On Saturday, we had the big (semi)annual geocaching picnic. Even more people showed up than last time, but it felt smaller because we knew more people and more people talked to us. We brought beverages, same as last time; actually, last time we brought six or seven 2-liter bottles of soda, and ended up bringing half of them home with us. So, we were thinking conservatively this time, but given that more people were supposed to be attending, we brought nine bottles of soda, a package of 30 cups, and some paper plates just in case nobody else was going to. We returned home with a cooler full of half-melted ice and nothing else. Should've brought more cups, since we ran out halfway through the picnic. We also shouldn't have bothered supplying our own hot dogs; since every person/team who wanted a hot dog or two brought an entire package, we had a serious weiner surplus going on. At the end of the picnic, when I was throwing out inedible food, there were about five warm, unopened packages of hot dogs. I ended up eating a marinated pork sandwich instead of hot dogs anyway. It was quite good. Many of the pork chops also went to waste, alas; I should've thrown myself on the sword and eaten two.
The picnic also featured GPS games and contests, which helped keep things moving. There was a GPS/compass course you could do at your leisure. It had ten legs; some of them were simply "go to these coordinates," but others were things like "go 88 paces at a bearing of 134 degrees magnetic." The object of the course was to use your GPS to total up the number of feet you walked; the people closest to the 'actual number' of feet in the course won prizes. I put 'actual number' in quotes because it seems a bit odd to assert that the course setter's paces were the correct length and those of us with shorter or longer legs were somehow wrong. Ken and I had noticeably different paces, of course, and I made the mistake of insisting on mine. Should've realized that the guy who set the course was fairly tall, and Ken's paces were probably more similar to his.
There was a point during the course where our bearing would take us right under a low arch of tree branches. Going around would screw up our paces and our distance. What the heck, I thought, and ducked underneath.... directly into the bare low-hanging branch on the other side of the arch. A branch stub stabbed me in the chin and left me dripping blood; worried about getting my new blue tie-dyed shirt all bloody, I stood there stunned and dripping into my cupped palm for a few minutes before I recovered enough to mop up. A nice lady from the picnic next door came over with napkins; I mistook her for a geocacher and said something that probably sounded nonsensical about how I was too busy counting my paces to look in front of me.
Ken held our spot while I ran to the bathroom to clean up, and then we completed the course. Not badly, either. In the end, we were slightly more than 100 feet short of the 'true length' of the course. If we'd used Ken's paces, we'd have been pretty damn close. We were good enough to win third prize, geocaching lanyards that can be used to hang your GPS or your keys from your neck.
After lunch, there was a team caching event where we had to run around in the blazing sun trying to find little leaf-shaped tags attached to bushes. We did pretty well for the first half of the timed event, then ended up lost and scratched up and exhausted in the bottom of the canyon during the second half. We made it back to the picnic just under the deadline, and (only partially thanks to us) our team came in a surprising second place. Which earned us... more lanyards! We only actually collected three of the four we'd won, not having enough necks to put them all to proper use. Yesterday we arranged things so that we can switch back and forth between hanging the GPS on our necks, and swapping the neck lanyard out for the wrist strap. It's pretty spiffy.
That was Saturday. Sunday.. coming up next.