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Tour de Arrowbrook Mystery Cache

This cache has been archived.


This was the last of my owned active caches, and 2Wheel'in and I visited Arrowbrook Park this afternoon to retrieve the container. We purchased a home and some land in Montana, and will be completing our move there shortly.

This cache was really popular - with 90 Finds, and only 5 DNFs, it received 29 Favorite Points over the years, and was also a 2011 NoVAGO Cache Award Winner. Hopefully someone else will see fit to place a new cache in this picturesque location. Thanks for taking the "Tour", and for all the nice logs.

Hidden : 04/08/2011
2.5 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

The cache is NOT at the listed location - what you'll find there is a parking lot from which you'll start your journey around Arrowbrook Nature Park & Arrowbrook Centre - two of Fairfax County's newest parks.

The 23-acre park, part of the planned Arrowbrook Centre mixed-use development, was proffered to the Fairfax County Park Authority in 2005. The centerpiece of Arrowbrook Park is a state-of-the art, lighted, synthetic-turf athletic field. But the park also includes a creative playground, two lighted tennis courts, a basketball court, a field-sized picnic pavilion, along with the Park Authority’s first bocce court. When complete, Arrowbrook Centre will be home to offices, restaurants and stores, hotels, and over a million square fee of residential space. In Arrowbrook Park, the Park Authority, Arrowbrook Centre, LLC, AMC, and numerous other Fairfax County agencies have developed an attractive park that will uniquely serve the needs of county residents for years to come.

The property on which Arrowbrook Park was built originally belonged to Hal and Ruth Launders who purchased the land shortly after WWII and established Arrowhead Farm. The couple was active in the community for over a half century. Their community spirit continues to impact the area through the efforts of The Hal and Ruth Launders Charitable Trust. The Launders Pavilion in Arrowbrook Park is named in their honor.

You'll start your journey by circumnavigating Arrowbrook Nature Park - separate from the main sports complex, but no less interesting and enjoyable.

Now on to your stroll. Complete each task individually, that is to say complete the numeric calculations and coordinate adjustments at each Waypoint before moving on to the next Waypoint. If you do the math correctly you will finish with a set of coordinates that will lead you, someplace else . These are a Field Puzzles, solveable even by the most puzzle challenged. Having paper and pen/pencil handy is a good idea, and so is knowing how to project a waypoint. Take your time, enjoy your surroundings and the walk, and ensure you make the proper word selections for your calculations - it's as simple as 1, 2, 3.

GOTO Waypoint #1 - "THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN". How many types of butterflies are pictured on the sign? Multiply that number by 10, and add the result to the Latitude decimal coordinates for the parking location. Under the "Plants" section, locate the "Butterfly Weed" photo - how many different types of butterflies are attracted to Butterfly Weed? Multiply that number by 35 and subtract the result from the Longitude decimal coordinates for the parking location.

GOTO Waypoint #2 - "WETLANDS". Find the sentence that begins "Wetlands are found on every continent..............." Count the total number of letters in that sentence and add that total to the Latitude decimal coordinates for the new coordinates you calculated at Waypoint #1. Under the "Wetland Wildlife" section find photo of the Clemmys guttata, count the number of letters in the common (plain English) name and multiply that total by 13 subtract that total from the Longitude decimal coordinates for the new coordinates you calculated at Waypoint #1.

GOTO Waypoint #3 - "ENHANCED EXTENDED EXTENSION BASIN". Under the paragraph entitled “How Do Enhanced Extended Extension Basins Work?” How many times does the word “the” appear in the first sentence? Multiply that total by 3 and subtract that number from the Latitude decimal coordinates for the new coordinates you calculated at Waypoint #2. This pond is part of the Merrybrook Run Watershed, how many acres of run off are collected after heavy rains? Find that number and add 26 to it, take the resulting number and add it to the Longitude decimal coordinates for the new coordinates you calculated at Waypoint #2. You now have the coordinates for that previously mentioned “someplace else”.

I suggest you leave your vehicle parked where it is and walk to the new coordinates location...but be careful crossing Sunrise Valley Drive. Check out the amenities of the Sports Complex, the FCPA has really gone all-out with the facilities. “Someplace else” is a peaceful spot...that’s why I led you here, take a few moments to read the engraved words.

Your task here is to gather digits for both the distance and bearing to the final container. Place the digits in order (first the 4 digits for distance (feet)- then the 3 digits for the bearing).

For the distance:
1st digit: 2nd paragraph - 1st line - 2nd word
2nd digit: 1st paragraph - 4th line - last digit of the “number”
3rd digit: 3rd paragraph - 2nd line - 3rd word
4th digit: 2nd paragraph - 5th line - 4th word

For the bearing:
1st digit: 1st paragraph - 3rd line - 6th word
2nd digit: 2nd paragraph - 4th line - 8th word
3rd digit: 3rd paragraph - 2nd line - 2nd word

Now you are ready to find the final container and sign the log. Please watch for the uninitiated at the final GZ, it might be a good idea to move away slightly to sign the log. I hope you've enjoyed the "Tour", it was my intention to show you some places and things you might not have seen otherwise. As 2Wheel‘in and R. L. Stevenson say -"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” (Especially if you learn something along the way) - Congratulations - for a Micro, you've had to earn this Smilie.

Special thank you to The VanDucks for making this cache possible.

The Arrowbrook Complex is a Fairfax County Park Authority park, and formal permission was received for cache placement. Fairfax County parks are open dawn to dusk, do NOT hunt this cache at night!

NOTICE: Please be respectful of the posted park hours. If you enter the park after hours you are trespassing. If you are stopped you can be ticketed or arrested and will put the future of geocaching in the parks in jeopardy


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

YnaVs-Ubyybj gur Va

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)