A little while back, I wrote about how I am often unable to resist the urge of geocaching, when traveling, (link). Well, the time for traveling came again, this time for my brother's wedding in San Francisco. Going geocaching was not forefront for this trip, in fact it was very low on our list of things to do. But I knew I wasn't going to be able to resist the urge, so i made a little plan. This time, I created a bookmark list of only a handful of geocaches that seemed worth visiting. There would be no sorry little park and grabs, just caches that would be interesting. A few virtual caches in Sonoma, a few highly favorited caches, some puzzles I had solved, an unusual D/T combination. No extraordinary caches, but no duds either.
For most of our trip, I kept this plan to grab a few geocaches way in the back of my mind. The days leading up to the wedding were full of fun activities, and the best kind of family stress. You know, stressing over making cupcakes for the wedding, stressing over the rehearsal and whether everyone knew their roles, stressing over getting flowers and making arrangements, stressing over kids getting sick right before the big event, stressing out about playing the violin for your brother and his bride to walk down the aisle to, despite not having played in years. That kind of thing. It was a fun, and intense few days. And the opportunity for finding a few geocaches came up nicely.
The first opportunity was on the day of the wedding, and basically owed itself to my getting up early. Not super early, the sun as already rising, but before the kids were up, or anyone else in the Big house we were staying at had stirred. I had an excuse to be going out too, we needed more milk. So I grabbed my kit, mumbled to my sleeping wife that I was going out to find a cache at a nearby wildlife refuge, and I would pick up milk on my way back. And off I went. The cache I was targeting was a challenge cache called, A Century of Abandonment. It had an unusual D/T combination of 4.5/3.5 but was also a challenge cache that would be hard for most cachers to accomplish. The challenge is to find caches that have been abandoned (not found) for a year or more, and to accumulate over 100 years of these kinds of finds. I wouldn't say abandoned caches are rare, every area has got some, but they are pretty uncommon. And for the most part, you have to seek these caches out because they are not in places that get visits frequently, if they were they wouldn't be abandoned. Some are way off the beaten track in some area that really has no big draw for geocachers or really anyone. Many are difficult caches that are nearly impossible to solve, or ones that are placed in such difficult terrain that hardly any one has the skills needed to go after them. And lucky for me, and also partly thanks to sites like www.lonelycachproject.com, I seek out these abandoned caches. I've been doing it for years, mostly in New Mexico, but where I live in Tennessee. It took maybe an hour to go through my finds, but I was able to get a list together of caches that would qualify me for this challenge. And I would be only the 8th person to find this cache in about a year, which for the geocacher-rich area of the San Francisco Bay, is saying something.
I did continue on the trail a bit further to find the step-brother cache to this one, a 50 year abandonment challenge, then turned back to head on to my car and get some milk. I got back to the Big house just in time for the kids clamoring for their breakfast, with milk in my hands.
After the wedding cam another opportunity to find a cache, this time with the whole family. My new sister-in-law had invited everyone to picnic in Bartholomew park, and our picnic spot happened to be right next to a geocache. It was a regular sized one too, which was good because I wanted to drop off a travel bug that I brought with me from Tennessee.
|Note: The small tin is not the cache, just something my daughter traded for from the cache.|
So a week long family trip netted me 4 interesting caches, all without interfering with the wedding activities. Not too shabby. I scratched the itch without driving anyone crazy!