Keen to get a little caching done before Christmas, Shar, Sam and I booted up and headed for nearby Bricket Wood to see if we could snag a couple of smileys. The plan had been for six but seeing as we didn’t head out until after lunch we were thwarted by fading light and as a result only managed to attempt three.
Bricket Wood Commonis a beautiful patch of old woodland that now sports the (site of scientific Interest (SSI) accreditation which means that beardy eco types reckon it is amazing. I don’t need them to tell me that, I know it is amazing just by going there and enjoying the trees, mud and nettles for myself. Hmmm, I wonder if I need to acknowledge any sort of Trademark for the phrase Mud and Nettles now…lol… sorry, joke for 3 people.
Sam got to try out his new boots that should now keep his feet warm and dry unlike his other ones which had a tendency to let water in through the big gap at the toe where the sole joined the upper. I was still eeking the last days and weeks out of mine, which basically were water tight unless I walked through a field with wet grass or went scuba diving. Shar is likewise squeezing the last from her boots until we can afford to replace them. 10 year old got lucky and got his new ones first so at least one of us had dry feet as we tromped through the muddy woodland in search of tupperware.
We parked at the bottom of School lane and headed in the direction of the caches. The lower section of the lane is pedestrian only – cars being allowed further up where a pub and a couple of solitary houses mark the end of vehicular access. Past the pub and a short while later we left the lane and made friends with the trees and mud as we followed a sticky path to the GZ of First Class? (GC58B7T). If you are any sort of decent geocacher you will have read the name of the cache and taken a guess at where the container might be hidden. After a bit of circling through the trees thanks to the poor GPS coverage we eventually found ourselves at GZ. Sam spotted a likely looking candidate for the hide and Shar unveiled the cache by lifting it out of the ground to discover the container underneath. It was an excellent hide. You certainly wouldn’t be surprised to find the hint items in the woods as you find trail markers and other examples all the time but it was a little out of place in that it didn’t quite look like it should have and that is what helped us find it I think.
From here we squelched further through the woods in search of Hear or There (GC570QC). Again the cache title might help here in identifying what sort of cache it was. You might not be familiar with this type but I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say the coordinates of the cache take you to a container where you find a gizmo which when used standing in the right place will, if everyone stops breathing and that plane buggers off and those animals stop rustling in the undergrowth and that car on the nearby lane moves on and everyone basically shuts up, allow you to locate the final hiding place of the cache. We managed to find the gizmo but no matter where we stood and how quiet we were and how many times we jabbed at the gadget’s controls, we could not hear a dam thing. Hmmm, did I spoil it now? *Sigh*. Sometimes I just don’t know how to write these blog entries without spoiling caches for other people, but then I don’t know if that even matters. Anyway we chalked it up as a DNF and moved on.
On the way to our third cache of the day the light started to fade and we agreed that this would have to be the last one as some of us were a bit panicky about getting stuck in the woods in the dark. Can’t say it bothered me but one must respect the collective wishes of the group otherwise the group ends up not being a nice thing to be part of and one is likely to get stranded in the woods with the challenge to “find your own bloody way home then”.
The GZ of Janet’s Birthday Cache (GC55N4X)was just on the other side of a gully. A thin wooden sleeper bridge allowed you passage across the channel of water that collected at the juncture of the two steepish sides. We carefully made our way down one side and up the other where we located the hide which turned out to be the root structure of a fallen tree. The cache itself was a natural camouflage hide and I only managed to find it by kneeling in the mud and practically disappearing in the root end of the tree. My hands landed on it and realising it to be just a little too perfect… a little unnatural in a natural way, I pulled it out and then spent the next minute trying to work out how to open it to reveal the small film pot inside.
After that and with the light fading and a few spots of wetness in the air we turned tail and headed back in the direction of School Lane and the car. Whilst in the woods earlier, we had heard distant calls to a dog or possibly a child but had thought nothing of it. Now back on school lane we again heard a woman’s voice calling out, presumably the same name. Eventually we spotted a figure further up the lane and heard the desperation in her voice as she searched for her dog. We remarked at how sad it was. Then as Shar and Sam watched she was reunited with a small dog and we all felt happy again. But the body language wasn’t quite right and as we approached we realised that she had indeed found a dog, but this wasn’t her dog. When we reached her she explained that she was indeed looking for her puppy and had somehow attracted this lost dog to her calls, but it wasn’t hers. We said we hadn’t seen a loose dog and moved on. This was starting to get a little weird. A few minutes later as we stood to the side of the narrow lane as a car slowly approached, we were introduced to the owner of the second lost dog who was the driver of the car. We explained that we had seen her dog in the company of someone else further along the lane who was searching for their lost dog. The woman in the car thanked us and we continued on towards the car with the distinct feeling that the people of Bricket Wood really needed to sort their crap out and keep an eye on their dogs!
Whilst we had only found a fraction of the caches we had intended to, we returned home muddy but happy with the smilies that we had earned – happy enough to award a favourite point to both. And Sam had dry and warm feet. Happy Days.
This geocaching adventure took place on Monday 22nd December 2014 and took our geocache total to 876.