Looking for the Third (and Final?) (Pine) Needle in a Haystack

Today's Geocache

    Hi, Rich!

    Well, well, well. I’ll bet you didn’t expect us to find this one on our first try! We didn’t either. Our skills (and/or our luck) must be improving!

    Rich and I visited your viewpoint coordinates last night and set up our scope. Though conditions were far from ideal, we were able to spot the tree with ease and made note of some calculations and observations that might come in handy.

    This morning we dragged ourselves out and up the mountain before the full heat and humidity of the day were upon us. Along both wooded and open trails we hiked, guided by our observations from last night and working our way toward some predetermined “points of interest” while keeping an eye toward the proper bearing back toward Part 1.

    Somewhat by coincidence we happened upon a very helpful vantage point, from which we were almost certain we had again spotted the tree in question. From that point, only a light bushwhack was needed to bring us to the tree. Following your directions, and noting carefully the position of trampled-down blueberry bushes in the immediate area, it was mere minutes before I had the final prize in hand! I jubilantly brought it out for Rich to see.

    “What’s this?!” I exclaimed as I looked inside. It certainly was not the final prize: apparently there was more to the hunt! After some laughter and some choice words, we moved on.

    We found the final stage without difficulty and were astounded by the vista that lay before us. You’ve certainly outdone yourself with this one! Fully impressed, Rich and I enjoyed the final spot so much, we probably could have stayed there for hours if only we’d brought a picnic lunch.

    We both have enjoyed the opportunity, on each of your “tree series” hunts, to sharpen our observational and map-reading skills, to explore in depth the wilderness in our backyard, and just to enjoy some good hikes with a goal in mind. There really is a thrill of discovery and a feeling of accomplishment when finding these “#*&% trees.”

    And now, the challenge. On our way to the final part, Rich and I decided that should we find the cache, we would leave the First Finder’s prize for the next successful hunter. Not only did we feel it was only fair since we did have a prior heads-up to the publication of this cache, but we also hoped that it would entice someone else to give this cache challenge a chance. But there’s a catch: we will return to the cache for the $5.00 prize on August 8.

    I have been impressed before by the skills and perseverance of our local NEPA geocachers. I know you can do it, and I’m pretty sure you’ll have fun. So give it a try, fellow cachers! The clock is ticking … icon_smile_evilicon_smile_big


    Howdy, Rich!

    Guess what! We found this one on our very first try. However, we did avail ourselves of a brief visit to the viewpoint late yesterday afternoon in order to scope out the pine tree (which was very easy to pick out, so I think binoculars could be sufficient for anyone else interested in doing it). Also, we carefully calculated our own bearing angle of 121° which allowed us to narrow the proposed search area considerably. Going over the digital topo maps and photos later that evening gave us a fairly good idea where to conduct our initial search.

    The weather this morning was cool and comfortable so we figured that a hike on the trails of Moosic Mountain was in order, mostly with the intent of doing only a preliminary reconnoiter. Once we got there, though, we began a more determined search for clumps of trees and reference objects that looked familiar from the photo, including the pine tree itself. We had no luck, but then we walked further down to a really great vantage point, not too far from the area in question. It didn’t take long to spot a single tree that stood out as being the correct one. Of course, there wasn’t a large red bag hanging on it as shown in the photo! A quick guesstimate of the bearing and distance from our current vantage point had us at the pine tree in minutes! Zhanna grabbed the container at Part 3 and then (after a bit of groaning—we weren’t aware that there was a Part 4 at this time!) we were off to the final stage, which we found easily not long afterwards. What a terrific place for the final cache! We enjoyed a nice rest while signing the log sheet, sitting on a boulder in the breezy sunshine, with a panoramic view of the valley below. Great job on this geocache, Rich!

    Finally, since we had prior warning of the existence of this cache (but without the hints, the 2nd reference point, the updated tree photo, or knowledge of the extra stage, and we didn’t know about the grave, either), we chose not to take the FTF prize, and decided instead to leave it behind for now as an incentive to any other adventurous geocachers. (How about it, Joe?! icon_smile) Your three pine tree caches turned out to be really exciting and fun, they got us onto some pleasant trails and old woods roads, and provided us with some additional experience using maps and aerial photos to find our way around on this mountain. Much “Thanks!” for putting your time and effort into them. (But we won’t complain, at least too much, if this is truly the last one! icon_smile_wink)

    Cheers …

    ~Rich in NEPA~