how large a thirty-foot radius circle is until you're looking in said area for something the size of a film canister.
When we arrived at the park, we stepped out of the car and headed down one of the pathways. In our efforts to follow the directions the GPS device gave us, we lost the trail.
"Um... Stephen, where's the path?"
"Hmm... Good question. We'll find it later though. It's around here somewhere."
With that, Stephen took off in the snow, with me trailing behind.
"Great. Just great. We're going to be stuck out here, you know. Are you even sure you entered the location correctly?" I questioned.
"Of course. Let me check... Yep... it's.... Uh-oh." Stephen's face turned red, as a sheepish look appeared on his face.
"Uh-oh? Did you just say 'Uh-oh?' Those are not words I want to hear in the middle of nowhere!" I screamed. "I'm going back to the car!"
"There's just one problem with that, Emily," Stephen stammered. "We don't know where the car is."
"Then you're coming with me to find it!" I shouted, grabbing Stephen by the hood of his coat.
"Emily, you're choking me." I slowly released my death grip on his coat as he continued. "Look, I just entered the correct location. It's not far. Let's try to find it. Then we'll go back to the car. I'll take you to my place and we'll sit by the fire and have hot chocolate.
Chocolate. He had said the magic word, and I let my resolve down a bit. "Ok, fine."
We followed the GPS device until we ran into a fence that bordered a cemetery. According to the device, our treasure was on the other side of the fence.
"This is the final straw," I declared. "I am not going to go through a grave yard and desecrate graves to find this. Take me home now," I whined. "Besides, it's probably not even there. I'll bet the penguins ate it."
"Penguins?" Stephen inquired.
"Yeah. The ones from the zoo. Don't ask."
Stephen hung his head in defeat. "Ok. We'll go home. But we still don't know where we left the car. Well, we know where we left the car... we just don't know..."
"I get it. We know we haven't gone too far, right? Why don't we beg someone to give us a ride back?" I suggested.
"Ok, fine," Stephen replied.
Well, to spare you the details of the final piece of our adventure, we finally did get back to the car, thanks to the cemetery owner who had sympathy for us. We got back to Stephen's place and warmed up by the fire. After my cup of hot chocolate, I was feeling a bit better.
"Stephen? I did have fun, despite my protests. But next time, do me a favor, will you?"
"Before we leave, record the location of the car."
Stephen chuckled. "Duly noted, Emily. Duly noted."
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