234: How do you celebrate International Geocaching Day?

Today we went to two different geocaching events: one in Wakefield and one in Halifax. Both were good and very different – the Halifax one suffered from poor weather, however… It meant we got this little badge to put on your profile.

Happy International Geocaching Day! This special day is celebrated every year on the third Saturday in August. You earned this souvenir by finding a geocache or attending an event on International Geocaching Day.

2016 International Geocaching Day

2016 International Geocaching Day

1787

The view from the Halifax event.

I also took a 360-degree photo, which you can see here.

232: How can it be so hard?

As I’ve been talking about for the last few days, the puzzle caches have proved to be quite a hit with people. However, only half of them have been found so far. I love that people are finding these hard. It really makes the year of planning worthwhile.

I really have nothing else to say about today. I took my dad for a quick check up (all is well), spent some time at Mrs Pitts’ school (creating and putting up a display) and made a bedside cabinet for the back bedroom. Thrilling stuff. I also bumped into someone I haven’t seen since around 2000. Apparently, my voice hasn’t changed much so she remembered me.

230: What is it like to finish a year-long project?

This time last year we completed a fantastic geocaching trail. I wrote about it here recently.

This inspired us to create our own, similar series of caches based around TV quiz shows and the money won at each. This has taken us a year of planning to get organised and sort out and today all 16 caches were published.

I can’t describe the lovely feeling that getting this sorted has given me. Such a weight lifted off my brain.

If you are a premium geocaching member, you could find out about these caches by starting with GC6Q7T4…

227: What is it like to archive a series of geocaches?

This evening we archived our first cache series: Flash & Grubbly’s Globberdyke Tour. This was a 3 mile route of 13 caches and a bonus around Gomersal and Cleckheaton. It had been out for just over 3 years and the full route had been completed by 72 cachers altogether – not bad going – most recently completed in April.

It’s a sad feeling to have them taken away from the map to be honest, but they had had their time.

The change in the route over the last 3 years has been remarkable. There have been new houses build along the route, nettles large enough to hide tigers in have grown and a few of the caches had migrated a few feet from their original placement.

We have visited them a few times over the years to make sure they were ok, to replace the logs and to keep them active for other people, but – and this is the secret thing I’ve been alluding to over the past few weeks – we have plans for a new series to put out. That is the main plan for tomorrow: get these new caches out and active!

GC3EKG5: International Trading – The Lost Millions

This was an article written for UK Cache Mag, which was ultimately never published – although no reason was given for that decision. It concerns a geocaching trail we completed this time last year, and I thought it deserved to be published somewhere.

Cache published: 19th July 2012

Found by us: 13th August 2015

The map

The map

Recently, we found ourselves on holiday in Skegness – that is a long story, but it leads to this one. Being keen cachers who don’t always get the time we would like to get out and hunt for that elusive Tupperware, whenever we go somewhere new we scour the map for interesting looking caches. Skegness, lovely as the place is, didn’t really provide us with that opportunity, meaning we had to investigate a little further afield to fulfil our caching requirements. This search quickly lead us to the village of Wragby. The number of blue question marks grabbed us so much there was nothing left to do but see what it was all about… the results were astounding!

The International Trading series by Moggs Eye is a much overlooked set of 23 brilliant mystery caches leading towards a final cache. At the time of writing, we were only the 7th cachers to complete the series since it was published in July 2012.

The series is based on the activities of George Owen Kashing who made his money, so the story goes, trading various commodities around the world. George did not always stick to the rules but always seemed to stay one step ahead of the police! Each cache then provided us with details to find his final hidden fortune.

To get there, we would have to solve 5 D5 puzzles along with another 5 D4.5 puzzles with the rest being D3 or harder. We hadn’t realised that only a few people had completed this task at this point and began looking at the puzzles in more detail. We also hadn’t noticed that some of these had only a handful of finders too – the cache with the most finds had only 19 smiley faces.

With a week to go before we left for Lincolnshire, all of the puzzles had been printed in order to organise ourselves somehow. The effort that Moggs Eye had taken to keep the theme going through all 23 feeder caches was amazing and really kept us interested. Some of the puzzles were solved fairly quickly, with the final coordinates revealing themselves without too much effort. Things were looking good as the pile of solved puzzles grew higher!

