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Scott Steepleton, Editor
Walk the trails and you’d never know Malibu Bluffs Park is home to a special peach pit.
“That can’t be!” you protest. “There’s no peach trees on the bluffs!”
The pit got there thanks to the recreational activity called geocaching, a term coined 20 years ago this month, in which a set of clues and a GPS tracker lead you typically to some kind of container, aka the cache, that another player has left behind in an out-of-the-way location.
Some caches hold “treasures” ranging from the silly (a unicorn sticker) to the serious (a custom metal coin), which the finder swaps for something equally silly or serious. One class of “treasure” is intended to travel from cache to cache, with the people who pick it up and drop it off logging its journey at each stop.
My wife and I once followed a treasure we’d dropped off in a Southern California cache all the way to the island of Oahu. Its journey took about two years and included stops in New York and across Canada, and we were able to track it thanks to a website devoted to the activity.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, it was not uncommon to see families outdoors, taking part in this global scavenger hunt, and this region is a prime spot for it, from the seashore to the Santa Monicas.
Responsible geocachers do no harm. Such is the case with the peach pit.
Geocaching had brought us to the bluffs many times, and we'd often end our visit with a bite at Coogie’s. This time, the GPS took us deep in to the bluffs, then reversed course and pointed us toward a spot near the parking lot. We looked high and low, and there, in the twisted branches of a tree, we spotted something odd.
It was a dried peach pit hiding in plain sight.
Unlike bigger caches that typically hold a notepad where you mark the date and time, and often rave about the fun you had in the search, the peach pit was too small for that. Whoever dropped it had drilled a hole in one end and inserted a tightly rolled strip of paper no wider than cellophane tape on which you’d mark your initials.
To me, the peach pit is one of the best finds ever.
Like a good story, you never know where you’ll find a geocache. And like a geocache, finding a good story warms your heart.
Good stories often hide in plain sight. You find them in the agenda of the city council. While dropping off the kids at school. Over coffee at your favorite café. In the aisle of the grocery store.
As the new editor of Malibu Surfside News, I’m on the lookout for the good story – and I encourage you to join me by sharing your joys, your concerns, the ideas you have on making the place better and the names of those already doing so.
We will get through this. Together.
And may we all find our peach pit.
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