The XKCD Geohashing Wiki has been down ever since the forums hosted on the same server were hacked almost three months ago. But the algorithm is functionally open-source and there’s nothing to stop an enterprising Geohasher from undertaking adventures even when the biggest silo is offline (I’m trying to negotiate a solution to that problem, too, but that’s another story).
So I planned to take a slightly extended lunch break for what looked like an easy expedition: drive up to Fullwell where it looked like I’d be able to park the car and then explore the footpath from its Western end.
Everything went well until I’d parked the car and gotten out. We’ve had some pretty wet weather lately and I quickly discovered that my footwear was less than ideal for the conditions. Clinging to the barbed wire fence to avoid slipping over, I made my way along a footpath saturated with ankle-deep slippery mud. Up ahead, things looked better, so I pressed on…
…but what I’d initially surveyed to be a drier, smoother part of the field up ahead quickly turned out to be a thin dried crust on top of a pool of knee-to-waist-deep ooze. Letting out a smelling like a mixture of stagnant water and animal waste runoff, the surface cracked and I was sucked deep into the pit. I was glad that my boots were tied tightly or I might have lost them to the deep: it was all I could do to turn around and drag my heavy, sticky legs back to the car.
This is my first failed hashpoint expedition that wasn’t cancelled-before-it-started. It’s a little disappointing, but I’m glad I turned around when I did – when I spoke to somebody near where I’d parked, they told me that it got even worse in the next field and a farmer’s tractor had gotten briefly stuck there recently!
An abundance of leaf mulch made it more–challenging than I’d anticipated both to reach the GZ, on account of slipperiness, and to find the container, on account of camouflage. My geosense took me directly to the right spot but after an initially fruitless search I expanded my radius. Then, still having had no luck, I checked the hint and returned to the site of my initial hunch for a more-thorough search. Soon, the cache was in my hand. SL, TNLN.
Like many previous finders I’m staying in the nearby Alexandra House. My fellow volunteers and I at a nonprofit we run were getting together for our AGM and a Christmas meal (I know it’s early in the year for such things, but among our activities was signing Christmas cards to the hundreds of charities we support, and we have to catch the last international posting dates!).
As has become my tradition at our get-togethers, I got up for a quick hike/geocaching expedition before breakfast. I’m glad I did! This under-hunted cache represents much of what’s best about the activity: a decent sized container, maintained for many years, in a location that justifies a nice walk. FP awarded.
Side note: there’s a bus stop (pictured) at the North end of this footpath. Who’s it for??? In the middle of nowhere with a two-hourly bus five days a week, it doesn’t seem to be serving anybody! Maybe a geocacher will disembark there, someday.
Dropped by to give this cache a checkup before the winter really sets in. It’s well and healthy, only a tiny bit damp. Getting a little lost in fallen leaves but its size and colour mean that it still stands out!
Wonderful location for a virtual: what a view! I’m in Cape Town for a week of work and teambuilding with my new colleagues: a rare occasion as we normally work completely remotely from many different countries. I was pleased to be able to combine work with a trip up Table Mountain, especially on such beautiful day. Snapped the attached pic, then walked over to the other side to watch the sun set. TFTC!
Staying in the hotel nearby for a meetup event with my team, who’ve flown in from all over the world (USA, UK, France, Indonesia, Russia, among others) to meet one another face to face (we normally all work remotely). Needed to count the portholes twice but got the right answer in the end. TFTC (my first find in ZA)!
Found after an extended hunt with fleeblewidget. Hadn’t brought my proper GPSr out and my phone didn’t give us a solid fix, but a spoiler photo by a previous finder was enough of a clue to help us as we expanded our search radius. TFTC.
Performed routine maintenance at the cache site; everything seems well.
A couple of ‘cachers have reported that the GZ is inaccessible owing to the path being overgrown. The “obvious” path to the cache really is pretty heavily overgrown and I’ll be increasing the terrain rating from 3 to 3.5 accordingly, but the “obvious” path isn’t the only path! If you need a hint as to the direction from which the alternative path (which is quite a bit longer, but much more-usable) comes, see my GZ video below: