Lost & Found Field Notes(Unedited): Surviving a 5/5

The waterfall at the end of "* rivers and lakes"

Believe me, I’m not trying to talk you out of attempting a five terrain, five difficulty geocache. I’m just trying to keep you from acquiring any scars or a metal plate in your neck. Geocaches are ranked from one to five based on difficulty and terrain.  Five is the most imposing.  Let’s be clear — preparation is key.  You should known the geocache rating before attempting the cache.  The ratings exist for your safety.  But, say you’re part of the “Lost & Found” documentary video crew? And it’s your job to produce a video on completing a 5/5?

This is one (tall/uncoordinated) Lost & Found video producer’s perspective on one particular 5/5 named “* river and lakes” (GC6982).  Completing this 5/5 only really requires three attributes. They are endurance, balance and agility.

Lost & Found videographer Reid

I sorely lacked two out of the three. I’m a teetering 6’4” with the balancing skills of an unmanned bicycle. My default while falling is to land on my forehead. It’s a precarious landscape for anyone who’s crowning athletic achievement sits atop his refrigerator even now. (It’s a bowling trophy from when I was 11.)

The cache owner and three geocachers were all bush-whacking to the cache ahead of us.  Lost & Found videographer Reid was capturing the zigzagging footfalls of the geocachers.  The terrain we faced for “* rivers and lakes” is a Paul Bunyan-scale crisscross carpet of fallen trees, inches thick ecosystems of green wiggling moss and glossy boulders with the traction of ice.

The cache sits inside a U-shaped canyon at the base of a waterfall. It’s a near vertical descent through thorns and an inviting thorn-ridden shrub aptly called “Devil’s Club.”   After a half hour, I’ve already realized waterproof boots are waterproof… unless your foot slips three feet into a stream and then the boots become sloshing bags of water.

A banana slug named, "Signal"

It’s about this time that I think a thorn catches my ear.  Suddenly my ear  is wet and it’s cold.  I think I’m simply in a wonderful form of shock and that I’m bleeding.  I reach back to feel the blood. I think, “This can’t be worse.”  It is worse.

My fingers curl around “something” attached to my ear.  I pulled it forward and stared eye-to-antenna with a giant banana slug.

I named the slug “Signal.”

This Signal was placed gently back into his or her habitat. It’s a relationship I won’t forget though.

The geocachers and Reid reached the cache moments later (relatively) unscathed.  Then we had to hike back out, the same way.  Signal didn’t make a repeat performance.  I was left with just a few scratches and memories of a wet and cold kiss from a banana slug.

Most geocachers have similar stories.  And like the Lost & found documentary crew, they’ll do it again.  Why?  You tell me.  What keeps geocachers going back to the trail?

Soon, you can watch the adventures of the hardy geocachers who attempted this 5/5. The Lost & Found video is scheduled to post on Tuesday, September 14th.

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“Geocaching Love Stories” A Geocaching.com Lost & Found Video

The journey of geocaching becomes a metaphor for love stories and a vehicle for marriage proposals.  See the couples who have fallen in love while treasure hunting and popped the question at a geocache.

Geocaching Love Stories
Geocaching Love Stories

Geocaching.com introduces you to two such couples, with proposal and wedding snapshots from many more.

Some couples even decide to use geocaching as the theme of their wedding.

Share your geocaching love story in the comments below.

Explore even more adventures of geocachers in the Geocaching.com Lost & Found gallery.

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“One, If By Land” GC16C0 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – 9/13/2010

Ship wreck near GC16C0

One of the joys of geocaching is what you discover on the way to the geocache.

Geocachers searching for One, If By Land (GC16C0) are challenged to hike along the rugged coast of Maine, U.S.A.   They’re rewarded with the skeleton of weathered shipwreck and, according to the cache page, greeted by notorious Maine mosquitoes.

More than 150 geocachers have logged a smiley on this geocache.  It was hidden more than nine years ago in August of 2001.

Hardy adventurers have to travel to Sawyer’s Island, Maine.  The cache reads, “The mosquitoes hope our cache you’ll seek. Under oak, fir and birch, go take a peek. Near water’s edge you will want to be. Just follow trail in clockwise route, past an ancient wreck, you’ll see.”

The Maine coast on the way to GC16C0

Cache owner BRLT adopted “One, If By Land” in 2006 and tells us that coordinates may soon be readjusted to bring geocachers even closer to the difficulty two, terrain 1.5 cache.

It might be the ideal time of year to search for “One, If By Land.”  The leaves in Maine are just beginning to change color as the fall season approaches.

Your exploration doesn’t have to stop here. There are now more than 6000 geocaches in Maine, and nearly 1.2 million geocaches around the world.  You can explore all the Geocaches of the Week here.

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“Wat Prachumrat” GC2D5PM GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – 9/06/2010

Wat Prachumrat (GC2D5PM)

Wat Prachumrat (GC2D5PM) is one of nearly 500 geocaches in Thailand.  This urban Micro Cache takes treasure hunters outside of Bangkok to the district of Lam Kuk Ka. It was published just last month and has only been logged once so far.

Geocachers visiting the cache will discover a Buddhist temple nearby. The three story gold Buddha you see to your left sits inside.

The geocacher who hid this cache, JamieZel, is the owner of 33 geocaches.

He says, “I love how Geocaching helps people explore what is around them. The place you drive past hundreds of times but never take the time to stop and look. Wat Prachumrat is a great place to stop and see a part of Thailand that most just quickly drive by. Yes there are many temples and each one is beautiful but this one had an interesting twist. A huge statue of Buddha. The temple is very peaceful and one that I go past a lot while taking the daughters out to a wake board park.”

A sign you're getting close

He goes on to say, “I hope over the years to draw more locals and tourists out of the suburban jungle to see the beauties that Thailand has to offer and use Geocaching as a tool to do so.”

There are now more nearly 1.2 million geocaches around the world.  You can explore all the Geocaches of the Week here.

Have you ever geocached internationally?

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Geocaching Caption Contest 12 – Win a Barely Coveted Prize

Winning Caption: "I pledge allegiance to this cache and to the other caches hidden 'round hereand to this gray rock on which I stand,one drunk gnome, holding grog, intoxicated,with stealthiness from muggles and all. <burp></burp>" -Anewlesmiz

This is the twelfth installment of our Geocaching Caption Contest.  You might have seen this picture posted to Geocaching.com’s Facebook page.  It was too good not to share here on the Latitude 47 blog.

What caption would you write? “Mmmm… that geocache looks tasty.” You can do better.

The winner receives what’s a fairly coveted prize, celebrating the launch of Signal the Frog’s Facebook page.  The winning caption receives the Signal antenna ball.

Click here to see the winning caption
Barely coveted prize

Good luck!  Please include your geocaching username in all entries.

The winner of the twelfth Geocaching Caption Contest will be chosen by an ad hoc committee of Lackeys.

15 Lackeys voted to award the winner of the eleventh Geocaching Caption Contest a barely coveted prize.

Click on the picture to the right to see who won a barely coveted prize.

Explore the wit and wisdom of geocachers by checking out all the Geocaching Caption Contests.