Geocaching at Sun Peaks produces tales and treasures

We couldn’t turn back because the GPS said we were metres from finding our treasure

Kamloops This Week

As we reached the border between spring and winter, I was reminded of my mesh footwear.

Slushy snow seeped into my running shoes and I officially crossed into committed territory.

I should have known alpine hiking in May would probably mean snow.

Our group continued through, sinking with each step into what was once fluffy white stuff and which was now slushy and brownish goop.

We strategized our footwork, taking refuge on grassy knolls, logs and other traces of earth, adding another level to our game.

We couldn’t turn back because the GPS said we were metres from finding our treasure.

Our ambitious Sun Peaks geocaching adventure eventually paid off as we signed our names on the tiny scroll and made our way back to dry land.

We tailored the rest of the day, however, to be less soggy by staying closer to base level.

We took in the mountain beauty by the light of spring and approached the bunny hill.

I pictured miniature snowsuits and clumsily crossed skis in place of the newly formed creek that had resulted from a melting run.

We walked along the stream and a curious piece of Styrofoam filtered through the channel.

“How did that get there?” I wondered.

We continued toward our next cache, huffing up the run that was once so easy to glide down on my snowboard.

I stared up with envy at the lifeless chairlifts that would effortlessly bring hikers up the mountain, beginning in June. We stopped briefly and noticed a small bottle of bourbon.

No, this was not a mirage or surprise watering hole. It was just the bottle — an empty bottle that looked rather old.

“How long has that been there?” I thought.

We located two more geocaches in the next hour, but we made several other discoveries while scaling the slopes.

We found money, remnants of fireworks, other beverage containers, the button flap from a jacket and a wrench.

Items lost during the ski season had reappeared with the melting of the snow.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks mark the impending calendar change on the mountain; the wrench had taken on a rustier persona and I imagined someone pulling their jacket flap, tearing it as they quickly raced toward the bottom.

Stories were swapped about ski trips that ended with missing items — keys, an iPod and money.

It all made me wonder what else is found at Sun Peaks when the snow melts.

I contacted mountain staff and learned about a lost and found located at guest services in the Village Day Lodge. Phone 250-578-7878 if you’ve lost something on the hill.

But, I also learned how one lost item was reunited with its owner.

Aidan Kelly, director of sales and marketing, said a camera was found last year by a maintenance worker after the melt.

The SD card was intact and the photographs were preserved.

The employee posted some of the pictures on the online resource website camerafound.com that reconnects people with lost cameras.

I took a glance at the site myself and, though I found nothing currently listed under a search of “Kamloops” or “Sun Peaks,” there were 3,569 lost cameras archived across the world.

Lost memories could be seen from wedding photos, travel photos and, yes, the odd selfie.

Though Kelly said the camera found at Sun Peaks was destroyed, the family was reunited with their memories through the site.

They had apparently travelled from out of town to the mountain and who knows what memories were captured on that SD card?

Maybe the first time skiing or perhaps a first encounter with snow?

Maybe a life milestone was celebrated?

Maybe it was just full of selfies.

Whatever the photo or memory, it seems geocaches aren’t the only treasures to be found in the snow.