Geocaching in Bear Country

Adventure on the edge of the wilderness in Montana can take on many forms…


When we got out of the truck and began our geo-hunt, I had no clue what was in store for us other than the usual search for a geocache. I knew it would be cleverly hidden somewhere off of the beaten path. I just didn’t know how far off.


Eileen, David, and Mallory take off to look for the cache.


As we walked down the gravel road in the direction of the cache, I saw that early fall color was popping up. I mentioned to David and the girls to take notice, but was met with skepticism. David thought the color change was due to drought. But I knew better. I had seen the signs.

These bright orange berries alongside the road are always a colorful sign of autumn in Montana.


These are pretty


Over the years, I’ve learned to look for the special-ness of life (I look with eyes wide open) and thought these dead white trees in the burn looked pretty against the deep blue sky. Always look at the sky everyday, I say. You’ll feel better if you do.


Dead trees looking skyward


Now, put in your minds eye the colors of the bright orange berries, the deep blue sky, dead white trees, and this yellow flower, and you might get a handle of our surroundings on the way to the geocache.



When we arrived at the location where we needed to go off-road, I saw that there was no trail. I didn’t think much about it. David was in charge of the GPS, and here is where he checked coordinates in order to point us in the right direction.


It’s that-a-way


It was now time to play follow the leader. We stepped out into the brush one by one. Once again I told everyone that leaves were changing color. It was only Labor Day and a bit early for the change, I thought. No one seemed to care.

“OKAY!”, I thought.

We started walking.


No one can deny that these ferns look orange


After walking through a low spot, we came out in a thicket. Being the proverbial mommy, I was glad that everyone wore pants instead of shorts. The weeds were scratchy and almost waist high. I began to think of the jokester, the cache owner, probably a hunter, who placed his treasure way out in the weeds. In his or her defense, I think he probably wanted us to get a taste of the Northfork’s wild and scenic beauty – to experience the young forest that was burgeoning after the Roberts Fire of 2003.

We kept walking.


Wait for me!


At one point, because David was disappearing into the brush, I thought of how easy it would be to get separated. I was so wrapped up in the distance of the cache location, that I forgot that we were in prime bear country. And for the record, Montana has more grizzly bears than any other state in the lower 48.

We kept walking.


I thought I’d better quit taking pictures and catch up


Ah, finally! We found it! Or to put it bluntly, someone shouted out and I finally caught up with everyone to get a look at the geocache called McGinnis View. There were no muggles in sight unless they were spying us with a scope or binoculars.


We found it!


The geocache was a medium sized can, well protected from critters.


Cleverly hidden


Mallory and Eileen examined the cache and signed the logbook.


It was a camoed can


When it was time to go, David said we would take another route instead of going back the way we came. Argh, I didn’t like that idea. It meant breaking trail and we had already done that. I just wanted to walk back the way we came. My husband, the explorer, had already made the decision, however, to use his orienteering skills to walk us out another way.

We started walking.


Wonderful views


I took in the view. We walked. We ran across some moose poop.


Dimple Dimple


We could tell it was moose poop because of its shape and size. You learn to identify different types of scat when you travel in the woods and hike in the mountains. It definitely was not bear poop. That would be shaped like meatballs or a cinnamon roll. The cinnamon roll – the grizzly kind- is the one you don’t want to see especially if it is smoking. That would mean it was fresh and the bear was possibly close.

We pushed aside branches and stepped over logs.

We kept walking.



David waiting for the ladies


We traveled through a stand of wild and prickly Christmas trees. You can see how dense it was. If you look closely in the center of the next picture, you will see a face and a piece of my daughter’s shirt. Too bad they weren’t soft firs.That would have been kinder on the naked arms.


Find the person in the middle of the picture


Upon emerging out of the Christmas trees, we had to climb a hill. Eileen mentioned she felt something sticking her leg.

We kept walking.


Mallory reaches the road


When we reached the road, we saw that Eileen had welts on her thigh.


Eileen’s leg gets its picture taken


Red and itchy bumps were all over…no telling what kind of menacing little creature had left their venom in her.



When it was all over and we were out of the woods, David the macho man became David the macro man.


Everywhere you look, life is an adventure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.