[Editor’s Note: There’s an alien at the end of this blog post]
By Annie Love –
Imagine: The midnight darkness of the desert is lit only by a pale moon. You’re driving down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere Nevada. You see the wink of a meteorite falling to Earth. It’s slower than any you’ve seen before, it’s greenish in hue. The trajectory of the fast moving light shows it landing in the area you’ve been told doesn’t officially exist even though you pretty much know for a fact it does. You feel validated when your friends agrees with you that this might not be a meteorite. In fact, it very well could be aliens. Yes. Aliens.
This would seem weird under normal circumstances. This doesn’t fall under normal circumstances though. This is geocaching. Specifically, this is the ET Highway.
Bordering the place that doesn’t exist (Area 51), this geocaching power trail is not for everyone. It’s the ultimate in power caching. Film canister after film canister at 6,000-7,000 feet in elevation, this trail leads you through some spectacular country. Originally 2000 geocaches, recently expanded to 2400, this is one of the largest power trails on Earth. Traveling through this part of the world makes you feel like it’s impossible not to ‘believe.’
Knowing that Geocoinfest 2013 was going to be in Las Vegas, I immediately thought ‘I should do the ET Highway.’ Over the nine years I’ve been geocaching, I’ve only found just under 1200 caches. It’s definitely not about the numbers to me. For me, it’s the experience I have geocaching. That’s what appealed to me about doing the ET Highway.
Before I could make my own plans, I received an email from Princess Trouble (one of the hosts of Geocoinfest). After a few more emails, a team was formed. My colleague Moun10Bike, Princess Trouble, dsvaughn, Joe of JoenSue and I had plans to leave bright and early after Geocoinfest.
Blazing through rugged Nevada backcountry with our minivan and Jeep, we found the 2400 caches over four days. In our quickest hour of geocaching, we found 116 geocaches. Being in the company of cows, jack rabbits, coyotes, wild horses and fun geocachers made for a truly amazing adventure.
Some tips for folks thinking of doing the ET Highway:
-Start your planning by checking out the ET Highway owner’s information page: http://etgeocaching.com/
-Plan to bring at least 50 film canisters with logs (for cache maintenance along the way)
-We had two stamps with us and these were both nearly dead by the end, so three might be best
-Figure out a plan in advance for getting gas or hauling gas with you so you don’t get stranded
-Cell phones don’t work on most of the trail, so be prepared with plenty of food, water, flashlights, clothing layers and make sure you have a spare tire in your car
-Allow for extra time to find the other really interesting geocaches, visit the Little A ‘Le’ Inn, and check out the ghost town of Belmont along the way