The Diary of a Geocacher: Hidden Creatures | AHollyS

The following post is the diary of AHollyS and her quest to finish the Hidden Creatures promotion, each day and each hide.

I started with the best of intentions. During the promotion, I hosted several themed events, dealt with fear of weather, and had varied toddler drama. Before starting, I could see how some cachers would have a way easier experience, while others would have it much harder. Yet others would have no desire to reach that darn turtle. All of these are valid.

Will I have the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat? Read on to find out.

June 27 – Attended the Monthly local social event. It was timed perfectly to kick off the Hidden Creatures Promotion. Didn’t stay long, kids had to get ready for bed etc.

1) C.B.G.B June Meet & Greet GC7QETF (Bigfoot Found)

June 28 – Nothing

June 29 – Okay, I’m attacking the Creatures. Have a special geocaching run planned with another cacher and her kids. (bonus tween/teen that can entertain the toddlers!) We are working on a series called the Tursti Trail. It is along the Buckeye Trail in Cleveland MetroParks. (Tursti is Viking-speak for hiking trail). The plan is to do all 26 caches. I already have #17-#26. My partner does not have those so we will hit those again.

On my way there is a freeway rest stop. I need to find a cache a both  the North and South sides as part of my quest to finish the Ohio Swirly Challenge (GC38W7A).

DNF – Resting on I-77 Northbound GC4D0X9

Left early, stopped at the northbound rest stop. Headed for the first GZ. Got there. Immediately one of the toddlers has to go pee. Take care of that, then back to the search area.  No joy.

2) Resting Again on I-77 Northbound GC4DA30

Success! Nailed a find for the Swirly Challenge and a cache towards Hidden Creatures.

We pull up to the trail head parking. One toddler projectile barfs ALL OVER the back seat, car seat, and herself. Hey Mom, I’m car sick.  I get out and have NOTHING in the car to clean her or the area up. Not even a McDonald’s napkin. Eventually I used the snow brush/ice scraper. Not my usual TOTT.

3) Buckeye Tursti #18 GC7KXYR (Fairy Found)
4) Buckeye Tursti #17 GC7KXYK
5) Buckeye Tursti #16 GC7KXYA
6) Buckeye Tursti #15 GC7KXY1 (Unicorn Found)

Well that did not go as planned. It was mud, so, so much mud. We only got to Tursti #15. The were kids pooped out, so we turned back. It was high adventure on the trail. We saw three backpackers, several of us fell in the muddy trail, and found a failed footbridge.

We followed the trail back taking a shortcut to the road (on a trail spur) to avoid the mud. During the return one toddler asked meaningful questions like “Why do we even geocache?” and shared other feelings like “I never want to geocache again mom” and “this is the worst day ever”.

June 30 – It was a recovery day. We all needed it.

July 1 – It is my first “Mythical Creatures” themed event for the promotion. I headed to a local Dog Park to meet up with Geo Dogs! Found a shady spot near the fence between the 25 lb + and under 25 lb areas.  My Snuggle Muggle and kids headed to the play park. I met the Geo Dogs Barney, Millie, Lilly and old friend Trixie. Several non-dog (non-owner) cachers attended as well.  It was a successful event.  Everyone liked it so much we agreed to have another Geo Dog event in the fall!

7) Mythical Creatures – Discover Geo Dogs !!! GC7R4GF  (Release the Kraken)

July 2 – Second “Mythical Creatures” themed event at the John Glenn Grove trail head on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath.

8) Mythical Creatures – Men From Outer Space GC7R4N6
9) Just Hanging #1 GC6N1ZK (Hippocamp Found)
10) Just Hanging #2 GC6N1ZW
11) Just Hanging #3 GC6N1ZZ
12) Just Hanging #4 GC6N204 (Mermaid Found)
13)The Towpath Trail ROCKS GC6N20B
14) Our 100th Hide GC6N20W

July 3 – Nothing

July 4 – It rained.

