Old caches

10 02 2012

New Zealand had a few GPS enthusiasts in the very early days of geocaching and there are still a handful of active caches in the country that were placed there in the first year of geocaching. Five years ago when I was caching in Dunedin on the South Island I found GCB1 Unity Park by Donovan that was placed on 2000-11-12 and failed to find GCB2 Botanical Gardens also placed by Donovan and on the same date. At that time I just thought it was a fun thing to have found such an old cache and left it at that. Now I know better. Caches placed in the first few months of geocaching are worth their weight in gold, figuratively speaking, and I am now challenging myself to find at least one from every month that caches have been around. It means that I will have to do some travelling to achieve the goal. Great!

On last year’s holiday in New Zealand I did a bit of a road trip on the North Island that included the idea of finding the oldest cache in the country. That was GC46 Geocache by Kevin Andersson which was placed in the first month of geocaching i.e. on 2000-05-26. In fact that was only three weeks after the famed placement of the worlds first geocache by Dave Ulmer on 2000-05-03. More can be read about my North Island find in my blog https://ds8300.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/north-island-tour/.

Since then I have discovered that most of the early caches are in USA (of course) but that New Zealand has more than it’s fair share of old ones. As a consequence I decided that I would try to find a couple of them on this year’s holiday down under. The northernmost old cache is to be found in Auckland which I had on my list of places to visit but the southernmost old cache was in Bluff, which is as far south as you can get in New Zealand without getting a boat over to the nearby New Zealand Stewart Island.

Getting to GC4B Auckland Stash by nz_etrex was a simple drive out into the country ending up at the gate to a farm. There the cache was easily found and in good condition.

GC4B Auckland Stash by nz_eztrex

Log of find

The two southernmost old caches are GC1AF and GC1C8, both placed in January 2001. The annoying thing, now, rather than at the time, was that in 2008 I stopped to find GC1C8 Table Hill but as I was in shorts and sandals discovered that bushbashing after many years of growth of the indigenous scrubby bushes wasn’t so easy, so I didn’t bother forging on in to find the cache!

This year I decided that I had time to visit the caches GC153 Sutton Salt Lake by Donovan, placed on 2000-12-06 and one of the other three old Donovan caches to be found in or close to Dunedin.

GC153 Sutton Salt Lake by Donovan

First page in the original logbook

The cache was a short walk from the car park and an easy find. After signing the log I walked the extra kilometer to the Sutton Salt Lake earthcache and as part of the logging process walked round the lake. The water looked disgusting so I didn’t attempt to taste it to see if it was salty.

The old caches close to Dunedin where I stayed the night are GCAF Mount Cargill, GCB0 Flagstaff Hill and GCB2 Botanical Gardens, all placed in November 2000. My choice fell on GCAF Mount Cargill. It was blowing a gale and raining when I reached the cache so I made a quick foray up the hill (the hard way of course) signed the log, took a couple of photos and then headed off to the nearby earthcache at the top of the hill.

GCAF Mount Cargill by Donovan

First page in logbook #3 that's been there since 2007

As an aside not related to the old caches I stopped at what I thought was GCMFXP Hyde Rail Disaster and logged a find. Some days after I got back to Sweden I got a mail from Guwapo (or at least Guwapo’s dad Bruce) to say that I had actually found GC3A692 “The Adriatic Express Affair” as that had replaced the older cache. He also let me know that he was the cacher who maintained GCAF. Small world!
Here’s GC3A692 on the memorial cairn for the train disaster.

GC3A692 sitting on the memorial cairn

Anyway, after the two old cache finds I now have just five months to go.

My finds based on placed months - only five gaps left!

Congratulations to Hallén on finding caches in all months! Just read his blog hallensgeocachingaventyr.wordpress.com




2 responses

10 02 2012
Daniel Takayama

Thanks for your blog post! I find your blog to be one of top two in Sweden about geocaching! Have a nice weekend!
Geocacher D/T

10 02 2012

Great blog post 🙂
I still have a lot of months missing, I need to spend more time caching when travelling. My primary objective is to fill the D/T Matrix. But in winter in Switzerland, all terrains deserve at least +2 and there are already underrated compared to some other countries. So I am waiting for summer. I should focus on old caches during winter 🙂

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