I first discovered the New York DeLorme challenge in mid-2008, my first year of geocaching.
I watched it a bit. I thought about it and believed I’d never be able to go for this challenge. But I slowly filled in DeLorme square after DeLorme square. I’d go out of my way to get one or two others.
My first logged note on the page came April 11, 2009 when I said:
I just went over the halfway mark this weekend. I’m hoping to wax anywhere from 5-8 squares when out at the Allegany Geobash — I just have to line the map up with the squares and see how easy/hard it would be to polish some off.
Then it’s Northern NY and the Island/City. Those could be tough, but I’m hoping to make a dent in one or the other (or both) this summer!
In one day, two of us covered all of Long Island. That same weekend, I made sure I got the squares around New York City. Those, I figured, would be some of the hardest I would do.
On May 23, 2009 — still apparently going nuts with the challenge, I posted again.
Five more crossed off the list this past weekend on a road trip to Ontario for a caching event. Also polished off four the weekend before on a trip to the Allegany State Park Geobash. My hope is a NYC trip sometime soon to get all the squares and counties down there, then take a small trip later this summer, do some camping and caching along a route to complete the Northeast part of the state and possible the Northwest. We’ll see how it all goes. It’s still my summer goal to complete this challenge!
29 to go.
With that progress, I figured finishing this challenge would be a cinch. A couple more road trips and I’d be getting the coordinates for the final and would be signing my name to the log in no time!
I posted an update on July 30, 2009 and again on August 15 of that year. At that posting, I noted I had 17 squares remaining.
I had the same amount of squares left Jan. 27, 2011 when I posted. And the same April 30, 2012.
This challenge was never going to get finished. Ever.
Giving up wasn’t an option, however. Knowing it would be hard, I started plotting a couple of trips — one to the upper part of the state — both in the East and West — to see what would have to be done to get this challenge done. After all, I needed but 17 squares. No matter that these squares were all over the place.
Eleven squares were crossed off August 11 when four of us went on a crazy 700-plus mile trip across the north country of New York.
Two weeks later, the final six were crossed off when two of us took a jaunt to the Buffalo area — covering some 600 miles. Those two weekends combined for nearly 1,400 miles, some 45 hours and 104 caches.
On Sept. 2, the epic trip was finally complete when I made my way about an hour southeast from my town to sign the logbook for the DeLorme final. I was the 18th person to log this challenge final since it started Jan. 1, 2007.
I was tempted to just put “TFTC,” but I figured I should do a bit more, eh?
This journey was about so much more than finding a geocache. In fact, the final was a mere 350 or so feet from the parking coordinates. It was in a small set of woods, slightly off a trail. To make it safe, it was also chained to the tree. That’s a nice bonus.
The new owner of the cache, Walkin’Ed, even met me there for the final, so that was a nice gesture.
In the end, I look back at this amazing journey. It took me to all corners of the state and everywhere in between. I made trips with many different people and have had a lot of fun doing so. There are memories that will last a lifetime, that’s for sure.
I would highly encourage any geocacher to look at the DeLorme challenges for their state or neighboring states. It’s a great way to see the state and different things. Plus, it helps with having to really plan trips and such.
And, as I’ve proved, you can take your time getting them done!
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