After the bike ride, I decided to head to Galveston Island State Park to visit the beach and hunt a few caches. I was going to change into my swimsuit, but there was no changing area and only two bathrooms with a long line. I decided just to take off my shoes and go in as I was. There was a lot of seaweed on the beach, but no oil. It's hard to imagine so much oil spilling into the Gulf and none of it eventually making it's way here.
Across the road from the beach is the other half of the park. It's marshes like these that are being threatened in Louisiana right now. How has it been a month and we are no closer to capping that well?
I've decided to participate in the Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge. A geocache has been hidden in 10 state parks surrounding the Houston area. Each contains a story about the park we have to use to answer a question in our passport plus an orienteering punch to use as proof that we found the cache. Since I was in Galveston already, it was the perfect chance to grab the first one.
The logs said to bring bugspray because there were a lot of mosquitoes. I always have repellent in the car, so I wasn't worried. I pulled out my 7% DEET product and those mosquitoes pointed and laughed. I was OK as long as I kept moving, but when I got close to the cache, a flock of them attacked me. I signed the log, snapped a quick photo (above), and threw in a deck of mini UNO cards for the kids as fast as I could but they got at least a pint. I stumbled out of the bushes and could not see my car anywhere. I'm blaming my confusion on the blood loss. I normally have a very good sense of direction. Note to self: In the future, ALWAYS mark your car as a waypoint so you can find your way back.
I eventually came upon a nice trail cut by the smart folks of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who anticipated my dilemma. I followed it back to the safety of my car. I realized I had forgotten to toss in a cache card but was not willing to battle the mosquitoes a second time.
I found my first travel bug. That's Mr. Grumpy in the picture above. Travel bugs and geocoins can be tracked on http://www.geocaching.com/ from cache to cache and followed on their journeys. The owner can set a goal such as returning home or going to Califonia. This one doesn't have a goal as of yet. You can see his travel history here. This is a global game, so he could end up anywhere. Even in your neighborhood. People have been commenting that they wish geocaching was available in their area. It probably is. Go to the website, put in your address, and you will be able to see how many are close to you.
I found a second cache near a historical marker outside the park. Can you spot it in the above pic? No mosquitoes here.
Geocaches are often hidden near scenic spots or places of interest. This historical marker describes how Cabeza de Vaca was shipwrecked here in 1528, Jean Lafitte used the island as a base of operations for his pirate fleet in 1815, and other information about the history of the island. Click to enlarge if you're interested in reading.
I was going to hunt for more caches but the logs mentioned more mosquitoes. No thanks. I'll come back sometime with 100% DEET.