30 October 2012 (Tuesday) - Hard Core Geocaching
With laundry needing washing, ironing needing doing, lawn needing mowing and all sorts of domestic trivia pending I had a full day ahead of me. Over a spot of brekkie Lisa messaged via Facebook saying she wanted to do a special geocache to be her six hundredth find. So domestic trivia went out of the window.
With "er indoors TM" off to work I left Fudge in the care of his Mummy and Daddy and was soon in the Lisa-mobile. We went to Hoads wood where a new cache had gone live. We had hoped to be first to find it. We were second. We stopped at the toilets at Hothfield common for another cache, and a third at Hollingbourne church before on to part of the main business of the day.
Geocaches are rated on a scoring system for difficulty to find and the terrain on which they are hidden. The scores go from (easy) to five (nearly impossible). Most of the caches I've hidden are rated 1.5/1.0. Generally I think seriously about going for a cache rated 3 or higher on either criterion. Too difficult!
"Arachnophobia" was rated 4.0/4.0. It took us a little while to find the entrance to the tunnel, but eventually we found the cover. I suppose that for most people going into disused tunnels is rather nerve-wracking. And it can be. But what with my experiences of being a hardened tunnel rat I must admit that this wasn't too bad. We climbed down a rather rickety ladder to find two rooms and a short tunnel. The geocache was soon located, and I then scrambled along the tunnel to see what was down there. (Unky Bear would not forgive me if I hadn't). It turned out that there wasn't much down that tunnel at all.
The cache as called "Arachnophobia". Admittedly there were spiders down there, but as many as you would expect of any comparable tunnel. It was a fun cache to do, incorporating two of my hobbies, but a 4.0/4.0 rating? I'm not sure about that.
Whilst in the area we did a few local caches then moved into Maidstone to do some more.
One of the things which really boils my piss about geocaching is the inconsistent way in which rules are applied. A good friend of mine had one of his hides disallowed because it was too near to a playpark. We came across one that was actually in a playpark. We also found another one with a high rating (2.5/4.5). We felt rather pleased with ourselves for that find; even more so when we realised that the Bat had tried for it unsuccessfully. I shall gloat at him when next I see him.
A few more caches, then we collected Earle from the station. We would need him for the day's finale. A cache with a 4.5/5.0 rating. "Shrek" is so named because like Shrek from the films, it lives in a swamp. Earle's job was to run "mission control" from dry land, take photographs, guard the clothing we'd taken off, and phone the coastguard if required. And because he was wearing his hi-vis work clothing he'd make it look like we had a bona-fido reason for being goolie-deep in a swamp.
We were soon goolie-deep in a swamp. Or that is those of us with goolies were goolie-deep. The cache was found within five minutes; cache was signed and we were back on dry land within ten minutes. And for all that it was fun I couldn't help but feel that the difficulty was over-rated. The terrain (a swamp) wasn't really anywhere near as challenging as the ponds into which I've assisted floating duck houses. And the cache wasn't that well hidden. I can see it would be a challenge for most people. Most people don't relish going goolie-deep in swamps.
But as I'm sure my loyal readers now realise, I'm not like most people...