Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Given the horrible tragedy this week of losing a number of Navy SEALs in Afghanistan, it's oddly appropriate that the primary geocache I undertook to log this week was called "SEAL Qualification Training" (GC1DHDF), so named because it's a mentally as well as physically challenging multi-cache with six stages. It was originally hidden in 2008 by Ted "Sketcher" Beach, but it's only been found a handful of times, and the last logged find before me was in April 2010. If you endeavor to complete this one all at once—assuming you correctly solve the puzzle to acquire the final coordinates—it's seven to eight miles of hiking on the Greensboro watershed trails. I opted to do it a stage at a time—one stage per hike (though I did end up finding stages 3 and 4 on one trip)—just so I'd have an excuse to get out there on the trails a number of times. Thus, on my several hikes, I managed to make it a cumulative total of something like 18–20 miles. But hey, I need the exercise! This one isn't necessarily a night cache, but it is set up with reflectors so that it can be done at night; alas, except for one hike which kept me out after dark, I ended up doing most of it in daylight. I do tend to enjoy the long arduous ones (and they're particularly arduous when it's a hundred degrees out, like today), especially when they're as well-conceived as this cache. Each stage leading up to the final is a micro or small container containing the coordinates to the next stage and a numerical clue. One must put those clues together correctly in order to get the coordinates for the final, which is a big old ammo can full of fun swag.
There is a sequel to this cache, called "Hooyah" (GCV1JC), which I actually did many moons ago, and I'm kind of glad I did it first, as it was the easier of the two...a good one to ease you into the rigors of this one, heh heh.
If you're a local geocacher and you haven't found this one yet, I definitely recommend it (and its brother), whether all at once or on individual trips, the way I did. But get yourself in shape first. It's pretty rigorous.