Belfair Cache Machine

A “cache machine” is geocaching social where someone sets up a route that people can follow to make a high number of geocache finds in a relatively short period of time.  On Sunday, I attended one in Belfair, WA.

Since Belfair is not too far from home, I planned on driving up the morning of.  Traffic on Sunday/holiday weekend/at 5am/westbound was far more benign than I anticipated.  I rolled into town pretty early, but it was still dark and I hadn’t met up with my geocaching buddy to start.  Rather than wait in the parking lot for half an hour, I drove back into town, looking for an open espresso hut.   I passed a few of them, losing hope that anything would be open on a Sunday/holiday/weekend/at 5am, when I saw the “open” sign up ahead.

About the last thing I was expecting on a cold (20F) morning was to be greeted by a barista in a swimsuit:

Barista: Generic banter about holiday.

Me: Unspecific response. Reciprocal inquiry of same.

Barista: Unmemorable follow-up. What can I get you?

Me: Medium mocha.

Barista: Comment about local sports team event occurring later.

Me: Unmemorable follow-up.

Later, I discovered that I’d found Belfair’s “Espresso Gone Wild.”  Except for the swimsuit aspect, which I thought was more weird than kitten-killing, it was completely tame.

I met my geocaching buddy at 7am and, unable to convince him that he needed coffee, too, we set off for the first set of caches.  Complete.  Chaos.  Though it was completely dark (still), you could see the bobbing headlamps walking back to the cache.  In fact, they just kept it out for the next person to put back.  Once back to the car, it’s a quick drive up the street to the next.

Very crazy.

After the tenth cache like this, we decided we’d do the route backwards in hopes of avoiding the Blitzkrieg of cars.  A few other folks had the same idea, but soon we had enough spacing that it became enjoyable again.  There were a lot guardrail and gate hides.  By the time my geocaching buddy would pull the key out of the car, I’d have the log out, signing it for both of us.

Then we came to the first toughie – a hike to an ammo can that currently resides somewhere among a clear-cut fir forest.   Debris was everywhere, there was nary a hint, and we all found ourselves playing the Follow-the-Garmin game.  With nearly a half-hour invested, we gave up.  Later on, we found out the cache owner visited and had a hard time finding it.  As he is a high-volume person himself, he allowed us to record the find while he updated the page for others.

The next really tricky one was a NIAH (needle in a haystack).   A pile of gnarled logs harbored a “2.5 difficulty” micro.  We conjecture it was more like a 4.0, but one of the local cachers made the grab.  The cache was well-hidden up and inside a nook of this thing.  He happened to bring a flashlight.

The next bloc of caches were nicely-sized containers located in a wilderness park.  Finding all three took about forty minutes, but it was enjoyable hiking time.  This is why we geocache!  Unfortunately, it’s a bit at odds with the concept behind a “cache machine.”

We had a series of guardrail micros that helped bring the overall average up.  The only memorable one was “Lake Tahyua,” where we ran into a local geocacher using the Cache Machine as an opportunity to educate the community about Letterboxing.  He was quite the personality: older guy, self-taught, bright, enthusiastic, energetic, eccentric and convinced everyone who’s not Doing It His Way is wrong and must be corrected.  He seemed nice enough, but I could see how his personality would clash on the forums.

We continued along the (reverse) route, picking up a cluster of caches in a campground area.  Here, we worked with another group of long-time cachers.  They were pretty pleasant, and much mellower than our friend at Lake Tahuya.  As I was walking by one of the cars, my (new) Oregon 450 picked up a “Chirp,” a wireless beacon that they’ve installed in their car, using it as a mobile travel bug.

By now, it was late in the afternoon.  The posted route would have us doing some interesting out-and-back for a small handful of caches.  Because we didn’t want to miss the post-event shindig at JR’s Grill in Belfair, we skipped those and anything whose description suggested it was more than a few minutes’ walk.

Total for the day: 61 finds (59 traditional, 1 multi, 1 puzzle), 3 DNFs.  Whew!

