Monday, April 30, 2007

Reflections on the Spokane Cache Machine

(Composed entirely on blackberry; typos are my own fat fingers)

On the way to Spokane, I hit eight geocaches. I really got tired of pointless microcaches a year or so ago, and pretty much stopped caching locally, as I'd either already been to the neat spots in the area, or the new caches were hidden in parking lot culverts (really!) or stuck to random suburban electrical boxes (two come to mind immediately).

When I plotted my route to Spokane, I limited myself to normal sized, traditional caches within 0.5 miles of my route. This led me to a bushwhacking-to-a-creek cache near Maple Valley, and to a cache near a nice sized waterfall in the former Twin Falls State Park. Good ones. I also made it to the I-90 Wild Stallions cache that I mentioned in my previous post, and to the Petrified Forest State Park, somewhere I've wanted to visit since seeing it in the cheezy Washington geography films in fourth grade.

However, it also took me to an old mill in Thorpe, which would have been fine, but I'd forgotten that I'd found another cache at the same location two years ago. I also hit two rest area caches, which are kind of lame. I can say that -- I own the Federal Way rest area cache.

The number of micros and small caches in Spokane was surprising. I think of the 81 caches we got on Saturday, maybe 5 of them were ammo cans. A lot of them were magnetic hide-a-key containers. One particular run through Airway. Heights had eight consecutive caches that were either attached to lamp posts in restaurant parking lots or under a roadside water meter lid.

It was still a lot of fun. Spokane's got a great riverfront with a massive waterfall, and several of the caches showcased architecture, artwork, or history of the area. One creative cache had us standing in the middle of a desert-like pasture trying to figure out how a wooden box, bungee-corded cordless phone, and gold-painted nail were supposed to work together. But several parks had multiple unremarkable caches when one would do, and for every great cache, there were several "what were they thinking" caches.

Sunday, on the way home, I hit one cache, only because I had to stop and use the rest area, and it wasn't a micro.

The event was considerably more organized than the one's I'd created in the past. This has its good points -- it's great that someone thought to alert the police that a group of 125 people would be lurking the side streets and abusing parking lot lampposts -- and bad points -- should the event really be a fundraiser for the local chapter? In all, I think it was a good event. It's not done how I would have; I think it was an improvement. I've had more practice doing cache machine routing (which is why my three vehicle sub-group followed my vehicle on a route I created), but there's no way I'd have organized such a good social part of the event.

I think I'll go to the next one. I saw some neat new spots, and I had fun, and that's what really mattered.

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