Saturday, November 21, 2009


You want to know something funny?

I got lost for the first time while geocaching.

It's funny because I was only 400-some feet from my car. It's even funnier because I had just talked to my Mom's husband, Dan, about setting waypoints. I was saying how for most of the ones around here I don't set a waypoint because I know where I am and the caches I go for aren't too far away. He agreed, but said they were useful in Tucson Mountain Park, especially if you are going on a long hike.

Well guess what?

That's right.
I got lost in Tucson Mountain Park and I didn't set a waymark.

It was the last of five caches I was grabbing before dinner and the sun was setting. I was chitchatting on the phone while making the find. I had been talking with my friend for the previous four finds, and had no problems. I made it back to the car right away every time. Little did I know, this last cache would be different.

I found the last cache and signed the log. When I stood up, I realized I had no idea which way to go. I headed in the direction I thought I need to go, but after wondering around and seeing unfamiliar things . . . I knew I was going the wrong way. I tried the trackback thing on my GPS - but I honestly couldn't figure it out - and I had already circled and zigzagged all over the place.

Knowing I wasn't THAT far away from my car, I started to push the panic button on my keys. I was hoping to get a sound/direction to work with. But after walking around and having no luck with that, I knew I had to be getting farther away from my car.

Tucson Mountain Park

I was probably wondering around for 20 minutes total. I hadn't gone into full panic mode, but the odds were against me. The sun was setting and I left my geocaching bag (water snacks) in the car... because the cache was only 400 feet away! Sheesh. At least I had my cell phone. If I couldn't find my way back I figured I could always call mom and give her my coordinates - I wonder if I would be considered a mystery or virtual cache...

I hung up the phone and set my GPS to the cache I had just found. From there, my second attempt to find the car was successful. Thank goodness!

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Lessons Learned:
*Everything in the desert looks the same!
*Always take your geocaching bag with you.
*Don't talk on the phone while caching. It's too distracting.
*Mark a freakin' waypoint!

P.S. I feel pretty dumb for getting lost so close to my car!

What is Geocaching? Answer here.
Profile for ErikaJean


  1. Eh, it happens. ;)

    Look at the bright side... you got a good blogging story out of it!

  2. most people who get lost and try to find their way back tend to travel in a circle not even knowing it... that sucks.

  3. Had the same thing happen a few years ago right after finding a cache at a campground. There wasn't a clear trail back and while trying to make my way back to the trail, I ended up on a different trail and walked right past the area my car was at. When I realized it, I turned back and landed on the correct trail as I backtracked to the car. The only time that has happened to me. This was during the day.

    Yet, on another occasion I had to go off trail to find the cache. This time, working at night, I was able to find my way back to the trail without any help. Usually, this is what happens. Years of being in Boy Scouts as a kid and I've developed a sometimes uncanny internal navigation system.

    But, marking waypoints is always a good thing if you're in unfamiliar territory.

  4. I can so see this happening to me.

    I'm glad it turned out alright and it didn't last too long.

    Take care.

  5. never been geo cacheing did i spell that right it sounds interesting and you pics are awesome

  6. just landed at your have got nice pics collection and obviously matter too..very impressive...

  7. We live in South Tucson...snow birds you know! I really can see what you mean. The desert if very decieiving and sometimes unforgiving. Loved the blog.


  8. We try to mark waypoints if we are on a trail and leaving the car out of site but we honestly don't always do it. We use the map a lot. We have never gotten lost like that.

  9. Good thing it's not the middle of summer; your results would have been even more dramatic. You got some neat pictures out of it!

  10. I had this happen to me in a small wooded area in a park...ended up lost in the woods. The only way out I could find was through private property. I ended up sneaking my way through an abandoned lot and then walking around the block back to my car. I think it happens to the best of us.

  11. haha too funny! and scary all at the same time...GLAD you found your way BACK. oh my.

    I got lost once in my life and I was in KOREA, that was freaky!!!

  12. Beautiful photos, but I'm very glad you got back safely to post them.
    I want a post card just like that bottom photo!!!


  13. Never been Geocaching, I Letterbox. It's sort of the same concept, people hide a container with a hand carved rubber stamp in it and then people try to find them. I've gotten lost too and felt like a total dork when I realized I too was sooooo close to my car. It happens.

  14. Wow I would've been terrified!!! Also, the desert looks a lot nicer than I imagined....

  15. LOL! We had that happen too when we were on vacation. A storm was coming in. We knew we had better make it to the car soon. We were on the top of a hill, filled with cedar trees. It was the first time I had a wee bit of panic while geocaching.