So I decided to do something a little different this month. Rather than just picking random caches to hunt I decided to try to incorporate some sort of a theme. I considered hunting all the caches for the month at night or hunting only for unknowns. I asked for other suggestions on a couple of Facebook groups that I inhabit and received a few good ideas. The one I eventually decided to run with for November came from Pete Mason, one of the hosts of The Podcache Show. Pete suggested since November is the eleventh month of the year, why not hunt only caches placed in the year 2011. I took a look at the cache maps for my home area and around my office and decided that there that there would be enough caches placed in 2011 that were reasonably close by that I decided to run with it.
Just as my plan for a November caching theme got started, I hit a bump in the road. On somewhat short notice I decided to hunt for Thanks for Visiting (GC2MBW6), a nearby multi…at night…in the rain… and without a nearby backup cache placed in 2011. Guess we all know where this is going. Jenna and I had found the first stage a couple years back and entered the coordinates for the final into my GPSr but never got around to finding the final. Should have been pretty easy to pick up where we left off, right? Wrong. Turns out sometime in the past couple of years I cleared the memory in my GPSr and lost the data…bummer. So I started over…but couldn’t find the initial stage again. Once I got tired of getting rained on I moved on to find Where’s the Beef at Thomas Crossroads (GC5QRCM), a nearby non-2011 cache just to fill the day on my grid. Honestly, as much as I wanted to keep to my theme, the theme was more what you would call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules, at least that’s the way I see it.
To get back on track I decided to look for Vermont Cache (GC35HN9), hidden in Vermont Park, a little in-town greenspace just a couple of miles from my office.
It’s always fun to find a little patch of green just a short distance from a very busy urban area
It bothered me that I couldn’t find the first stage of Thanks for Visiting, especially because I knew I was close. Turns out that I’d been just inches, or less, away. Unfortunately, when I went back to hunt for it again it didn’t occur to me that it was Wednesday night and that both the first and final stages of the cache were on the edges of a church parking lot. There were quite a few people about but thankfully, most were inside. I managed to find the first stage, adjust the cords in my GPSr and then grab the final without notice.
Caching in the dark in the rain was the name of the game for a few days and the DNFs stacked up. Fortunately there were other caches nearby to use as back-ups, even if they didn’t fit in with the 2011 theme.
By the middle of the month the weeks or rain finally gave way to clear skies and sunshine. WE headed down to St. Augustine, Florida to take Jenna to visit Flagler College. As expected we made a pit stop on the way down. Florida’s Rest Areas along the interstates are a bit nicer than Georgia’s.
Of course, Rest Areas are usually great places to find a cache or two and this one was no exception (Just a Quicky off I-10, GC59C5T).
There happened to be a cache (Xeggactly One Crueller Is All U Get, GC57010) behind the hotel where we spent the night. Nope, that wasn’t planned. Several of the logs mentioned a pond but since it was dark when we arrived and I had a chance to look for the cache I couldn’t see it. I’m glad we didn’t have to leave before daylight the next morning…we would have missed a beautiful view…
We spent the next morning and afternoon touring Flagler College. Very nice place. I’m not sure I’d do to well at a college that’s only five minutes from the beach. Of course, Young Harris College, where ConnieLou and I attended was up on the North Georgia mountains and just a few minutes from several fine trout streams…and I managed to do pretty well there.
After we finished our tour we had a couple of hours to wander around St. Augustine before we had to head home. St. Augustine, founded in 1565, is the oldest city in the U.S. and with only a couple of hours to play with, we barely just scratched the surface of the many historical sights to see and really only got a tiny taste of the more modern things to see and do in the city.
As luck would have it, there was a Mystery Cache close to college that fit my theme for the month. Here Kitty Kitty…they’re Back (GC2RGJK). On our way to the cache we passed by a statue of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon who supposedly landed in the St. Augustine area in 1513 during his search for the fabled Fountain of Youth.
The first stage of the cache took us to a lion to obtain a couple of numbers necessary to find the final cache location…
We found the information we needed, did some quick addition and subtraction, checked our solution and headed a few hundred feet away to find the container. Jenna was the first to spot it…and then she let me walk around in circles, looking in every nook and cranny I could find for about 10 minutes before she told me that she had found it and it was in her pocket. She’s mean like that.
Back home in familiar territory we began to wrap up the month. Occasionally we had small hurdles to overcome but with good weather, those were no big problem…
We wrapped up November’s 366 Grid caches with a couple of caches (Meeks Micro, GC39BV4 and BJOC Cache, GC2Y6M4) in the dark in Meeks Park in Blairsville, Georgia. Once again, as we approached the BJOC Cache, Jenna spotted it before me let me walk around in circles and climb up and down the side of the hill for a little while before she pointed its location out to me. I felt better when I was able to repay the favor as she searched for Meeks Micro. As we walked back to the car we noticed a sculpture by local artist and fellow Young Harris College alum, Al Garnto.
Despite the rain November turned out to be a pretty good caching month. Trying to keep a theme going definitely dialed up the planning and strategy difficulty a bit. Will there be a theme for December? I don’t know yet…I have a few days to decide.