The last four months of 2018 were pretty cache light for me. I had every intention of carrying on with my usual geocaching when I became a mother, but the new tiny human in our lives had other ideas. When I finally snapped out of the newborn haze and rediscovered my sanity (to a degree), I was soon caught up in a cycle of mummy meet-ups and baby sensory and talking about aforementioned tiny human’s bowel movements with relative strangers. Although there was a sprinkle of urban finds, caching took a back seat. Last week, I decided it was high time I strapped on the baby carrier and finally ventured in to the woods.
Nothing too taxing to begin with: a relatively flat trail in a familiar woods, where I own four caches and have one unfound traditional yet to turn in to a smiley. The Mother, the hound, the baby and I headed to Rathmichael Woods for some cache maintenance and a proper test drive of the expensive carrier that I needed to justify buying “to go geocaching with.”
This brief jaunt in the woods was intended to lay the foundation for our future geocaching adventures (with a pre-walking baby in any case), and I learned a few lessons that should serve me well going forward…
1. Always be prepared
I’ll admit this one wasn’t exactly a revelation that I uncovered the day we went geocaching. Every excursion with a baby is now a carefully curated affair, with a check list as long as my arm of things to bring – just in case! It may be inconvenient for a baby to decide they want to be fed in the middle of the woods, but baby’s are not keen on convenience or patience, so preparedness is absolutely key. I packed the baby bag full of the various infant accoutrements we might need in any eventuality. Long gone are the days of a pen and a GPS being the sum total of my kit.
2. Don’t Eat the Geocaches
Now that baby is 5 months old, absolutely everything within reach goes straight in her mouth, so it was important to ensure that any geocaches I may have handled were far out of her grasp. Bonus lesson: a travel-sized bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel comes in very handy in between searches/finds!
3. Hills are Hard
I’m not exactly the fittest geocacher you will meet, but strapping a 16 pound baby to my front definitely hindered my walking, especially up and down inclines. The baby didn’t seem too fazed by my huffing and puffing, though.
4. Watch your Step
Wearing the baby carrier created a significant blind spot in front of me, which could be an issue for any obstacles on the path, or worse: dog mess. I had to keep an eye a little further in front of where I was walking in case I stepped in something undesirable. Walking down a slope was particularly difficult and I had to attempt a sort of sideways shuffle to see what I was doing.
5. Search More Carefully
I’m sure most of us have had a twig or a thorn do us an injury while we’re looking for a cache. While searching for one of my own tricky hides, I was very aware of erroneous branches that could do harm to baby without me even noticing if I wasn’t paying enough attention.
6. Teamwork makes the dream work
As much as I was pleasantly surprised with how we managed, I think I’ll still need to have someone with me when I’m caching in the wilds with the baby, for now at least. Maybe I will become more confident with time and practice, but for the moment, it’s nice to have the back up of someone else to help.
7. It’s Entirely Doable
The most important lesson I took away: it’s completely possible to go relatively stress-free caching while wearing the baby. So the only question that remains is, where and when will our next adventure be?!
© 2019 | Sarah McLarkey | All Rights Reserved