This cache was designed to be what I have termed an “Epic Cache.” This means that the cache is: multi-stage; multi-modal (involving multiple types of caches); and involving skills beyond simply finding hidden containers (decrypting ciphers, solving logic problems, …). Many Epics require more than a day to complete, but I set this one up to be done in one day. Total hike is estimated at 5 to 6 miles, over mostly well-kept ski trails. However, poor soil drainage and illegal use by vehicles makes for some bad muddy areas. Note the 5/5 rating.
To complete this Epic, you will need to visit a total of six locations in the vicinity. The coordinates of five of these stages are given in the waypoints below, and each has information that will lead you to the sixth and final find. The early five can be done in any order. Along the way you will learn about four fictitious Navy ships, which happen to be an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, a frigate and a submarine. These ships have all recently made calls to the imaginary Port of Winona, a bustling military and trade facility. You’ll be finding out the names of the ships, their hull numbers, and the names of their captains. I’ve taken some extraordinary artistic license in the name of Fun and Geocaching, but you’ll get the idea. Be weary of redundant and extraneous data, and take note that some clues might tell you more about what does not go together than what does. When you have all this, if you reorder the captains’ last names alphabetically, then the corresponding hull numbers will be in order AB, CD, WX, and YZ. The final stage is located at 43 degrees 4A.BCD north by 075 degrees 5W.XYZ west.
I suggest you prepare a table with rows labeled "Aircraft Carrier," "Cruiser," "Frigate," and "Submarine" and columns labeled "Hull Number," "Ship Name," and "Captain Name" and fill it in as you gain information. Temporary hint: At least one clue is contained within the logs below!
There are several parking areas around Winona, but I designed this to be a loop starting and ending at the CCC camp. Suggested route is from the Camp just down Bargy Road to Frank's Fancy Trail, to Winona Way, to Hiscock Trail, back to Bargy Road. You can then take a straight shot up Bargy road back to the CCC camp, or choose to extend your hike on other trails. The final is "near" the camp, and the last ~200 ft to/from the final is marked with fire tacks, for those who chose.
Recommended Checklist: Your best hiking boots, hydration, trail snacks, flashlight, hydration, compass, paper/pencil, fresh batteries in the GPS, hydration, blaze orange clothing in season, a camera, your sense of adventure, bug repellent, and hydration.
Except for the Rain Gauge, all of the early stages are round, snack size plastic containers. The final is a massive ammo can. Hearty congrats to hamfam5 with GeoJoe71 for FTF.
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank NFA, rojeel, and Team Smoke for the inspiration, Hamfam5 for the container that is the final, and Grizzly Bear 1 for proof-reading the clues and giving it a test run.