Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Geocaching Yanksgiving: Reflections

The events of this post happened between 12:00AM and 11:59PM on November 26, 2011.

As a father of a 2 year old I often wonder what influence I am having on him.  I want him to grow up with a sense of wonder and adventure.  Always wanting to know what is behind the next hill.  Always curious, and having the courage to explore his world and satisfy his curiosities.

These past few days I have been seeing signs of how I am influencing him.

We have been on a road trip for 4 days on a geocaching road trip to explore eastern North Carolina, and pick up some pages for the Delorme  Challenge for North Carolina.  We are a family of Canadians living in the US, and since this adventure is happening during Thanksgiving, and we celebrate ours in October, I have dubbed this trip: Geocaching Yanksgiving (it always helps to name your adventures - gives it a sense of purpose).

Todays adventure hass brought us back west.  We started the day on the Outer Banks, and ended up a hundred miles west, squarely safe on the mainland.  The landscape has changed from ocean beaches, to swamp land, and to rich farmland.  We've seen a lot of history, and a lot of cool nature.

I've also seen Zeke take some more steps on his way to become an adventurer.

Since the first day we left on this trip, Zeke has started each day excited to go caching.  He would sit in his car seat and say "cache!" over and over in his cute little toddler voice.  This is completely unprompted.  We didn't start the trip saying we were going caching.  He just seemed to know, and he got excited about it all on his own.

Now when we pull up to a parking spot and tell him its time to go get a cache, he practically bounces in his seat.  Today I had a couple of really cool experiences caching with Zeke.

The first experience was the first cache of the day.  We parked the car, and had a 300ft walk across a field to get to GZ, which was in the woods on the far side.  When we got to GZ I spotted the cache almost immediately - it was an ammo can sitting under a pine tree, but I waited to see if Zeke would spot it.  We walked into the woods a bit more and sure enough he spotted it.   Without hesitating (and just a little prompting from me) he walked the 6ft father into the bush, crawled under the pine tree, grabbed the ammo can (which is half his size) and pulled it out so we could open it. Not bad for a 2 year old.

Once retrieved, we helped him open it up and he looked through the trade items. I signed the log, and then he put it back (almost) perfectly. He handled the cache like he's been caching for years.  It was a great proud daddy moment :)
I am really starting to look forward to the next few years as Zeke gets older and can handle more hikes and exploring further and farther.  It is going to be a wild and fun ride.

Today we found 13 caches and claimed 7 Delorme Pages. We have one day left on our adventure.  Stay tuned!  In the mean time, let me leave you with these last pics of Zeke's great geocaching day, and another milestone in his development: Zeke signing his first cache log: