So I had heard about Geocaching forever ago and I always thought I would eventually try it out. I downloaded the app a few weeks ago and tried loading it up while on a walk in Ashridge Estate – however it did not seem to work while I was also tracking my route via Strava? So we come to Sunday evening and I had been trapped in the flat all weekend packing up boxes and vacuum packing and generally pacing the flat thinking about how much I had to do! I had just cooked dinner and eaten about half before I just had enough. I picked up my phone, sunglasses, filled a bottle of water, picked up a few plastic trinkets, a pen and walked out the door.
I loaded up the app and it showed a geocache just down the road from my flat. So I headed down the road and hung a right. 200m down the road the app said I was close enough and I would have to look for the geocache myself. I knew from the description that the type of cache was very small- a film canister to be exact. I had a bit of a hunt around and found a tiny film canister attached to the back of a railing with a plastic cable tie.
Yay- I had found my first Geocache! I tapped “found” on the app to record the find and tried to pry the lie off the case to fill out the log book. The log book was unfortunately soaked, I wasn’t able to begin to take it out without destroying it, let alone sign it. Ahh well, there were another two to be found nearby.
I selected the next geocache near me on the app and set off to the top end of the park. It was a lovely sunny evening and there were loads of families out enjoying the last of the sunshine. I walked down past the pond and past the huge willow trees and onto the very top of the park where there are two cricket pitches- one of which is open to the public when no matches are being played. I sat on the grassy steps for a while and watched some young lads play a bit of 5-a-side in the sun before heading back off on my quest.
I opened up the app again and re-orientated myself. I walked past the museum, which has recently re-opened and through to the other side of the park, where the tennis, basketball and bowls courts are located. The app directed me towards a large tree, with gnarly roots. I poked about as the app was clearly sure that this was the location- however it had rained heavily the day before and the natural holes in the roots were filled with water and slugs. As excited as I was about the adventure- I wasn’t that keen! I marked the cache as a DNF (did not find) to warn future geocachers.
I was now feeling much better about everything but still not ready to go back to the flat. There was a “premium” geocache located just across the road at the top of Popes Meadow, which becomes quite steep at the top, so I think it was rated as difficult? I headed up past families on picnic blankets, kids on bikes blaring music and a few couples sat on the hill. It was lovely to see an outside space used by such a diverse age range on a fabulous Sunday evening. I headed further up the steep slope towards a wooded area and some shade. The app directed me here and there and I wandered across a few paths and found a fallen log surrounded in nettles that the app was suggesting the cache was located at. Although as I have not upgraded to premium, I could not be that sure. I was in knee length denim shorts and as much as I wanted to find the cache- I didn’t want to delve into the nettles!
Disappointed with my finds, but happy to be out of the flat and in the sunshine! I plonked down on the grass at the top of the hill and called a friend I haven’t spoken to in ages. After a good catch up with my friend and a quick call home to the family I watched the sun sink below the tree line and headed off home to finish my dinner! My flatmate thought she was in the start of a missing person thriller when she fond my half eaten dinner and no flatmate! There’s a lot going on in my life right now, but my little adventure helped ease some anxiety and helped me sleep a bit better that evening! and the best thing- it was completely free!!!
The Budget Adventurer