Those Meddling Kids!

Credit where credit is due: my cache yesterday was pretty good. Good enough to earn one of my stingily hoarded favorite points. It was also a lot closer to home than expected. I had been saving this one for quite a while, but yesterday was the time, especially since I had to abort two other cache attempts. Why? Because I went for them in parks swarming with kids!

We’ve all run into it before. You’re going to go for a cache, but there turns out to be tons of kids near GZ. Maybe it’s in the wrong area of a park, too close to a playground. Maybe it’s a park near a school, and, thanks to timing, the released kids are burning off the pent-up energy from being stationary in their classrooms. Maybe there’s a birthday party seated at that table your nano is attached to. Part of you wants to go for it so you don’t have to come back for it again, but you don’t want to be mistaken for some random weirdo doing suspicious things around children. Therefore, you break off, intent on returning another day, quarry unfound. Since I started caching, I have greatly increased my stealth capabilities, but nobody wants to do that around kids. I very much get both sides of the argument. The cacher in me thinks that in a public space, I should be allowed to do whatever I want to do as long as I don’t interfere with anyone else. On the other hand, the parent in me has watched with a close and jaded eye many people going about their day and veering too near to my daughters or other kids in the area. Not all cachers agree about everything, but I think we can all agree that caches too close to children’s areas are not something we want to mess with.

Yesterday’s first attempt brought me to a park not terribly far from home, but I forgot it was right next to a school. When I arrived after getting off work, it was still swarming with kids—some with parents collectively catching up on the local news and gossip, some without, awaiting an after-work pickup. A walk past on the sidewalk was enough to tell that the cache must have been on the entrance sign, but all the activity was enough to make me decide to leave it for another day. All the stealth in the world could only do so much in that case. I opted to pivot to a second cache.

Option two fared little better. It was a different small park, but this one was unexpected. The pool was open, and the kids were excited! I didn’t know the park, so I didn’t realize it had a pool, but even if I had, I wouldn’t have expected it to be open for the year yet. When it starts getting warmer, I know the pools are going to be popular, but this has been an unexpectedly cool spring thus far. It hadn’t felt like swimming time yet. Of course, it is the right time, and Mother Nature has managed to “do me a bamboozle” (as they say in the parlance of our times). I slipped away disappointed again, but the third time was a charm.

This time I picked a park I knew well, one with walking trails, no nearby playground, and across the street from a golf course. I detected no kids when I pulled a fake root from the bottom of a tree, nor when I returned it after signing its logbook.

So, I guess my point here (and I do have one) is why these kids gotta be running around everywhere, getting in the way of my caching? I got important stuff to do, and they’re messing up my process!

3 thoughts on “Those Meddling Kids!

  1. On another note, I have recently taken on the goal of putting a cache in every park in my city, and as many caches as can be accommodated on each of the walking/biking trails. So far, I have had to skip two parks that already have a cache and are too small for a second. In another case, where two very small parks are across the street from each other, one park is going without a cache because of the one that I place in the other. But, I was careful to point out the existence of the other park on the cache page of the cache I did place. My reason for this quest is so that the caching community becomes aware of all the parks and trails in the city and not just the one park closest to their homes. And, because of this, I myself have become aware of multiple parks that I did not know before.

    But, so many of the parks are close to schools and have playgrounds in them both of which I try to shun with my placements. Schools because of the GCHQ rules and playgrounds because of the reasons you stated in your post. Although, in years past, I have in fact found caches on playground equipment, I do NOT enjoy looking for them there. As a 73 year old male that usually caches alone, I am very uncomfortable doing much more than just walking past the playground equipment whether it is currently occupied or not.

    I don’t know about Texas, but in California our parks have another problem. And, that is homeless muggles. Two of my existing parks caches are causing the seekers to come back another day for this reason. One of which there were none in sight when I placed the cache, and the other the homeless person was not in sight but his/her belongings were piled up on the covered picnic table. My hope then was that maybe the homeless one would move on by the time the cache was published, but alas, I believe he/she is a persistent soul.

    You know, if I keep this up, I am going to have to start a blog of my own.


    1. The homeless have become more of an issue in Austin over the last decade. They’ve always been here, but about five years ago the city and state started destroying the larger, longer existing homeless camps, driving them out into more public places they had avoided before. There are a few caches here that were intentionally placed near camps and I find that to be gauche. The unhoused have their own problems and don’t need a bunch of tourists (us) traipsing about where they’re trying to survive.

      As for starting your own blog, what’s stopping you?


  2. I think you must have a corollary to Shortswords Rule Number One. Hey, you muggles are NOT supposed to be here when Shortsword comes looking for a cache. The Pesky Muggles never pay much attention. I too have come back another day for many a cache.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s