Mrs. GeoK planned a geocaching run for Leap Day afternoon, with two objectives in mind. Primary objective: find at least one geocache so we don’t have to wait until February 29, 2016 to complete our “Days of the Year” geocaching grid. Secondary objective: find three additional geocaches so we could finally log #3500. She was successful on both fronts; in fact, she collected a total of nine smileys (and one DNF) before her two-and-a-half hours of geocaching time came to an end at 4:15 pm.
Sometimes things go according to plan, and in this case her plan was to log #3500 at GC43F3 – Brass Cap Cache, another of our all-time favourite geocaches. This grandfathered virtual cache has 569 locations, all of which are survey monuments/control markers/triangulation locations (collectively referred to as brass caps). Anyone willing to travel all over the province of Alberta and successfully find all of the specified brass caps would be permitted to record 569 “found it” logs for this cache. The cache owner, outforthehunt, continues to add new specified locations on a regular basis. He also archives locations if they’re destroyed by construction or are proved to be missing. Here’s a snapshot of the active locations as of today:
van der Decken, a local cacher, created a Brass Cap Stats Page where all sorts of interesting tidbits are revealed. For example:
- The virtual logbook for Brass Cap Cache currently shows 12,695 “found it” logs.
- Sleepy_hollow has found 510 Brass Cap locations; two other Alberta geocachers have logged more than 400 Brass Caps.
- The first “found it” log for Brass Cap Cache is dated March 21, 2002, which means the 10th anniversary of this geocache is coming up later this month.
- outforthehunt created a sister cache in the U.K. and GC45CC – Ye Ole Survey Monuments currently has 479 locations and 6,110 “found it” logs. During our spring 2010 trip to England we made sure to find one of the Old Survey Monuments.
- Amazingly, even with almost thirteen thousand “found it” logs, almost 20 Brass Caps have never been found.
- This cache is so popular with the Alberta geocaching community that it resulted in an annual geocaching event centered around Brass Caps.
UPDATE as at April 1, 2014: the Brass Cap Stats Page is no longer available, so the above-listed factoids should be considered a snapshot of the stats as of March 2, 2012.
outforthehunt generally selects locations that have something going for them: a scenic view, a location of historical or cultural significance, or the reward of completing a significant hike. Once you reach the posted coordinates, many Brass Cap locations are easy to find. But some are very difficult and may require the use of a metal detector, a shovel and a crowbar (to remove the monument cover). One location that has generated more than its fair share of creative techniques over the years is located at the top of the Calgary Tower.
We’ve been searching for Brass Caps since July 2006, shortly after we started geocaching. As of today, we’ve logged 131 locations. Beginning mid-2008, we started adding a bunch of researched information to our Brass Cap logs – historical, cultural or general interest information about the location. You can get a better idea for the type of Brass Cap “found it” log we like to record by reading our log for BCP222 – Dinosaur Provincial Park.
For #3500, we selected an urban Brass Cap location: BCP514 – Stonehenge. No, this is not located at the real Stonehenge, but rather a much smaller scale, sandstone imitation located in the Strathcona subdivision in west Calgary. Mrs. GeoK should have carried our portable metal detector, as the snow cover necessitated a 10 minute foot-dragging exercise as she cleared the snow off more than 50 square meters before finally discovering a round patch of thick ice. Fortunately, she had a screwdriver in her geocaching bag and could chip the ice off the monument cover. Here’s one of the pictures she took in order to fulfill the logging requirements:
And here’s our milestone marker!
Thanks, outforthehunt, for maintaining so many unique geocaches.