Monday, November 16, 2009


BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST: if you intend to go geocaching in Ritter Park any time soon, you may not want to read this post. The pictures might ruin some of your fun.

To celebrate my 41st birthday, I took off Friday to go on an all day geocaching adventure with The Boss from work. Not my boss. The Boss. We planned to hit as many caches as we could in eight+ hours, without resorting to "a plan" to jigger the numbers: e.g. we went to a park and did a lot of walking, we went to some nearby fields and did a lot of walking, and we went to the Prior Lake park system and did a lot of walking. We succeeded in our goal and found 30 caches, plus a letterbox that we found completely by accident after mis-entering the coordinates for a many-stated multi-cache.

That multi was our only DNF of the day. Pain in the ***. We followed it through five stages, only to end up at an appliance dump with lots of broken glass and rusty metal. I just wasn't willing to dig down into the vorpal mess to validate whether a cache was present.

The first part of the day was at Ritter Farm Park in Lakeville. I'd been there once before with my family to find one of the Halloween Caches from last year (Think Tank), which made getting there easier than when Pooteewheet and I drove around in circles for an hour trying to find an entrance. We spent an hour searching for the above multicache which involved a lot of + this/- that coordinates. I've never seen The Boss so annoyed. The idea of spending over an hour searching for one cache when he could have found five separate caches was clearly an aggravating factor.

After we gave up on the first multicache, we focused on another that promised only two stops. It delivered, cheering both of us up. What I can't understand is why any cacher would assume that leaving a Kit Kat for the next person is a good idea. Who the hell would eat a stray Kit Kat? Nasty. And what parent would let their kid eat the stray Kit Kat? Nastier.

This was a good one. See the pine tree I'm hugging within all the other pine trees?

Surprise! An interesting way to dispose of your old faux Christmas Tree when you want to buy a new one.

Another cool one. You're not supposed to leave a golf ball here. These were collected from other caches by the person who placed it.

Instead, you sign a golf ball and drop it back into the cache.

The best cache of the day. We emptied out a huge, double barreled cache, and there were this many film canisters. Within one of them was the log we needed to sign. To make it more difficult, the white canisters had paper or paint in them to obfuscate the one container we were after. We felt like a couple of drug runners sitting under the pine trees with over 100 individual serving containers. It didn't help that at one point a German Shepherd and his doggy buddy came wandering over to see what we were so quietly up to under the canopy.

This is how far we had to go before we found the log. Stupid odds. Good thing we weren't playing Vegas (or the nearby N.A. casino).

The biggest cache in Lakeville. I've seen bigger. The Halloween cache from last year, Here Lies the Body of Geo Cache, was taller than I was. This was just a big ammo box. It was big enough that inside were peanut butter jars that looked like the remnants of other caches.

Stupid rocks were heavy. So I left more on it than I took off. My foot, size 12+-ish, for comparison.

The Back Forty. I can't tell if The Boss is a Broadhead or a Blunt Tip.

The archery range at the park. Very cool. If I ever teach Eryn archery, we'll have to go to Ritter Park.

A bald eagle nest at our last cache in the park.

Proof there are eagles there. Don't worry, the feather is not in my possession.

After Ritter Park, we went to Cleary Park, right next door, but they were having a "special hunting event" and all entrances were closed. Even had I been sporting an orange vest, the bike paths were persona non enter. After some deliberation, during which we celebrated how I had captured every active cache within 15 km of the center of Ritter Park, we tackled a variety of caches in Prior Lake, including a series behind the Police Station. But my favorite was on our way to Prior Lake, where we went searching for a small cache in the woods where, once again, appliances had been dumped. We searched high and low and I finally found a spot that seemed perfect for a cache, but it was empty. So we decoded the hint online (woo hoo, blackberry!) which indicated it should be where we were looking. After a bit more scrounging around, I found a squirrelfied camo film tin some 30 feet away. Stupid squirrels. Always First to Find.

So, thirty caches. Probably 16 miles of walking. Saturday was a difficult day for my old bones. Nothing like putting in the effort to ensure 41 feels like 41.

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