Yesterday I was singing the praises of a lovely countryside walk but hinted at the fact that my geocaching experience was a little bit rubbish. In fact, at times I mean that literally.
Before I begin my tirade I should probably share with you what floats my geocaching boat. I like to discover new lovely places that I would never have found without that geocacher leading me there. I like hides that are creative or sneaky, that when you finally spot them you can’t help but grin and simultaneously curse the CO for being a devious little so-and-so. And also the hides that are just good fun, be that running through the forest from a imaginary dragon (True story!) or leaping around in a tunnel under the road trying not to fall in a stream – what can I say? I’m a determined little thing!
The types of hide that leave me cold are a string of matching containers in uninspiring places and caches in the middle of housing estates – why oh why do you bring me here?!
However I firmly believe in the sentiment that if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. On these occasions my logs are brief but mostly polite.
So what went wrong at the weekend?
The trail we were following was always going to be a challenging start with the first couple of caches having some recent DNF logs, this doesn’t usually deter us too much. It’s a satisfying feeling to find a cache that has evaded previous cachers and I refuse to give up on a cache until the fat lady or in this case the reviewer sings.
The first cache however we promptly ditched these principles as the area was quite uninspiring and coordinates took us to a stagnant drainage ditch which stank to high heaven. Life is too short to be wasting time in places like this and my blunt log said as much. Clearly the reviewer was on the ball and the cache was promptly temporarily disabled.
The next cache or lack of was much the same, only a couple of recent DNFs but when we found ourselves in an area covered in rusty barbed wire you can’t help but ask yourself why.
Then I saw I was looking for a 35mm film pot. Next!
Luckily our walk improved and the rest of the trail took us through a nice area. The next few caches proved to be in place and in areas that we deemed worthy of searching, with the exception of one which was placed alongside an extremely busy and fast road. Why oh why oh why?!
Whilst my logs were at times a little blunt I still tried to remain polite. Further investigation showed the the CO has not logged in to their geocaching account for some time, let alone carry out any much needed maintenance. This does annoy me slightly, but then I feel bad as I guess none of us know what others have going on in their lives at any given time so I tend to keep my mouth shut.
Finally we moved on to the cache that had originally drawn us to the area for the day. A new geocache that boasted some lovely views and was located at a well preserved Pillbox. Always worthy of exploring!
By this point a couple of previous finders had been and logs hinted at the area not being in the best condition but no concerns had been raised. Erring on the side of caution though the children were under strict instruction to not approach the building as they galloped ahead up the hill.
One of the children quickly found the cache, nestled in grass at the side of the pillbox. Climbing on the roof kept them amused but being inquisitive we all of course wanted to explore inside.
Being the fearless explorer that I am, I sent Mr Muddy in first 😉 who quickly reported that things were pretty grim inside.
I then went in for a peek and was truly disgusted by what I saw. The pillbox had clearly been used as a dwelling for some considerable time and was a disgusting pit of squalor and destitution. I felt very uncomfortable and disturbed that I’d considered coming to this place alone earlier in the week when the cache was first published. Jeez!
We left quickly and I was pretty pissed that a cache was in this location. The underlying ethos of geocaching being CITO. Cache in, trash out. If you place a cache in the wild you should be ensuring you respect the environment and fellow cachers by removing any rubbish in The area.
I was fuming so decided I’d wait a few hours before writing my log in order to calm down a little.
Late that night I was still pretty annoyed and could no longer prolong writing my log. I started nicely with respect for the CO, (who I’ve recently awarded three favourite points. My issue is not with the CO at all.) I however felt that I couldn’t ignore what I’d seen and explained how very uncomfortable I was with the cache in this location.
Clearly others had found no issue with the cache but I’m sorry I couldn’t leave the issue imagining children running ahead to explore and encountering God knows what.
I did take photos, but I feel they are too offensive to put on. Nobody needs to see that.
Why would this place make a good location for a geocache?
Luckily rather than the scathing email I expected in the morning I was surprised to see that the CO had archived the cache. I still however felt very guilty. It can’t be nice to read that somebody feels so strongly about a cache you have gone to the trouble of purchasing and placing.
The cherry on the archive cake was then the coincidental archiving of my current nemesis cache. I can bear no blame for this one, only contributing slightly to its forthcoming demise. Still with its uncanny timing didn’t help with the feeling that I was Muddy mum, cache assassin! 😞
I’m still feeling bad that I’ve potentially offended a fellow geocacher but strongly believe that it was the right thing to do. What’s the point of having principles but not acting on them?
Was I right to speak out? Others didn’t seem to share my concerns.
Is it better to have a cache in a dodgy location than no cache at all? I don’t think so but I’m sure plenty would disagree.
What do you think?