Since I began Shoestring Adventures, my brother Mike has been my mentor in trouble-making. Every few weeks, he checks up on me to make sure I have at least one weekend adventure planned. Mike knows about a lot of stuff, like how to read weather patterns and geological maps and how to predict the precise location of buried treasure.
So when Mike confided he had a treasure map that led to a secret pirate cave, I volunteered to join him on the expedition. I had a moment of panic when I saw the actual treasure map, a crumpled pink Post-It with a freeway exit written on it. Mike had to remind me that this was an adventure, and I just had to trust him.
After several hours of driving to death metal and speaking in a pirate accent, we exited the freeway and followed a gang of Model T’s to the coast line. We decided to pull over and survey the land to determine the most likely location for a pirate cave. We ended up finding some tide pools and interesting rock formations, but not our buried treasure.
While exploring another trail, we wandered to a cliff above the ocean. There we found the pirate cave sitting under our noses. In order to access it, we would have to scale down the cliff and swim several yards. Since neither of us brought swimwear, we decided to find the trail leading to the other side of the cave, guarded by a barbed wire fence.
We found the entrance to the trail, which winds through the security buffer zone of a nuclear power plant. Since we were on private property, we had to sign waivers assuming the risks of hiking amongst sinkholes, crumbling earth, steep cliffs and roaming cattle.
The reward was well worth the risk. Before long, we reached the pirate cave, filled with treasures beyond my imagination. The rocks were different shades of lavender and plum, which nicely complimented my toenail polish. Coral and purple starfish casually clung to the walls. Strange marine creatures resembling baby dragon claws with red toenails hung from the walls and the ceiling. I kept my distance from these in case they were capable of breathing fire.
While Mike searched for gold, I perched myself on a rock and let the sun warm my face. I really enjoy pretending I’m a mermaid. If pirate caves can exist, so can mermaids.
After we left the pirate cave, we explored some of the other hazards on the trail, like the giant sinkhole, a former sea cave that collapsed on itself. The trail closed early in the afternoon, so walked along the cliffs until we had to turn back.
I feel pretty lucky to have brother Mike as my mentor-in-troublemaking. That’s why I must respect his wish not to reveal the location of this secret pirate cave. But there is plenty of buried treasure out there for you too. You just have to go find it, adventurers!
P.S. Happy Belated Birthday, brother Mike. Glory shall be yours.
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