2014 was our first full year of geocaching and as it draws to a close I thought it would be interesting to review a few statistics and remember some of the highlights.
We found 479 caches compared to 397 in 2013 making our find rate 1.3 per day compared to 1.89 in 2013. We average just under 40 caches per month although we had some very good months and some extremely crap ones. January was great with 72 finds but May, the month during which we moved home, had just 3, the finding of which ended a record breaking 33 day slump. September was also a rubbish month with only 9 smilies, but this was largely due to a plethora of illnesses amongst the family.
We passed through our 400, 500, 600, 700 and 800 cache find milestones although we were rather bad at honouring them and most of them passed with little more than a brief mention. We set a new personal best of 22 caches in one day, on the route 66 series (see Getting our kicks on route 66… in Chorleywood), and added a new cache type, finding our very first virtual cache (see Virtually in London). We also managed to set a new record by finding 5 different cache types in one day during our November PugWash adventure, Zen and the Art of Canal Walking.
Speaking of PugWash, our days out with our friends Geoff and Melissa and their Pug dog Smokey, were some of the most enjoyable caching moments of the year. We embarked on 9 PugWash adventures that saw us caching in Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex and these accounted for some 108 of our cache finds for the year. (View a list of our PugWash Adventure blog entries)
Remembered with fondness is the Studham church circular walk that Shar and I did in January when we were alarmed to hear the sound of elephants calling from beyond the trees. (See Indiana Jones and The Church Circular of Doom)
In April we went to Norfolk and did a fantastic series around Litcham and Lexham and strangely, an elephant was involved that time too. (SeeFamiliar Elephants)
In May we started Your Mission, a cache which we still haven’t found but which has so far taken us to 4 different locations and has had us solving codes and reverse engineering diary entries. The days out we have had on this cache so far have been true family fun days, the added thrill of an on-going narrative has drawn us all into the plot of discovering the anti-matter bomb and thwarting the Muggleovians. We really want to finish this in 2015, hopefully snagging the final as our 1000 cache milestone. (See Your Mission part 1, part 2 and part 3)
June saw us in Hatfield Forest on a PugWash adventure that had some of the most ingenious hides and containers that I have seen to date. (See Lost, Wounded Bulls, Dead Badgers, and Trying to Blow into a Weasel)
August brought the 7 souvenirs of August challenge from groundspeak which was an excellent incentive to find a wide variety of cache types and we all rose to the challenge completing all the required tasks. (See 7 Souvenirs for 7 Cachers, Souvenirs and Pineapples in Trent Park, Hidden Swords, Christmas Puddings and Darth Vader the Scarecrow and Socialising, Baking Nuclear Fall-Out and becoming an Achiever)
October saw Sam and I back in Norfolk, with my mum, doing a great series near Tottenhill. It was a cool series with lots of great containers and despite being October, summer just refused to give up and move on.(See Caching in Norfolk and some Waffle about Blindness)
Over the course of the year we released a number of Travel Bugs out into the wild including an entry into the 2014 BBH cake race and a race of our own pitting 2 toy VW bugs against each other. As is often the case with TBs, there have been ups and downs but I will save the full details as I plan to dedicate a post just to the progress of our TBs soon.
2014 wasn’t all about finding geocaches though. In June, after we had got settled in our new flat, I revamped my Street Name Scramble caches, improving a couple of the hides and generally making it a better experience for the cacher (see Street Name Scramble Series Maintenance). After that we placed a new series called Wall Hall which consisted of 12 caches along a pleasant walk around the Aldenham area. The series has proved a great success having had over 60 visits so far. Number 10 in the series which is a tape measure cache up a tree has amassed 40 favourite points making it the 8th most favourite cache in Hertfordshire even though it has only been active for 6 months. (See Our Wall Hall caches go live and are found)
Back at home this blog has kept me very busy. I love recounting our adventures for anyone who cares to stop and read them and to my surprise people have. 2014 saw the number of my followers almost double to just under 100 which continues to astound me. The site generally has at least half a dozen visitors a day and can spike much higher when I choose to advertise the entries on Facebook groups. In August I wrote an article called Don’t You Just Love Caching in Summer and it received a staggering 246 hits!
But mine is not the only half decent geocaching blog out there and I made it my mission in September and October to try and bring some of the other blogs to the attention of as many people as I could. Under the banner of Washknight Interrogates I was able to bring over 20 active geocaching bloggers, blinking, out into the spotlight for all to see. This brought to my attention a number of blogs that I wasn’t aware of and I decided that I would have a crack at creating a blog roll of all the ones that I did know about so that others wanting to follow the stories of geocachers online might have a place to start. (List of Geocaching Blogs)
All in all it has been a pretty fantastic year as far as geocaching goes. We have gotten to know a lot of other fellow tupperware searchers, either in the flesh or via online Facebook groups and feel that we are now well and truly a part of this strange and somewhat clandestine community.
Life is never always plain sailing and there are always ups as well as downs but with the exception of the odd off day or being slightly grumpy at having to log another DNF, our geocaching adventures of 2014 have most definitely been…
… happy days!