Hills, swamps, and telegraph poles!


On Saturday, 10th September we headed to Kent with our friends mel-ray to do the Griffin’s Grizz Series, a series of 26 geocaches over around 6 miles. We were attracted to the series because it had many varied terrain/difficulty ratings on the caches. We thought there would probably be some quite difficult climbs on it as one of the caches was a 4.5d/4t which we needed for our difficulty terrain matrix.

North Downs Way

It was a sunny morning, and we got off to a good start by finding the first few geocaches, however very soon we realised the reason for the high difficulty/terrain ratings of some of the geocaches… It was because there was a very big hill leading up to the top of the series. Once we were the top however it was quite flat and it was just a matter of getting back down. Although the walk up the hill was quite demanding there was some beautiful woodland and we passed some sections where there were some lovely old trees.

Up the hill we go!

Once we were at the top, were treated to some lovely views of Kent.

Views down the pylon lines into Kent

We felt that the difficulty and terrain ratings for the geocaches were however somewhat exaggerated, as although it took a bit of work to get up the hill it definitely didn’t feel like a 4.5 terrain in places. There were a good variety of containers on the series, in particular we liked the cache owner’s use of a camo’ed tin as an ammo box.

A different type of ammo box

We were also treated to some interestingly coloured mushrooms and tree fungus woodland as we descended the hill.

Marshmellow-like tree fungus!

Tree fungus along the path

We had a few laughs at some of the cache locations. On the way to one of the caches, there was a marker for the North Downs Way which looked rather like a tombstone! And at one of the other cache locations someone placed a toilet roll on one of the trees which made it look rather like toilet area!!!

Ray resting in peace

Nature's own portaloo!

Once we reached the bottom of the hill we realised that we’d been in Boxley Warren nature reserve, an area of outstanding natural beauty of the Kent Downs. It certainly was quite an enjoyable area to walk through.

There was also a bonus cache, and we visited this after doing a few other geocaches. It was a really rewarding bonus as well as it was in a massive tool box. We were really pleased to find it despite it not being very well-stocked with goodies.

A big bonus!

Continuing the high terrain, high difficulty geocache theme we headed off to geocache in a swamp called Shrek. This was a 4.5d/5t cache which required you to wade through swamp to find it. We needed to fill this box on our difficulty/terrain matrix. The alternative cache for this box nearer home required a swim across a river. I can’t swim, so Andy was elected to do the retrieval however he was told if he did this cache in the swamp he didn’t have to do the wild swimming! He jumped at the chance when I suggested the slight wade through the swamp. He was quite convinced that it wouldn’t come past his Wellington boots, however he did find out that this swamp was a bit higher than he had anticipated. At one point Mel suggested that Ray would go into the swamp to retrieve the cache however I insisted that Andy go and fetch it as it was his duty, otherwise he would be swimming across the river!!! We shouted encouragements from the river bank and it wasn’t long before Andy got to the place where we thought that the cache would be and a little bit of rummaging later and he had in its in his hand. It was a little bit fiddly to retrieve however he managed to do it and he was soon on dry land, emptying the water out of his wellies.

Squelch

He's in there somewhere...

Must be around here somewhere...

We were able to grab a few more geocaches in the area as well. They were situated along a lovely river area where there were canal boats and pub. We sat by the river for a few moments and enjoyed the sunshine before moving on to the other geocaches.

Across the canal

A pirate ship!

To finish the day we headed to a cache that Ray had his eye on, it was a 5/5 geocache which required you to climb up an old BT pole. We brought our telescopic ladder with us so were well prepared for the climb up the pole, however it was Ray that got to do the retrieval whilst the rest of us held the ladder. It wasn’t the best ladder for climbing poles as it was a bit wobbly and shakey in places, however with us all holding onto it plus Ray holding onto the pole as he made his way up, he managed to safely retrieve it and pass it down for us all to sign. We felt a little bit suspicious retrieving the cache from this place as there were signs up telling us that we were being watched by CCTV and a camera pointed straight at the telegraph pole, however we weren’t there for long and were able to get the cache sorted and get back in the car within about 5 mins.

We're being watched...

A long way up!

It was a great day caching as we managed to find some very high terrain/difficulty caches and managed to fill in two squares of our difficulty/terrain matrix meaning that we only need two more to complete the entire thing!

If someone could please just hide a 1D/5T cache which doesn’t involve water (as I can’t swim) I would be most grateful!!! With only 17 caches of this rating in the entire country, looks like it might take us a while to get all of our squares filled! We are so very nearly there though…

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