Thursday, July 26, 2018

In Search of Mythical Creatures

With BJ's twice a week Physical Therapy appointments, the trailer hasn't been out of the garage since I got back from Prescott in April. She decided it was time to go for a trial run, so we headed out right after her Wednesday appointment.

Turk even got an upgrade as well. The hose clips on to one of the air conditioner outlets and provides a flow of air direct to his kennel in the back seat. It apparently works - he slept almost all the way to Flagstaff.

We set up camp east of Flagstaff at about 6,000 feet elevation. Reports had been showing mid 50's at night and low 80's during the day. Turns out the reports were about 10 degrees lower than reality but it was still much cooler than temps in the Valley.

Every summer, Geocaching headquarters does some sort of promotional. This year was a hunt for mythical hidden creatures. You needed to find 100 caches during the promotional period in order to earn all 13 mythical creatures.

Since BJ hadn't been feeling up to the typical bending and stretching involved in normal geocaching, we picked out a 'power trail' where we could work as a team. The 'No Simple Highway' power trail starts at I-40 and runs along forest service roads for over 25 miles.
High cache density (one every tenth of a mile) and simple hides would make it easier to get the numbers she needed.

Forest Service seems a bit of a misnomer here. The road was wide and well drained, but with significant washboarding in areas. The beginning of the road crossed both state land and private land before entering the Coconino National Forest.

We split up duties. BJ drove,

using the geocaching app on her phone to keep track of where to stop

while I used my GPS to locate the cache, swap containers, (a procedure unique to some power trails), and then stamp the log and reload the container while BJ drove to the next location.
I use JustFindingOurWay from my geo name while BJ goes as Turtlehkr. Since JustFindingOurWay is waaaay too long, it gets abbreviated when we're working together.

The caches were almost all located in the large rocks that had been pushed aside when grading the road once upon a time.

Nearly all of them had some sort of cairn or rock pile to indicate the location. The caches were mostly pill bottles of one type or another with a paper log to sign.

We started this run right after breakfast on Thursday. Neither one of us had any idea how long it might take us, but we reached number 100 in about two & a half hours. Had to stop for a picture at that point but Turk wasn't having anything to do with it.

In much less time than we expected, we turned 108 green cache symbols into yellow 'smilies.' and earned our World Turtle souvenirs. That yellow line is over 10 miles long.

According to GeoHQ, "Congratulations! You are one of few geocachers who successfully searched the ends of the Earth to witness the most rare and elusive hidden creature, the World Turtle."

We capped that day off with a rousing thunderstorm, complete with a couple very nearby lightning strikes before being treated to one of the most unique sunsets I've ever seen.

Before we left town on Saturday, we were introduced to a wonderful new place to eat in Flagstaff, and to a number of the Flagstaff geocachers including the folks that put in the series of caches that we'd just done. Eat n' Run's Arizona Breakfast Bowl was one of the best breakfasts that I've ever had.

As to the question about BJ's back, she said it wasn't any worse than staying at home! I guess that's as good as I could hope.


  1. Glad to hear BJ got her mythical creatures without doing more bodily harm! Stay cool! 3 weeks to moving day for us. Then we'll get back to geocaching!

    1. I think of you guys often, wondering how you're doing on the sorting, packing, and deciding.