I turned the computers off Sunday night because Angie’s visiting from Tampa and sleeping on the Murphy bed in our office. When I turned my PC back on Monday morning, a warning window appeared telling me my user profile was corrupted. All my files, settings, contacts, email, etc — not gone exactly, but invisible and inaccessible. Two days later I have managed to retrieve almost everything, importing it to a new user profile.
Our IT consultant says it’s an indicator of a failing hard drive. Time to make a good backup and go shopping for a new PC, I guess.
To get away from the frustration of finding seemingly-lost files, I went bicycling with Angie this morning. She went online to a geocaching website and found coordinates for some caches in the neighborhood. Armed with a handheld GPS, we pedaled off to find them. A handheld will get you within a few feet of a latitude/longitude coordinate; from there you look for a hidden container … under rocks, up in a tree, in a drain culvert, and so on.
We found three of the four cached containers we were looking for. The first was hidden inside a plastic standpipe. If we hadn’t grabbed the standpipe we never would have realized it wasn’t connected to anything and was just standing in a hole in the ground. Angie removed the cap, pulled the pipe from the ground and turned it upside down, and out rolled a little orange container:
Inside the container was a paper scroll. Those who find it are supposed to write down the date and their name, put the scroll back into the container, put the container back in the standpipe, and leave the scene as they found it.
Another container was coffee-can sized and contained several kid’s toys (along with another scroll):
When there are several items in a container, geocachers will usually take one, replacing it with another. The one they take will go into another container somewhere else. Occasionally kids will find a cached container and take everything, and I can see where they’d be tempted. To help prevent that, this container also held a note explaining geocaching and asking accidental finders to leave it as they found it.
We rode about ten miles and by the time we got home my frustration was gone. Computer problems? Who cares? What a fun morning! There’s no crisis a good bicycle ride won’t cure. And now I have a new activity to introduce to our grandson when he comes to visit this summer — I think he’ll love geocaching.
By far the coolest thing Angie and I found, though, was at the location of the one cache we couldn’t locate. Turning rocks over and moving dead brush aside while looking for the hidden container, we found an owl pellet, and out of it came this ground squirrel skull. What delicate little orbital bones!
© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.