Nothing kicks off the new year like a geocache, especially one with an unexpected surprise…
After sleeping in this morning and missing church, I was bound to DO something this weekend besides hiding by the wood stove enjoying all the distractions this world can offer in the privacy of your own home.
I cleaned my GPS of all the Christmas MP3’s and old geocache list (which was a little out of date) using my new-favorite program GSAK. I got a fresh pocket query from Geocaching.com to sort for the day. For those unfamiliar with the sport, a “pocket query” allows you to download a specific search of caches. In my case, I wanted a list of caches that met my kids’ difficulty rating, were not micros/hazardous/required long walks/special equipment/etc and had not been found by me yet.
GSAK allowed me to sort them by any factor I wanted, then placed them on my GPS complete with log notes, description, and even the hint should I need it. After consulting the kids, they chose to go for the 1 ‘Regular’ sized cache first, and hit the 2 ‘Small’ sized ones if we had time.
The road (according to the map) started at the marina, so that’s where we parked. We weren’t dressed for much, as this was supposed to be a ‘park and grab.’ We followed the road it was on for 1/4 mile, but the closest I could get was 282 feet, pointing straight up the mountain, with no signs of traffic or trail. At this point, I consulted the hint which stated, “Do not leave the main road. By large, old, fallen tree.”
Hmm, being 280+ feet off was unusual, but then again the mountains were providing a steep barrier between me and the sky where the satellites are, so we looked. We searched every old fallen tree within 10 feet of the road, and gave up.
On our way back there were skid and game trails leading upward, so I checked one out. Sure enough, there was an old logging road higher up. Perhaps THIS is the ‘main road’ they were speaking of. The more I followed, the closer the GPS said I was.
I bid the kids to join me. This was quite a steep hill and tuckered them out. This was doubled by the fact that my daughter forgot her geocaching sack at the bottom and had to do it twice. Luckily, dad packs the water
The ‘road’ we now followed was so under utilized that 10 foot trees were growing in its ruts. We all had a good chuckle about “the main road.” We joked about running into the next stop light. (Of which there are none within a 2 hours drive, BTW.)
As my Garmin was approaching 11 ft from ground zero, we saw a level spot. Apparently, we found ‘the main road.’ Needless to say, we vented our frustration at the cache placer, signed the log, traded swag, and departed.
I decided we should follow this road, as it wasn’t on the map, but seemed well kept. We headed back in the direction of the truck, but the road kept climbing higher, and not turning for the parking lot. We found a nice path/game trail that had been well used and marked with a rock pile and flagging ribbon. Our adventure was not over.
We had at least a hundred feet to descend, there was a fresh dusting of snow, and my kids were wearing shoes with little traction. Ultimately, this resulted in a slip ‘n’ slide decent with wet, bruised bottoms, but plenty of smiles.
All-in-All, the ‘park n grab’ turned into a 2-hour afternoon, putting us back at the truck as the sun was drifting to the horizon. We all agreed that it was one of the most exhausting, frustrating, and difficult caches EVER. It has, therefore, earned a place in our heart as one of the best