A Disasterous day of caching!!!

As cassandy#2 had decided that we need to have a goal to reach our 2500th find by the end of January, we planned for a weekend of heavy caching. It’s usually me who sets the goals and plans things so I’m quite surprised that both of us are infected with the caching bug. Saturday went brilliantly, however Sunday I think could be called our most disasterous caching day to date…

Meopham March

For our big Saturday trail we teamed up with our good friends mel-ray to tackle the caches on Meopham March. This was a trail of 52 caches over about 10 miles. They also bought along another cacher who lives near them, Squirtchy. The day started off extremely miserable with rain, and wind. The ground was wet and muddy, however it wasn’t too bad in comparison to some of the weather that we have cached in.

A dull start to the day

We were also trialing out some software on cassandy#2’s new phone. It’s a Samsung Galaxy S which runs Android 2.2. I have had an iPhone for about 3 years and have always been convinced that it is the best phone EVER. Well, that was until I got my hands on the Galaxy S. Oh my gosh! The software that we were
trying out was “MM Tracker free” This is a bit of software that allows you to view 25K Ordnance survey maps (as .qct files) on your phone. Using MM tracker we were able to watch a little crosshair move along the OS maps on the phone as we walked. Far better than the topo maps or 50k maps that are available for the GPSr. For any cachers reading this who have an Android and want to use ‘MM Tracker’ with 25K OS maps drop me an email and I’ll tell you how…

We had a bit of a mini competition going on with finding the caches. It was mostly Me and Mel though, as we would run to GZ before the boys in an attempt to find the cache first. This back fired a few times for me as I think I was going a bit too fast for the GPSr to keep up with me and ran straight past GZ! We had to
wade through lanes covered in little rivers, and across boggy fields, but eventually about a third of the way around the sun put its hat on and shined across the hills. Beautiful!

Ray gets lost in the water!

A very boggy field

Hooray for sunshine!

We carried on through a little scout camp where they had blue animal markers on the tree. It was a bit hard to navigate through this bit and we ended up jumping a fence as we got to about 30ft from GZ and realised we had taken the wrong route!

Which one is the blue squirrel? Haha!

I hadn’t checked the altitude for the caches on this trail, and perhaps it was best that I didn’t know as there were some killer hills. Infact, the trail ended with a 100ft climb over about a quarter of a mile. That was a bit tiring. Last week’s big “Leigh Loop” trail was totally flat, so I think we were a bit spoilt with that!

The view from the top

We managed to find all of the caches, and finished off by grabbing a cache for the windmill at Meopham Green. It was a multi that you had to get numbers from the windmill signs to find, however it turned out to be back on the route we’d been! Mel and I put our feet up and had a rest at the bus stop whilst the boys went and did their job! 😉

Kiki’s Stroll

It was on to Kiki’s stroll next. We had grabbed the last 2 of this 16 part trail when we first arrived in the area as it was dark and raining and we hoped that this would pass before we got on to the trail, however we had to abandon our searches as the hides were far too hard to spot in the dark. We returned to this trail after having lunch back at the car. hides 12,13, and 14 were down a very narrow single track. The caches were all nanos (We presumed bison tubes) hidden up the steep banks along the side of the road. We tried, however it was a bit ridiculous and dangerous to search in these spots and as we weren’t really enjoying the searching we abandoned
these. Fortunately the rest for the series were easier. There was however a very pesky hide hidden in a huge cluster of ivy that had a couple of DNF’s on it. I don’t know how I got lucky, but I did and I managed to find the cache within about 2 minutes. It was crazy as it could have been absolutely anywhere.

My most skilled find of the day

We continued to a couple more nasty hides whilst working our way backwards to #1 in the series. At cache #6 however, we bumped into some very familiar faces… It was drsolly and lady solly, only the UK’s number 1 geocachers with nearly 18,000 finds under their belts. I think drsolly was a bit shocked that I knew exactly who he was even though we’d never met before. The truth is that he’d done some physically tricky caches that I had tried and saw his photos in the logs whilst I was swatting up on the right approach to take to retrieve the cache. We had a quick chat and exchanged numbers. He kindly said we could phone him if we needed help on the others as they were doing it in the opposite direction. This came in very handy on the 4th cache when we searched for the cache for 15 minutes! The hide didn’t match the hint at all, however drsolly kindly provided enough information for us to get it. The annoying thing was it was hidden right under the object that we had all moved a dozen times! In the end we found all of this trail apart from the 3 that were hidden up the steep banks. I want to enjoy Geocaching and if I’m not enjoying the hunt, I really don’t think it’s worth the time… We finished the day on 71 cache finds.

