Finally!! Last night I everything finally fell into place. As designed, this puzzle had been taunting me since the day it was published. I tried all sorts of concepts and ciphers and was even VERY close to solving it with one of my first hunches but I didn't make one crucial change that would turn out to lead me down many, many wrong trails. The solution was just nonexistent until finally the path to a solution was discovered. While I wish I could say that I did this one all on my own, that wasn't the case and a nudge in the right direction had me going all the way back to my day one notes and there it was!!! I just missed the completely unobvious bit of 'overt obscurity' that would soon have me writing out the correct information and once again reminding me to leave no stone unturned when dealing with a J5 puzzle.
This morning after rising to the dry but cloudy, windy but dry weather, I look at Cheryl-MuggleN0More and ask her if she's ready to take a walk. That was all it took! There was NO turning back. It was starting to rain by the time we got into the car and hit the road and that was NOT about to change. In fact, it was genuinely pouring by the time we hit the trailhead. Was there any turning back? One look at C-MNM and I knew I had no choice – we were committed. Away we go! Dodging cow pies, puddles, mud bogs and even ‘joggers’. As we ascended the steepest part of the trail C-MNM turned to ask if we were ready to turn back… “Whaaaa??” Uh uh… No sir! Then it hits me… Sure.. the hint says one thing but I see where we’re heading and I know immediately what I am going to have to do… IN THE RAIN? We’re both soaked to the bone and still wondering what we’re doing way up here on such a day. Anyway, we get to GZ and look about in most of the likely spots for a good 10 minutes when I finally accept what must be done. I hand C-MNM all my equipment and take the plunge – head first. Visions of another ‘GQ’ cachers experience haunting me the whole way when I finally spot something from afar and VERY carefully work my way over for a closer look but can’t quite get the into the right angle to see clearly so I reach blindly and huzzah! … nothing. Huh?? Wait.. It has to be!! So I reach deeper and deeper until I feel something that just doesn’t belong and Whoo Hoot!!! Cache ON! Time to rejoice and swap a geocoin before licking our wounds and heading farther up the trail for a few more smiley’s in the rain. Will we ever learn? I sure hope not
Thanks for this awesome tribute challenge J5! And to everyone else who solved it but waited for me to grab the FTF. And thanks to he who shall not be named for mentoring me in my puzzle solving misadventures and of course C-MNM who just won’t let me turn back just because of a little weather, or nettle or poison oak or blackberries or dark tunnels or….?? Life is good!