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Hidden Woodland Critters Tree Sculpture Mystery Cache

Hidden : 03/01/2021
2.5 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Chain saw artist Andrew Mallon created an art sculpture from the stump of a tulip poplar that was struck by lightning. He also carved seats and a bench out of portions of the tree's trunk. The area will be used for interpretative nature programs. The sculpture can be seen from both inside and outside the nature center. Its formal unveiling took place during the Hidden Oak Nature Center's 50th anniversary celebration.

The Story Behind the Tree:
Two electric bolts during a storm turned a 100-foot tulip poplar just outside the picture window at Hidden Oaks Nature center into an imminent danger to the building. The tree had been the focal point of the woodland view from the center. It was a feeding station for flying squirrels and many species of birds. Its loss was keenly felt by staff, park visitors and the nature center’s wildlife neighbors. 

But the lightning assault did not damage the tree’s base. That was the knock of opportunity. Staff arranged for a ten-foot stump to remain for chainsaw artist Andrew Mallon, who created a sculpture of critters that enjoyed the tree’s gifts over its 128-year life. The urban art will be the centerpiece of a learning station on natural woodland shelters, and the carving means the tree can be enjoyed for the next 20 years. Because it is near the nature center, the artwork is easily accessible for all visitors.

The Cache:
Observe carved tree AND the carved bench near the building. Count the critters and use your math skills to solve for the final coordinates. Assume that you'll find the critters on the tree unless otherwise noted. The cache is within Park grounds. Please try to stay on the trail as much as possible and respect park hours. No night caching!

Permission granted by Hidden Oaks Nature Center.

** UPDATED 2/6/24 - Sad to see this beautiful tree succumb to nature bit by bit. Modified the puzzle to reflect what can still be seen on the tree. Updated hint to a slightly newer hide since it seems it's easier to spot the cache in the colder months.


A = (# of squirrels + # of rabbits)

B = # of bears


C = # of squirrels

D = # of hanging opposums

E = (# of woodpeckers - # of fishes)


F = # of hanging opossums

G = # of raccoons


H = (# of red foxes on bench + # of raccoons on bench + # of monarch butterflies + # of rabbits) 

I = (# of bunnies - # of frogs)

J = (# of owls * # of raccoons)


If you liked this tree sculpture...
....check out my other cache The Monkey Has Found A New Treehouse! It's another tree sculpture created by the same artist who carved the tree at Hidden Oaks.


Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache & Best Kids Cache


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Pevggref: Enppbbaf ybbx yvxr onaqvgf. Uvqr: Fznyy gevnathyne pnirea bccbfvgr bs ovttre pnirea

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)