2016 marks the 2nd annual North Texas Teen Book Festival. Over 8000 teens attended and I volunteered.
After the festivities, not wanting to face the long lines of traffic, I went geocaching. Sure enough, there were two caches in the general area within walking distance. One, however, warned of construction issues which could prevent locating the cache. The other was 1/4 of a mile away but on the other side of a creek.
I ended up walking in some mud. I deserved it. I took a “short cut” which probably added on an extra quarter-mile. On the other side of the bridge across the creek was a hotel. Next to the hotel ran the creek and a walking trail which was clearly under construction. Bulldozers and piles of mud are big clues.
The cache was obviously located on the other side of the hotel, next to the trail. A nice big oak seemed to mark the location. A convenient set of steps marked a dry way to get to the walking trail from the hotel. At the top of the steps, though, was an obstacle: a headless snake, long enough to stretch across the top step.
I am scared of snakes. I am paranoid of snakes. I know they want to attack me. My biggest fear is that what happened o a friend of mine will happen to me: she had a rattler drop out of a pecan tree and onto her while she was visiting her mother in Weatherford, TX. That’s right. In Texas, snakes fall from the sky!
My first thought was to abandon the cache entirely. My second, and braver, thought was to find a different way down to the trail and up to the tree. So I did.
My shoes were already muddy so it didn’t really matter that I left the paved trail. Then I approached the tree and realized that maybe snakes travel in pairs. Or maybe it was a Mama Snake and her babies were hanging around the roots of a certain oak tree I was heading towards.
The closer I got to the tree, the more paranoid I got. I checked the trail for more snake signs/bodies. I checked the tree for possible snakes up in the branches. I circled the tree carefully, making as much noise as possible. I even turned up my music on my phone to extra loud to make sure any snake in the area knew I was around so it should go away.
I spotted the cache in a knot in the tree. Under normal circumstances, I’d have sent Sweetieheart to go pick up the cache while I stayed safely away from any snakes. Sweetieheart, though, was at home doing homework. It was all up to me.
I thought about giving up the cache. After all, I didn’t need to find it right now. I could bring Sweetieheart by later and he could get the cache while I kept a watch out for any snakes. No, that was not the solution.
So I talked to myself. Over and over again, I repeated “I think I can. I think I can,” while scanning the ground, tree roots, and area for slithering critters.
Make no mistake. I was not whispering these words. I was almost talking out loud because noise scares away snakes. (If you know any differently, DO NOT LET ME KNOW. It works for me!)
I made the grab, signed the log, and replaced the cache.
That’s right. I’m the little cacher who could.