The day's new trackables

Climate chaos: The Design

After finding the 2nd part of the Climate Chaos puzzle series last weekend, we decided to have a go at the next 2 parts this weekend, Climate chaos: The Design and Climate Chaos: The Theory. These caches weren’t too far from home and we didn’t think they would require excessive amounts of walking so we took Teddy (Geodog) with us to stretch his little legs. He can’t handle the big circular trails that we do, but can just about manage 7 miles. We started off by stopping for a cache at Rickling Green church. This was the longest unfound cache near home so it was good to get it off of the list! I’d popped to the church on my own with Teddy in the 2nd month we’d started caching. Teddy smelt a rabbit or something and just kept tugging on the lead so I couldn’t search. We had to abandon the search and since then hadn’t been back since. We walked up to GZ and within 2 seconds, cassandy#2 said “There it is!” Gutted!

Rickling Church

We then continued on to Mirandapanda’s pony cache. Mirandapanda’s Kitty cache was the second cache that we ever found, so the fond memories of our early days of caching when we didn’t have a clue what we were doing all came flooding back. We saw a group of about 8 deer as we approached GZ for this cache. A beautiful sight, however typically they legged it before I could catch a sneaky photo!

Mirandapanda's Pony Cache

It was then on to Climate Chaos: The Design. The first container held information on where to go to find the next container. The ground was quite wet and I had to get under a bridge to retrieve it. I emerged with the container, however quite a wet bum from sliding under the narrow gap to it. I felt like quite an adventurer!

"Mummy... What are you doing down there?"

The next stage was easy, however the penultimate stage was a lot trickier. We walked about 3/4 of a mile to it.

A creative footpath sign

When we reached GZ we spotted something that was a dead give away as a hiding spot. We searched it… nothing. We searched around the area… nothing. Teddy was getting a bit impatient as we had to tie his lead to a tree whilst we both searched. About 15 minutes later cassandy#2 noticed something. It was the fastenings that secured the cache in place and some string. The cache was gone. We walked a few paces
back to the car (After giving Teddy a treat for being such a good boy and waiting for us) and then I realised something the CO had said to me in an email after I emailed them about the muggled box on the previous trail. They had told me that a location had been compromised and gave me some easting coordinates for the final. I had expected there to be a few more stages on this mission, however the location they mentioned matched the one we were just searching and so I paired the numbers with the numbers I had calculated from
the puzzle. Eureka! We had the final! It suddenly dawned on me that if we hadn’t have contacted the CO about the muggled box on the previous series then we wouldn’t have known about this muggling and
wouldn’t have been able to find the final and would have walked all that way for nothing. In our rucksack I keep a tupperware box that holds the TB’s. I scribbled a note on a piece of paper with a message on and the eastings, sealed it in a bag, popped it in the container and hid it under some bark in the intended location. It
was a long trek to this location and I thought it’d help to save the CO the journey. I wasn’t sure if we had done the right thing as I know some CO’s get a bit ratty if you replace their caches, but thankfully they were pleased. 🙂

Our cache replacement
(With the eastings obviously removed from the note)

Climate chaos: The Tragedy

This cache isn’t called ‘The Tragedy’, it’s called ‘The Theory’. However I’ve renamed it for this particular trip as we made a real cock up with it! It was a 3/4 mile trek to the cache that we needed to tell us where to go for the information. After doing the trek we consulted
the OS map on the phone and realised that it’d be quicker to do the next two caches on foot, rather than go back to the car and move it to another location. So off we trundled to GZ#1. It was a lovely walk and the sky was blue.

The view across to Braughing church

We got to GZ and saw a bridge. We searched around trees and under bricks, however the cache was nowhere to be seen. I then looked on my iPhone and noticed that someone had made a spoiler photo of them
under the bridge. That was where the cache was. I used 3 bricks from the wall to make stepping stones to at least get me under, however I couldn’t see where the cache would be hidden and there
was no way of me getting it without getting a wet foot (Which was quite damp already from the stepping stones method!) There were however wellies in the car. We walked to GZ #2 and realised that
this too would be unobtainable without wellies. “You would have thought they would have said you need them on the cache description page” said cassandy#2. I pulled up the description “You will need: wellies or waders” … Oh dear! It was quite a long trek back to the car and we walked past a location where we suspected the final would be hidden. After grabbing a nearby church micro, we hopped in the car and drove to GZ#1, managing to park very close to it. I hopped out of the car, but as cassandy#2 climbed out a big black labrador rushed past him and caught him a bit by surprise. I wanted to do the retrieval so grabbed the size 12 wellies (I’m a size 5, by the way) out of the boot and we went to GZ. We’d left the other phone and our rucksack in the car as we knew we’d only be 5 minutes. I descended down the bank and under the bridge and after a few minutes of searching I found it. Great hiding place! This told us the final northings that we needed for the final cache. I had worked out the eastings from a puzzle (or so I thought…)

