Our trips to Hemel Hempstead always seem to have something of the extreme about them. The first time it was trees, just seemed like every cache was in a tree and we spent lots of time getting entangled with them. Then it was the hills. Hemel does hills on a serious level… and that level is high. This time it was wind, bucket loads of it. Now before you start sniggering and making up your own jokes about baked beans and curries and all that, let me clarify that I am almost entirely talking about Nature’s wind, the stuff that ruffles your hair and spins your weather cock and on this day in Hemel it was seriously trying to blow us out of town!
First on our hit list today was to retry a cache that we had to DNF the last time we were here. Since our last visit to 3.Shadylady’s Solve and Search (GC4CZ04), someone else had found it and after getting in touch with them we had a good idea where the cache was going to be. As we got out of the car the wind was bitter and vicious. Thankfully we had parked only a couple of hundred metres from ground zero so we weren’t going to be out in it too long. After a nice quick find we dashed back to the car, the wind in our faces, with noses red and eyes streaming.
From here it was a short drive to do a series called Nature Hunt byShadylady who also ows the above cache. Only three caches and a bonus,Nature Hunt 1 (GC3Z243), Nature Hunt 2 (GC3Z2FB), Nature Hunt 3 (GC3Z2Q0) and Nature Hunt Bonus (GC3Z2RD), but it was a nice walk along a footpath that was slightly more sheltered from the weather. The hides were very clever, making use of natural camouflage but the coordinates and hints were good and we made quick progress. It was still pretty cold though and as we were walking towards one, a woman in just shorts and a top came jobbing past us. Sharlene turned to me and said that running was obviously the way to keep warm, and perhaps we should do that. We both just looked at each other and burst out laughing. Not going to happen! We kept moving and soon started to thaw out a little and then as we were walking to the bonus, the sun came out making it even more pleasant as we strolled back to the car.
We tagged on another unrelated cache to the bottom of the walk, Whomping Walk (GC2FE4P) and after a long search finally discovered it near a fence with a gate at the bottom of someone’s garden. In the bottom of the gate was a cat flap of all things. I thought this was weird but then I reckoned that their cat was probably lazy like ours and not able to jump up over the fence. That is the second slightly odd cat related thing we have seen in two weeks in and around Hemel as last week we came across a rather odd sign informing us of “slow cats crossing”. You can read my previous blog entry,Slow Cats and Lessons Learned – Back to Bovingdon, to find out more about that and the adventures we had that day.
Back to the car again and another short drive to our next little group of caches. Before we tackled them we broke out the sandwiches and hot chocolate which was most welcome indeed. After lunch we braved the weather again and did another 4 caches, Yogis tick (GC4HR36), The Gackm 9 (GC2NNXM), Yogis eat (GC4HR60) and Yogi Slog (GC4RM95 ), 3 of which were by the same owner, Yogi and Mags. The first time we went to Hemel it was one of their caches that gave us so much trouble. I say trouble, but it was trouble in a nice way, trouble because it was such a good hide that we just kept walking past it. After doing these additional three by them today I have to say that the cache containers and hides are always so well constructed and thought through. In most cases the hides are actually very bold, being rather exposed or in plain sight but the camo is good enough that muggles just don’t notice them. The last one took us a little longer as basically we were looking for a log in a patch of woodland about 20 metres squared and needless to say there were a lot to get through. Just as we were thinking we would have to DNF Sharlene called me over to inspect a log that looked slightly odd, like it had been machined or had a slot cut in it and then put back together. We fiddled with it for a few minutes to try and see if it opened and then gave up. Sharlene replaced it and then found the cache in the log next to it.
With 10 finds and no DNFs and plenty of time before we had to collect Sam from school we decided to quit while we were ahead and allowed ourselves to be blown back to the car.