What words are there? The road to this find has to be one of the most interesting and pleasurable experiences of my life, for many reasons. I never really planned on hunting this one. Sure it was sort of a nebulous pipe dream, but I knew I was not likely to pursue it. As things were discussed I decided, rather begrudgingly, to join up and even with all the ups and downs since that day, I am ever so thankful that I did. I'll never be able to fully express my gratitude to everyone involved in this adventure from the planning stages, through the actual trip itself and those who provided support and cover when we had to make a few last second adjustments. I truly appreciate everything that everyone did to make this daydream a reality.
The travel was a whirlwind once we left Tennessee bound for our place in Miami. A day and a half of driving, followed by most of a day in South Florida before hopping a redeye flight to Lima, Peru where we hired a cab to take us to a few local caches including a great FTF overlooking the Pacific. After half a day hunting and exploring Lima we were back on a flight across the Andes to Sao Paolo. Up early the next morning to grab our rental "little burro" for the 200 mile drive to Intervales. Most of the day, several stops and one wrong turn later we arrived at the beginning of the final 25km unpaved drive to the state park just as the sunset. We had a great evening, dining on lizard and sharing stories with our lodge mates, a crew of extreme divers who luckily, spoke English very well since our Portuguese was really weak. Up the next morning for showers, brekkies and to meet our guise, Junior, who also happens to be the head of security for the park, a good man to know. We took off up the trail discussing the mountain and the views from the top, so that is where we went, up the mountain and after taking in the views, we headed down the "wet side" of the mountain, with one little hiccup where we spent about an hour hanging out while Junior scouted a better route. When we got back on the trail we soon found ourselves back where we started the climb up taking the fairly level, though partially blocked trail to the APE cache. It seems that when we said we were looking forward to the view at the top Junior plotted us a route over the mountain rather than going directly to the cache. So what is normally a fairly easy mile or so hike for the APE was a 7 mile over the mountain trek for us, and I wouldn't change that for anything. In fact, I suggest that anyone hunting this one in the future take that route, the hike was incredible. Soon we had the rarest logbook in the world in hand and were signing our names. Quite a journey and a fitting cache for my 20,000th find. Walking away was a little bittersweet, but the adventure is something I will remember for a lifetime.
I want to say a huge thank you to JoGPS for keeping this last APE cache going, to Groundspeak for their support and for sharing our adventure on their blog and most of all to my travel companions. You three are the greatest and it was an honor and a pleasure to travel with you again. This adventure was truly the pinnacle of my caching experience and I do not know what we will ever do to top it, but I look forward to trying.