Code Cache
Type
Waypoint Name SZ D T TOD Time btwetween Notes Placed
1MB74 All Star M 1.5 1.5 7:15 2/28/09
TRR1 Belfair Waterwheel R 1.5 1 7:23 0:08 Cool icicles 3/19/06
X3MQ Romance? – Grab a Tic Tac! S 1 1.5 7:28 0:05 7/11/06
116W9 Blue star – Honoring Those Who Serve S 2 2 7:33 0:05 3/5/07
VMR5 North Mason Travel Bug Chamber R 1.5 1 7:35 0:02 4/26/06
217QH POWER’S OUT – WENT POSTAL M 1.5 1.5 7:41 0:06 11/20/09
WE05 GPR #2 – Mission Impossible! S 1 1.5 7:51 0:10 Diverged from group 6/19/06
14M2H Tree Farm: One Degree of Separation R 1 1.5 7:55 0:04 7/24/07
29V6V Haunted Junkyard M 1.5 2 7:59 0:04 6/6/10
2KX94 Things I “Hate” About Caching NA 2 2 8:13 0:14 1/1/11
15BRQ Spotting this Cache is Easy! M 2 3 8:15 0:02 8/22/07
2KRG8 Sparky the Fire Dog M 1.5 1.5 8:25 0:10 12/30/10
203QV Up Stream S 2 1 8:35 0:10 10/19/09
1V3J2 AWW SHUCKS! M 1.5 1.5 8:43 0:08 6/21/09
1JDA8 STOP, LOOK & LISTEN M 1.5 1 8:50 0:07 11/23/08
1JDA0 Dump and Run M 1 1.5 8:57 0:07 11/23/08
1JDAD FOUL BALL ? 2 2 9:02 0:05 11/23/08
1JD9V The Blue Gate Special S 1.5 1.5 9:05 0:03 11/23/08
1JD9D E.P.2 S 1 1.5 9:07 0:02 11/23/08
1JD93 JAILBREAK S 1.5 1.5 9:19 0:12 11/23/08
MMJN Tahuya #2 – Eleven R 2.5 3 9:48 0:29 DNF, but CO said we could log it 1/29/05
114GG Three Stooges S 1 1 9:56 0:08 2/25/07
13EQC GPR2 – #5 Prudential R 1.5 1.5 10:04 0:08 6/21/07
114G3 Tiger Lake S 1 1.5 10:11 0:07 2/24/07
1BH0A Tail of the Tiger NA 1.5 1.5 10:20 0:09 DNF 4/22/08
2AW2X Tri as you may S 1 1.5 10:25 0:05 6/26/10
WVBG That Way To Seabeck M 1 1 10:30 0:05 9/20/07
1YE2J Tangled Mess II M 2.5 2 10:58 0:28 Hardest find 9/8/09
1RTF3 Challenge? M 1 1.5 11:00 0:02 5/24/09
NPRF Great Library R 2 3 11:30 0:30 Hike 4/30/05
2K47P It Came From The Other Side R 2.5 2 11:30 0:00 Found w/Great Library 12/6/10
PD9J Thunderbird Track #5 – Stream R 1 1.5 11:36 0:06 6/25/05
2C3ZH Tahuya foolya R 1.5 1.5 11:41 0:05 7/21/10
22K36 lake tahuya M 1 1 11:53 0:12 Fledermaus! 1/2/10
1W4A7 stumped on holly S 2.5 2 11:59 0:06 7/19/09
1QDZK Lk Symington M 2 2 12:08 0:09 4/22/09
12M3M Bedrock Travel Bug & Gecoin Motel R 1 1 12:17 0:09 5/6/07
22BP8 Bison by the Blue Gate M 1.5 1.5 12:23 0:06 12/27/09
1W90K Tangled mess M 2 1.5 12:30 0:07 7/20/09
22BQ3 Bison by the Babbling Brook M 1.5 1.5 12:35 0:05 12/27/09
1C5J8 1 Time At Band Camp… M 2 2 12:50 0:15 DNF 5/11/08
1X2J5 Must Love Oysters M 1.5 1.5 13:01 0:11 8/9/09
22BTT Closer to Fine M 2.5 2 13:23 0:22 12/27/09
1F462 Stuck on Mason M 1 2 13:25 0:02 Added 8/9/08
