It was like something out of The Blair Witch Project. A lack of comforting street lights. Dirty uneven unconcreted ground. Leaf infested trees. Whimpering. The unnatural sounds of our local fauna in the dark.
Tonight, because someone told me I have one across the road, I decided to track down this family’s first Geocache treasure chest.
A number of people have suggested we get into Geocaching for our trip around Australia. It’s exciting and it’ll encourage us into places we wouldn’t normally go, I’ve been told. And if tonight is anything to go by, they’re right. On both counts.
“I’m going out for a minute,” I lied to Tracey. I was half an hour.
“You Pokemoning?” she asked.
“No,” I lied again, because I was definitely planning on doing that while I was across the road – there’s a Pokestop. “I’m going to try find the Geocache thing.”
“In the dark?”
“I’ve got my phone. I just want to see if it’s there.”
Also, I figured I could then take the kids back tomorrow and be something of a legend when I find it first.
Now, this was a bad idea for a number of reasons, the most prominent of them being I can’t see in the dark. At all. Also, my phone was nearly out of battery.
Not to mention I was acting under very poor advice, because ‘across the road’ ended up being half a kilometre away, between a scout hall and some tennis courts. In friggin’ bush.
It was dark and bushy and there were noises and then, as the app told me I had arrived and to start looking around, my light hit upon a snake right where my feet were. I yelped and jumped back out of the way so as not to startle the poor creature. That’s textbook snake handling right there. I’m sure that’s right. Closer inspection showed the snake to be a stick.
Then some movement startled me and, in case it was another snake, I repeated my yelp and jump routine.
This time the snake was a frog.
Still, despite all these heart-stopping setbacks, like Scott in the Antarctic (thank you 80’s lyrics) I persevered. Not for quite as long as Scotty-boy, obviously. About another two minutes post-frog. But I’m sure there will still be ballads. Unflattering, maybe, but unlike Restless hopefully we’ll be able to dance to them.
What finally had me turning heel and stumbling home empty handed was the abandoned building which now loomed in front of me and my phone, which was now on 5%. An abandoned loo. I’ve been in this house for over twenty years. My oldest went to scouts in the hall I’d just passed. I’d driven up to the tennis courts with every intention of joining up for a game before common sense reminded me it involves running. I had no idea that toilet block was there amongst the trees.
Which only served to make it even more creepy.
No doubt this Geocaching caper will be a lot of fun as we travel around Australia discovering this country. But I think we’ll do it in the daytime. With noisy animal-repelling kids. And big sticks.
As for tomorrow, I think it’ll be great if the kids get a chance to discover our first Geocaching horde without much input from me. You no doubt realise by now, I’m very much the sort of dad who doesn’t feel compelled to steal all the glory.
Raising a family on little more than laughs