Under the bridge

We went back to the car… however the car keys weren’t in our pockets. We looked through the car window and saw them still in the ignition! The car was locked by pressing the button inside. The big black dog that ran past as we got out had confused cassandy#2 and the keys just got locked in. The RAC were called on my mobile and said that they would be 75 minutes. It was 4pm now, but I thought I could make it to GZ #2 and the final, and then back to the car in that time and before it got dark so we discussed where I would be (as we had already walked the route) and I marched off. I had to leave my phone as the RAC man was going to call back when he was near. GZ #2 was an easy find. It was about half a mile to the final and I was aware of the ever fading light so I did quite a bit of running to get there. This was a job and a half in size 12 wellies!!!

Eventually I got to 200ft of the cache and realised I’d made a terrible mistake with my puzzle calculations. The GPSr was telling me the cache was hidden in the middle of a field! Oh no! I attempted to make a guess using the northings, however it was now too dull to see any sneaky hidey holes and I was without a torch.
It looked like a long way back, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a shortcut across a ploughed field which lead directly to where the car was. However, half way across the field the mud just covered my feet. My feet became so heavy that I could barely lift them and as the wellies were way too big they were such a mission to even lift off of the ground. Eventually I made it to the otherside and ended up on a familiar track. I ran back to the spot that the car was parked at, but it was gone. 😦 A lady in the field nearby who was with her horses told me that the RAC had gone about 5 minutes ago. I went up to the road and by now it was pitch black. I knew they would be searching for me in the dark where I said I would look for the final so had to get there quickly. This was about a mile and a half away! I ran down the road in the wellies (God, my feet were sore by now) and after about half a mile of running I saw some headlights, and there they were. I was very scared being out in the dark in an unknown place all on my own. I didn’t know where they would be and they didn’t know where I would be, however thankfully I made the right choice by sticking to the roads. I was so relieved to be home and for that experience to be over. We now have a new set of final coordinates for the eastings and hope that our next retrieval with be quick, easy, and not so eventful. I know that I will never go out for a cache near dark on my own again. And at the end of the day, to know what cassandy#2 said? “Oh well, at least it’ll make a good blog entry!!!”


8 Responses to “A Disasterous day of caching!!!”

  1. jane Says:

    I often find it’s the one’s I don’t find are the more memorable!
    Glad you were safe.

  2. Hannah Says:

    Oh my, what an absolute nightmare of a day. I really hope you get the final cache without many more problems.
    Good luck on getting to the 2500 mark by the end of the month, you should hit it as long as the weather behaves! Can you make it to 3000 in your first year of caching? 1500 is our next big milestone but who knows when we’ll get there- we have 128 caches to go until then… We’re still on for the ‘365 days of caching’ cache; day 133 tomorrow!

    • geocass Says:

      Wow, you’re doing great on the 365 days of caching. Don’t think I’d be able to do that. No, we won’t manage 3000 by March 6th, I’ll be more than happy for 2500 by then. We may have made 3000 if the weather hadn’t been so bad in December. I’m mostly focused on our “well rounded cacher” challenge. Hopefully we should be able to fill all of our 81 terrain/difficulty ratings by the end of the year! 🙂 it’s nice that with Geocaching we can all have different little mini challenges! 🙂

  3. The Chaos Crew Says:

    well, he was right! 🙂

  4. ErikaJean Says:

    a good blog post indeed! Oh my gosh, what a mess on the last cache/keys/car ordeal! glad everything worked out okay in the end!!

  5. Martin Says:

    Gosh what fun!

    I thought the ‘Climate Chaos’ caches were quite memorable enough on their own, but I suspect you won’t forget them even given your vast number of finds.

    Incidentally, as you probably know, you can get MM for iPhone and iPad too.

    • geocass Says:

      Yes they are fab caches, and that one unfortunately memorable for the wrong reasons now 😦 I do know about MM for the iPhone, but it’s £20 (vs £4 for MMtracker on android) and doesn’t support my old map versions that I have which would mean £20 for the app and then buying every map again. MMTracker supports everything and the chap who develops it is very helpful and quick to respond to my questions. I’ll hopefully get a blog entry up soon about how to use it. Hopefully i can show some more geocachers how great it is! 🙂

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