July 5 – Went to the Nat to workout. On the way home got three caches in the Oakwood Cemetery. I took the girls with me. They discovered the water spickets and how to operate them. (makes annoyed mom frown). We also saw people making headstone rubbings.

15) Oakwood Cemetery Cache  GC698HB (Sphinx Found)
16) Do You Hear What I Hear ? Listen to the Wind ! GC7KG5X
17) She Says It’s Not Ivy !!!  GC7M01N

July 6 – Disaster. Chris taking apart my Geo mobile to replace something with the ABS. I guess it is important to be able to STOP for geocaches.

July 7 – My Birthday. Day spent watching Chris finish my Geo mobile. Went grocery shopping with my Mom. Made a detour for a park and grab, she knitted, I signed the log.

18) Wholesomely Fun GC7F2N3

July 8 – It is time for some belated birthday geocaching! It is also the third “Mystical Creatures” themed event.

19) Portage County H&B Trail – #01 GC71A2R
20) Portage County H&B Trail – #02 GC71A3D
21) Portage County H&B Trail – #05 GC71AQZ
22) Portage County H&B Trail – #06 GC71AR4
23) Portage County H&B Trail – #07 GC71ARA
24) Portage County H&B Trail – #08 GC71ARH
25) Mythical Creatures – Dryads, Faries of the Wood GC7R4QP (Phoenix Found)
26) Portage County H&B Trail – #13 GC71T2A
27) Portage County H&B Trail – #12 GC71T27
28) Portage County H&B Trail – #11 GC71T22
29) Portage County H&B Trail – #10 GC71ARW

**DNF** Portage County H&B Trail – #09 GC71ARN **DNF**  – This is the LAST ONE ON THE TRAIL I NEED, after 6 visits to this trail. WHY GEO gods WHY?????? This DNF log is worth reading.

30) Feeling Blue GC1AM15 On a foot path near Kent State University’s Dix Stadium (yes THAT Kent State) (Troll Found)
31) A Cardinal on the Portage 2 GC1Q8M7

July 9 – I’m starting to worry that I’m not going to make it to the World Turtle before the end of the promotion. I contacted a local retired geocacher and scheduled a mid-week cache cluster run for a cemetery we both need. Date set for two days time.

July 10 – Stopped for a cache on the way home from the gym with the kids

32) Helheim GC3FJVY – Great Cache description!

July 11 – In an effort to get my creature tally up, I’m taking the kids out in the afternoon to find five or six caches.

33) Bee in Your Bonnet, Potter? GC2F2H9 – Super fun and easy Harry Potter Mystery in Kent, Ohio, home of Potterfest!

**DNF** For the love of a “Horse” GC57JQF – As a super awesome bonus at the GZ there was a dead squirrel in place of the cache. Um…Yuck.

34) Winnie the Pooh  GC5CWXT – I did find some poo that was not fake, and not the cache.
35) Slow but steady GC59JT7 (Found Yeti)
36) Riders in the dark GC5B27R
37) A colorful story GC5BZKK – We found several parts of this cache on the ground. The CO has not been active for over a year. We reassembled, replaced the log, and updated the coordinates as best we could. (There were several logs that said the coords were off 25-35 ft) Posted the corrected coordinates in my log.
38) Perry’s Puzzle GC70K9C

July 12 – Day two of the “five or six stratagem”. Working along the Portage County Hike and Bike trail with a park visit treat at the end. For the first time the kids didn’t make it feel like a death march. We even made it to the park with a little energy left. After 40 minutes one of the girls peed her pants so that was cut short, but hey my caches are in the bag. (For the record there were nearby potties, she just never said a thing.)

**DNF** Cosmo GCXCF8 – It is not there. Sadly it has not been found since 2016! I had suggested “Needs Archived” I totally am hoping the CO with see that and replace it. It was originally placed in 2006. I hate to see a cache of that age leave.

SPOILER: The CO replaced it the next day. Hooray! Best spoiler ever!

