Happy Birthday, Wisconsin! 166 years old today, and you still look great! And we should know, because since the fall of 2007 we have been visiting all parts of the state in search of geocaches. In fact, this challenge cache was published just after we became “sandlanders” on the geocaching web site, but before we found our first cache. It wasn’t until later that we learned of the Badger State Challenge through comments in the WGA forums and in logs where people would mention finding this or that cache for the challenge.
We just kept caching. We would pick a spot and head for it, finding caches there and along the way. We’re not sure when we checked on the status of our county finds, but it was when we received an invitation to a caching event in Hayward that we decided to wander our way up there and pick up some new counties. When we started attending the WGA functions at various locations, we would pick up more counties, depending on how we traveled to those events.
Eventually, we looked at where we were in the challenge, so we made a few special trips to spots to “fill some holes”, usually finding many other things to do there besides geocache. Our last two counties without any finds were Marinette and Florence, and with last September’s WGA picnic at Governor Thompson State Park, we had the former, and a winding trip back home the next day took us through the latter.
Wanting to save the find of this challenge cache for our #3000 milestone, we had our list of county finds verified by zuma, then we waited through find #2800 on Halloween, find #2900 on Valentine’s Day, and some lingering winter weather to get close to the magic number. Once we were within reach, we decided to go to Neillsville after an appointment in the Rapids today. No holiday for this milestone, or so we thought. Somewhere on the road we got to thinking and remembered that this was the day of Wisconsin statehood all those years ago, so what better way to celebrate Badger statehood than to find the Badger State Challenge? Perfect!
Now as for the find... We found a place to park, and off we went down the trail. Twists and turns led us to hike a longer distance than the receiver told us at first, but soon we were close. We looked for quit a bit, but then Mr. S spotted his favorite type of camo, and we made the find. We wrote our story in the logbook, took many photographs, and then rehid this most marvelous ammo can before making our way back to the car.
We will continue to geocache all over Wisconsin. We have three “neglected” counties with only one find each, and while we can cache more in two of them (Grant and Burnett), we will have to content ourselves with another drive or two through the very scenic Menominee County, which has only the one virtual located in it. We have plans in a few weeks to stay in Door County to visit parts of it that we didn’t get to when we “found” Door County, and while we have our neighboring Waushara County and the distant Sawyer and Washburn Counties near the top of our finds list, they are among our favorite caching places, so we will return to those. We will also be visiting parts of Wisconsin as we continue to work on both versions of the DeLorme Challenge, but the Counties is by far our favorite challenge. We learned some history and lots of geography while doing it, and we saw some great places and met some great people in all those spots.
And what would any caching challenge be, or any caching at all, without the hiders? We have so many of them to thank for all of the finds that we have made in this great state over the years. We hope they have enjoyed our visits and the stories we tell of our adventures as much as we have enjoyed the caches they have put out for all of us to find. Special thanks go out to zuma and Da Bloodhound for developing, placing, and maintaining this challenge cache.
And as for Wisconsin... You’re not getting older; you’re getting better! On Wisconsin!