Trying to discern what the mirror is for.

A Box of Red Herrings — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC6NQC2
by burgo78
Difficulty:
4
Terrain:
1
Location:
Townsville, Australia
S 19° 17.724 E 146° 46.327

“A Box of Red Herrings” (GC6NQC2) delivers exactly what it promises. The cache itself is hidden with permission inside the Aitkenvale Library in Queensland, Australia. It’s not  difficult to spot, but the logbook inside is as well protected as J.K. Rowling’s sorcerer’s stone.

The cache sits in an inconspicuous corner of the library.
The cache sits in an inconspicuous corner of the library.

At ground zero you’ll find a three-foot tall cupboard with each of its drawers padlocked. Tackle the bottom drawer first, using instructions on the cache page and letters from a nearby library sign as your guide.

"A Box of Red Herrings" is easy to find but tricky to open.
“A Box of Red Herrings” is easy to find but tricky to open.

Open that drawer to find over a hundred mostly unmarked keys. You might start to feel like Harry Potter himself as you search through a throng of dud keys to locate one that will unlock the middle drawer.

It'll take a while to sift through the contents of the bottom drawer to find the right tool to open the middle one.
It’ll take a while to sift through the contents of the bottom drawer to find the right tool to open the middle one.

The middle drawer contains several items. Some may be useful in opening the top drawer and gaining access to the log inside. Most are red herrings. The challenge lies in discerning which are which.

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The contents of the middle drawer will take some time to sift through.

The middle drawer contains the following:

  • A magnifying glass and a small clue; on the clue some letters and numbers are in bold or capitalized
  • Two tent pegs which will fit into holes in the drawers
  • A telescoping magnet
  • A mirror and a backwards note
  • Toothpicks and a block of wood – when the toothpicks are pushed into the holes in the wood they spell something in Roman numerals
  • Several plastic eggs, some with letters on them
  • A UV torch
Is it a literal or a figurative red herring?
Is it a literal or a figurative red herring?

Is one of the objects — or are several of them in combination — a clue? Or is there some other trick to getting the top drawer open? We won’t reveal any more than that here, but cachers who make it out to this cache won’t find it an easy one to finish…unless, says the cache owner, they ask for a hint from the local older gentleman who often sits in a chair near the cache.

The UV torch highlights a clue...or another red herring.
The UV torch highlights a clue…or another red herring.

Impressively, the cache owner, burgo78, has only been geocaching since March of 2016, proving that it doesn’t take years of geocaching practice to design a cool hide. He’s been thoroughly enjoying his first year of caching. “I now have 800+ finds and have 60 hides in Townsville (plus one in the USA, and one in England); some are simple containers but most are either a little harder to get to (boat or remote) or are a little more creative as these are the types of hides I enjoy finding myself.”

The bottom and middle drawer successfully unlocked. One to go!
The bottom and middle drawer successfully unlocked. One to go!
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A mysterious jar of sticks can be arranged into a mysterious upright row of sticks.

Although he’s sure his caches will provide a fun challenge for many, burgo78’s motives may lie elsewhere. “I also hope that this cache my inspire new hides in Townsville as I’ve found almost all of the 400 currently in place and the next substantial city is over four hours’ drive away.” The struggle is real.

Trying to discern what the magnifying glass is for.
Trying to discern what the magnifying glass is for.

Until now, only a few folks have found “A Box of Red Herrings”, but the comments have been unanimously positive. Burgo78 hopes that more cachers will rise to the challenge and won’t be too distracted by the red herrings they’ll encounter along the way.

We can see a lot of work and thought has gone in to this really great cache. We tried many options, slowly and methodically working towards success. My comment when I signed the log, “WOW”. Thank you, a favorite for us.

The logbook finally reveals itself.
The logbook and a trove of other objects — mysterious and otherwise — finally reveal themselves.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

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1 Comment

Hagen med det rare i— Geocache of the week

Letterbox Hybrid
GC51MPR
by thomfre
Difficulty:
1
Terrain:
1
Location:
Buskerud, Norway
N 59° 45.869′ E 009° 57.503

When daydreaming of Norway, one may think of fjord laden landscapes, snow-capped peaks, and the midnight sun. Norway is also home to over 5 million people, 72,080 active geocaches, and a thriving geocaching community. This Geocache of the Week, Hagen med det rare i, is located in the town of Steinberg along the Drammenselva river, one of the largest rivers in Norway.

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When you arrive in Steinberg, it won’t take you long to spot the remarkable garden filled with wood carvings, metal art and a Signal the Frog® lookalike.

