NOTE: This geocache blog might contain spoilers. As with all things geocaching, proceed at your own risk.
Ever since we started caching, we’ve been making mental notes of things we should take with us to make caching easier. Gloves, for one, to make it less heartstopping (for me, at least) to reach into deep, dark holes that could have spiders or snakes or rusty metal or rabid molerats or who knows what else. A flashlight, too, so we can look into said deep, dark holes to see if we even need to risk life, limb, and fingers by sticking our hand in there. Tweezers to get logs out of micro caches. A grabber thingie to make it easier to snag caches up in trees or down pipes longer than our arms can reach. A first aid kit for when one of us gets cut, or eaten alive by insects, or stumbles into a patch of poison ivy. Thiry feet of rope, because all good RPG gamers know you always need thirty feet of rope, except when you need fifty.
I took a small sling backpack with us Sunday, and we stopped at Wal-Mart before heading to our first cache so we could stock up on some of these supplies. I’d already loaded it up with sunblock, a small Moleskine with geocache listings, a couple of pens, batteries, our GPS, small plastic baggies, and a travel pack of Clorox wipes. At Wal-Mart, we picked up:
- a first aid kit
- finger splints
- a Maglite flashlight
- a grabber
- hikers’ handsoap sheets
- hand sanitizer
- poison ivy itch cream
- compass (in case the GPS and iPhones can’t get a signal)
No, we didn’t get the rope, but I was really tempted. And, sad to say, the only things that fit in the backpack I brought were the tweezers and the flashlight.
But we were mostly doing park-and-grabs Sunday, anyway, so it wasn’t that big a deal.
The first geocache we went to was Bullseye K’ville. We’ve talked about grabbing this one for a while since, based on the name alone, we figured it would be somewhere near Target, where we do a lot of our shopping. In fact, we’d planned to buy our caching gear there, then grab the cache, but were surprised to discover Target was closed for Easter. Hence the reason we went to Wal-Mart. It worked out well, though, because if Target and several of the other surrounding stores hadn’t been closed, the cache site would have been swarming with muggles. As it was, there were maybe a dozen other cars total in the parking lot, mostly at PetCo or Starbucks, I think. I manned the GPS, to get more practice using it, and led us to the coordinates — which put us smack in the middle of the parking lot. I wanted to head on over to the stores and look there, since we know the GPS will only get us close — which can be as far as 200 feet away from ground zero (GZ). Chad, on the other hand, insisted we search around the only feature near GZ, a street lamp. Turns out he was right (of course!), and we found the cache, which was very appropriate for Easter:
We signed the log, I put the cache back where we found it, and we headed out to the next cache on our list, JADC.
We’d driven to this site before, on our way someplace last year, before we’d even started caching, but we hadn’t even gotten out of the car, so I didn’t know there was a lake there. What a lovely spot! Again, I manned the GPS, and we headed toward the coordinates, which took us into the woods nearby. I don’t think Chad was too keen on me wandering around the rusty, half-fallen deer fence in the area, but I’m doing geocaching to try to get braver, so I squelched my own fear and kept going where the GPS led me — and poking around what looked like promising spots for the cache to be hidden. Then I turned around and spotted an old tree trunk on the other side of the fence, back the way I’d come. I told Chad, “That’s got to be it.” He’d actually spotted the trunk earlier and thought it looked promising, but he let me get to it first and find the cache. This one was big enough to have some trinkets inside, so I dumped everything out on a log and took a picture.
The cache log was damp, but I managed to sign it anyway (note to self, I need to get a fountain pen with a needlepoint nib so I can load it up with Noodler’s HOD for logs like this — ballpoints tend to tear the paper). We’d brought some plastic bags, the kind I use when we’re hunting fountain pens, so I tucked the original log and a blank sheet from our cache notebook in one before sticking it back in the cache.
This same location had a second cache called Lakeside, so we decided to try for that one next. We knew it would be somewhere along the lake, but we had no idea where. So we picked a direction and started walking. Chad said that undoubtedly we’d have picked the wrong direction, and he was right. As I’ve said before, it’s our geocaching talent. We didn’t really mind, though, since it was a nice walk around the lake. We even got to see some cool things like a beaver dam and ducks with wild hairdos.
