What a day!
It all started early October when MBO asked me by e-mail whether I would like to join a little cache expedition into the Namadgi park in November. After checking the cache description and noting that it would be an "STF" after more than 2 years, I was, of course, interested to see why almost nobody had dared. Well, now I know why. This is definitely not a drive-by cache or one for the lunch break. Even if you get up very early, you won't be back for the lunch break. We started out from the car park at 7:15 am and arrived back at 5:10 pm, whereby the riding time was around five hours. In between, we made 51 km of distance and 1000 meters of elevation change, which is funny since there was no mountain to climb, just small hills. So, all in all, it is not in insurmountable effort. You just have to prepare yourself, i.e., exercise regularly for 3 months 12 hours per week, stick to a special diet, and invest in adequate equipment .
Once, you have satisfied these preconditions (well, maybe some of them are enough ), it is a really wonderful experience ! We started out in the fog (only one g!) and chased a few kangaroos. Then the sun came out and I experienced for the first time a deep green and very wet Naas valley. We rode along the fire trails, proceeded easily from stage to stage, and had a good time, in particular when there was again a downhill section. The uphill sections were challenging and as usual, pushing your bike was not much slower than riding it - well, I tried to ride most. The flat sections often were a bit muddy or even unridable, but this did not spoil the fun. As last weekend, we had to cross the Naas river. However, since it is mostly a creek here, we just dashed through ... and got a bit wet. Between the riding or pushing episodes (this means in the remaining 5 hours), we found boxes, solved puzzles and norkmeister told me what his caching name means.
The tasks we had to solve were not too difficult, but sometimes we nevertheless ended up with miscalculations or mistypings. Instead of using the checksums, we had MBO who stopped us, but he never revealed anything. One word of advice for anybody who is going to try the same as we did: Do not rely on digital photos to record what you find at each stage!
All in all, it was a great day out in the bush, good company, and wonderful weather. There was also a lot to do in between like visiting huts, looking for the beer in the fridge or chasing an archived cache whose cachebox and logbook is still there. On the final stretch back to the car I tried to do something stupid and ended up on the ground with a hurting knee and a hurting shoulder.
After having completed this epic cache hunt, MBO invited me to something else. Instead of chasing a cache for 10 hours, we logged in 5 minute intervals. But this is a different story.
Thanks to mtbikeroz and norkmeister for the company and to the cache owner for the work of laying the cache!