When life gives you lemons, sometimes you just need to go on a treasure hunt. With the total absence of snow, that is exactly what we did at Brewster Pierce Memorial School last Friday. Armed with a GPS unit and a set of instructions to find 5 geocaches hidden around the school property, small teams raced about, learning how to use the compass and map functions to get to each specific point.
One thing that never ceases to impress me is how technologically savvy these guys are. With only 40 minutes for each of the three classes I worked with, I was dubious that the groups would be able to figure out how to navigate to the waypoints, let alone find all five. I guess the prospect of finding a hidden treasure is a strong motivator, because in each class I watched as teams worked together to navigate, read directions, and figure out the GPS controls. Without exception, they all found the geocaches and were rewarded with a sweet surprise. At age 9 or 10 would I have been able to use a GPS unit, or have any inkling of an idea what a geocache was? I would like to think I could have done it, but I simply didn’t have the opportunity. I’ll admit, it’s kind of disappointing when you are trying to teach cross country skiing when there is no snow to be had. But I am happy that I do have the opportunity to teach students the valuable skill of using a GPS unit and give them yet another reason to be excited to be outside in the winter. And the final verdict from every single kid? Geocaching is AWESOME!
In a time of no snow, I’ll take that as a Ski Cubs win.
For the weekend program at Bolton we were also somewhat snow-challenged. With the Nordic trails closed to skiing we took to the backcountry trails and made the trek up to Bryant Camp, armed with snowshoes in lieu of skis. A dusting of snow covered the mostly icy trails, making conditions nearly perfect for snowshoeing.
Our Small group followed the single track of a fat bike up the 1-mile trail up to Bryant camp. Along the way we stopped to admire the serenity of the forest, investigate tree stumps for any critters that might be sleeping inside, and of course throw snowballs. I had found that there was a registered geocache somewhere up near the camp so one of the motivations of making it the entire way there was the prospect of finding it. After a break for snacks and a look around the inside of the camp we all trudged off trail into the deep snow, following our GPS units to the coordinates. We soon found where the geocache supposedly was hidden…..which is not to say that we immediately found the geocache. A tangle of tipped up roots looked very promising but after we all searched around it, coming up empty handed, I called it off and announced we would have to head back down. Immediately as I started to follow my tracks up the hill two of the girls called out that they found something. The old empty mason jar without a lid was most definitely the geocache, and I had most definitely been resting my hand on top of it when I called off the search….oops. Unfortunately we didn’t retrieve anything from the frozen jar, but there was consensus among the group that we should come back in Spring for a second attempt when everything had melted.
The trip up to Bryant Camp made for a nice change of scenery and gave the day more of an adventurous feel, giving us the opportunity to visit a backcountry destination many had never been to before.
With special thanks for support from Northfield Savings Bank