Another day, another geocache.
Well, actually a list of potential finds to add to our tally. We embarked on a massive hike, many kilometres in length to seek them out…
Ok, we did it over two weekends. The first time we forgot our water (and our sunscreen) and suffered the consequences of that decision.
Our quarry was hidden inside the Casuarina Coastal Reserve, a nature park of sorts not far from our new place. Having lived on the other side of town for my entire life, I was enjoying the get to explore this area a little more as a resident. Dean was also enjoying being able to experience somewhere with me that I haven’t been a hundred thousand times.
Such are the challenges of settling in your hometown.
But the walk!
At the start, the Casuarina Coastal Reserve has a very tropical rainforest feel to it. Not a wet monsoonal forest, with mould and moss on every surface, but dry. There’s a distinctive sound too, which at first I can’t place. Is it that I’m surrounded by bugs, brushing themselves against their armoured mates? Or is it those dry leaves rubbing together, clacking and clicking in the quiet heat of the day? The forest opens to a footbridge across a mangrove gully. I have no doubt that when the monsoon comes, this will experience a flood of biblical proportions. But for now, it’s a dry memory of its potential. The roots of the mangrove trees are just breaking out of the mud now. Soon leaves will unfurl from their bony fingers, and green will emerge from the earthy brown.
Geocaches break up the walk quite nicely, serving to distract us from the sun crackling over us from above. With the yellow sky above you, and the red earth beneath you, there is a tendency to feel as though you’re cooking every time you step outside in Australia.
Then, an hour or so into our trek, with a few cunningly hidden geocaches under our belt, we come across something that I admit I didn’t expect, even though the name (Casuarina Coastal Reserve) should have tipped me off. The beach. In my mind, surrounded as we were by forest, I forgot that we were in fact just a few short steps from the coast most of the time. Nature has a way of tricking you like that.
The beach we arrive at is stunning beyond what I can think to describe. Sand blinds us with its whiteness, looking like something out of a Thai postcard, and the ocean beckons. It’s a distance away, drawn back to the faraway sea by a low tide. I want to jump in it, to swim and splash in the waves. But I know better. There are bigger things than me lurking in those placid waters. Instead, we throw ourselves into the search, and go ever forward to the end.
Our favourite geocache from our Casuarina Coastal Reserve adventure is a treasure chest. Of sorts. An old ammunition box its guarded by the mask (and possibly the ghost) of a pirate. Inside, a wealth of treasures, shiny beaded necklaces, rings and coins that we consider taking. But, we have nothing to swap, and geocaching laws are clear. If you have nothing to leave, there’s nothing to take. Instead we leave it for someone else, smiling to think of their reaction to the discovery.
The day threatens to overpower us with out heat as we make it to the end of our wander. Lee Point, a northerly suburb of Darwin that seems to have missed the memo about development. The beach there is as good, if not better, than the one we’ve already visited, and there are only a few people to disturb the silence. We find the last geocache on the trail, and celebrate by cooling off as the day reaches its hottest.
But, there is an unavoidable conclusion. At the end, the only place to go is back. So we take our last sips of water, wipe our brows, and start the trek again.
This post originally appeared on BarefootBeachBlonde.com, the pre-evolved version of Maps And Mandalas. I’ve republished it here with its original date because I love it that much.