39) Bro or Manzier GCXCFZ – Two recent cachers had DNFed this. This was a super jungle bush whack to get in. Lots of skunk cabbage, no poison ivy! You had to be up on top of it to find it, but we did it. Very satisfying.
40) This Dance is between Land and River GC3GEYN – Earthcache! This got a favorite point.
41) Muttly’s Riverwalk #3 GCMWCX – This one should have been named “Groot”
42) …breaking news…Alien Invasion… GC1TG95
43) …special report…Alien Invasion Critical… GC316QN
44) …update…Alien Invasion… GC1TRGY
45) Love a Cache Challenge (N.E. Ohio) – Mystery/Challenge Cache – I did Option 3: FIND 10 caches that have not had a FIND in at least 3 months.

July 13 – Today we are trying to get another 5 caches. Not gonna lie I looked at the map for places that had clusters. I decided that I was starting to look for park and grabs because all the hiking ones were all found already. At least the closest ones. There were three in the park, so that is sort of a hike.
46) Thank You 2_OHbucs GC6333Z (P-N-G)
47) It’s A Circle GC63334 (P-N-G)
48) Old Yeller GC70XAW – OMG Saddest Disney movie ever. (P-N-G) Also reported a ‘Needs Maintenance” as the log was full.
49) A taste of Hawaii GC70VZR
50) Emerging Force GC6GMZX (Found Dragon) FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

**DNF** A Cache For JWH90 GC654PZ – Once again a cache that had not been found for months. There were many logs reporting on finding the lid, one log said they found the lid and took it because it was geo-trash. So it was really not there. I submitted a “Needs Archived”.

July 14– Still attempting the five a day goal. Had to take CLBRocker to the doctor. Afterward did some park and grab (or so I thought) caches.

51):) Another Smiley GC7CAHG

**DNF** XLMicrocache GC2GJM7 Another cache not found since Aug 2018, with multiple DNF logs over several months. And yes these are experienced people who are not making their 2nd find. I submitted a “Needs Archived”. It is starting to feel like I’m the Cache Angel of Death.

52) CREEPY CRAWLER #7 GC6HF01 – Well this was not a park and grab. I tromped 100 feet through waist high grass. Super glad that I didn’t wait for the spider time of year. <<Shudders at the thought>>
53) CREEPY CRAWLER #6 GC6HEZT Not a P-N-G either.
54) CREEPY CRAWLER #10 GC6KC1C Still not a P-N-G.
55) CREEPY CRAWLER #8 (Revisited) GC6W1A6 We were able to park close, but there was still waist high grass. Not a P-N-G.
56) CREEPY CRAWLER #9 (Revisited) GC6W1AC None of these are P-N-G. Maybe in spring or light snow it would be.
57) April Fools  GC6EY93 – This was very near a Thai restaurant. It SMELLED SO GOOD. I almost had to get Thai food. OMG.

July 15 – My fourth “Mythical Creatures” event! After the event I was hoping some attendees would want to “go with” and get the other caches in the park.

58) Mythical Creatures – Mothman GC7R4Y0 It was HOT!
59) FOHP6-18 Hudson Springs Park GC7KK75 Great gadet cache park of a Hudson Parks series that has a bonus. Find the code word in each cache to get the cords to the final. This got a favorite point.
60)Water’s Edge GC5TZ4Y Great cache. I learned a new way to hide at this cache.  This got a favorite point.
61)Lake View GC5TZ5R Can’t believe I stuck my hand in there. This got a favorite point.  At this point CLBRocker, EKB13, and MrsWigglesworth thought I was gone from the park. They started down the trail. I was in the peace of the woods and I hear “MOOOOOOOOOOOM”. They found me.
62) HSP – Half Way GC47GYE The kids learned to check bridges for Trolls. Two foot stomps is just like knocking on a human’s door.
63)Timeage Turns 10 GC475BC
64)Hudson Explorers II GC47GXC
65)Down to the Roots – FOHP1-17 GC72TZH
66)Valleyview GCXAHH
67)Kum Ba Yah – Again GC64QN4 It was so hot we all quit. There are still five more unfound caches in the park.

