Sunday, May 6, 2018

As the Last Year of my Fifth Decade Begins...

Old Rodan at "A Point in the Distance" (GCMF98)
Most years since I started Geocaching (in 2008), I've taken a day off work at my birthday to go out on the hunt. This year, however, timing-wise and work-wise, it didn't work out, but next weekend — all the forces of the universe cooperating — I'm anticipating an outing with Ms. Brugger to go in search of Geocache #10,000. Hoping for all good things on this front.

I had plotted something of an early birthday surprise for Ms. B., so on Friday, she and I went to Martinsville where she was treated to a wine glass painting class at Piedmont Arts Association (where I once exhibited and taught art back in the dawn of man). For good measure, I joined her in this endeavor, and we painted ourselves some nice wine glasses, which I'm certain will be put to good use. We also got to drink wine and eat good food at the event, so there was happiness to go around.

Despite being only a handful of caches away from hitting the big milestone, I managed to get in some highly satisfying hunting this weekend. To provide some context: yesterday was what is known in certain esoteric circles as "Crunken Dorking Day," a tradition that came about some time ago when Kimberly and friend Beth N. got together to do crafting with wine corks. Of course wine was involved, and an attempt by one of them to say "drunken corking" came out as "crunken dorking," and the name stuck. So yesterday morning, we trucked over to Winston-Salem so that the ladies might crunk some dorks, and I hit the caching trail.

Twice over the years I had gone after a truly mean hide in Horizons Park called "David & Diana's Bane" (GCQFJ4), but because getting to the logsheet involves spending an inordinate amount of time in one spot — usually interfering with valuable, limited caching time — I had simply given up. Because I could only claim a scant few before hitting the big #10K, I figured this was the time to give it a go. The cache is a great big water bottle filled with a couple hundred film canisters, and only one of them contains the log sheet. Because of the shape of the water bottle, you can only shake out one canister at a time, and as you might imagine, this process might tax the patience of the less-than-patient among us. Well, several years and 98 film canisters later, I have finally claimed "David & Diana's Bane." And so glad am I to put this one to rest....
The other rather beastly one is called "A Point in the Distance" (GCMF98), a multi-stage cache which requires calculating the coordinates of the final stage by determining the convergence point of two bearings from separate waypoints several miles apart. This involved finding a container at Horizons Park, then at another park some distance to the south. Happily, I had discovered an online tool to calculate coordinates for just such a problem, and so I was able to finally put this cache to rest as well. The travel between waypoints and the hiking involved to each stage made this one the day's most challenging endeavor.

Ms. B. and I then spent a most pleasant evening of dinner, wine, and great company with friends Terry and Beth. By the time we got home, quite late last night, at least one of us fell over and went boom.

My old friend Bog Turtle (a.k.a. Beth W.), caching partner extraordinaire from too many years back, was in town for a few days, so today, we met with the notorious Cupdaisy (a.k.a. Debbie) at Hagan Stone Park to hike and hunt caches — I limited myself to four, though Beth and Debbie picked up several others along the way. Things started out peaceably enough, with some relatively easy trail hiking and a few nice finds. But the placement of a few newer caches out there had us in a quandary. Should we go back to the road and approach the caches as the cache owner (CO) recommended? Or just power on through all kinds of unknown terrain? We opted for the latter, which, as you may have by now guessed, was not the world's best idea ever.

The official Geocaching Terrain Difficulty Scale goes from 1 to 5, 1 being the easiest, 5 being the hardest. As I led the parade through thick woods and across broad power line cuts, I managed to land us in some areas of about Terrain 8. I am not going to say that we clambered over an electrified fence onto private property, went some distance, and then repeated the process to return to park property (the shortest individual in the party making a spectacular flying leap), but I suppose any witnesses who might have been in the area would say someone did. (Nor will I mention that we signed the cache logs as "The Electric Company.") And there was blood. Not mine, but at least one among us (okay, it was Beth W.) decided that the creed devised by our mutual caching buddy Robgso — "If you don't bleed, you're not having fun" — is not one to take lightly.

We finished our outing by meeting Ms. B. for an excellent lunch at The Fat Frogg in Elon. Their "Poison Dart" hot sauce, which I put on some excellent chicken tenders, has one powerful burn, and they make a mean Bloody Mary. By the time I got back home, I fell over and went boom. I may do it again before the night is over.

Current cache count is 9,997. And happy trails to you.
Ms. Bog Turtle was hollering "Giddyup! Go! Giddyup! Go!" But it wouldn't go.

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