S1E5: Adventure Labs

I recently learned about Adventure Labs and went out to try one. This episode takes a look at the first ever adventure lab I’ve tried and talks about the different places it took me to.

Click here to listen to S1E5

Places and Things Mentioned
Veteran’s Tribute Park
St Peter’s Veteran’s Memorial
O’Fallon Veteran’s Memorial
St Charles County Veteran’s Museum

Sources
– “Geocaching Adventure Lab App FAQ” by Martin Kerstin, geocaching.com

Cache Highlight: “The Mexican

Cache: The Mexican

Transcript

What is an Adventure Lab?  An Adventure lab is an experimental goecache and is often played at Mega-Events.  It is a type of cache that doesn’t require a container and can be located indoors.  It is also different from other caches as it requires a different app to log them.  They do however count towards you total finds and can be viewed as part of your statistics at geocaching.com.

There is an Adventure Lab in my area that I had been wanting to try, that highlights five different veteran memorials in St Charles County.

I did this Adventure Lab in segments, with a few weeks spanning in between them.  The first part of the adventure lab I did with my son.  It happen to be at the Veteran’s Tribute Park that I have mentioned a couple of previous episodes.  If you haven’t noticed yet, we tend to frequent that park.  Even though we had been to that park several times, we typically ended up on the playground or maybe at the storybook walk.  Until deciding to try this adventure lab, we had not yet found our way to the memorial in the park.  The walk up to the memorial has different panels quote “covering conflicts from the time St Charles County was organized in 1812 to present day.”  The memorial itself displays the names of soldiers from St Charles County who died serving the nation in World War I.

A few weeks later, I started my second segment of the adventure lab.  This time my husband was along with us and we made a nice family outing of it. The second locations took us to the St Peter’s Veteran’s Memorial which is located and the St Peter’s City Center Park. It’s another park that we tend to go to in order to play Pokemon Go.  The park has some nice walking paths around and happens to house multiple poke stops and gyms.  Unlike the first memorial, we happen to have visit this one a few times.  It’s an interesting memorial that honors all veteran’s of all branches and has multiple sections to it, including a Korean War monument and a Vietnam War monument.

The third Adventure Lab location, was not part of a park like the other two but was a stand alone monument not too far from the highway.  I had never been to this one and had no idea this on existed  It was a very neat memorial and had a nice little picnic spot next to it. This memorial is rather unique, featuring cast bronze boots in front of panels for each branch of service and lone pair for Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action.

The fourth location, took us to the St Charles County Veteran’s Museum which we also didn’t know about.  The adventure lab was set up so that you did not have to enter the museum to log the location which was nice because it was closed due to Covid-19.  There were a few outside things that we were able to  look at while we were there and we are definitely planning on going back to check out the museum when it opens up again.

The third and final segment that closed out this adventure lab I did about a week later with my son and my husband.  It took us down to the history area of St Charles.  I expected it to take us to the memorial near the river front that we had been to before.  Instead it took us up by the court house to a smaller memorial that we hadn’t been to before.  The location for the answer for this location wasn’t as obvious as the others as it was on the back side of the memorial.

I really like a few different things about this adventure lab.  First of all, I just really like how the creator of this decided to honor veterans but highlighting monuments that people may otherwise not have known about or ventured to.  It certainly did that for me and my family.

Second, even though my son is only 5, he is very interested in military stuff and I don’t just mean the typical toy solider stuff.  When we go to our local library, he loves to go to the children’s non fiction section and get books on different military machines.  He’s always asking for books on military trucks, tanks, riffles, etc., and he loves them.  So it wasn’t very surprising when he ended up being really interested in the memorials and asked all kinds of questions about them and wanting me to read the plaques to him at every location.  It was neat to see him take it all in even if he doesn’t fully understand what it all means yet.  It also made for a great way to foster an interest that he has in a new way.

Third, I really liked how each of the adventure lab locations had at least one traditional cache in the vicinity of it.  Some locations had multiple caches near by.  We took advantage of this, and logged a few new smiley faces while at it.

Finally, what I really enjoyed about this was that my husband was able to enjoy it with me.  As you may recall from past episodes, he’s not really into geocaching but will humor me and my son by going with us from time to time or making a detour for us to grab a near by cache.  By taking us to the different memorials and monuments, he was able to enjoy it too.

More information about the different memorials mentioned in this episode can be found in the show notes.

Warning: This part of the show contains spoilers for the cache that is about to be discussed.

This weeks cache highlight is one we found while at one of the adventure lab locations.

The cache was called “The Mexican”

Cache ID GCFA1

Difficulty rating 1, Terrain rating 1.5

The description read:

After a bit of research it would seem this is the oldest active cache in St Charles county.

This cache is so close to the path, that saying “it’s off path”, would be almost be lying, please make sure you return the cache as close as possible to the original location, a matter of a few inches could make this cache very visible to everyone… Thanks!

This cache entitled “THE MEXICAN” is a themed cache, it is hidden in a park on MEXICO road; the stash at one time contained things having to do with MEXICO / MEXICAN culture. Right now it contains only a log book and a pen and a few swag items. Small medicine bottle so there is room for a couple of smaller travel bugs.

Please use your stealth when finding this cache.

Hint:

Could you be standing on it?

When we got to the park, we headed down the walking path that would lead us to the memorial for the adventure lab spot.  Along the way I pulled out my geocaching app and looked to see what else was in the area.  I saw the cache “The Mexican” was on the way to our destination so we decided to stop and find it.  The walking path lead up to a bridge that crossed a creek.  The map showed the cache on the other side of the bridge.  So we crossed over and started searching.  Thanks to the hint, it didn’t take long to determine I needed to look under the bridge.  My husband and son stayed on top while I walked about the side to go under.  I didn’t have to go far.  As soon as I walked around the edge I saw the cross supports box steel so I peeked inside.  Sure enough, I found a large pill bottle, like a vitamin bottle, wrapped in a geocache sticker.  I stood at the side of the bridge signing the log as a friendly dog nose popped over to see what I was doing.  I looked up and said “hello puppers” and saw an older gentle man walking a dog.  We said hello to him and commented on his friendly dog.  “There’s a feathered one back there,” he said pointing back towards the other end of the bridge.  We all looked back and saw two women he was with walking a chicken.  The chicken was wearing a harness and walking on a leash.  It was the best random pet encounter ever.  We walked with them for a few minutes about their pet chicken and then parted ways.  The cache itself was a simple find but the encounter we had at the cache made a lasting impression for all of us.

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