July 16 – Nothing I’m to tired

July 17 – So at this point I’m starting to divide out how many caches I need to find that darn World Turtle by days left in the promotion. 33/8 = 4.125
Stratagem…..I have three events I will be attending during the remaining time. 30/8= 3.75 That feels better, but still how can I accomplish this. Plan A attend my final “Mythical Creatures” event and do the Mickey Head Geo-Art. That is 34 caches. Sweet! What if it rains? That event is three days before the promotion ends. I’m screwed.  I need to consult the map.

Found NONE. Why did I bother with all that math.

I also emailed the caching family I did part the of the Tursti Trail with earlier in the promotion. It has been dry and I’m hoping to meet up and get some less muddy numbers. I get a response. Broken little toe. No dice on that outing.

July 18 – Attending an event about 10 miles out of my usual area. Taking this opportunity to get some numbers! Park -N- Grab here I come!

68) Movies fit for royalty GC165H0  **P-N-G**
69) J & J’s defunk GC1TGKK  **P-N-G**
70) Micro Speed GC1TGKB
71) The Ohio State Box GC20PPJ
72)Turkeyfoot Boog GCTJ9Y This ended up being a bushwhack adventure! Has a water crossing (with toddlers!). Totally found the trail AFTER finding the cache. #LikeAGeocacher #BushwhackInTrailOut
73) Be a Kid Again GC6E590
74) Let Sleeping Dogs Lie GC6WZ7R  **P-N-G**
75) LAME #3: Just One More GC1QCB8  **P-N-G**
76)  C.B.G.B event and send off for The Hiking Viking GC7R8KR There was FREE CAKE!

July 19 – Math time again. Still have two events during the remaining time 24-2= 22.  6/22 = 3.66 per day still needed. Not feeling like much progress here.  Also it is looking like four days of rain in the forecast. I think I need to get some caches in the found category while the weather is good.

July 20 –  Nothing Why did I do all that math…only to skip days and need to recalculate. **GPS Voice in head** Recalculating.  24/6(days- today included) = 4 per day…..still. No rain.

July 21 – **GPS Voice in head** Recalculating. 24/5(days- today included) = 4.8 per day…..still. Things are not getting better. No rain. Starting to get antsy. Maybe a little panicky too. Starting to look at the geocaching map.

I found a small “power trail” that I can get to with the kids. I marshaled the kids and my mom to go for “a walk”. I also broke out my new Phone mounting bracket for a bike. I mounted it on the handle of the umbrella stroller. It works great.

77) Chippewa Rail Trail #14 – W  GC7PR80
78) Chippewa Rail Trail #13 – W  GC7PR7P
79) The Mighty Jungle GC6HPNQ

This trail had parking with part of the trail to the north, the majority, and part to the south, only three caches. We did the three to the south first, then headed north to the farthest away cache. Once we got the end of the trail we headed back picking up caches.

80) Chippewa Rail Trail #20 – E GC7PVB1 As we were walking the trail my phone popped up with a notification. Someone had discovered my car the “Yellow Jacket” in the parking lot for this trail. OOOOOh other cachers about! This is always exciting, after all discoveries are not made in the “wild” that often.  Shout out to SuperStevie for the unexpected bit of discovery excitement.

81) Chippewa Rail Trail #19 – E  GC7PVAV
82) Chippewa Rail Trail #18 – W GC7PVAP

It started to rain! We are about 2 miles from the car. Oh no. Luckily, it stopped after about 3 or 4 minutes. Seriously the Hidden Creatures are against me.

83) Chippewa Rail Trail #17 – E GC7PVAF
84) Chippewa Rail Trail #16 – E GC7PVAB
85) Chippewa Rail Trail #15 – E GC7PV8Z
86) West 35- The Great Debate – East vs West Cleveland GC3G751
87) Chippewa Rail Trail #12 – E GC7PR7F I was just off the trail walking in circles when a woman stops, looks at me and asks “Are You Geocaching?” Why yes I am! I met another geocacher in the trail. Hi to Craft Cacher!