Eventually the trail became impassable (or ended), so we turned back and went the other way. We made it to GZ and started looking around. And looking. And looking some more. We spent a good 45 minutes looking for the cache, but no dice. There was a bench at the site, and we scoured it thoroughly, running our hands over every board, even looking inside a hole in one of the metal legs. Nothing. We looked all around — and in — the No Swimming sign, even fishing a lip balm tube out of the lake that we thought might be the cache. Nope, just garbage. We fished a broken bottle out of the lake for the same reason. Same result. There was a neat swing on a tree hanging out over the lake, and we searched all over that thing! I climbed up the tree a bit, and at one point Chad even climbed up on the swing to feel along the top of the branch to see if the cache was hidden up there. If it was, he didn’t find it. We did spot a snake swimming back and forth along the bank, but that was it.
After awhile we had to decide whether we were going to keep looking for the Lakeside cache or try to fit in a couple more caches before we had to get home. I hated giving up since it would be our first Did Not Find (DNF) in a while, but I think we could have kept looking until dark and still not found the cache. This was also our first attempt at a difficulty 3 cache, so we might have better luck after we have a bit more experience. Then again we saw two things that looked like they could have been where the cache was but it was now gone, so it could have gone walkabout.
On our way back to the car, we tossed the garbage we’d fished out of the lake in a trashcan, our first CITO (cache in, trash out). This is one of the things I love about geocaching — it helps keep parks and woodlands clean when cachers CITO.
Next we decided to try KFM Cache, which we knew based on the description of “this is the weirdest house in the world” was at Korner’s Folly. Which is a very cool, very weird house. From one side, it looks like it’s four stories high. From another, it looks like five stories. In reality, it has seven stories, including a half-level story built specifically for Jules Korner’s children as a playroom. I love this building and am saddened to see it decaying like it is. I sincerely hope they’re able to raise the funds they need to restore it. In the meantime, if you’re ever in the area, stop by and take the tour. Who knows how much longer you’ll be able to.
As for the cache, well, this was supposed to be a difficulty 1.5, but half the people who have looked for it haven’t found it, including some very experienced cachers. Some experienced cachers only found it by calling a friend for a hint. Not surprisingly, Chad and I spent about a half hour searching for the cache but came up empty handed. We probably could have looked a little more thoroughly by moving some fallen bricks around, but I love this place too much to risk doing any damage to it, even inadvertantly. Several other people haven’t found this one lately, too, so I’ll keep an eye on the boards to see if it’s gone walkabout. If someone else posts that they find it, we’ll try again. Otherwise, I’ll probably wait until the next time I’m at the Folly for a tour or a play. (Yes, you can see plays there, in Cupid’s Park, which Jules built for his kids so they could put plays on. It has a stage and lights and everything. I told you, this is a cool house!)
The DNF at KFM put us at two and two for the day — two finds, two fails. We still had time to try one more cache before we had to head home, though. It was just a matter of whether we wanted to stay at 50/50 for the day or risk going 2 for 5. Then again, if we found it, we’d be at 3 for 5, or better than 50 per cent. In the end, we decided to try Maynard Field, which I’ve wanted to go to ever since Chad told me it was an old, abandoned airfield near our house.
Chad had me park the car at what he thought was an abandoned building, but what turned out to be an antique store. Bonus! It was closed, but we’ve made a note to head back sometime to see if they have any fountain pens. Doubtful — this area is a drought for FPs in the wild — but still worth a shot.
Maynard Field was next to the antique shop and really looks like just a utility substation building. So I’ll admit I was a little disappointed by that. I was hoping to see old airstrips with grass growing in the cracks, abandoned hangers, maybe a derelict airplane or two. But the only thing that even indicated the spot had ever been an airfield was the historical marker.
Still, derelict planes and abandoned hangers or no, there was a geocache to be found! So I fired up the GPS and led us toward ground zero. Our Garmin eTrex is pretty good at getting us close to a cache site, but the accuracy can be off by quite a bit so I switched to my iPhone geocaching app once we reached the treeline. In the end I was so busy looking at the readout on my phone and the trees in front of me that I walked right past the cache! It was literally inches from my face. If I’d looked to the left, I would have been eye-to-eye with it. Luckily, Chad spotted it, and since I was already in the trees sent me to retrieve it. It was a film canister cache, log only, so we signed it, snapped a pic, and headed home.
All in all, it was a good day, even if we ended up with two DNFs. We got plenty of exercise, and it was a gorgeous day to be outside. In fact, when we got home we did some work in our backyard, planning out the patio and raised bed garden we want to put in this year. And we’re already talking about which geocaches we want to go after next. We need to run to the grocery store tonight, and we know there’s a cache around there, so…