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Geocaching 2: Poison ivy’s revenge

In the second part of this series reporter Charles Kreutzkamp visits towns served by Record-Journal Weeklies to search for Geocaches. SPOILER ALERT: specific details ahead. For last week’s story, visit

North Haven holds a special place for me – my first assignments as a reporter were for The North Haven Citizen – so I was eager to return to search for caches.

The same day we visited North Haven, a new Geocache was published titled “Beat the Heat – Lollipop” on a residential front lawn. This cache, a “park and grab” or “P&G” (Geocachers seem to love their abbreviations) was found by three people the same day it went live. This cache was praised by its seekers, and sounded like a fun find.

Meanwhile, HisGirlFriday and Your Friendly Neighborhood Reporter (the Geocaching names of this reporter and his fiancée, Kate) were driving in circles, failing to find “micro” sized caches, and walking into poison ivy.

If there’s one thing we learned this week, it’s that preparation is key: When we head out for next week’s column, we’ll be sure to plan which caches to seek in advance, with plenty of time to consider difficulty and route. One limitation of the free Geocaching app is that it only shows caches near you, but the website has no such limitations.

After our failed attempt at a micro near the center of town, we scoped out North Haven for a good hiking trail. That is what brought us to the lovely Quinnipiac River State Park – eventually. When we first asked the GPS to bring us to the park, it instructed us to drive up 15. We complied, and a couple miles out of North Haven and nowhere near any sort of legal parking, the phone proudly declared, “You have arrived.”

After turning around in Wallingford, we finally found our way to the trailhead using good old-fashioned map-reading. The trailhead, as it turns out, is nestled behind a rest stop right off of 15. As Geocacher ctvalleygirl put it, “Who knew there’s a trail (paved no less) in the back of the rest stop?”

We quickly set off to start finding caches. The first one we went for gave us an excellent hint: we would find the cache hidden “in the crotch of a three-trunk tree.”

Once our GPS made clear that the cache laid off the trail and into the underbrush, I found myself hesitating, trying to call to mind an image of a specific leaf.

I should have thought to voice my concern before Kate, wearing shorts, walked straight into a patch of poison ivy, which I successfully recognized moments later. Being from Indianapolis, my fiancée had never even seen a poison ivy rash in person before, much less the plant.

A quick read of some of the comments on the Geocache might have warned us of the presence of the poison ivy as well – again, preparation was the lesson of the day.

With that ship sailed, we figured we may as well go after our quarry – so we tramped through a sea of the stuff, eyes peeled for a three-trunked tree.

This Geocache is the first one I spotted before Kate did: several sticks and pieces of bark were piled against a tree, but a tiny bit of green and blue shown through the debris.

With this cache found and the logbook signed, we rushed back to the car and went roaring back home. There are conflicting ideas out there about how long it takes poison ivy to set in – so we kept our fingers crossed that we would get home in time.

Unfortunately I must report that my fiancée is now intimately familiar with the poison ivy rash. We live and learn!

Thanks to our awesome readers for all their excellent advice and kind feedback! (203) 317-2448

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