Continuing my weekend of reblogs, as promised, here’s one of my very early posts – You just never know what will turn up when you’re out for adventure!
As geocachers go, we’re beyond rubbish. Due to us generally partaking in this pastime on a whim, we are rarely adequately equipped – ‘You forgot a pen AGAIN?’ has been uttered by one or both of us far too many times. And to anyone in the know, omitting such a basic essential to help you in your quest is the equivalent of entering a desert without water, climbing a mountain without a rope or leaving my grandfather’s after 9pm and not giving three rings when you arrive home. You just don’t do it!
Recently, we’ve improved in this minor task although I’ve still been known to sign the log (carefully) with lipgloss in an emergency! But ‘real’ cachers have kits – all manner of tools and improvised bobbins – that assist their caching adventure and make life a little easier. Now, being
lazy fair weather cachers, I don’t feel the need to have a full blown utility belt, but when the British summer screamed at us to leave the blanket, because it was only visiting for the weekend, I did think we should pack a few important items. So I added the following to my handbag (yes handbag… we weren’t getting that serious it needed a rucksack!):
- Tweezers (some logs are tricky little minxes, rolled up tightly and placed in tiny tubes).
- Disposable gloves (you are often required to scrabble around in bushes).
- Baby wipes and a couple of tissues (see above).
- Some small trinkets to swap.
- A torch (I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea, we were hardly going to stay out and attempt night caching. We had a meal booked!)
- Oh yes…a pen…
Feeling like pros, we set off to complete a series of ten hides close to our home. Little did I know just how handy our new inanimate assistants would be…
The first couple of containers were found easily – standard hides in old film canisters. But when we got to the third we were stumped. The coordinates were as accurate as they could be, but we found nothing. Not wanting to relent to giving up so early, we took a look at the hint. Eventually, we discovered it attached with an ingenious hook that could only be seen (and reached) if you swung yourself half over the fence post to open it one-handed whilst angling yourself away from the barbed wire! OK, so this series began to get less ordinary. And hoorah, I needed the tweezers to tease out the paperwork! I felt justified 🙂
By the time we reached the fifth in the series, the fever had set in – no not some crackpot notion to find every cache in a 5 mile radius by 4pm, but blasted hayfever. The constant sneezes, tickling and nose running was destroying my poor tissues and my desire to go much further. But S convinced me we had to carry on along the route anyway to get back to the car, so we might as well still search. And I’m very pleased we did – the regular containers became more interesting as we travelled towards the end of the series. Holes drilled into stones, fake apples hanging from trees and the especially difficult ‘fallen star’ – a pesky bottle top, hidden below branches, with a star as its design.
As we approached the location of the ninth, we noticed a young muggle couple amorously hanging around the spot, so we went on to find the last hide and came back once they’d left. We began searching around the bench at the given coordinates, S prodding at some bramble bushes, me at ground level with gloves on. Suddenly, I found what I believed to be a branch – could this be a disguise for the cache? Although, It looked quite smooth to be a branch…
That’s because it wasn’t was it? No, it was a hidden chopper….
Mrs Cacher, in the pasture, with an axe. In my new version of Cluedo, my imagination went into overdrive. Was it a murder weapon? Was there blood on it? Had it been there years and was evidence in a cold case? It was quite rusty, but as I tested it out on the edge of the bench, it showed it could still do some damage. S, disturbed by how happy I was to find this tool of destruction, agreed that we couldn’t leave it there. Even if it wasn’t the missing piece in a crime puzzle, it had obviously been hidden for no good reasons.
Seeing as I had the gloves on, I was the one required to carry it back to the car. We set off across the pasture, past suspicious looking golfers and some cows who thought they were about to become the evening’s menu option. It didn’t help matters that it was heavy and I had to adjust my grip – by swinging it menacingly upwards! We arrived at the local police station and debated our next move. Should we just walk in? Leave it in the car and alert them? I don’t want to make assumptions, but based on what we see in the media, if it had been anywhere else in the world, entering a building of the law with a weapon would have resulted in either me being…
But it was a Sunday in a sleepy market town and the police station was apparently shut!
S concluded we’d be fine going in together with the axe. We rang the doorbell (for out of hours inquiries) and there was an immediate response. However, based on the officer’s startled reaction, I think we’d interrupted her exit for the afternoon and made her late for tea. I wielded menacingly again…
“Hi, we’d like to…erm…report an axe.”
In we went and began to regale our story of discovery. I always feel guilty talking to police. I’ve never had anything to feel guilty about, but still…I think I over-explain. But how do you explain why you were searching the undergrowth with gloves on anyway? We gave a summary of geocaching and thankfully she seemed more intrigued by it than suspicious. Telling a muggle about magic is always touch and go!
“We’ll run some tests, it doesn’t look bloody, and we’ll see if it turns anything up. Usually after 6 months, if an item hasn’t been claimed, the finder can have it, But I’m thinking….”
“No, it’s fine. We can manage without a rusty axe ta!”
And so ends the tale of the hidden chopper and our day of caching. It was a first for us on many levels; First time with a kitbag, first time finding all the caches we were searching for, first time finding a TB from Australia and first time finding a dubious item along the way. I forgot to mention that we didn’t go exactly straight to the station – much to the dismay of S – because there was a potential site for our cache I wanted to scout out. Happily, this resulted in another first – we now have our own little box of treasure hidden, which could easily be the best way to get involved in the game for lazy monkeys like us, and watch the world find it from the comfort of the sofa!
Nope, focus. I’m determined to find our 100th cache by the end of summer (which seems to have had a cancellation in its social diary so is staying longer). It will have only taken us 5 years…