22K3Y salmon friendly R 2 2 13:30 0:05 1/2/10
2EWH0 One Degree of Separation: Tree Farm #26 S 2 2.5 13:49 0:19 Added 9/5/10
1C5N9 Out In The Stix R 1.5 2 13:59 0:10 5/11/08
1C5K3 This Ain’t No KOA!!! M 1 1 14:15 0:16 5/11/08
1C7XD Quik Clam Cache S 1 1.5 14:22 0:07 5/11/08
1X2HV Six Point Maple M 2.5 2 14:28 0:06 DNF 8/9/09
1D004 Zone of Influence M 2 1.5 14:41 0:13 6/5/08
1D00Q Welcome Wagon M 1.5 1.5 15:02 0:21 Hike 6/5/08
1D00A X marks the Spot S 1.5 2 15:09 0:07 P+G 6/5/08
1C8Q1 Joy OhJoy! S 1.5 1.5 15:21 0:12 5/14/08
1D00G Robbins Lake Cache S 1.5 1.5 15:42 0:21 Hike 6/5/08
1D00K Tee Time S 2 2 15:57 0:15 6/5/08
1CZZV U turn to Tee Lake S 1.5 1.5 16:01 0:04 6/5/08
15PH2 Road to Oblivion R 1.5 1.5 16:08 0:07 9/4/07
2C1YC I may take up yodeling S 2 2 16:16 0:08 7/20/10
1GF04 Forgotten View L 1.5 1.5 16:18 0:02 9/20/08
JACT MC How Easy to Forget (A Different Kind of Cache) R 1 1.5 16:29 0:11 4/27/04
199KP Critter’s Run ? 2.5 1.5 16:56 0:27 2/10/08
14WYV NOT BOAT RAMP S 1 1 17:00 0:04 8/4/07
2KXB6 ? Bark Code S 2.5 1.5 17:19 0:19 Added 1/1/11
2JD01 E Belfair Cache Machine dinner NA 3.5 3.5 17:35 0:16 1/2/11
292WK big beaver pond R 2 1.5 skip 5/23/10
1XR5G DB5 R 1.5 2 skip 8/25/09
1GYPX H-006 Hood Canal View M 2 2.5 skip 10/5/08
1C75A JIGG’S UP M 2 1.5 skip 5/12/08
1C750 Let’s Do The Jigg ! R 1.5 2 skip 5/12/08
2C7YV micros are boring L 1.5 3.5 skip 7/24/10
1GF19 Mission Oriented H-007 R 1.5 2 skip 9/20/08
21M03 N.O.P.C. FTF Challenge #6 – Enduro trail R 2 2 skip 11/30/09
15JMZ Not the Maple Syrup Kind S 1.5 1.5 skip 8/31/07
2AT40 Oak Patch M 1 1.5 skip 6/25/10
2BY73 one along the way S 1.5 2 skip 7/18/10
15CEY One Degree Of Separation:Tree Farm #27 S 1.5 2 skip 8/23/07
15HPX Rendsland Creek Cache S 2 1.5 skip 8/30/07
1JD8E ? SANDHILL SERIES FINALE R 2 2 skip 11/23/08
15JN1 THE BURMA ROAD MICRO M 1.5 1.5 skip 8/31/07
2KREB EC Theler Wetlands Tidal Marsh NA 1.5 1.5 skip 1/1/11
28QAV Tiki Lucky Cache ? 2.5 1.5 skip 5/18/10
15HJZ TOMBSTONE TERRITORY M 1.5 1.5 skip 8/30/07
2FYV0 Too many micros L 1.5 3 skip 9/29/10

4 comments

  1. Totally awesome! I was hoping to hear how this fun event went, not having any experience with a “cache machine”. When you first mentioned it, I immediately wondered about how everyone would order the caches. Trailing along in the footsteps of other cachers would certainly take away from the fun. Good job going at it backwards. 🙂

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