There are caches.
Then there are geocaches.
The difference, I have always thought, is quality. Though most people will refer to everything as one or the other, when I describe this game people, I always use the terms differently to express how much of a difference that can be made with the quality of a geocache.
You can have your park-and-grab caches — ones that take seconds or minutes to grab.
Then you have the beauties.
Today, we found one of those. It was such quality that we walked more than a mile (overall) and went up the side of a mountain to an amazing view.
The cache we found was Pratt’s Rocky Cache, a 4-star difficulty, 3.5-star terrain cache in an amazing spot. (Though, to be honest, I might have bumped each of those ratings up another half star!)
But the thing about the top-notch ones is that it separates itself from other caches.
Such was this one.
This cache is one of those that really tests everything you can bring — mental and physical. It’s not a normal cache of having the coordinates and finding a box in the woods. You have to do work. And a lot of it. You need to think. You need to plot. You need to do it all.
By talking to the owner following the find today, I found out that this cache is often a two-visit cache. Thankfully, we did it in one.
First, if you know nothing about Pratt’s Rocks, check out the Pratt Museum’s website in regard to this awesome spot.
I’ve traveled past Pratt’s Rocks many times over the years and I’ve always said I wanted to stop and explore. When I got into geocaching, I noticed this cache there (it’s a premium member’s cache, so that’s good, too, for something like this). It became one of those caches that we always noted “We need to do.”
Being Memorial Day and having some free time, two of us opted to check it and try it. With the weather nearly perfect, we set out for this one (though getting out of the air-conditioned car was tough!). We started down low and found what we could and headed up.
The idea of this is finding many of the spots that are in this park. You then have to take coordinates. From there, you have to figure where these items intersect and then come up with an idea of where the geocache is.
If doing it solo, I’m sure it could drive you mad. In a group could cause arguments and frustration based on ways of doing the cache. (Two of us did it today, we had two disagreements … we were each right once).
In the end, we found five of the six needed spots and started working on pen and paper. We tried to figure out if we could project a waypoint. We used a phone-a-friend to see if they could help us figure out how to project a waypoint. What we ended up doing was using the hint, following the line and going from there.
I saw something odd. Brent was above me and looking in other spots, working his way back to where I was. I pointed a spot for him to check on his line and it turned out the cache was right above that spot.
The cache was found and it had some decent swag, too. I dropped a couple of my signature items and happily signed the log.
The cache was hidden better than found (it was kind of just out there, though not easy to see to the naked eye).
It took us 2 1/2 hours to do this one cache and it’s easily going to be one of my most memorable caches I’ve ever done. I would highly encourage people to try this one, but be ready. Bring water. Bring a snack. Bring a map and know how to plot some items. It’s well worth the effort.
We did one more on the way back to town, but it was a quickie and didn’t hold a candle to this one.
It’s been out since 2007 and has a legitimate 10 or 11 finds.
Here are a few more photos from today:
I’m happy I can cross this one off my list and really happy we did it. It was well worth all of the effort today (though knowing what I do now, I don’t think we would have had to walk over a mile for it all!)
One hint for future finders — no matter what, take the trail to the top of the rocks. The views are incredible.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.