Pandora’s Box of Troubles

Jim Carson

One of the more unsual geocaches I found recently is a puzzle cache described as thus:

Even in a box of troubles, there is HOPE

You may have some trouble with this cache. The container is waterproof because it may be under water at times. There is significant elevation change and you will have to bushwhack through thorns and brush.Inside the cache box are SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS for logging this cache – please take note of them. The posted coordinates are in a place that is guaranteed to get you wet. You may enjoy watching the salmon jump at that spot, but don’t try to search there. To determine where the cache is located, solve this little puzzle: […]

Please be careful when retrieving the container. If muggles don’t see you, the bears surely will.

It was one of those where I had to carefully construct my log entry afterwards.  I wasn’t really up to writing pages of prose, so I went for a paragraph and a bunch of photos (taken during many other geocache trips) with snarky captions.  As it’s a premium cache, you’d need a geocaching ID to read it… so I’ve appended it here.

Well, I don’t know where to begin other to say the bears were the least of our problems. I wish geocaching.com had a feature where I could put a cache on the Ignore list for other people, just to save them from the heavy burden this cache has imposed. However, since there is no feature like that, the best thing I can do is emphasize the warnings we blatantly ignored (photos attached) were to our peril.

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“Don’t worry, this doesn’t apply to geocachers!”
We found the corner piece of the puzzle!
First rule of puzzles: corners and borders then center!

 

I solved the straightforward puzzle pretty quickly. I was feeling pretty smug and dashed off to retrieve information on the second.

On the way to waypoint 1
Waypoint 1 hint: White micro hidden under rock.

The next thing I know, I woke up in a hospital bed with some suit asking me questions about Bayesian mathematics, bioelectric propagation, and preservatives in dessert toppings. “Disturbing” just isn’t strong enough of an adjective to describe my feelings.

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Waking up in the hospital: not the most flattering photo, but I was alive and had worn clean underpants.

 

A few months later, while out carousing with a group of alpha cachers, one thing led to another, and I found myself scheduled to leave on an expedition to GCTCX7. WTH?

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Mapping our route with the beta version of Garmin Basecamp.

 

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Mad Max at Thunderdome, but without Tina Turner.

 

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Bucolic, deadly meadow.

 

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I embrace this calm.  I embrace this calm.

 

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Waypoint 2 hint: Under a rock at 8,200′

 

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Waypoint 3 hint: base of sage

 

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Waypoint 4 hint: blow me.

 

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Our fearless, buff guide.

 

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The last thing our guide photographed

 

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The cache listing mentions bears, but not owls.  An important difference: owls fly silently and vomit the whole remains of their prey.   Fsck.

 

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My owl disguise didn’t help

 

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“Emits showers of sparks” blah blah blah — geocaching has inured me from picking up things with my bare hands.

 

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Cliff’s a nice guy and not really 300 feet tall.

 

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Is the poison gas coming from the guy who just upchucked in the hole?

 

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Beer goggles won’t help you at the Medusa GastroPub.

 

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It’s like 2010: A Space Odyssey.

 

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This is not nearly as bad as that durian San brought to the office.

 

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As a northwesterner, I have no idea what this is — a spiked veggie wrap?

 

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Okay, I’ll eat that.

 

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Higher ground? What higher ground?

 

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Metal eating yellow jackets.

 

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The erudite salmon speaks the Queen’s English: bewaaaaare

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