Trad: 99 Multi: 1 Puzzle: 1
Walked: 23 miles
I must be bloody mad.
For ages I had wanted to attempt 100+ finds in a day to fulfil various challenge caches. I had targeted the 79-cache Letchworth Greenway Gallivant series for my assault, since it offered a circular walk, caches which were meant to be found quickly and plenty of potential extras not far away to make up the numbers and if I had any DNFs.
Originally I had planned to do the series by bike but I unfolded the machine where I had parked in Willian, only to find the rear tyre was flat! Argh! No time to mend it and I wasn’t about to be defeated right at the start – especially with a 120-mile round trip to get here. So, I started off on foot, resigned to the fact that it was going to take considerably longer than planned.
I had a couple of frustrating DNFs right at the beginning, but once I was actually on the Gallivant caches, things started well enough.
The sun was shining, the landscape was pleasant and the caches came quickly. I kept moving, but it felt like slow progress. Eventually I reached the quarter-century find, and as a reward I got a free snail with the pot!
Just a few finds later, and I was beginning to feel like this graffiti dude I found painted in the subway under the A1(M)! Oh dear. Trudge on regardless.
Another setback a few caches later – the GPS was telling me that GZ was behind this fence! So I moved along quickly to the next… When you are on a mission, you can’t hang around. I allowed myself just 5 minutes per cache and if I didn’t find it in that time, I needed to forget it.
Eventually the half century ticked over – I was very relieved to find this pot (many were similar, so at least I knew what I was looking for).
I soon realised I was running out of fluids, despite having brought a lot with me. The unexpected sunshine was taking its toll. So I had to make a detour off the main circuit and into an estate to the north of Letchworth to go in search of a newsagents to buy more supplies. At least I bagged another trio while I was there. Then back to the main route, where I was completely ignored by bored sheep in the fields.
With a few more DNFs under my belt (13 in the end, and one found but could not open to sign, it was a field puzzle), I had to make another detour off the main route to pick up a handful of emergency extras, or I knew I would be short by the time I got back to the start. Dusk was beginning to fall too, as I clocked up No. 75.
I walked on some more, and the sun set even further.
Round about No. 80 I had a decision to make – press on and find the last 20 in the dark (I’m a bit useless at night caching) or give up and take a short cut back to the car. Well, what do you think I did?
My feet were killing me, but I knew that if I gave up I would just kick myself. So I decided to carry on. How difficult can this night caching lark be?
As it turned out, not as bad as I thought! Head down, concentrate on the next find. Was I afraid of the dark? Not really. There were a few birds and animals which I surprised during my bushwhacking. But nothing scary about that wildlife. What about getting mugged? (A question from my Mum). Well, to be honest, by the time I finished, I was the only fool stupid enough to be walking around the Greenway, I never saw a soul! So no.
Eventually, I hobbled back to where I had parked the car with 97 finds under my belt. It was now very dark, But time for a few drive bys in Letchworth to tip my total over the ton.
98… 99… 100! Yay! But you know what, there’s always time for one more, isn’t there?
Having started the day with a Church Micro find in Willian (12.5 hours ago!), I thought I should go one better than my target and finish off with another CM – 5460. This was the closest and thankfully a quick, easy find to bring up 101.
That’s it, I’m shattered, having walked 23 miles and done a little over 49,000 steps, now all I have to do is drive 60 miles home.
Would I do it again? Not tomorrow! Or the day after. One day, maybe. On my own? Nope. It was really hard work with only one pair of eyes and nobody to chivvy you on when motivation began to wane – so I was really pleased in the end that I managed to succeed doing 101 solo. But another time, I would welcome some company!