Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Liar's Geocache

Caution: This post may reveal secrets about certain geocaches. If you prefer not to know these secrets, do not continue reading.

This past week I've been thinking of ideas for a new geocache hide. We've placed several this past winter - traditional containers with common SWAG. Our Sugar and Spice was devious & cool, but most of them were just your basic geocaches. I wanted to do something a bit different. So how about a liar's geocache?

The idea is to hide an easy cache, give it a four or five star rating, and make the description on sound very difficult. Usually, the cache is listed as a multi or puzzle, and is named something like Ultimate Challenge, or Gauntlet. One was brazenly named, Prevaricator. When the finder gets to the first stage, instead of coordinates to the second, more difficult stage, a note is discovered with something like...

The cache you have just found is known as a "liars" cache. The only rule is that you must fabricate a story in order to log it online. I'm looking for Tall Tales, tangled webs and outright lies. Don't be shy. Let your imagination go wild, but do not disclose the nature of this cache.*

A promise to delete any revealing posts is added, so the logs contain fabulous stories and harrowing adventures about finding this legendary, 5-star geocache. Each tale grows taller with each find. Lot's of fun huh? Now to see if there are any liar's caches nearby.

I ran the idea past our local reviewer. His reply was short and business like. Although he could not dictate what kind of cache I could hide, he referred me to a now archived, liar's cache near the Wisconsin Dells - appropriately named, The Gauntlet.. Let the Games Begin. Here's the description...

Perhaps the toughest challenge you'll ever have to face

Preplanning is a must.. bring equipment to help you solve this quest.
*There are no trails
*You will have to bushwhack the entire way
*Water is involved
*Elevation changes could be a factor
*Rocks/boulders/cliffs/caves may be involved
*Wear proper footwear
*Bring water to drink

Once you reach the location seek out the container that holds the clues to finishing this adventure.

Cool, I thought. Just what I'm looking for. The cache had been voted Cache of the Year by the Wisconsin Geocaching Association. Excellent! It was now archived because someone had "outed" the cache, and the owner didn't want any more publicity. That's fine.

The logs were just what was to be expected - lots of great stories and favorable comments, even after the cache had been archived. What fun!

The logs, along with photographs, began on March 23, 2004. A "high road" leading to the cache is mentioned that required technical climbing, specialized gear, and ropework. A second "low road" is also mentioned, but it led through swamps, rivers, and mud. A gear list seems to materialize - flashlight, first aid kit, hip waders, ropes, headlamps, food, water, even sleeping bags and tents. If one was attempting the find in the winter the list got longer - Cliff snowshoes, gortex thermal wear, ropes, carabineers, waders, knee boots, calculator with trig functions sealed in a vacuum bag, 2-way radios sealed in plastic bags, camera sealed in bag, spare compass, topo maps, hand warmers, spare batteries, extra Ziploc bags, pens, pencils, cell phone, leather gloves, spare leather gloves, thick hunting coat with liner (exterior like a Carhart), back pack for all the stuff, a medical trauma bag with splints. One post even claimed they took a .22 pistol!

Then the Injuries started - a sprained knee, a cut requiring 6 stitches (caused by dropping a machete - brought along to cut through the Cave entrance underbrush) cut and bleeding fingers from climbing the rocks, a twisted ankle, a bump on the head, insect stings that landed one cacher in the hospital, bruises and scrapes, and a head laceration with concussion that required a medi-vac helicopter.

With each post, the story grew. Each one playing off the previous. The final stage was now to be found in a cave - with bats! The cache owner had to reassure searchers that the bats were merely  Myotis lucifugus (Little Brown Bats) not Petroglyfs vampires! Then the cave had strange, and mysterious markings. It went on and one like that for over two years!

If my new liar's cache could only be half this successful, wow!

But I wondered why our reviewer was less than enthusiastic about creating a new liar's cache here, just west of the Twin Cities. So I decided to do a little research, and after reading some posts and associated threads on the Groundspeak forums, I realized that a new liar's geocache in Minnesota would be about as welcomed as a Baby Ruth in a swimming pool. Why?

Tomorrow, Part II

*Excerpt borrowed from Today's Cacher

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