Thursday, February 23, 2017


Snowy mountains from a high point near our Clarkston home. Billowy white clouds remind us of March.
Mike invited me to accompany him on a quest to find a couple of “problematic” geocaches. We left the dogs at home and headed out mid-morning. The day was sunny but not really warm, so I wore my coat.

Our first stop was at a park in a downtown Clarkston residential area. It was a puzzle cache and sadly, we didn’t figure it out while we were there. The air was calm, the sun was bright. All was right with the world.

The Snake River at Hells Gate RV Park
Then we went on to an RV park near Red Wolf Bridge, and now I could hardly open the car door for the wind! The sun was bright but the wind felt as if it was coming off a snowy mountain. I was so glad I wore my coat!

This park offers a time line of the Lewis and Clark Expedition drawn into the sidewalk, and the object of the puzzle was to fill in missing numbers in the coordinates by answering questions about certain dates on the timeline -- not pleasant in the cold and the wind. We hurriedly jotted down our numbers and hurried into the car to solve the puzzle. The coords were nearby where metal figures commemorated the explorers. “Under foot” was the clue, but we didn’t find the “nano” cache until Mike read comments from a previous cacher.

Now, the “nanos” are tiny caches -- thumbnail size. This one is a magnetic container that unscrews in the middle. The log is a tiny strip of paper tightly rolled and inserted into the unit. In order to sign the log, you have to pull the roll out of the container, unroll it, date and initial, then re-roll and re-insert it into the container. It can be an ordeal when things go well, but – things didn’t go well. Once Mike had the log inserted into half of the unit, he dropped the other half.

We’ve had these kinds of experiences before. We know that once a small object drops between the seat and the console, it’s a black hole.
“*--*!” said Mike.
A view of North Lewiston
We searched to no avail, and finally decided we should just go home, fix it up – perhaps with a new unit – and then return it. No need to worry that someone would look for it today anyway, I opined. We drove to another cache, which Mike found easily, and then we returned home.

I knew Mike was upset, so I didn’t say anything, but I had to stifle the urge to giggle. We will laugh about this one day, I thought to myself, – just not now.

At home, Mike hoped to suck up the lid with his little shop vacuum. Since he would be staying outside, he handed me his GPS to carry into the house. I reached to grasp the GPS but at the last nanosecond, I realized he was also handing me what remained of the tiny unit. I missed it, with the result that the little log fell – you guessed it – between the seat and the console. Mike had plenty to say. The irreplaceable part of the whole unit was now gone.

Meanwhile, as we were exiting the car and preparing to search under the seats, Mike discovered the missing lid in the driver’s seat. Now just the log was missing and we wanted to find it. We worked quite a while. At one point I was sure I had found it, but it proved to be a piece of popcorn wrapped in a little strip of paper. Finally Mike was successful in capturing the log with his vacuum. He cleaned the nano unit, reassembled it, and took it back to the cache site.

But before he left, we looked at each other – and laughed. KW


Chris said...

Thanks for the giggle!! Glad it turned out well. And I agree--the space between the console and the seats is a trap of gigantic proportions for such a small area!

Kathy said...

It's amazing what I saw under the seats -- peanuts and cheerios, undoubtedly from Chex mix munched as we traveled -- and lots of crumbs. I'm sure it's much cleaner now that Mike vacuumed.

Hallie said...

Maybe a "mini" cache is just small enough. Why go to "nano"?

Mike said...

Since this posting I solved the puzzle cache and returned to get it. It was cold, wet and intermittently snowing but I got it.
Good question on the "nano", Hallie. Different folks have different ideas of what geocaching is all about. The next time we visit you we're going down to the geocaching head quarters.