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The Travel Bug that Survived a Wildfire

The TB that Lived
The TB that Lived

When CarpeCrew and #36 set out in search of GC3CZ72, they weren’t expecting to find anything. The geocache was placed in February of 2012, on National Forest land just northwest of Colorado Springs. 13 finds and four months later, the Waldo Canyon Fire tore through the region. It was one of the most destructive fires in the state’s history. There was little to indicate that the geocache had survived—no finds, no DNFs, no comment from the geocache owner.

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Two years later, a forest road near where the geocache was placed was reopened, and CarpeCrew and #36, saw their chance to explore the area, visit an old personal landmark, and perhaps find an EarthCache in honor of International EarthCache Day. When they saw that GC3CZ72 was supposed to be nearby, they took a chance and trotted toward where their phones were putting it.

A forest rising from the ashes.
A forest rising from the ashes.

And there it was…right on the spot. The charred and blackened ammo can was spotted and opened, though not without a bit of difficulty. The identifiable geocache inventory was as follows:

  • Charred remains of a logbook (visible in the photo)
  • Several key rings
  • Pens and pencils
  • A button that belonged to a local geocacher
  • A charred and pockmarked Travel Bug tag
The somewhat intact remains of GC3CZ72.
The somewhat intact remains of GC3CZ72.

After a full treatment of sprite, baking soda, and vinegar, the Travel Bug’s tracking code was almost complete. It only took a few guesses as to what the last number could be, for the TB to reveal itself. CarpeCrew and #36 posted their story to the Geocaching Colorado – GCCO Facebook page, immediately generating dozens of comments from other geocachers.

The bug had originally been placed in a geocache in Colorado Springs in 2007. At the time, it contained the clues to a Mystery Cache in Colorado Springs. That Mystery Cache has since been archived, and the original owner of the TB doesn’t play much anymore.

CarpeCrew and #36 have yet to decide what they’re going to do with the trackable, but re-releasing it into a geocache nearby is definitely an option. So unless this was an elaborate experiment to test what type of trackable was the sturdiest, we think this was one lucky Travel Bug. Keep an eye out for it if you’re geocaching in Colorado in the next few weeks…and if you’re concerned about the fire safety of your trackable, a TB tag might be a good investment. 😉

 

Alex
Alex is a Community Volunteer Support Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. When things get crazy, she sends in the big puns.