Due to a mountain biking injury in July, Mr. GeoK is sidelined from hiking for several weeks. And he can’t workout. And he can only ride easy trails. So he needs something to keep him busy. Solution? Hide some new geocaches!! Just in time for the “31 in 31” challenge, we’ve hidden nine new geocaches in Canmore.
It’s been three years since we last placed a new geocache. That’s about the same time we came down with a prolonged case of geocaching burnout. We’ve had some Mr. GeoK special engineered caches sitting around collecting spider webs and taking up space in the garage and the side yard since the summer of 2010. Mr. GeoK dusted them off, checked their working parts, made a few modifications and then we set off in search of appropriate hiding spots.
In addition to following the official Cache Listing Requirements and Guidelines, there were some other practical considerations. Some of the containers were large and heavy, so we were looking for a hiding spot with easy vehicular access. There are lots of provincial park lands in the Canmore area, and there’s a protracted and not always successful process for getting approval for caches hides in provincial parks, so we wanted to avoid those areas. A couple of the caches are a bit finicky and may need occasional maintenance, so we wanted them to be fairly close to home. And finally, the Bow Valley around Canmore is an awesome, scenic playground and we wanted to entice geocachers onto their mountain bikes to explore the area.
Finally, after scouting possible locations, narrowing down the possibilities, checking for proximity issues, carefully placing the containers (and then moving one because we missed a proximity issue), making note of trail reference points, writing up the cache descriptions, arguing over just the right wording for any hints and uploading photographs, we have nine new caches in the reviewer queue. Eight are standalone caches – seven micro-sized traditional hides and one small-sized mystery cache. The final cache can only be found after collecting information from the other eight caches.
Total riding distance to visit all nine geocaches is about a 12 km loop with some elevation gains and losses. The route is a mix of street riding, paved pathways, hard-packed trails and single-track. We rode the route several times, racking up close to 100 km from the day we started scouting for locations to our final ride around the loop on Sunday to do one last check of all the coordinates and cache placements. Now we’re waiting for the caches to be published and for the first “found it” logs to land in our email inbox. Happy caching!
And for those who won’t be geocaching in Canmore anytime soon, here’s a look at some of the views along the route…