As I have mentioned before, we’re fast approaching our 1-year anniversary as geocachers. As I reflect back on the past year, combing through memories for something that would make an interesting blog post, I am reminded of the day we accidentally got my mother-in-law’s boyfriend addicted to geocaching.
It was an unseasonably warm October weekend. I’m talking middle 80s when usually you’re lucky to get 70 by this time. We went up to Ft. Wayne to visit Cyndi’s mom and grandma for the weekend. We try to do these trips every few months as the kids (and Cyndi for the matter) miss seeing them after a few weeks. This was to be our first trip up since we began geocaching and I had already found that they had a lot of caches in the area to try for.
The timing of this trip couldn’t have been more perfect. Our visit would fall on 10/10/10, which was set to be the day that they wanted to set the record for most accounts logging found caches in a single day. Cities around the world were having events to celebrate the day…which meant that even if the weather was horrible and no one did any caching that day, if they turned up for the event, they got to log 1 find. As luck would have it, there was a Ft. Wayne event scheduled that day. It was a Flash Mob event that took place at exactly 10:10:10am on 10/10/10. Pretty neat, huh? Anyway, since we were up in the area and we had never been to an event cache before, it was just icing on the cake….but back to the topic at hand.
The plan for the day we arrived was to go to a state park about 30 minutes north of town for a day of hiking and general fun with the family. We had already planned on grabbing a couple caches on the way back but I got the sudden urge to head north a little bit further. See, the state park, Pokagon, is about 4 miles from the Indiana/Michigan border. We had yet to grab any out-of-state caches so we’d be fools not to. Once we were done with our outing, I asked the rest if they’d have a problem with me just going north a little further to grab a couple quick caches. Of course they didn’t mind as they just wanted to spend time with us as we don’t get up there as often as we’d like. So we leave the park and head to Michigan.
The first cache that is off the interstate is at a rest stop/welcome center about 3 miles north of the border. We stopped and got out to find it. Obviously the team was going to search it out but mom and grandma were pretty beat from the hike so they stayed back at the main building while mom’s boyfriend tagged along to see what this was all about. The cache was located in the woods behind the rest stop in an area meant for dog owners to let their pets stretch their legs after a long trip. The GPS was bouncing pretty wildly in the cover and we took the most scenic, but out-of-the-way route to the GZ. When we got within 20 feet we began to fan out and searched the grounds. Upon arrival I had a fleeting suspicion that the cache was going to be either in a hollowed-out tree trunk or a downed tree. Sure enough, my instincts were correct, and I found the cache.
The cache was a retired ammo can and inside was just some various geoswag and a logbook, but for a n00b, it was treasure. It was like watching a kid open a bike…that look of surprise and wonder across his face as he saw the contents splayed out for everyone to see. Sure there weren’t any trackables or pathtags to snag, but it was just knowing that there are these tiny hidden wonders located just about anywhere in the world that really takes your breath and makes you want to find them all. So obviously it wasn’t hard to convince him to allow us to try to find some more at the next populated exit we came to. Of course, there was still the matter of convincing the others, but they were just along for the ride at this point.
We had to end up traveling a few more miles to get to the next populated exit, but we found 2 caches within a quarter mile of the exit no less. The first one we found I actually stumbled upon it first but we wanted to let the n00b find it for himself. Of course that meant steering him towards the correct GZ as it was actually about 25 feet west of the posted coordinates. As he started to search I was just about to mention being quiet as there was a muggle sitting a few feet away when he blurts out a very boisterous “FOUND IT!!!” Ah well, you can’t win them all.
We found one more cache that day but it was nothing major and only Cyndi and I went for it. But the seed had been planted. A couple weeks later we got word that he had purchased a GPSr (a Magellan Explorist GC, a receiver designed explicitly for caching) and had registered an account. He now goes by Hoosier Hooligan and has so far found 85 caches since last October. Not bad!
As for the record event…we busted that previous record by over 15,000 finds.