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All of these distracting installations may increase the difficulty of finding the cache, including the large troll that guards the yard. In Norse folklore, trolls can sometimes be tricky and unhelpful to humans, so don’t let this troll trick you into going the wrong direction!

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Not only is the cache entertaining for geocachers and muggles alike, it also attracts LetterboxersLike geocaching, letterboxing is another form of treasure hunting that uses clues instead of coordinates. In this case, the cache owner has made their container both a letterbox and a geocache, making it a Letterbox Hybrid. These types of geocaches will contain a stamp that is meant to remain in the box and is used by letterboxers to record their visit.

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Of my 200-something hides, this is my personal favorite. The cache is located right outside my grandparents’ garden, a place I spent a lot of time when growing up.

Some of my earliest memories are from that place. And even though there’s some things that are as old as me there, there’s always something new to look at whenever I visit. I am thrilled that I get to share this awesome place with other geocachers! And the best part is that so are my grandparents! I might be a bit subjective here, but they are simply awesome!

I’ve received so many great logs, and I really enjoy telling my grandparents about all the nice words people write. Several people have noted that they see where I get my creativity from after visiting this cache. They’re so right! -Thomfre (cache owner)

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Thomfre, the cache owner is also very involved in the geocaching community with an interesting geocaching blog and a website that helps Norwegian geocachers to plan their next geocaching vacation.

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While visiting  family in Loesmoen we had to make the trip here. Exciting and fun garden with an ingeniously made geocache. Deserves all its blue bows. Fun that this was our first letterbox. Left our travel friend Reflexus, ready to embark on an adventure.—BråtenStabæk

A round after work to grab some caches in Steinberg and Hokksund with jonnyloe28 today. Today’s fourth discovery and our first letterbox. Parked at the zero point to mirror quickly heading to Hagen med det rare i. Wonderful garden and great installation. Certainly today’s highlight this here. Clear favorite points from me.Thanks so much for the cache. —supertoga1

On drive from Hamar to Vegglifjell and only time for one cache. The choice fell on this, and all your favorite points are well deserved! Great box, crazy garden, and now it has another favorite points. Thanks!—Schrøder


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Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

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The Ouzoud Waterfalls — Geocache of the Week

EarthCache
GC21VQ7
by Silvana
Difficulty:
2
Terrain:
2
Location:
Morocco
N 32° 00.900′ W 006° 43.181′

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Waterfalls draw people in with their effulgent mist, power, and calming radiance from the sound of flowing water. The Ouzoud Waterfalls are located in the epitome of an oasis, surrounded by trees and vibrant desert life. Can you imagine the excitement of crossing the Sahara desert and stumbling upon this multi-tiered waterfall?

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This EarthCache here is designed to educate you on waterfalls and their formation. The geocache page does an excellent job in explaining the different types of waterfalls and will equip you with the right information so you can enjoy a fulfilling geological adventure.

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But to bring you up to speed: You’ll learn the difference between a cascade and a cataract waterfall, and how waterfalls are created. The peak of the falls reach 323 ft (98 m), and from there the water flows down several tiers of varying size. You can view the falls from both the top or from the plunge pool below. The name “Ouzoud” translates to “olive” in the ancient language of Berber, and was named that because of the plenitude of olive trees that surround the falls.

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There are also a ton of monkeys!

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Take a break to take this all in. 

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Here’s what geocachers had to say:

On the day before we went home, we visited the Ouzoud- waterfalls. First, we looked at this beautiful natural phenomenon from above. The the stairs down seemed endless. Both views were breathtaking! Thank you for this great Earthcache! – Trittauer translated from German

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We have found this cache during our motorized one week long geotrip around Morocco. We have visited cascades d’Ouzoud, some caves and lakes and interesting and beautiful places in cities like Fes, Casablanca or Marrakech. We enjoyed our journey a lot and we definitely will come back to Morocco in the future. These waterfalls are really beautiful, it is probably the greatest place we have seen in Morocco. We liked also the meeting with monkeys and our trip through valley down the river. Thank you very much for our 6000. cache!!! Greetings from the Czech Republic. – R+D

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Every EarthCache has delightful engaging facts about the geological site that you can observe first hand. Thank you Silvana for recognizing a great EarthCache and writing a very educational cache page. Go chase this waterfall if you’re in search for an amazing adventure!   

