B and I have been Geocaching for about four years now. A few years ago we completed the Washington State Parks challenge. If you are in to Geocaching at all then you may know about challenges. Ways to keep up your momentum and well, challenge yourself.
A few weeks ago our friend Dug, B and I were going to go green sign [sign the physical log but not log the cache as a find until you complete the requirements] for the Geo Art below, a set of 26 challenges where you need to find 26 caches for each of the 26 letters in the alphabet. The posted coordinates create the Geo Art but the real coordinates are a power trail here in WA near Lake Cavanaugh.
When we were discussing this endeavor our friend Dug suggested we go a little further east and do a power trail as well and go for another challenge. Enter the Fool’s Errand Challenge. This challenge is to get 150 physical caches in a 30 day period + a special additional cache depending on the month. For the month of February the assignment is a cache that has the attribute “not available in winter”.
To qualify you must announce your foolish intentions by writing a note on the challenge page and then create a list with your starting numbers & date. You also need to include in your list the challenge cache, your starting cache and any caches that do not qualify [virtuals, events, etc.] in your list.
The day started perfectly fine. Cold but nothing falling from the sky. We loaded up my Crosstrek and headed north. A few traditionals along the way and then the turn off for Lake Cavanaugh. Right as we started in on the first cache it started to sprinkle.
The way the coordinates are laid you start with Z and follow a winding road to obtain all 26. The photo above is B picking up the first cache. It was my job to drive, B would navigate and then either one of them [or both] would jump out and nab the cache. We signed all of the logs with our group caching acronym PFFT.
We had only grabbed a few of the letters when it started to snow. B in the blue jacket and Dug in the yellow jacket looking for a letter early in the series.
For the most part the caches were pretty easy to find – even in the snow. A few they had to dig for and took a tad bit of time. When we got to K we encountered a muggle walking down the road. This one was taking a bit to find so we moved along and decided we would get it on the way back.
In total it took us just over 2 hours to obtain 25 caches. I would say it was a total of 2 miles in driving. We turned around and headed back to our nemesis, the letter K.
K was just after [or before depending on which direction you are heading] a switchback so I parked on a level spot and B & Dug headed down to find it. Just beyond the second curve in the photo above was where it was hidden. It took them a bit of time as the coordinates were off but they were successful.
Originally we were planning on going further east to Darrington and work on a power trail. Due to the weather we decided to reconnoiter at Skookum Brewing for a quick pint and consideration of our next target for the day. We were also able to pick up the cache we needed for our attribute [not available in winter] as well.
The decision was made to travel north to Ferndale and get another Geo Art of 25 caches and try to attempt 50 non traditional caches in a day [if you are keeping track that is 51 – however we didn’t all qualify for all 26 of the letter geo art – read on].
Just to be safe we checked weather for Bellingham/Ferndale and felt perfectly fine venturing up. I had met the CO [cache owner] who is one of the creators of our next challenge – X-Men. We had already solved all of the puzzles in anticipation of collecting these very soon and had them stored in our phones [BTW – even if you don’t live in the area – these are really well done puzzles to solve and all of them have a checker – message me if you would like one of the GC codes]. Because we ain’t quite right, it is called the Fool’s Errand after all, we directed the car further north.
The CO did message me back that she typically takes about two hours to check that route so that was a good benchmark for how long it could take us. We took longer at the brewery than planned and didn’t get to the first cache until 4:25.
As you can see from the photo above it was a balmy 23° out when we started. Dug read that with wind chill it was actually 1°! We finished the route in just over three hours.
Dug and B can attest to the fact that it was REALLY COLD! We hightailed it to a favorite watering hole, Kulshan Brewing for a celebratory beverage. I was really looking forward to the food truck they have there on Sunday nights called Sage Against the Machine [sorry no web page]. I am not vegan but the food at this truck is AMAZING! Bummer though as due to the weather they were not at the brewery that night.
We really needed to eat and there were not a lot of places open that late in Bellingham. It’s a college town so I expected to be able to find something. Our next thought was Aslan Brewing and we were in luck, they were still open and serving food. I had a coconut curry bowl with chicken. Yum!
As I mentioned before, we did attain 51 caches but for me in the A-Z challenge I only qualified for 21 + the 25 for X-Men and that brings you to 46 [B & Dug were at 47 each]. Hmmm four shy of 50 non-tradtionals in a day. What to do? What any normal cacher on a mission. We found more! Incidentally, the 21st cache I qualified for in the A-Z challenge was X. I already had one cache and the 25 from X-Men clinched it for me. Another cache I had green signed that morning was the Color of Cache challenge which required you to have found ten caches with colors in the name. I suspected I was OK on that one but did not know for certain until the next day. We grabbed enough that if I was short I would still be OK with the 50 traditionals in a day challenge.
The original plan was to head to Darrington the next weekend and do a power trail and complete our Fool’s Errand in a week.
Snowpocalyps2019 happened! The next day I was snowed in and couldn’t get out of my neighborhood even in my 4WD. I worked from home for two days and it took over a week for the roads to be OK. Needless to say we were not going to head out to the boonies and do a power trail the following weekend.
As of this writing I am down to 34 caches and I have 11 days left. B is down to 38 caches and has 12 days left. We plan to be completed by Sunday February 24 if at all possible.