VICTORIOUS AT VITREOUS
The day started badly. I was woken early by whining children. Between my children and the children of my sister-in-law, there were five kids under the age of nine at my in-laws house, and this day, they all wanted breakfast and no one else was up. A couple hours into tending kids, I was cranky and fed up wth my husband who had been drinking late and sleeping in every night. When I went to ask him why he was still sleeping, he looked at me like I was crazy and said,
"I'm on vacation".
"I'm on vacation".
That was a fuse that lit my fire. Apparently, my vacation was meaningless, because it didn't relieve me of any responsibilities or allow me any perks like sleeping in on a summer day. I wanted him to get up and help me out, and he just wanted me to be quiet. Finally, he urged me to get gone, go for a drive and calm down, while he tended kids for a while.
I wasn't even sure I wanted to go. I really just wanted some help, or to be able to relax and watch TV for a while. I needed to unwind. Finally, though, it reached critical mass and I took myself and my GPS unit and went out the door.
My plan was to go after a geocache called Above the Needles. The information page said it was a bumpy road but most vehicles could make it. I found this Fremont Highway 48 that was taking me closer, so I guessed I was on the right road.
I was playing around with the radio and began listening to NPR. They were debuting a new album by a band called Gypsy Soul, from the Pacific Northwest. It was the perfect music for my drive. Primarily driven by a female lead vocalist, the songs were all about universal experiences of love, of troubadors and the seeking inside our souls. I have trouble expanding my music choices in the right direction and stumbling on this band during this drive was a sparkling gem to brighten my day.
It was a beautiful drive, but as I drew closer to where the compass on my GPS was leading, there were choices, side roads that may or may not lead me closer to my destination. Some of them I went down, only to have to turn around when the road became impassable for my little vehicle, and turned a direction that lead me further away. There was a spot to park in front of that stream in the picture at the top that seemed to be the absolute closest I could drive, but the road ended there. The GPS showed that I was still 0.90 miles from the cache site, and would have to cross the stream and hike. I hadn't brought enough water for that hike, nor was I prepared to defend myself against any large predators.
I had been on the road now for at least an hour, aimlessly driving around, and I didn't want to just give up and call it a day. I decided to look through the waypoints loaded in my GPS unit and see what other geocaches might be nearby.
To my excitement, the closest one was a cache called Vitreous. I had been trying to find the road to Vitreous over and over during the visits to my in-laws, since it was a very special geocache. It was hidden in December of 2000, in the early days of this game, geocaching, that we who play love so much. It is on the list of the oldest active caches in the world (although if someone has a recent updated list, I would love to see it).
I had never been able to find the road to Vitreous, but apparently now I was on it. I kept driving, following the arrow on my compass, as the distance shown on the unit got smaller and smaller. For many geocachers, this is the most exciting part - watching the countdown as you get closer and closer. As the distance grows closer, your heart begins to beat faster, and the excitement builds higher. I was still driving when the compass read 200 feet from the road, which was awesome because that meant I didn't have to hike far before reaching the prize.In this case, it was a medium white PVC pipe container with what appeared to be bear claw marks all around it. I guess a curious bear wanted to know what was in there, too! There really wasn't much inside the container, but there usually isn't. It is really more about the thrill of the hunt and the reason, a motivation to get out into the wilderness to explore that leads us to download waypoints from the website and go out and try to find the location and see what is there that inspires us geocachers. It is about adventure and exploration more than it is about trading treasures. I simply signed my name in the book inside and then had the privilege of being able to tell my story to my friends about finding this really old geocache in a remote area that has only been found 46 times in the eight years it has been sitting there.
As I drove back to my mother-in-laws house, I thought about roads, and how sometimes, just when we think the road we are on is not going to take us where we thought it would, it takes us somewhere else, somewhere unexpected, but somewhere we really wanted to get to in the first place. I thought about this belief that some people in my bible study have shared with me, the belief that God doesn't have just one plan for us, or that he adjusts our plan according to our choices. God will lead you where he wants to go, they say, and the choices you make will all lead to the same place, the place he calls you to go.
Today, He called me to go to the mountains, where I found peace, soothing new music, beautiful woodland streams, and the road I was supposed to be on. I came back feeling refreshed and happy, and like I had been given a gift, the gift of two hours of sheer wonder that made me feel like I really was, finally, on vacation.