The slow-down effect of having fewer and fewer caches close to home, combined with the general business of life, and a slight “cant be bothered” attitude, right at the start of the cooler weather setting in, meant I had found myself in somewhat of a geocaching drought…. not quite as long as my longest slump (39 days between my first 2 finds), after 20 days I was starting to feel it, and keen to get out.
Needless to say, it didn’t take any time for me to jump at the offer when dad suggested we have one of our geo-days. So off we headed, Sydney bound, with only a general idea of where we were heading. As we travelled down the freeway dad mentioned there was a Calypso62 (mine, and probably dad’s, most favoured CO) multi near Berowra we had somehow passed by in our multiple runs previous. I didn’t need to be told twice – I found said cache on my map, and navigated dad to it. As we pulled up, there was a light drizzle, but nothing to really stop us, so off we headed to WP1, not really sure what we were looking for, but having done plenty of caches by the same CO, we had a fair idea of his MO so when we (or I should say dad) spotted a small pine round, we knew we had it…. Inside was the coordinates for WP2, and a random letter which we would need later. Each of the next waypoints were quicker than the first because we knew what to look for, and at the last we found an encrypted message as a clue, and we had gathered 4 letters….Off to GZ then, where the big upright log/stump with a clean cut top screamed “here” – inside which we found the familiar PVC pipe cache – but it was combination locked – with numbers – and we had letters….and we had 4, but only needed 3, so plenty of possibles anyway.. We played around with a few ideas on the letter to number conversion, and tried our hand at a quick deciphering exercise on the hint that would help us with the numbers – but couldn’t quite make head nor tales of it. And my best guess for the numbers would still leave us with 26 possibles, and as the rain got heavier I decided I couldnt be bothered trying them all if my thought turned out to be wrong anyway – so I sent the CO a text asking for a clue…. Because I figure whats the point in having friendly neighbourhood geocacher’s phone numbers if I don’t use them?
As we waited for a response, we decided to head up the road a little and find a trad – but of course, only once we got there did we realised it was missing anyway. Luckily the CO had responded with a call by that stage anyway – informing us that our guess for the cipher was right, we’d just read it wrong; and my complete guess at the letter to number conversion was right anyway, so I should have just trusted my gut. Oh well – as dad drove back to where we had just been, I listed all the possibles on a bit of paper – back to GZ, I picked one end of my list (the back end, don’t ask why), and to my delight had the lock unlock in just 5 go’s. Mission: POSSIBLE Complete.
Onto other things, we navigated our way to a few odd traditionals, but it was a bit of a hit and miss exercise as we headed towards the next multi we had decided to target – a couple of DNFs for one reason or another, and a couple of little barely memorable finds….we did manage to clear off one that had been bugging me, sitting in a little urban park on the Pacific Highway, quite near the turnoff to the freeway home. But being only accessible from the highway, and having to park around the corner and walk had meant I hadn’t had the time or inclination in passing, despite the dot on the map bugging me.
We crossed over the highway then, pausing by the small shopping strip to get a bite to eat – and conveniently grab another inconvenient cache in the highway-side community garden, Home Tweet Home… and then from there onto our 3rd Calypso62 cache of the day, Sticky Bugs – simple, cute and effective, there were indeed “stick-y bugs”.
Another short multi, You’ve Got Mail, came next, and while short and simple, I thought it was a very clever use of the “surrounds” – as is often the case we pulled up unsure of what we were looking for at WP1, but once at GZ I spotted a sign for the postman, telling him mail for this property should go to the other side, giving a street address – and there was no mistaking that was our clue. I liked it. A lot. Off we went to the stated address, where we quickly located the pole, thanks to the clue that provided us with a number we had already deduced as a power pole identification. And there I found a simple key hide – but as I walked it back to the car for signing duties, I noted it had been designed to look a little like Mail, with an addressed front and all. Gotta love a nice theme!
Somewhere in there we also re-visited the GZ for Samuel King, a puzzle we had resolved quite a while back now, but despite a lengthy search then couldn’t find – but knowing it was a tricky one that had plenty of people requiring repeat visits, we figured we’d give it another shot…. but another hour later and we were still just as lost as when we first started, with no idea what we were looking for, nor where it could possibly be hiding in the reasonably open laneway we were in. Having said that, the CO responded to my DNF log, and has hinted in the direction of a slight clue, so I haven’t given up hope yet – 3rd time’s the charm as they say, right?
Next along we headed to a place we had passed by early on our Geo-Trek/Car Rally back in March… we hadn’t realised at the time, but it stands to reason, that one of the monuments we visited was the waypoint for a short multi. So we were back this time to collect the information for that, then headed off for a simple find a short way down the road, and as we headed out of the suburb toward home, grabbed another simple trad. And then, because we had time, I encouraged dad to make a slight detour in Mt Kurringgai on the way home, to grab a lone cache I had sitting there, but he had already found.
