Pure geocaching gluttony.
We only needed one cache to fill our date grid for February 29th.
We only needed to attend a cacher’s meet to acquire a geocaching souvenir.
Technically attending the meet would do both but…
… let’s celebrate the date in style! And what better than undertaking caches set by JJEF, whose caches are arguably the most memorable and local to us!
The first JJEF cache of the day was coincidentally placed at the pub where a lunchtime (Leap Year Day) meet was being held. JJEF caches are so good that they have to be savoured, we thought attempting the cache 3 hours before the meet will give us full enjoyment.
We were not to be disappointed. We took along a tool (a nail) and, as requested, connected it to two protruding nails from the cache. How could this possibly give us a 4 digit number, to unlock a padlock ? Well, we are not going to tell you (sorry)! But when we did find our way into the cache we removed a trackable, Just Ducky, and resealed the lock. Then, as we were leaving, we were approached by a member of pub staff. We knew the pub staff were told of the cache…but this one clearly had missed the briefing. Two people trying to break into a ‘bird-box’ in a car park looked suspicious … so we explained about geocaching and had to re-open the padlock to show the Tupperware contained within. Hey ho!
We then drove off, to undertake a mini-series of JJEF caches (some of which we had DNFed previously), and a few others set by other cache owners.
Our second cache of the day was another JJEF cache. Another padlock. This time a set of over 10 different possible numbers to try. Somehow it took us three passes through the numbers to open the cache. Whoops!
Our next JJEF cache and yet another padlock. This time the cache had a series of random letters on each side of the box, but try as we might we couldn’t convert a subset of the letters to a valid 4 digit number. We decided to leave the cache as our planned walk would finish at this site, so we would have another opportunity to crack the code.
Our next few caches were not JJEF caches. Mainly simple hides, in varying size containers. Some hidden by posts, under stickoflage, in tree roots. A pleasant walk through woodland occasionally seeing horse riders and a pair of dog walkers sharing the path with us. (Makes it easy at GZ when its that quiet!)
Our only gripe of the walk was the terrain rating of one of the caches. Marked as terrain 1, the easiest, terrain of all. We understood terrain 1 broadly means ‘wheelchair accessible’. This cache failed on two counts- the first being the footpath, not the flattest or driest in Berkshire, and the access to the cache… it meant climbing over a fallen tree! In fairness this cache was placed over 10 years ago so some allowances might have to be made!
Our final three caches were JJEF caches, two we had failed at 18 months ago, and the letter decode cache from earlier in our walk. Surprisingly we found the next two very easily. how we missed them 18 months ago we don’t know.. but we think that happens with every geocacher… doesn’t it?
JJEF caches seem to fall into two categories : a wooden box creation with a puzzle to get into it or a wooden natural object shaped around the cache container. And so by picking up a very natural piece of bark, and a very natural looking stick we acquired two more caches…just the letter cache to go…
We took the cache to the car. We wrote down every letter. We converted each to a number (A=1 etc) we tried endless variations and then…and then… we realised the most simplest of solutions may yield the answer. A couple of trial combinations later and we were in! Phew ! 8 caches attempted and 8 caches found and successfully opened. Fantastic ! And all in time for the lunchtime meet. Anyone for a pint ?