Friday, April 11, 2014

On A Roll Here

Over the past two weeks, I've located four (count 'em, FOUR!) caches that had eluded me on previous searches.  Sometimes multiple previous searches.  In cacher parlance, a cache that you can't find is referred to as a DNF (for "did not find") and my OCD self does not like having DNFs.  :)

One was straightforward enough...I couldn't find it on my first two tries because it wasn't actually there.  I was at the correct spot, but the cache container had been muggled (aka stolen.)  The owner checked on it, confirmed that it was gone, put a new one in its spot, and Bob's your uncle...a very quick find for me on my third visit.

A second cache owned by the same guy proved a little trickier.  I did eventually find the necessary clue at stage 1 (did YOU notice the three-digit numbers etched into the bolt heads on the left?  You may need to click on the picture to see them.)

The bolts in question were about waist-height on a post, helping to hold up a gate.

I then tried to get to the final stage back in the fall but was defeated by wicked, marauding thorn bushes.  I swore that I would return in winter with a machete.  Well, it may have been the beginning of spring, but there was significantly less underbrush, and I was armed: I made the hike to the final site with GPS receiver in one hand and handheld garden shears in the other!  One more down.

Number three: no explanation other than that I must have been blind the first time around.  Solved the puzzle at stage 1 with no problem, got to stage 2, couldn't find a darned thing.  The second time, I all but tripped over the container...go figure.  It was exactly where it should have been and I just missed it.  (But isn't the view from that cache site something??)

Number four was a raging beast.  There's a guy in my area who gets his jollies out of hiding caches so well that people have a terrible time finding them...I've run into a few of his before.  This particular one had a terrain rating of 2 out of 5, meaning not sidewalk but not terrible terrain either, but a difficulty rating of 4 out of 5.  I actually think the latter was underrated, in retrospect.  After a thoroughly frustrating stomp around in the woods looking for it the first time, a friend gave me a small hint and I went back today.  Even knowing the general sort of hide I was looking for, it took me an hour to find the damned thing!

And this is why.

This is where I was looking for it.  Forested area, tons of dead leaves and downed branches.

And THIS was the freaking cache container!!  A small chunk of old-looking wood with a hole drilled into the bottom for the tube that held the actual paper log.  (The container is only the round bit of wood; I had it sitting on a downed tree trunk so I could take the picture.)

A better picture of the wooden container with the tube inserted into the hole.  Again, bear in mind that this piece of wood was placed upside-down on a forest floor littered with leaves and sticks and random pieces of wood.  The fact that I managed to turn over the right piece of wood was little less than wonder it took me so long to find the blasted thing.  Talk about a needle in a haystack!

But I did find it, and that's what matters...another one bites the dust.  There's nothing special about the actual containers when you find them most of the time: the fun for me is the hunt (and the puzzle-solving as well, for the puzzle caches.)  To each his own form of entertainment!



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