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Stackhouse Orienteering

A cache by GrayFinders2 Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 07/08/2011
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

11/20 UPDATE - Revised Stage/Control #3 - Don't go to the next control noted at Stage 2.  Adjust it to the 5th preceding letter. For example, if the next control referenced at Stage 2 is "Z", revised it to y, x, w, v, U.

Before the development of GPS units, people had to rely on a map and compass to find obscure points in the woods.  This cache provides an introduction to the sport of orienteering.  The Western Pennsylvania Orienteering Club has developed a map and a series of permanent controls within the Park.  The course, or combination of controls, is unique to this cache and not one of the suggested sequences provided on the map.  You MUST have a copy of that map to complete this cache.  A compass may also be helpful.

The posted coordinates are for the location of the Park office.  They MAY have copies of the permanent course orienteering map in a bin outside the door, but DON’T count on it.  A link is provided for you to print your own before heading to this cache.  This is prepared for printing on 11x17 paper, but two additional files are provided to print it half and half, to be taped together.  It should be printed in color.

Typical orienteering meets feature several courses of varying difficulty.  The difficulty is based on course length and accessibility of the controls.  The easy course controls are generally closer to distinct physical features such as trails or intersections.  These features are referred to as “handrails” to guide you to the control and keep you “oriented”.  The controls get less apparent and further from these handrails for the more difficult courses, and more intricate route selection is required.  This cache is not an easy course.

Differences between orienteering and geocaching

·         - Meet Course mapping shows all of the intermediate stages, referred to as “controls”, connected in sequence for that course.

·         - Course mapping shows detailed information about the site including varying distinctiveness of roads/trails, vegetation density, ground surface (rocky), and isolated features (springs, boulders, root stocks)

·         - Controls are not hidden.  For a meet, these resemble box kites visible from a distance.  For the permanent course, these are still fairly visible (by geocaching standards), consisting of roughly 3”x3” markers mounted above ground on metal posts.

·         - Each control at a meet has a unique hole punch that you use on your score card to confirm that you visited it rather than just skipping to the end

·         - Meets are competitive and the route is timed

This cache consists of a mix of attributes of both orienteering and geocaching. The cache mapping does not show the whole course.  You will need to visit each control to find out what the next control location will be.  The first three stages use the visible controls of the existing permanent course.  The clue to the next stage however is hidden at the preceding control.  The hints are spoilers, so if you enjoy searching for the container, don’t decrypt. 

The location of the final is plotted on a map hidden at the third control.  You will need to re-plot the location of the final on YOUR copy of the map.  Optionally, the decimal part of the minutes of the coordinates of the final are also noted on the map.

You will find the identity of your first control on a sign above the “barn doors” of the Park Office.  It is the 4th letter of the first word of the sign -  “______  _______ No 1”.  Once you identify each subsequent control, you will need to review your map to select the most efficient approach using the maze of existing roads/trails/streams that vary in distinctiveness or bushwack through the varied surface/vegetation conditions.  Don't forget to make the 11/20 adjustment at Control 2 noted at the beginning of th text. 

The first stage is along a handrail.  The rest may be more difficult.  

Optional - Keep track of your course time and post it in your log.  Your time starts when you leave the porch of the Park Office and ends when you touch the cache container.  We will post the fastest reported time below.  We recommend exiting the valley and the Park via the trails along the stream between Controls A and G. 

The final is in a relatively visible area, beware of muggles when retrieving or replacing the container.  Logs revealing this or the ID of intermediate controls will be deleted.  It is about 20' up the trail from where it is marked on the final clue map.

If you have trouble navigating through the course, we suggest you try the “easy” course noted at the base of the map, for practice.

If you enjoyed this cache, check out the WPOC meet schedule by clicking the “schedule” link on the left side of the website.


Current Leader:           natalie9184, psg12594 & Couchary               1:01 – w/ direct coordinate availability

                                    NotSoMcCool, gcollis87 & LTSilverfox           About the same with the adjustment factor for debugging the original                                                                                                                              coordinate formula


Map Access              Click "Permanent Courses" tab on the left side of the website, OR

You can check your answers for this puzzle on

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fgntr 1 – fdhner cnq orgjrra gur cnaryf jvgu yrggre bs arkg pbageby
Fgntr 2 – Fnzr, FRR GRKG
Fgntr 3 – FQ pneq pbagnvare orgjrra gur cnaryf. Pbagnvaf znc naq pbbeqf bs svany
Svany – Haqre ebpxf vafvqr gur fghzc bs n fanccrq bss gerr

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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