Thursday, February 5, 2009

Another Five Percenter

While out caching last weekend, the group that I was caching with found two very interesting and/or exceptional caches, both of which made my top 5% list. This list is my bookmark of what I consider my top 5% finds. The list changes as caches are added to it or removed because they've been archived. Since this list is public and visible on cache pages I want to keep it current and up to date. There is a cache at the top of the list that is temporarily archived, but I'm hoping the owner of that cache will replace it because I thought it was a good hide.

So what does make a 5 percenter? I guess it's a combination of things for me at least. They don't have to be rugged 5 star hikes to make the list. My average terrain rating for all caches found is a modest 1.58, so I really haven't been on my really tough hides like that. I like a little whimsy when I find caches. Caches that make me chuckle and laugh are usually rated higher than a typical lamppost hide, but then I would be willing to bet that lamppost hides don't rank too highly on most people's cache ratings lists. Then again, maybe I'm just deluding myself.

The cache we found this weekend called Lizard Mouth Cache was a fun cache to find. It was a small container tucked into a small crevice of a rock with several other rocks guarding the cache site, none of which could be moved. We actually had to use a tag team approach to finding it. I could see the cache from the other side of this one rock by getting down and looking underneath it, but because of the size of the rock, I couldn't reach the cache. Cache Viking had to put his arms in between two boulders while I directed his hand movements so he could make the grab. This was point number one for an inovative way of making the grab. I suppose that a single cacher could make the grab, but it would have been tough to do.

After we found the cache, I looked it up on the cache page because I keep a record of my cache finds in my PDA, so I can remember the order of cache finds when I log them later on. I noticed this particular cache was a three digit cache, meaning it was a fairly old cache dating back to the early days of caching in 2001 or so, yet it had a hide date of 2006. Now this didn't make a whole lot of sense until we saw that the cache had been adopted. I didn't read the entire cache page at this time because I'd already gotten the information I needed at the time, so I didn't really think much of this, but something was bugging me about the cache.

The kids enjoyed this cache a lot, probably not from the same perspective as the adults did, but from the endless possibilities for scrambling that lay before them. The area looks like God just poured out his bag of marbles on this hillside and let his rock marbles drop where they may. We watched the kids play for a good half an hour or so and eventually got sucked into their play as well. My favorite picture is one that has large boulders and small kids playing on them. I loved the contrast between the two. Cache Viking noted that the other picture looks like the kids are all saying, "Are you going in there? I'm not going in there. Why don't we wait for one of the adults and then sacrifice them?"

Because this area had also been passed through by the Gap Fire of last summer, the vegetation was thin in most spots, but there were areas where plants were already making a comeback. We found ferns growing in the shade of one boulder using nutrients from some of the ash for sustenance. Small pockets of grasses were starting to take hold and there were still plenty of spots where large patches of lichen still clung to the side of the boulders. There were endless possibilities for pictures and I took full advantage of them. That's usually a pretty good divining rod for me when I decide a cache goes on my top 5% list. If I've taken a lot of pictures, it usually means that the site was a pretty good one.

When I got home that evening, I took a longer look at the cache page and discovered that this cache was at least a second generation cache, meaning it had been muggled sometime in the past and had been replaced. The original had been hidden by Jeremy Irish, the owner of Groundspeak, the company that basically runs the Geocaching website. I found that rather interesting, even if it wasn't the original container. It almost felt like one of those 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon type of things.

With the kids having such a good time, great photo possibilities, a good hiding spot, great views, a short hike and the history behind the cache, I felt this one was a worthy addition to my list. As noted above, the list does change and caches get moved off the list as I find other caches that are more worthy. This cache didn't have great swag, it wasn't a large container, nor did it have a longish hike attached to it. It was the other intangibles around the cache that made it a good cache in my opinion. And, unless this cache gets muggled, I'm pretty sure this one will stay on the list for a long time.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocache:
Lizard Mouth Cache - by MJJJFISHER (Adopted from Big Daddy)

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chaosmanor said...

Good shot of you and the Tadpole :-) Having cached with both of you, I think it well captures you two. That cache has been our List for a long time; it's one of the few caches that was active when we started, ages ago. If I remember correctly, it was no more than three webpages pages down from our home, more than 40 miles away to the east. Now it would take ten minutes, at least, to hit each page in order, and scroll down to look for it before getting there. Our hobby has grown a bit over the years ;-)

Webfoot said...

Thanks for the comment. I was beginning to wonder whether anyone was still reading this stuff, since I hadn't had a comment on any entry in about two weeks or so.

That's a similar story to when I started caching. The closest cache to me was 7 miles away and a half mile hike. I had caches showing up on my first page all the way over in Pasadena near JPL and all the way down into Orange County. The first page of caches from my location today takes me only 1.2 miles away and I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing.