October 17, 2012

Agate Fossil Beds Earth Cache

Sunday, October 14, was International Earth Cache day and I just couldn’t resist.  I’ve never done an Earth Cache before, so I went searching for a really interesting one.

Now, I have to admit I goofed a bit.  One of the reasons I chose the Agate Fossil Bed cache is because I misread their website and thought they were having a National Fossil Day celebration on Sunday… with cake!

I was off by a day on the Fossil Day celebration, although I did get a chance to talk to the Park Service rangers, and Dr. Greg McDonald, Natural History Collections curator for the National Park Service and an instructor of Anthropology at Colorado State University.  The cake, however, was a lie.

Well okay, not a lie, exactly.  More like a mistake on my part, but still!  NO CAKE!

To console myself, I toured the entire visitor’s center, shopped in the bookstore, and hiked both developed trails, totaling just over five miles.  I’m going to write about the whole experience later, you came to hear about the Earth Cache, right?

Agate Fossil Beds cache is on the Daemonelix trail.  The trail is just over a mile loop, with quite a bit of elevation.  To be able to log the cache, the owner asked you to identify a certain formation, count some things, and take a picture of yourself and your GPS.

The trail is fascinating!  There is so much to learn in this park, it is unimaginable.  I mean, just one tiny detail is that there is a sand dune on this trail… well, what WAS a sand dune, it is solid rock now.  But it wasn’t made of traditional sand like you would find at a beach.  This sand dune was made from volcanic ash.. spewed out in UTAH. I would never have made the hour drive out there into the middle of nowhere (and I do really mean nowhere!).

So the Earth Cache served its purpose extremely well.  It made me aware of a geological attraction I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.  It encouraged me to explore the area, and learn more about what happened here millions of years ago.  Most importantly, it reminded me of all the precious gifts we have here on Earth and how they need to be protected.

And, it took me on my longest walking day in a long time.   Of course, I had to do at least one other geocache while I was in the area, why waste such an opportunity. I still wanted cake, so when I was done I headed back to town to search for a bit of chocolate cake, but it didn’t take away from the wonderful day I had.

International Earth Cache Day is over for the year, but the caches are open all year round.  I truly encourage you to find an Earth Cache near you or on your travels and explore what the Earth has to offer.

Image Credit: Snowshill / Shutterstock

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