Fullerton Loop Hike, West Bragg Creek

We didn’t get much hiking in this year: cold, wet weather in the late spring combined with back problems for Mr. GeoK and achilles tendonitis for Mrs. GeoK meant we enjoyed less than a handful of hikes over the 2010 season.

So when the grade 6 Outdoor Education students put out a call for parent volunteers to accompany them on a day hike, Mrs. GeoK volunteered right away. We couldn’t have been more fortunate with the weather. For early November, the sunshine, blue sky and early afternoon temperature approaching 20 C were simply fantastic (in fact, would have been at any time of year).

This was the third time Mrs. GeoK had the opportunity to share geocaching with this group of students. The first time around, GeoKs and Sears Tower placed several temporary caches on the school grounds, so that students could focus on learning how to use the Garmin Map60CSx: “finding” a geocache waypoint, following the arrow and then searcing with their eyes to find the hidden containers. The first “in the field” experience took place a week later, searching for geocaches listed on geocaching.com and hidden in North Glenmore Park / Weaselhead. This time around, out of 20 kids, there were more than half dozen who either have their own geocaching accounts or who geocache with their family! So they were keen to search out the half-dozen or so geocaches hidden along the approx. 7 km loop.

It was interesting to observe that while the girls were really interested in tree identification, it was mostly boys who wanted to join in the geocaching fun. To avoid too much bushwhacking and vegetation trampling, only two or three students undertook each search. Once they found the container, anyone else wanting to sign the log or check out the cache contents had a chance to do so. But no trading was allowed, as our experience is that it’s just simpler to not allow trading when there are so many kids at each geocache. We did remove a mouldy set of stickers from one cache and Mrs. GeoK dropped a pathtag in each container, too.

The geocaching highlight of the day was GC1Y05E Fullrton Loop Multi. The cache owner, MGV, clearly put some effort into this one, particularly stage 2. Every boy in the geocaching group wanted a turn a releasing the film canister from its hiding spot and, without exception, they exclaimed over how neat it was!

Unfortunately, our pacing was a little uneven, and by the time we approached the third and final stage, it was a bit of a race to get back to the parking area to board the bus for the ride back to school. So only Mrs. GeoK was able to complete this well-conceived and executed multi-cache, bringing her total finds to four for the day. After a couple of very quick stops to nab more photos, she rejoined the group just in time to hand out dried fruit bars for the trip back to town.

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