Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sniffing Out Caches

I had this half-hearted goal of finding 250 caches by the end of the year. Unfortunately I only made it to 230, but I ended the year with a string of inadvertantly dog-themed caches. I didn't plan it this way - I looked up the first one while I was in the waiting room at my doctor's office, and then one lead to another, and another...and it wasn't until I was looking at the pictures today that I realized several of them had a common theme (despite being hidden by different people).

The first was a magentic hide-a-key tucked under the dog bowl on this drinking fountain. It's interesting how you learn to hone in on the things that are most likely caches. As I was walking up to GZ I saw the cache poking out, but it certainly wasn't so obvious that an unsuspecting muggle would notice. Look at the picture, see if you can find it. Two-hundred caches ago I would not have zeroed in so quickly.

When I arrived at the location of the next cache a police car was parked in the immediate area. I parked the geoSaab and watched the cop for a minute, waiting for him to drive away. He stayed put, and I almost drove away out-muggled. But then I considered the area - a public park in a nice neighborhood, where I have every right to geocache. I decided that if he asked, I would explain, simple as that. Worst he could do was ask me to leave. So I walked over to the area and started wandering as nonchalantly as possible. I don't know if he watched me or not, but after about 15 minutes he drove away. At that point I dropped the stealth routine and started yanking and twisting everything I could get my hands on. Soon after I stumbled upon the cache.

Technically you could classify this as a micro bison tube. The stick would be construed as camo. This is important because I've seen other hides similar to this where they did call it a micro and/or bison tube, and it took forever to find it because I was looking for a naked bison tube. For this reason I don't study the descriptions and hints as much as I used to. At many a-cache I have developed tunnel-vision and passed right on by an otherwise easy find.

PS. This fits with the dog theme because it was hidden just outside a dog park, and, well, it's a stick. Have you ever met a dog that doesn't love sticks?

The final dog-themed cache only fits in this category because the container was decorated with dog footprints. I'm not going to post a picture of that part because it's really not that interesting.

When I arrived at the location, it didn't appear possible to hide a regular size cache heere. And then I saw the stenciled geocaching logo (love it!)

I've seen a few caches hidden this way, and I always wonder how they don't get muggled by landscapers. Really. Those irrigation control valves have a purpose. Is it likely that a landscaper would remove the cache, do his job, and then kindly replace the cache unscathed? Or maybe those things don't serve as much of a purpose as I think and no one but geocachers ever gets into them.

I grabbed a few other caches that day, but they were all pretty mundane. I wish I'd brought Savannah. She might take an interest in geocaching if she knew dogs were involved. Oh, who am I kidding? Until the FTF prizes include Milk Bones or pig ears, Savannah will not be a fan.

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