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Red Cedar Canoe Cache

A cache by Sludge_Shoveler and SohWhardego Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 07/01/2006
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

This is a very difficult multi-cache that requires a canoe, excellent canoeing skills, and a full day to complete. It is not to be undertaken lightly. There are significant safety hazards along the way.

The canoe trip is from Williamston to Lansing along the Red Cedar River. There are six intermediate stages, each is necessary to find the next. The final stage is a pretzel jar with traditional trade items.


The given coordinates are for the put-in location in Williamston. The City of Williamston removed an old dam and constructed this series of rapids in its place. Take the time to run the rapids if water is high enough. If you lack the skills to run this Class 2 rapids, you do not have the skills needed for this cache. The take-out location is N42 42.991 W84 31.317 at Crego Park in Lansing (also known as Kruger’s Landing). This makes for a very long day. However, it is possible to break up the trip into two days. (See Two Day Option below.)


Six Intermediate Stages

All intermediate stages are bright Blue or Red plastic labeling strips stapled to trees. The labels contain the 4 letters you need to determine the location of the next stage.


Red Cedar Warning

The Red Cedar River does not have much gradient so its difficulty is easy to underestimate. The river flows gently throughout almost all of its length. However, there are numerous logjams along the way that provide quantum leaps of difficulty. The logjams cause water to backup above them, then just where you will want to go slowly to maneuver your way through the debris, the water moves swiftly with surprising power. Unskilled canoeists may find themselves thrown against logs, rocks, or other debris making capsizing probable. Swimming in a logjam is very dangerous due to risks of puncture wounds or other afflictions. It is possible to become trapped by the current among the debris making drowning a possibility even for good swimmers.


Portaging around the logjams is not an easy solution, but often necessary. The riverbank is surprisingly rugged for an urban stream, with steep slippery slopes and dense vegetation. Alternatively the banks may be very mucky, making walking almost impossible. Some of the logjams completely block the river, making portaging the only means to get by. Dragging a canoe over the logjam is sometimes a possibility, however, this is usually a difficult balancing act even for the most agile. The material in a logjam may be slippery and will often shift under a person’s weight making this a risky option. The water level in the Red Cedar varies widely and the difficulty of the various logjams varies with the water level. There is a dam across the river in the middle of the MSU campus which must be portaged.


Determining the Coordinates

The first stage is at N42 41.340 W84 17.472. Here you will find a plastic label stapled to a tree. The label has four letters you need to determine the location of the next stage. Let’s say the letters are A B C D (which they are not.). Use Table I, below, to find the two digit number associated with each letter. The first letter, A in this example, constitutes the number @@, the second letter, B in this example, constitutes the number ##, the third letter constitutes **, and the fourth constitutes &&. You need to place these numbers to determine the coordinates in the format:

N 42 degrees 4@.@## minutes, W 84 degrees 1*.*&& minutes.

Completing the substitutions from Table I, the next stage would be:

N 42 degrees 41.815 minutes, W 84 degrees 12.629 minutes.


Table I






























































































Use this format for Stage 2:

N 42 degrees 4@.@## minutes, W 84 degrees 1*.*&& minutes.


Use this format for Stages 3 through 6:

N 42 degrees 4@.@## minutes, W 84 degrees 2*.*&& minutes.


Use this format for the final cache:

N 42 degrees 4@.@## minutes, W 84 degrees 3*.*&& minutes.


This cache is difficult enough without trying to make it difficult with puzzles. Each stage is downstream from the previous stage. The distance to the next stage will be less than the following straight line distances. If your GPSr tells you that you have farther to go than this, please recheck your figures.


Stage 1 from Put In <0 .5 miles

Stage 2 from Stage 1 <1.5 miles

Stage 3 from Stage 2 <1.7 miles

Stage 4 from Stage 3 <2.5 miles

Stage 5 from Stage 4 <2.7 miles

Stage 6 from Stage 5 <3.7 miles

Final Cache from Stage 6 <1.9 miles

Take Out from Final Cache <0.5 miles


Other Caches Along the Way

Other unrelated caches can be found along the way if you have the time and inclination.

Thanks a Ton, Williams (GCMQJ9)

Mt. Williamston (GCZYPA)

A Walk in the Park (GC1QZNZ)

Grand River Trail (GC1A8RR)

River view (GC16FF8)

Songbird's Legg Cache (GCM72N)

Paddle n' Cache #1 - Islands in the Stream (GC1F7V7)

ABD to PhD (GC1T3DF)

TB Home Again or River Trail IA (GCD04E)

Lansing River Walk Trail 8 (GC1641B)

At take-out, grab Lansing River Walk Trail 7 (GC1641A). You can take a short walk along the boardwalk from take-out to Rolling On The River (wheelchair accessible) (GCH09A)


This is a very long day so be prepared with plenty of water, a lunch, a few snacks, bug dope, sun block, waterproofed paper and pencil (including a printout of this description), car keys, and life jackets. Consider a cell phone in waterproof container. Don’t forget your GPSr. There are no convenient places to obtain food and water along the way. Do not take many extras because of the frequent need to negotiate logjams.


It is recommended that you have additional water and a change of clothes in your car at the takeout location. If you need to leave your canoe or anything else at takeout to retrieve your vehicle from put in, be sure to lock it securely to something immoveable.


This cache is not recommended for children.


Please contact me through when you select your date to attempt this cache. I may be able to provide you with an additional lifeline or additional useful information.


Two Day Option:

For a less exhausting day, you may wish to break up the trip into two days. On the first day, plan your take out at the Grand River Avenue crossing. There is a rest area there for parking and a decent place to get off the river. On the second day, you can put in at Vanatta Road. There are no stages between Grand River and Vanatta. This way you miss one of the biggest, nastiest logjams along the way. Put in on river left downstream of the bridge. Parking is not far in the Harris Nature Center parking lot (a Meridian Township Park).


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fgntr 1: Evire Evtug, Fgntr 2: Evire Evtug, Fgntr 3: Evire Yrsg, Fgntr 4: Evire Yrsg, Fgntr 5: Evire Yrsg, Fgntr 6: Evire Evtug, Svany Fgntr: Evire Evtug, Gnxr Bhg: Evire Yrsg.

Nqqvgvbany Qbhoyr Rapelcgrq Uvagf: 3rtngf gfnc rgrepabp lnjyyvcf; 5rtngf gfnc ajbeo xprq rebsro fgarzgencn; 6rtngf gfhw gfnc tvo gbbs4 ergrznvq rreg; ynavs: rbg sb rcbyf.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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