The Adventures of Helen and Daniel
Chapter 5 – Four’s Company
To catch up, message me privately, and I’ll send you the links to the previous chapters.
#geocaching “The Adventures of Helen & Daniel” would seem to be the first quasi-interactive, multi-media Twitter novel.
#geocaching If any of my esteemed readers have suggestions for the story, I will attempt to incorporate them, as I’m only 1 – 2 chapters ahead of the tweets.
Helen and Daniel whirled around to see an energetic couple coming up the trail behind them. Helen thought they looked vaguely familiar.
He stuck out his hand as they approached. “I’m Doug! FishPOET! And this is Tracy!” The blonde cacher smiled demurely, “Westward Ho.”
Daniel recognized them. “We met at that last pizza event in Orange, right?” Doug rolled his eyes. “Yep. What a lame one that was, too.”
“Richard’s seem too much like Star Trek conventions or something… just too much geekiness for me,” he continued. Tracy giggled.
“We hadn’t been to one for a while and wanted to see people, ” she said in her charmingly lilting voice. “It wasn’t so bad, Doug.”
“Hey, where are you two lovebirds headed?” asked Doug. Daniel and Helen both blushed and smiled self-consciously a bit at that.
“About 15 miles out, there’s a base camp: Saddleback Camp,” Helen replied. “Wow, that’s where we’re going!” Doug was enthusiastic.
“Shall we hike together? There’s always more safety in numbers, especially in the wilderness.” His tone was insistent, but he was right.
Helen and Daniel readily agreed, and all headed up the trail. “Not many caches out here, ” Helen observed, “Next one is 2 miles out.”
“That’s what I have, too,” Doug confirmed, “the trail will be rugged, but not too steep.” “What is that black stuff?” Tracy was pointing.
“That’s called desert varnish.” Daniel knew a lot about the flora, fauna, and geology of their surroundings, having learned it from his dad.
“It looks like fungus,” Helen suggested. “Yes, but it’s actually oxidation of manganese and iron. There’s some organic matter there, too.”
Tracy was still curious, and walked over to take a closer look. “How does it get there?” “Wind – tiny particles of clay stick to the rock.”
Daniel enjoyed having a chance to show off some of his knowledge. “Native Americans carved petroglyphs in it.” “Really?” Doug beamed.
“Maybe we’ll find some of those along the way!” “As a matter of fact, there are supposed to be some about half way to our base camp.”
“I wish I knew more about the plants out here,” Tracy sighed, “I know I’m supposed to know what this one is, but I can never remember.”
She struck a pose next to a tall, thin, spiny, octopus-shaped cactus. “This looks like it came from outer space or something.”
“Ocotillo,” Daniel said, ready with more information, “and they have spectacular blooms in the spring. The tip of each stem gets one.”
“Oooh, what color?” “Bright red – you should really see them like that sometime.” “Let’s put that on our list, honey!” Tracy pleaded.
Doug snapped a photo of his pretty girlfriend. “Oh, you bet. I don’t need much of an excuse to get back out in to the desert!”
“Hey! I know what this one is!” Tracy danced up to an even taller cactus with branches that looked like arms. “It’s a saguaro!”
Daniel confirmed that she was right. “Did you know that they can live to be up to 200 years old?” “Really?” Tracy wanted to know more.
Helen had her eye on the GPSr. “Only .15 to the cache.” “Is it a regular?” asked Doug. “Yes… should be an ammo can.” “Good!”
“We should be able to find it then, ” kidded Doug, a twinkle in his eye. Daniel assessed the distance: “Looks like it’s in that formation.”
“Any hints? Up top or down low?” Doug asked Helen, who had her iPhone out with the cache info handy. “No hint, but there’s a TB in it.”
The four geocachers approached the rock formation and began to hunt. Doug immediately scrambled to the top, and posed triumphantly.
“Honey! Don’t fall off!” Tracy nagged. “You always climb up on these things, and you know that always worries me.” Doug frowned.
“Oh, stop it. You know I’m a mountain goat. Besides, the cache might be up here.” “Well… is it?” “Nope.” “Then get down – carefully!”
During the little spat, Daniel and Helen circled the large rock, inspecting the crevasses. “Here it is!” Daniel had spotted the geopile.
Doug clambered down. Tracy relaxed. Helen marked the cache as found in her Garmin, as did Daniel: beep beep beepy beep…a mini-concerto.
Helen took the large flat rocks off of the ammo can and dragged it out. “Here’s the TB,” she announced, “do you guys want to take it?”
Doug took the little toy with the trackable tag. “Sure. We’re heading back tomorrow.” “Perfect, as we’re planning to stay a few days.”
They each signed the log book: FishPOET, Westward Ho, Firestick, and Jazzgoddess. “Say, do you guys play in L.A.?” asked Doug.
“I do, ” said Helen, “in a jazz combo with my brother, among other things. “Well, let us know!” exclaimed Tracy. “We’ll come hear you!”
Daniel was gawking into the sky. “What’s a bat doing out in broad daylight?” “Weird” said Doug, as they all watched it flutter past.