Geocaching: Thrill of the Cache

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geocaching Maui

A dirt road leads us to a panoramic cliff-side vista. Maui’s southern shoreline forms a crescent to our left, while neighboring Molokini crater and Kaho‘olawe and Lana‘i islands extend the contour.

iPhones in hand, we follow a ribbon of dirt descending to the sea, as acrobatic humpback whales vie for our attention a few hundred feet offshore. With each step, the ocean swells increasingly silence the hum of passing cars. We are below the beaten path, hidden from the world. Slabs of silvery earth envelope us, their edges and curves forming a seaside amphitheater — and one heck of a hiding spot.

“Are we still on Maui?” Brad jokes, his head craning skyward and jaw agape.

We dissect every corner of this hardened lava landscape, and for a moment I’m convinced that we’re stumped once again. But a clue on this geocache’s listing urges us on, telling us to “Leave no stone unturned.” I heed that advice, peeking beneath rocks and into crevices.

I remember Pam’s warning that this is a “tricky one,” and realize that I’m looking in all the obvious — and wrong — places. Stories abound of geocaches hidden in rubber bugs and fake plants, or stuffed inside containers fabricated to resemble working bolts. There’s even a geocache hidden in a bogus wad of gum. With this in mind I begin to search smarter, not harder. Then, moments later . . . eureka! While I can’t reveal exactly how I found this clever cache, suffice to say it was well camouflaged. I hoist the plastic container into the air and call over to Brad.

As we inventory our finds, talk turns from material goodies to the treasures surrounding us. We linger awhile, the gentle rhythm of the ocean creating a dreamy soundscape. The real geocaching treasure, we agree, is the journey — and in this case, the destination.

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