Over the last few weeks, Stella and I have been taking part in a covert geocaching operation called Mission GC.
I say covert, it wasn’t. But, it was for premium members only of the geocaching community so we felt special anyway!
Things weren’t made easy for us on this mission either. Before we even set a foot out of the door into the fresh air, which is after all the main reason we do it in the first place, we had to decipher coded e-mails from geocaching HQ which would tell us what particular type of cache we needed to look for.
We nearly fell at the first hurdle when our first e-mail didn’t arrive, but, thanks to Twitter, I spotted a clue as to what we needed to find. Our first task was to log a find at a geocache that had 10 favourite points or more.
There were a couple out beyond Burwell that fitted the bill and suited our geocaching requirements too; they looked interesting and in good locations to combine with walkies 🙂
Stella the geohound was extra pleased as she found a cricket ball in the woods and brought it home!
For the next mission we did receive the coded e-mail and what a pickle that turned out to be! Here’s a PDF of the first stage of the task. The solution to that then gives us a password that had to be entered on another site in order to retrieve the message about what type of cache we’d be looking for. In this case we needed a multi cache. This means you go to one location where you’ll gather numbers from various objects in order to give you the co-ordinates of ground zero (the geocache location).
I had a really busy weekend so we dashed out early on Sunday morning to Fordham and hoped we’d be able to work out the numbers and find the cache.
Ta-dah! But, no souvenir. I started to doubt that a multi-cache was what I thought it was or that I’d misread the message and should be finding multiple caches!
I had misread the e-mail. We didn’t need to log a find until the following weekend! D’oh!
Back out we went the next Saturday when I’d already done the Colour Dash in Ely but I didn’t want to leave it until Sunday in case we needed extra time to solve clues.
Luckily a cache we had already found several years ago in the village had been replaced with a multi so we set off hoping to do that. Gathering the numbers was relatively easy…getting to the final cache location wasn’t so. The shortcut we would have taken was through a field which was now full of cows and a bull plus newly (well maybe not newly but since our last visit) surrounded by an electric fence! Long way it is then. My fitbit was pleased at least!
The following Saturday, 20th August, was International Geocaching Day so of course we had to go out and find a little something or two then too. We were over near my parents’ during the day so it was nice to do some caching a little further from home.
When the final coded message came through, I thought that the geocaching bosses might be kind, but, alas, it was another tricky one to decipher! Good way to keep your brain engaged though so I shouldn’t complain. Here’s the link if you fancy guessing the password I needed.
Sadly for me this meant the third and final Mission GC task was to solve and log a puzzle cache. I hate puzzle caches. Geocaching is a puzzle in itself, it doesn’t need these extra layers! Some would say the same of multi caches maybe but I don’t mind those if I have the time. Puzzle caches range from mildly kick-yourself annoying to downright evil!
Anyway, I browsed a few for anything that looked vaguely simple and with the help of Google, Facebook, Geochecker, and, one very kind cache owner, I managed to solve a couple to have a go at.
Of course we were due rain all weekend so we tried to stay fairly local too. This was when I enlisted the help of the cache owner mentioned. I’d solved the one that was nearest to home but the next one wouldn’t compute. She was kind enough to re-assure me that my logic was right and only one digit was wrong meaning it was a dyscalculia issue rather than an intelligence one. After looking at the numbers another half a dozen times I did indeed kick myself and we had correct co-ordinates.
We did go out on Sunday morning too to get a few caches including the other puzzle one – pleased to get it ticked off the list!
I love Stella’s bright eyes in that photo.
Pleased to say that she had a really good weekend and even wanted to play fetch for a little while. That made my heart happy. I know it can’t last but I’m going to enjoy every single good moment.
How was your August?
Could you work out the passwords I needed?