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Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

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Old McPlumberman Had A Farm — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC6V4ME
by Plumberman63
Difficulty:
3.5
Terrain:
1.5
Location:
New Brunswick, Canada
N 45° 30.592 W 065° 52.629

LastZoo and Plumberman63 are a geocaching couple from New Brunswick, Canada. They designed their gadget cache, “Old McPlumberman Had A Farm” in October 2016 as part of a local gadget-cache-building challenge. After 25 finds the cache still has a 100% favorite-point ratio, and more than a few geocachers have expressed their deep displeasure about being able to award only one favorite point!

Geocaching HQ reached out to Plumberman63 and LastZoo for a description of their cache, which is generating rave reviews from all who visit. Read on to find out how this intricate and involved gadget cache works!

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Darlings Island is a small, little known island in southern New Brunswick, on the East Coast of Canada, surrounded by a lake and a river. It is known for it’s hundred year old covered bridge, mild summers perfect for kayaking or fishing adventures, challenging winters with snow drifts and whiteouts, and the picturesque rolling hills and family farms. It is our goal to also make it known as a destination for gadget caches.

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Our first gadget cache is a small handmade barn complete with a weather vane, hay loft, barn door and attached silo. It is perched on a post along our driveway. As you enter our driveway, the bright red barn on a post could seem like a birdfeeder or birdhouse to the passerby, but the geocacher in search of this cache will immediately recognize it as ground zero. The unsuspecting geocachers will assume that one must simply walk up, figure something out really quick, and voila, the hidden cache container will be revealed, but… not so fast!

While it seems rather simple at a quick glance, this geocache container took nearly 40 hours to build from scratch. While one of the elements was inspired by a WVTim geocache my wife (LastZoo) and I found while exploring in West Virginia this summer, the rest is a combination of different little tricks and components that make the cache fun and challenging all rolled into one.

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As you approach the barn, you’ll easily see that tucked away underneath the barn is a padlock with a 4 digit code guarding access to the logbook compartment. Old McPlumberman had a code… E.I.E.I…uh-oh… Where is the code?

Each handmade component of the barn unlocks the next step to accessing the logbook compartment. The trick is to figure out which component does what, and which component one must start with. The barn is built sturdily so that it can be pulled and pushed and prodded without much danger or wrecking it, but thankfully solving each step does not require any force. Just patience. A barn-sized load of patience.

There are 4 codes for the padlock… and four steps to revealing the code. However, only the last step will provide the code to you, so that you won’t be tempted to give up at the third step. Once you’ve attempted the third step, you’ll know why we only revealed the code in the last step!

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SPOILER #1:
The first step is to examine the handmade weather vane closely. It is built with a long brass rode that reaches down into the hayloft and holds the hayloft door closed. Removing the weather vane is the beginning of the chain reaction you need in order to reveal the 4 digit code. In saying this, given that the weather vane is the first step, one would be correct in assuming that the second step has something to do with the hayloft.

SPOILER #2:
Once you’ve opened the hayloft door, you will notice several “bales of hay” stacked neatly in the hayloft. Oh, but wait…..! One bale is impaled with a steel rod. It is that very same steel rode that keeps the inside of the silo in place. You could stop there, and never find the logbook compartment, but since you’ve gone this far, why not unlock the silo by pulling on the hay bale?

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SPOILER #3:
Once you’ve unlocked the inside of the silo by moving the bale of hay, you will discover how devious Plumberman63 can be. This is the part that determines whether you’re standing in our driveway for ten minutes or an hour (or whether you want to throw eggs at our vehicles?). Hidden deep in the barn is another steel rod that guides the grooves carved into the inner cylinder of the silo. Lift the silo higher and higher by finding the right groove without making a wrong turn, and you will gain access to the final step required to reveal the 4 digit code. If it takes you over an hour, you can drop by our house for a break, and we’ll you a hug and some hot chocolate.

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SPOILER #4.
Since step 3 is the most difficult step, we decided to add a little fun to step 4 by including a popular kids game into the geocache. You’re welcome. The game instructions for our cache are on the game piece itself in French and English, the official languages in New Brunswick. This could take 3 minutes, or half an hour, depending on your observation skills.

The good news? You don’t have to repeat step 3 once you’re ready to put everything back together the way it was. Just insert the silo backwards, and then turn it the right way until it clicks back into place when the red arrows match up!

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Our favorite memories from this geocache are the reactions from the geocachers who read the description on the geocaching page, but weren’t sure what to expect. If looks could kill, Plumberman63 would have died as each geocacher attempted step 3… We also really enjoy the cleverly worded log entries, like the one made by 4CeasonS, which beautifully describe the experience without giving away the secrets. All in all, we’re happy to provide some entertainment as our way to give back in a small way to the geocaching community for the years of adventures and discoveries we’ve enjoyed through geocaching.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.