This past weekend I hit a geocaching milestone.  I found my 1000th geocache find.  Many of my 1000 were located in parking lots or on guardrails, or other places that took little to no skill to find.  Not to say that I haven’t had my fair share of memorable caches in that 1000 though.  There have been some amazingly creative hides, historic places, challenging hikes, and of course the tunnel crawls. Of course my 1000th cache could not be one of the basic urban hides.  Instead I had to challenge myself with a crazy climb to the top of a rusty old crane.

I actually came across this cache before the “Lost treasure of the confederates” and knew i wanted to do it.  I just needed a ground crew, or spotters for when I fell, to go with me.  Thankfully I found that crew.  The day of my 1000th cache started with crawling / walking through tunnels for a different cache, getting the burn in my legs.  Thankfully we completed that cache in less than an hour with no incident, and without any huge challenge.  After a few other nearby caches, including the oldest cache still alive in North Carolina, the crew and I decided to take a lunch break.

Sitting in a small restaurant in Concord I couldn’t help but make jokes and show my nerves about the challenge ahead.  We had no real idea how tall the rusty structure was even though we all had our ideas and had extrapolated the height in our own ways.  Over all it didn’t matter how tall it was since it sat on a rusty, solid, metal base with plenty of jagged angles to hit if one fell.   After treating myself to a spicy chicken sammich, and slice of peanut butter chocolate pie (decided I could have this as my last supper) we took off to the cache location.

We parked near the some of the poorest excuses for baseball fields I had ever seen and started our quarter mile hike toward the old rusty tower.  I’m not sure I can sum it up any better than I already have in my log for the cache.

I’m really not sure how to sum this one up. I could throw out a bunch of adjectives: Crazy, stupid, awesome, fun, challenging, rusty, tall, muscle burning. Or I could just leave a quick note and say that you gave me one hell of an adventure for my 1000th find. I’ll take neither of those approaches since they are both WAY to short for my long-winded self.

We approached from the listed parking coordinates and saw baseball fields that were completely depressing, but more importantly we saw the cache in the distance. Yes. Thats right. We could spot the location about .2 miles away. My heart fluttered as I knew I had designated myself the climber for this rag-tag group. As we made the descent through the (thankfully) dead Kudzu. My mouth dried up a little as I made jokes about falling to my death. (which my boss told me I would)

We arrived at GZ and I immediately hopped up onto the failed apparatus (that’s a pun – although it sounds gross/dirty when I think about it now) hoping to see the cache. Bending over backwards and tilting allowed me to place my head in the center of the device and look straight up….uncomfortably. I couldn’t see anything but that didn’t mean it as there. I decided to let SmithPeaknuckle stand on my back as I rested on all fours to see if he could see it. Still nothing. dang. Guess I’m just going up.

The first step up was the hardest. Some might say one giant step for man. Not sure who those some are though. Before I knew it I was scaling the rust beast without a safety rope and a small crowd of soon to be happy cachers, if I found it. I got near the top and was thankful to spot the cache within arms reach as I was originally afraid it would be somewhere way to hard to grab. I immediately had a realization. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to retrieve, open, and sign it for all of us with my limited strength and wavering nerves. We decided that the best bet was to throw it to the ground. I did. As the log was being signed, I made my descent to that perilous first step where the container was tossed up to me for my second climb.

Arms burning, breathing heavy, cache in my mouth, and my mind thinking back to the time as a young kid where I got stuck on my parents garage roof because I was too scared to take the first step on the ladder, I reached the summit for the second time in about 15 minutes. (maybe longer. I kind of blacked out for a bit) I quickly placed the cache container back to the spot where I found it. or at least roughly.

Back down I come. As hard as that first step was the last step was even harder for me. Thankfully SmithyPeaknuckle guided my foot to a safe spot and I touched down safely. Everyone in the crew contributed on this one. R&R was the photographer, SmithyPeaknuckle was the guidance, FailedApparatus was the log signer, and some other guy stood around a lot. 🙂

As I write my final words on my 1000th cache I sit here wondering…..did he really sign my name to that log?

The only other things to note are:

  • I took my camera up with me hoping to take a picture from the top.  You’ll notice there are no photos from up there
  • I’m not sure of the percentage, but I know that some of the previous people had safety harnesses.  Wusses!
  • I’m not sure if my arms hurt more because of using the muscles, or because of how tense the muscles were.
  • Overall it wasn’t THAT tall.  You wouldn’t want to fall for sure, but it really wasn’t too bad.
  • I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  In I’ve already found other “Death wish” caches I want to try.

There it is.  My 1000th cache find is complete and the challenges, history, fun, and adventures have been awesome.  I can’t wait to find number 2000!

While 1000 caches may seem like a lot to many people outside the hobby, it really isn’t.  Not when it’s compared folks that have 10,000, 20,000 and even 50,000 finds.  In reality I’m a noone in the geocaching community, and I don’t really care.  Hell, I’m only “ranked” 276th in North Carolina.  My 1000th cache is even less impressive when you look at how long it took me to do it compared to others.  Not that the numbers matter.

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