After a busy day planting flower beds and cleaning out our holiday trailer, I suggested that Richard and I spend the evening geocaching. One of the aspects of geocaching that I like best is the trackables; geocaching game pieces that are moved from cache to cache by geocachers like ourselves. These can be travel bugs, tags that are usually attached to other items known as hitchhikers, or geocoins, special coins or medallions created by individuals or groups. Both function in exactly the same way. Each trackable has a unique code that is used to log its movements on geocaching.com as it travels the world and most trackables have a goal or destination set by their owners. Some of them have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles! We have already found several trackables and moved them along.
On our way home from Winnipeg the week before last, we picked up a travel bug from a roadside cache in Manitoba. Alex’s Yellow Lizard began its journey in Minnesota last June. Its destination is Ireland and the owner asked that pictures be taken and posted along the way so that his seven-year-old son could watch his little yellow lizard as it travels around the world.
We wanted to find a special and interesting spot to leave Alex’s lizard. My first thought was the world’s biggest pysanka or Easter egg at Vegreville, Alberta. Surely that would appeal to a seven-year-old boy. Alas, when we visited family in Vegreville last weekend we only had time for a quick search and didn’t find the cache located near the big egg. We’ll have to try again another time.
I’m very happy with the spot we finally chose, however; a cache hidden at a native ceremonial site on a high point of land about 24 km north of here. It’s one of nine places in Alberta where ribstone rocks have been found and the only one where the rocks remain in their original location. These rocks, carved by the Indians over 1000 years ago, are thought to depict the ribs of buffalo, the animal that provided for so many of their needs. Local natives still leave offerings of tobacco (cigarettes) and coins there. They have also hung many colourful prayer scarves in the trees at the site. Though I’d been there with a class of students quite a few years ago, Richard had never even heard of the place before. Isn’t it amazing how we can travel the world in search of interesting sights and yet sometimes miss fascinating ones on our own doorstep?
The site was a peaceful spot with a gorgeous view of the surrounding farmland, a perfect place to enjoy a few quiet moments on a sunny spring evening.
While we stood admiring the scene, this saucy little fellow popped out of his hole almost at our feet and proceeded to chirp at us!
Like Alex’s little lizard, we’ll soon be on the move again, hence the time spent cleaning the trailer today! I’m sure we’ll find plenty of geocaches along the way and hopefully there will be trackables in some of them.