Geocaching is a great way to explore the outdoors with your dog. GPS required, this sport is made for anyone who enjoys a good hike.
It was ninety-one degrees with a warm breeze as I hiked up the Bay Circuit Trail with Geo Cache guide Parker A. Stuart. He has been Geo Caching for four years and is an experienced guidesman.
Geocaching is a group of outdoor lovers coming together on a worldwide scavenger hunt. Cachers everywhere venture out to hide trinkets in small holes, camouflaged containers, in film canisters and in or under public areas such as park benches and lamp posts. Once you leave a piece of memorabilia such as a coin or key chain, one is free to take a piece of the cache they found. Cachers sign in on a little notepad in the cache and will sometimes even leave business cards.
The Bay Circuit Trail will take you from North Shore Mass to the South Shore, “Sixty-three miles long, you could make a month adventure to make it down the entire path,” trail guide Parker A. Stuart comments. “The Bay Circuit Trail will take you through several conservation areas. Its a great way to find places you wouldn’t otherwise find out about.”
The trail is marked by small white rectangles stapled to trees, you’ll see them throughout the Metro West.
Parker guided me up a path behind Pine Hill Elementary School in Sherborn, MA. Along the ground we observed rocks left behind by a volcano that once invaded this region’s landscape. The rocks we climbed up seem to have been scraped and had a rough exterior. “See! These rocks are not normal,” Stuart points out.
Stuart’s GPS took us to the exact spot marked on the Geo Caching website. This is when to challenge begins, searching for the cache. We spent about half an hour exploring spots that all seemed to be a great place to hide a cache; A pile of small stones, holes in trees, and next to a bottle that was pointing into a tree root crevasse. “Look for a place that looks like it has had some human interference.” Stuart teaches me.
We unfortunately do not find the cache. “This doesn’t happen very often. This cache has not been visited in a while so, it could even be buried by leaves,” Stuart remarks.
We did however come across some beautiful wildlife. A grasshopper rested on a near by tree and many acorns were sprouting along the ground.
Leaving the site Stuart stopped me mid trail and exclaimed, “I hear a snake!” As he pointed to his right into a pile of logs. Amazed to see his tracking skills in action, I examined the pile and saw the tail end of what Stuart identified as a “Gardner snake” slither away.
We were more successful at the next site, located on conservation land on Coolidge Street in Sherborn, MA. Stuart and I hiked not too far up a small rocky cliff. Stuart handed me the GPS and let me venture out on my own. Unsuccessful ten minuets later, I looked up and saw Stuart watching me from a ledge above, “Do you see it?” he asked.
“I just looked around for the most interesting place to hide a cache,” Stuart informed me.
The cache was stashed in a camouflaged container on a ledge that over looked the woods below. It was filled with small items including a pog with the Italian words for dragon, dog, and snake with the corresponding pictures on the opposite side. We decided this would be the object we would take in exchange for something Stuart had received from a previous cache. Cache complete! We sign the notebook and head home to relax and celebrate. Geocaching was a great experience.
Geocachers even have there own lingo; a muggle is a non-cacher. Also, each cacher has a alias. I choose the name Gypsy Rose.
Spend sometime outside with your dog. Many local dog parks have near-by caches. There is even a cache at many Dunkin Donuts around the Metro West. Get a coffee, do a cache.
Contact trailguide Parker A. Stuart by email @ [email protected]