Friday, November 27, 2009

Rectifying a DNF

In the past, I've written about some of my Did Not Finds (DNFs). Many, I've never found and that's all right, while others, I've gone back and finally found. This week, I was able to scratch another one off of my DNF list.

Late last week, I suggested to my friend Chaosmanor that we might be able to take a short road trip up to Santa Cruz for some caching.  My son, who's attending school in Santa Cruz, was getting ready to start his Thanksgiving break and I figured it would be enjoyable to have someone else along for the ride up to pick him up.  We finalized plans and I took off early Tuesday morning to pick up Chaosmanor who lives in Ventura County to the west of me.

Once on the road, we ended up caching up until darkness set in, then we took a more direct route to Santa Cruz.  The following morning, we'd planned a hike in Fall Creek Park, just north of Felton, which is about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz.  One of the caches in that park is IXL, a mystery cache that I've attempted to find twice in the past.  It's not like I've been actively trying to get this cache, but both times we've camped in the area, we've tried for the cache and not succeeded.  This time, hopefully, would be different.

As we started down the trail, Chaosmanor got the necessary numbers from the signs that would get us to the next waypoint.  I already knew where we needed to go to find this cache, but he wanted to go through the process of the mystery, which was fine with me.  On the way, we stopped and found a very nice letterbox hybrid cache and another smaller cache hidden in a redwood stump.  Then, like it was 7 years ago, we were near the spot where IXL was hidden.

As Chaosmanor inputted the correct coordinates into his GPSr and told me what they were, he said, "Wow, you were really close last time."  Yep, that's what was frustrating about it.  In my defense, I had a grand total of 77 finds by the end of 2003, so I wasn't what you might consider an experienced cacher, although I had been caching for the better part of three years.  I was more of a casual cacher, getting a couple per month, or maybe one on a weekend.  Now, the "geosenses" started tingling.  I suggested, based upon the hint, which had been there in 2002, that we try over there, a spot we had never tried on my two previous forays for this cache.

We ended up over what was now looking promising for ground zero for the cache and started looking.  I struck out where I was looking and Chaosmanor struck out where he was looking, so we switched spots.  At this point, we'd both passed about 3 feet from the cache.  I tried where he'd been looking, then tried another spot farther up the hill.  Striking out there, I turned around to make my way back down the slope when I realized what I'd been missing all this time.  I was looking at the hint on the cache page.  I was up too high.

Keeping the hint in mind, I worked my way back down the slope and just about when I got to the bottom of the slope, I spotted the hiding space, no more than about three feet behind Chaosmanor.  He'd been searching the same place I had.  We both had had our backs to the cache hiding spot.  It was plain as day, yet it blended in with the surroundings naturally, that experienced cachers, might miss it, which we had for awhile.

As I posted in my log for IXL
Price of a newer GPSr - $200
Extra supply of batteries, just in case - $5
Rectifying a 7 year old DNF - Priceless

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocache:
IXL - by Diana, Jim & Bryan

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Anonymous said...

That's a great feeling to get a DNF off the list!


Webfoot said...

Yes it is. This one, for a lot of different reasons, was particularly satisfying. Having a good caching friend along made it that much nicer.

chaosmanor said...

I had a lot of fun with the whole process on this cache, and am thrilled to have been a part of you finally getting it :-) My only regret is that there is a letterbox within 200 feet of this cache; it would have been very easy to get it, but I neglected to actually look for LBs listed in that area: d'oh! OTOH, we *did* that LB-hybrid, which was very kewl. Thanks for agreeing to go after that one :-D