Are you counting? That is THREE separate cachers on this one trail. That never happens to me outside of Mega events.

88) Chippewa Rail Trail #11 – E GC7PR75
89) Chippewa Rail Trail #10 – E GC7PR6Z
90) Chippewa Rail Trail #9 – E GC7PR6Q
91) Chippewa Rail Trail #8 – E GC7PR6H
92) Chippewa Rail Trail #7 – E GC7PR68

I was again off the edge of the trail looking for GZ when a couple with a dog stopped.  It was SuperStevie! I was excited to see the cacher that had only minutes earlier discovered my car TB. She helped me locate this cache and headed back up the trail.

93) Chippewa Rail Trail #5 – E GC7PR5T
94) Chippewa Rail Trail #4 – E GC7PR5A
95) Chippewa Rail Trail #3 – E GC7PR4V
96) Chippewa Rail Trail #2 – E GC7PR4E
97) Chippewa Rail Trail #1 – E GC7PR3G

This was the first Hike & Bike trail were the girls understood that when you’re tired of walking, don’t walk slower, sit in the stroller and ride! We made it back to the car just as clouds were rolling in and darkening the sky. We loaded up the car with strollers and kids heading home. As we pulled on the road rain drops started to splash the windshield. Mom and I discussed how close we cut it with the weather. How lucky we were. I also did a little happy dance as I thought I had finished the World Turtle. YOU see that I in fact have not completed the Turtle.

July 22 – I log all the finds that I made the day before. I’m disgusted to see that I’m not done with Hidden Creatures. I may have cussed.

July 23 – **GPS Voice in head** Recalculating. 3/3(days- today included) = 1 per day…..still.

98) Mythical Creatures – The Puzzleing TurDuckHen GC7T3MT (My final Mythical/Hidden Creatures event)

Some of the event attendees had planned to do the nearby Mickey Mouse Geo Art. I was one of them. Everyone else brought bikes. I didn’t. I had planned to walk. The bike group loaded in to a car to the parking at the other end of the art to ride back to the second car left at the event end of the trail.

99) Mickey Mouse Geoart 34 GC7PPGT
100) Mickey Mouse Geoart 33 GC7PPJ9 (World Turtle Found)

I walked the round trip, 4.6 Miles one way. It was a wonderful trek through rural Ohio farmland, with tons of butterfly activity the entire way. I will not share the details of the entire trip as I finished the World Turtle two caches in, but I will say I walked the trail one way as fast as the bikers rode it. (Yes I’m being smug).

As I got back in my car, the Yellow Jacket, I could hear the Geo-angels singing. Heralding the arrival of the World Turtle.

July 24 – No caching today.

July 25 – No caching, just prep and pack for camping at Midwest Geobash 2018, because we leave tomorrow for that!

How did Hidden Creatures go for you? Did you reach your goal? What made this promotion memorable for you? 

April Holly Smith (aka AHollyS) has been a registered member of Geocaching.com since 09/08/2001, although not finding her first geocache until December 2007. Her geocaching accomplishments include attending a GeoCoinFest , 6 ASP GeoBashes, 7 Midwest GeoBashes, 2 Mogas, and 7 Geowoodstocks (including the Giga), and the launch of the first E.T. Trail. Her, now deceased, husband is originally from Cache, Oklahoma. She is currently a stay-at-home mom with her 2 girls, 5 and under. In addition, she enjoys hosting geo-events and volunteers as the Geocaching Coordinator for Stan Hywet Hall and Garden in Akron, Ohio. April can be contacted on Instagram @AprilHollySmith .

The Geocache Talk blog wants your geocaching-related stories and insights – and diary entries! Please contact me, Angie (aka @GeoJangie), to write a guest blog post or if you have any recommendations for subjects or authors. I can be reached via my email: JangieGoWest@gmail.com or through InstagramTwitter, or Facebook.