Well, we made it to the end of August with at least one geocache find each day of the month. The folks at geocaching.com reported that more than 25,000 geocaching accounts achieved the same milestone. Congratulations to everyone who did it, especially to those who established a new “longest geocaching streak”.
Some highlights from our geocaching adventures over the last ten days of August…
It seems that with each passing year, there’s a decreasing number of travel bugs and geocoins moving from cache to cache. When we first started geocaching in 2006, we released a couple of dozen geocoins “into the wild”. Within a year, almost all had gone missing – either the cache they were sitting in was muggled, someone logged them out of a cache and then for some reason never moved them along, of – in a few cases – they were deliberately stolen. I remember how outraged we were when we read in a physical cache log that someone had driven four hours from another city for the express purpose of taking one of our activated geocoins from a cache! From what we’ve heard and read, our experience is pretty typical. As a result, it’s become somewhat rare to come across a trackable in a geocache these days. We came across four trackables in the 77 geocaches we found in August: 3 travel bugs and one geocoin, including “Smiley” the aptly named travel bug in this photo.
I had a few more wildlife encounters towards the end of August. With two exceptions, they were nothing too exciting – deer, birds, and jackrabbits. But one hazy afternoon, after successfully finding my initial target cache, I decided to make the short walk to my back-up target. About halfway there, I heard a charm of 15 or 20 magpies squawking away from a tree about 75 meters away. I figured something was up, so I slowed my pace and took a careful look around. About 10 seconds later, a very healthy-looking coyote came bounding towards me. I stopped. It stopped. I looked around a little more and spotted another coyote sitting in the tall grass. At that point, I decided one smiley was enough for the day and retreated, all the while keeping a careful eye on the pair. They must have been feeding on something, with the magpies wanting to take part.
My second close encounter with somewhat scary wildlife was at old car, abandoned decades ago in some woods that are now within the city limits. Hornets were swarming the area and I spotted a good-sized nest, so opted not to search for the geocache. A couple other cachers went after the same cache the next day, and one of them got stung a couple of times. For me, it made more sense to plan for a return visit once we’ve had a couple of nights when the temperature drops below freezing.
Living on the prairies, I’m not very familiar with shorebirds. But at the same location I encountered the hornets’ nest, I also enjoyed the company of this long-legged bird. My best guess is that it’s a Solitary Sandpiper, but if anyone knows for sure, please leave a comment to let me know.
Finally, Mr. GeoK worked on another series of new cache hides, including three variations on birdhouses. We have most of them out in place, with a couple more to go – and lots of cache write-ups to do as summer transitions to fall!
Overall, there’s a feeling of satisfaction in having successfully completed the challenge. But I confess that my strongest feeling is one of relief! No more need to plan errands around geocaching. No more pressure to have a back-up plan in case of a DNF at the first target cache for the day. Taking part in the challenge confirmed that opportunistic geocaching is still our preferred approach to the game. For us, geocaching is something fun to do when it naturally fits into our daily activities; it’s not something we organize our lives around.
Did taking part in the 31 Days of Geocaching Challenge affect your attitude about the game?