Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
The weather forecast was … mixed. There had been heavy rain the night before, and the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Bertha were predicted for the next day, but in between was a small patch of nice weather. As forecasts can be wrong, and there was a chance of getting very, very wet, we chose a short set of local caches. We had high hopes for these as they were set by JJEF, two nearby cachers who exercise deviousness and ingenuity in their cache setting – not, for them, the typical film canister under a stone!Setting off from near the centre of our planned route (just in case a quick retreat from the weather was needed), we set off along the ‘Hogoak Lane’ series, a pleasant country track. Disaster! We failed to find two of the first four caches in the series. We hadn’t got our caching heads on right, or we had failed – not for the first time – to get inside the hiding methods of JJEF. There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ JJEF cache, but there is often wood involved, are frequently hidden in a completely natural-looking way, and can be very hard to spot.
Things improved as we crossed the Drift Road – lots of fast cars here – and much more searching continued: up trees, in hedges, under bridges, and amongst leaf litter. We were having more success now, until … we got to a cache we couldn’t open. We found a log, cut in two, hinged and closed with a padlock, and with a stick that presumably contained the key sticking out of the log. But the stick just would not come out, though we twiddled and wiggled and pulled it. We weren’t giving up, oh no; out came the Swiss Army knife, the hinges were unscrewed and the log was found and signed, before everything was rebuilt. (And no, nothing is being given away by this description, as we reported the problem to the cache owner and the container has been speedily replaced with an updated model.)Back across the Drift Road – more fast cars and speeding cyclists – and down another country path. On our way, we found a ‘letterbox’ cache, a sort of cross between a normal geocache and the letterboxes that can be found on Dartmoor. These caches contain an ink pad and stamp in addition to the usual contents: a good chance for me to get covered with red ink while using the elephant stamp inside!
Soon we were back to the geocar, with 15 out of 17 caches found. And we were also on our way to completing the ‘7 souvenirs of August’ challenge – the letterbox cache gains us the Collector souvenir, with our other caches today giving us the Explorer souvenir.