We had come unstuck with a couple of stinkers and took the action of asking the owner for a hint. However he hadn’t replied, so, with time against us, we went further and contacted a previous finder. AnTsInRpAnTs had completed the series in a similar way to us – while holidaying in the area a month previously. They were great and, to be honest, we wouldn’t have completed the series without them. Some cachers are helpful, but they went above and beyond by offering to be checkers on our answers so far. This was a key event as we hadn’t realised that some of the puzzles we thought were solved weren’t as we had fallen into Moggs Eye’s cleverly planted red herrings. Suddenly, some of reasons for the difficulty ratings became clearer!

Eventually, though, we arrived at a full set of confirmed solutions just as we were about to set off to the area.

So, the hunting began! The cache containers themselves are varied and some were easier to find than others. The majority of them were positioned by roads meaning we could do a few park and grabs. We plotted the lot in Google Earth, and planned our route in order to maximise the two caching days we had set aside for grabbing these. This turned out to be just enough time. Wragby was around an hour’s drive away from where we were staying and we had to be back for a planned evening meal.

On the first day there, we attempted to get 18 of the 22 caches we knew about – without giving too much away, one puzzle involved finding information from some of the others while out there. We successfully located 15 of them, failing at the other 3. Our DNF logs prompted the very kind AnTsInRpAnTs to get in touch with us and offer a few further hints about their placement. Again, something they didn’t need to do, but we were grateful they did. Italy and Eritrea were both sources of frustration but they were nothing compared to the torturous search for the Résumé cache… Other highlights included the trip to the Mexico cache, which was made all the more delightful by Flash gleefully singing El Jarabe Tapatio all the way to Mexico, which reminded Grubbly never to actually book a holiday to that particular part of the world!

The other highlight was when Flash, on a solo mission due to a lack of safe parking spots, meaning Grubbly had to guard to car, forgot to note down the required information at the Russia cache forcing another 600 metre round trip to get it.

Near Russia

Near Russia

Other than that, the majority of the caches had been fairly quick finds which had spurred us on to return later in the week.

Our second visit to the Wragby area to collect the rest of the caches, began with a second hunt for the cunningly hidden Résumé cache. The sense of relief, not to mention the squeal of delight from Flash, was a good way to begin the day – if we hadn’t have been successful there, we wouldn’t have been able to complete the series. By now, we had invested a lot of time into it and didn’t want to let ourselves down! That day continued well, picking off the other caches we hadn’t visited earlier in the week without any problems.

Then we hit a snag. Two caches caused us real headaches that day; the final and Venezuela. We spent what must have been an hour searching for each of these caches, with Venezuela being the first real point where we thought we weren’t going to get finished. Not wanting to give too many hints, the cache is located in a ditch which is well guarded by thorns, nettles and burrs. We have been home two weeks now, and we are still finding them attached to bits of clothing and shoes from that cache. Still, we got there in the end (we rarely phone a friend, but once again AnTsInRpAnTs were wonderful in guiding us closer to the box).

Near Venezuela

Near Venezuela

The final told much the same story – a difficult hunt overall. But this time the prize was even greater. We had got there! We had solved and found the 23 caches needed to get this one last cache. We weren’t giving up, no matter how tired we were, no matter how many dog walking muggles gave us strange looks. We had worked too hard to give up.

Perseverance paid off though and we were rewarded with a decent sized container and a chunk of George Owen Kashing’s Lost Millions.

Our Takings

This is a series of caches which deserve to be found more often. Mogg’s Eye has done a brilliant job here in creating this and he should be rewarded with many more positive logs to read. The next time you’re in the area, you too could find some of the Lost Millions.

199: What can you do to help your local park?

Today I was part of a team of geocachers who got together to help tidy up Shibden Park in Halifax to complete GC6EYK9: Balsam Bashing.

The event was called a CITO – a Cache In, Trash Out – event where geocachers give something back to the environment.

The park has had a problem with Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera). The plant is a relative of the Busy Lizzie, but reaches well over head height, and is a major weed problem, growing rapidly and spreading quickly, smothering other vegetation as it goes.

Thankfully, though, it has quite swallow roots and so is relatively easy to remove. Our main job was to create a path up to a bridge via a relatively steep hill. That was the tricky part – maintaining balance.

Here’s the area before, during and after our efforts.

88: How hard is it to have a planned lazy day?

I find it very hard.

I struggle to settle when having a lazy day. I like to be doing things instead of not doing things.

The problem I have is that niggling thought in the back of my mind that there is a long list of work related jobs that I could be doing. Instead, I have prepared six geocaching puzzles, visited potential sites for future cache placements, watched some TV and generally sat about a lot.

I don’t think tomorrow will be much better to be honest.