These days, technology infiltrates everything, including the outdoors. Geocaching is for tech nerds with hiking boots, sending adventurous souls on a treasure hunt using a Global Positioning System (GPS) to search for a “cache” of knickknacks hidden in the great outdoors. I, for one, was ecstatic to complete my first geocaching mission at Jenkins Estate. It did not disappoint.
There are four caches playfully concealed in the wood nooks and crannies of Jenkins Estate’s 68 acre property:
- “T” Marks the Spot: N 45° 27.632 W 122° 53.620
- Rock Chamber: N 45° 27.517 W 122° 53.356
- Jenkins Estate Revisited: N 45° 27.755 W 122° 53.654
- I:II Calculus: N 45° 27.890 W 122° 53.527
- Out Behind the Shed: N 45° 27.714 W 122° 53.329
My two geocaching buddies and I chose the “Jenkins Estate Revisited” cache. While you can plug the coordinates into any GPS system, we used the “Geocaching Intro” smartphone app, which provides extra tips to newbies. With the right tools in hand, we entered the 2.5 miles of walking trails and—for a few moments—I’ll admit I forgot about the geocache. Spring bloom was intoxicating with the smell of soft soil and woodsy bark. I could see bright perennials and wildflowers peeking through the forest’s green. In a word: bliss.
After a pause for appreciation, I snapped back into cache-finding mode. As part of the geocaching code, I won’t spill where exactly we found the cache, but I will say that the search heightened my sense of awareness. Sure, I’ve appreciated the tall trees and the way the earth smells there after it rains, but looking for a hidden cache had me examining every leaf, fallen log, and creature-made trough. We only had to veer off the walking trail a bit, which gave us permission to experience nature from a new angle and with a new energy.
Of all the souvenirs one can take home from a visit to Oregon’s Washington County, a silly tchotchke from a local cache box might be one of the most fun. Completing our geocache mission, we dutifully replaced the toy knight we took with a locally-themed goody. Will you find it? Tell us if you do!