Fall woods

Fall woods

Thursday, July 14, 2016


In the last two days, I've found two really good geocaches of two completely different varieties.

Cache 1: easy to get to, only one stage, right off a major public street at the back of a tiny park in a nearby town.  Also easy to find: a largish container simply attached with a magnet to the back of a metal gate.  What made this one so cool is that the 'gate' in question happened to be the original (rusted, scary-looking, dungeonlike) 200+ year-old doors to the town jail!  I've driven by that park literally hundreds of times and hadn't the slightest idea that gate was there until yesterday.

Cache 2: the omega to cache 1's alpha.  This one had three stages (it's a so-called 'multi' cache.)  At each of the first two stages you had to find a puzzle and solve it in order to proceed.  Getting to stage 1 required a bushwhack of about 100 feet through summer overgrowth in a park.  At the coordinates was a camouflaged plastic container, which when opened revealed a small plain silver metal box with a large red button on it.  Pressing the button caused the box to play a message in Morse code aloud.  In order to get the coordinates for stage 2, you had to first translate the Morse, and then further decrypt the code message the translation yielded.

The coordinates for stage 2 brought us to an abandoned section of railroad track a few miles from the first stage, only a couple of hundred feet from a busy road.  The puzzle message there was much harder to find.  The owner (I asked him how he managed it afterward) used a paper stencil, a hammer and a center punch to enscribe a Braille message directly onto one of the rails of the train track!  As with stage 1, the Braille translated to a code that then had to be solved to get the coordinates for stage 3.

Getting to stage 3 required another bushwhack, but mercifully no more puzzle solving.  In keeping with the overall theme of the cache, the final container was probably three feet long and built in the shape of a rocket!  Unscrewing the tail part allowed us to access and sign the logbook inside.

Caches like these two are what keep me playing this game.  Some take me to spots I might otherwise never find, like that gate, or a beautiful view, or a historic cemetery, or a gigantic ancient tree.  Others challenge me to find something that is well-hidden and/or to figure out what to do with it once I've found it.  (Another recent multi presented me with coordinates written on a long pole at stage 1: the coordinates took me to stage 2 and the hook on the other end of the pole was required to get the final container down out of a tree.)

Everywhere I look online right now, people are talking about Pokemon Go.  I'd rather find a real geocache than an imaginary Pokemon any day...more brainpower required and less chance of data breaches, traffic accidents or accidentally ending up in someone's yard!

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