Winter geocaching is cool. Literally. To really enjoy it you need to bundle up in multiple layers and be prepared to face snow, ice, wind and – if you’re lucky – the harsh glare of the sun reflecting off the snow as you hike along searching for treasure.
It’s also cool in the “Whoa – awesome experience” kind of way. Because winter geocaching is one of the only ways you get the opportunity to walk on water.
|Heading across the frozen lake. But first, we had to check out the skating rink.|
One frosty day in January, we checked out Puslinch Lake to solve an earth cache and nab a couple of traditional caches that we’ve had our eye on for quite some time.
Aside from being close to where we live, the lake is a really interesting geological feature in the Southern Ontario landscape. It is noted as being the largest kettle lake in North America. I had also discovered that the caches were hidden on an island and had been found in winter by walking across the frozen water. And THAT was an experience we wanted to have.
The day was cold, the lake was frozen and it was a balmy -6 C. Perfect conditions to log finds that are located on an island.
When we arrived at the lake, we weren’t sure if it was frozen enough to actually walk across. But as soon as we saw ice fishermen spread out across the lake, we knew the condidtions were perfect to cross the water.
On our way across the lake we stopped to check out a few of the fishing holes and chat with the fishermen. It didn’t look like the fish were very interested in bait that day – a situation Alex and I have experienced ourselves. Before we became parents we spent more days than I’d care to admit sitting on a frozen lake for hours, staring at a hole, hoping for a bite. I have to admit, I was feeling pretty smug when I knew that we’d get our “bite” on the frozen lake this time out – it just wouldn’t be a fish.
The really great thing about having a lot of people out on the ice is that we didn’t look out of place working our way across the lake and disappearing into the small forest on the island. At least, we didn’t look out of place at first….
A few people may have wondered what we were up to if they saw this:
|No fish here. But I think there might be something else of interest around at this spot. If I had taken this picture in warmer weather, it would have been from a canoe.|
It was at this spot that we discovered a few other cool things about geocaching in the winter.
- If you fall out of a tree that would normally be leaning out over the water, you don’t get wet.
- Snow actually does cushion a fall. A little bit.
Yes, there was a bit of a geoincident. Alex tumbled out of the tree the first time he tried to scramble up. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt and undeterred – a true geocaching junkie – he went up again in his quest for the find.
We successfully logged two finds on the island and then started the trek back across the ice. As we walked on water ice fishers were all around us, people were zipping around on ATVs and snowmobiles and on a snow-cleared patch of ice there was a game of pick-up hockey on the go.
It was a scene of pure Canadiana.
Before we left the ice, we had our own little pick up game of hockey – even though we didn’t bring our skates. How could we resist? Some rocks and a pair of random boots we found on the rink (?) were perfect as goal posts, and a puck left over from another game came into good use.
Yup, winter geocaching is cool and you can achieve smileys for a lot more than finding a container in the forest.