Erik Hulse, AgTitan, gets straight to the point, “This is a story I will be telling for the rest of my life, a story I will never forget.”
The story he’s talking about – and will talk about for decades to come – begins on the soft, muddy bank of a Texas river. AgTitan and Kenny Wade, GeoGeex, hiked through a park on an early April geocaching adventure.
Their first obstacle would be little more than a slithering side note. AgTitan says, “The hike was several miles and the snakes were out in force. GeoGeex spotted the first snake of the twelve we saw that day. We both had several close calls, almost stepping on several snakes during the day, but thankfully we averted disaster with the snakes.”
But an attempt to cross a river set the stage for a good deed that AgTitan could little imagine. He fell hard into the water. He says, “According to GeoGeex, the high pitched wail and spastic water dance was a sight to behold. We learned several things during the encounter… like… when your hand hits the muddy, clay-like material on bottom of a creek, Aggie rings easily slip off the finger!” AgTitan lost his beloved “Aggie ring.” It’s a Texas A&M University alumni ring. He says, “It sobered the mood the rest of the day.”
But AgTitan put a call out for help. He posted the coordinates of his fall into the river on a local geocaching Facebook page, jokingly calling the location, “One Ring to Rule Them All.”
Jeff Cruser, Z_Malloc, saw the post and reacted, “I knew that I could not let a fellow Aggie (Texas A&M Alumni) lose his ring without at least hunting for it! So I packed up my metal detector from work and loaded up the cachepack for a water trip.”
But Z_Malloc wasn’t prepared for the jumble of fallen trees when he reached the location where the ring was lost. He says “As I approached GZ (the coordinates) I saw that it was not just a simple narrow stream with a single log to search around, but it was to be a whole blockade of logs and other submerged debris with small rapids flowing by.”
Z_Malloc says that time was crucial. Rains were expected later in the day which could wash the ring downriver. He says, “I made some logical guesses about where the mighty AgTitan may have fallen in and focused on the partially submerged log in the middle of the stream. I was really glad I was alone because I bet it was quite funny to see me bent over at the waist in thigh deep water running a metal detector in one hand and feeling the bottom with the other. But after about ten minutes, and on my third hit on the metal detector, my hand brushed something in the moderately packed clay on the bottom.”
Z_Malloc pulled a silt covered ring from the water and kept his sense of humor intact. “I had the ring in my hand. So as I dragged the cache (ring) to the surface. I knew I was going to be FTF…..but NOOOOO the log (inscription) read Erik J. Hulse. All that work and to not get the FTF! So feeling all depressed, I tossed the ring back in the water for the next person to find and walked away. Just kidding.”
Z_Malloc says he got a great story out of the adventure and helped a former Texas A&M alumni and geocacher.
AgTitan says that he only found out the ring was recovered when GeoGeex called hours later, “Kenny (geogeex) called me when I was at work because Jeff (Z_Malloc) posted on Facebook that he found my ring. I didn’t believe Kenny at first, and kept asking him if he was joking with me. When I realized it was for real, I found Jeff’s number and called thanking him.”
AgTitan says he didn’t just receive his ring back – he also earned a new respect for the geocaching community, “It is amazing what geocachers (and Aggies!) will do for one another, even when you hardly know someone. TFTR (Thanks for the ring!) Jeff!!”