Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Gadsden Who???

James Gadsden, the U.S. Minister to Mexico, negotiated an agreement with Mexico, finalized in 1854. The United States agreed to pay Mexico $10 million for a 29,670 square mile portion of Mexico. This provided the land necessary for a southern transcontinental railroad and attempted to resolve conflicts that lingered after the Mexican-American War. Without this purchase, Tucson and Yuma would be in Mexico.

In April, 2020, a Tucson based geocacher developed a "Challenge Cache" based on the Gadsden Purchase. It required finding at least five caches in each of the 11 current counties that included land from the Gadsden Purchase. I already had finds in all 11 counties, but in five of them, I did not yet have at least 5 finds. In a couple of the others, I had over 1000 finds but that didn't help!

I spent some time studying the map with one eye on county lines and the other on potential geocaches that would be relatively easy to find. I added a handful of others, just because I was going to be driving by and they were cache types that interest me. I developed a plan in Cachetur which told me it would be 720 miles. First stop of importance was Santa Cruz County where I logged the caches I needed and spotted some pronghorn on the hill keeping an eye on me.

The next caches I "had" to have were in New Mexico, but I wasn't going to pass the the chance for a couple Whereigo caches, including one that highlighted some of the remaining neon signs in Benson.

The Texas Canyon rest stop was a worthy stop where I studied some of the granite boulders for an Earthcache. It's amazing how much geology I've learned from Earthcaches. Makes me wish I'd studied some geology in school.

I knew I wasn't going to want to try to do this as one massively long day so I started late enough that Hidalgo County, NM became a good spot for a boondock. There were a couple caches at exit 4, and I knew that there were some defunct businesses there, but the area was less inviting than the last time I was through here.

I wandered down to exit 11 where I found some waterfront property for my overnight boondock, just as the sun was setting. It got down to 34 degrees overnight, but I was expecting that.

I headed east as the sun rose the next morning, grabbing coffee in Lordsburg and then heading to Deming where I logged the caches I needed in Luna County before turning back to the northwest towards Silver City.

I picked up several in the Silver City area, completing what I needed for Grant County. In the process, I solved a puzzle cache and got a bit of education at Western New Mexico University. Geocaching is certainly easier when classes aren't in session!

By noon I was back in Arizona, enjoying the twistiest road of the trip, headed for the last cache I would need to meet the requirements of the challenge.

Once again, I got a chance to see things I wouldn't have seen otherwise, and enjoy some socially distanced windshield time. Life is good!