And with that, a satisfying day of quality caching was done – despite the 4 DNFs, we did manage to secure 10 smileys, 4 of them getting favourite points!
Find Numbers: 1237 – 1246
Date Found: 26th May 2016
Location/s: Berowra/Wahroonga/Turramurra, Northern Sydney/Upper North Shore, Sydney, NSW
Found with: Opa-Shrek
Feeling a little rejuvenated by our outing, I was walking to the shops a few days later, and decided to have a poke around one of the spots I had previously picked out for my needle in a haystack ‘Chase for a Waterfall’ cache – I was still hopeful I would find it this way, even though I’m sure I will visit the top waypoint at some point in the future… anyway – this time I spied something across the creek from where I stood…. is that a garden statue in the wetland marsh? I headed on my way, but in case I was seeing things I figured a bit of a geo-checker wouldn’t hurt, so I message the coordinates I had mapped out that closely matched where I had been when I thought I saw the oddity…. and what do you know? Confirmation was received this was my spot, so I just needed to find the right time to head into GZ from the right direction – which happened to be the following day as GeoJorjy and I passed by on our bikes. Leaving our bikes by the footpath, we headed in on foot, and found ourselves at GZ in no time – and GeoJorjy had a good giggle at the placement of the logbook “up the bum” of the animal statue we had found. Pleased as punch my efforts on this one paid off, and another nearest to home off my radar.
Find Number: 1247
Date Found: 29th May 2016
Location: West Gosford/Point Clare, Central Coast, NSW
Found with: GeoJorjy
A week later I had an appointment in Meadowbank, which meant that afterwards I had a little bit of time up my sleeve to make a few leisurely stops on my way home – but having had a huge storm the day before, the first few stops were pretty much pass on by’s… the first being a wet and sodden park before me, still half underwater; and another a park strewn with rubbish from the bins that had blown over – I did have a short look for that one, simply because it was a familiar Coastie CO, but the rubbish was quite distracting…. especially when I found a small green eclipse tin. But with no log inside, and figuring it was unlike that CO to use an eclipse tin as a cache I logged a DNF – turns out I was wrong… a quick message from the CO confirmed the cache was an eclipse after all! I did manage to finally pull up at a couple of caches I was able to find, but all 3 of them were just standard fare urban trad finds.
Caches found: 3
Find numbers: 1248-1250
Date Found: 6th June 2016
Location: Eastwood/Epping, Northern Sydney, NSW
Finally, today, hanging at home, minding my own business, and I get a text from a Friendly Neighbourhood Geocacher looking for help at a waterlogged cache location, mentioning “the things we do for a new souvie”…. a new souvie? What did I miss?!?! I quickly did a little search and realised it was ‘Get Outdoors’ day, and that for a find today I would get a shiney pretty. My favourite. But it was already 4:30, and heading for dusk. Bugger it, I thought, and told Jen I was off to grab a quick cache. Mentioning it to the girls, they both jumped at the chance, as it appears they were experiencing a drought on cache treasure, and we headed as quickly as I could on a double demerits long weekend to the nearest, simplest cache to home – a cache I had been saving in McEvoy Bushland, near the oval between Woy Woy and Umina… the kids have their school sports carnival here, so I had been saving it for when I was hanging about on that day, but was grateful to have it sitting here for a quick find today. We parked at the suggested spot, and headed down a track along the back of the house fences towards GZ – and towards a group of young fellas sitting on a comfy looking lounge setup at the edge of the bushland. As we walked past and the kids bewildered at the lounges, I heard stifled giggles, hands hiding “paraphernalia” behind backs and small clip lock containers on laps…. I knew what they were doing, and was pleased when we not only passed them by without comment, but GZ was slightly obstructed from them. And once at GZ, the girls quickly spotted a bit of roof tiling propped up against a tree, and made the find…. only slightly disappointed with the offerings of SWAG inside, they insisted on taking the TB with us, despite my protests we had moved this same TB along before…. time to move that one off the coast by the sounds of it!
Find number: 1251
Date Found: 11 June 2016
Location: the Woys/Umina, Central Coast, NSW
Found with: GeoJorjy and Remmus
A final word for today’s blog, and its a bit of a chest-puffing #humblebrag, but what are you gunna do? It’s my blog and you can cry if you want to….
Anyway, as my regular readers will know, one of the things I love most about being a CO is getting logs from finders…. I don’t mind a TFTC, a finder is a finder, and it reassures me I don’t need to go and check its still there, and of course, I really enjoy the longer, more involved logs, as well as everything in between…. but sometimes, every now and then, I get a log that just makes me go “awe, shucks”, and feel pride in the appreciative words – my latest log on my BugPackers Motel (which is slow in find rate, but high on enjoyment factor) was one such log: “Mumma-Kel, you’re caches are so often very awesome – thanks!” … awe, shucks. Thanks Riokun.