Haven’t written anything here in a very long time, so I figured I’d continue my series of “top 10 geocache finds” posts. I neglected to post 2021’s edition last year, so here it is, along with 2022.
Top 10 of 2021
2021 was another year where I didn’t do much traveling due to COVID, so Maryland is very well-represented for a second year in a row, with Delaware making a token appearance.
- Alice Martin Memorial Letterbox (GC7T20G)
I’ve always enjoyed caches by flyingmoose, and have two of them on my list this year. This was a great hike up Evitts Mountain in Allegany County (MD), near Rocky Gap State Park. The cache is right near the MD/PA border, and there are some interesting survey markers to check out there as well.
- Could I Have Been…Caching at Merriweather? (GC9FH6R)
This was a fun urban-style letterbox with a solve-at-home puzzle thrown in for good measure. I can’t say too much about the hide without giving it away, but I do enjoy finding caches hidden in this type of location when they’re done well, and this one most definitely was.
- Discovering Soldiers Delight (GC8NQ2A)
Soldier’s Delight is a really neat place to hike that features a very rare and unique serpentine ecosystem. This cache is a multi-stage hike that was placed in 2020 to encourage folks to get outdoors during COVID lockdown, but things had relaxed somewhat when I got around to it in early 2021. I really enjoyed the opportunity to spend a couple of mornings hiking in the area.
- Drift Adventure Lab: Bigger Thing (GC8VDA2)
This was an adventure lab bonus cache along a really nice 10-mile paddle down the Patuxent River from the Riverkeeper HQ to Magruder’s Landing. We did this in September, and had a great time.
- Lizzie’s Long Walk – Redux (GC95RYD)
Another nice multi-stage hike (are you picking up a theme here?), this time in Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. My first time visiting this area was in 2013 or 2014 to complete the original Lizzie’s Long Walk cache, and this was a fun walk down memory lane.
- ManBear Trail 21 (GC8Z7R8)
The ManBear Trail is a fun series of hides in Patapsco Valley State Park, on the south side of the river between Marriottsville Rd and Henryton Rd. Many of the hides feature challenges like tree climbs, steep terrain, etc. This was one of the more memorable hides, but this entry is meant to represent all of the caches, as this was easily my favorite series of 2021.
- Polluted Beauty (GC6VWYZ)
Kind of hard to have a “favorite caches” list of any kind without a ProgKing cache in there somewhere, although it’s getting tougher, as he has (sadly) mostly retired from geocaching. This was out on a rather swampy peninsula at Liberty Reservoir, but I lucked out and got there during a dry spell, which made for an easier approach than several other finders had reported. As usual, it was a great, secluded spot with wonderful views, even in December with the leaves off the trees.
- The Dark Side of the Mountain (GC33GPX)
This one is just off the Appalachian Trail, near the Pogo Memorial Campsite, and I found it in the pre-dawn hours of the morning during a quick overnight backpacking trip. Great climb up the ridge to the east of the AT, and a nice find with sweeping views of the valley below. I hung around until just after sunrise, which probably would have been spectacular, had the skies not been overcast. Oh, well.. life isn’t perfect.
- Vanishing Bride (GC59ZZB)
This is the second flyingmoose cache on this year’s list. It’s the second in a series of two letterbox caches hidden in Delaware Seashore State Park, near Bethany Beach, DE. The series is best done in the non-growing season, but I’m usually there in July, so I made do. It’s a well-done pair of true letterbox caches with a great backstory. Just don’t forget the Permethrin if you go in the summertime!
- Wind in the Willows Bonus Cache (GC8ZZ1K)
This was a serene paddle along the headwaters of the Chester River that we did in mid September. The associated adventure lab had a great story to go along with it, and the find was icing on the cake.
Top 10 of 2022
2022 finally saw the return of some out-of-state travel for me, which is reflected in 2022’s top ten list:
- Arikaree (GC31)
This is the second-oldest cache in Kansas, and in my humble opinion, a far better cache than its more-famous neighbor, Mingo (GC30) (although that one did make my list in 2016). The Arikaree Breaks are truly a sight to behold.
- Brontosaurus (GC9TPP5)
This is the final in a really nice series of dinosaur-themed caches in the Rockhaven area of Patapsco Valley State Park, a lesser-traveled section of the park with a very nice trail system. I’m partial to nice hikes and caches in the woods, and this series afforded me 3 or 4 very nice hikes, so it was a no-brainer for the list.
- Turkey Run Stash (GCC6)
This is one of the oldest hides in Indiana. I think it is officially billed as the oldest to stay active since publication, as apparently there’s another cache up in the northern part of Indiana that is older, but was archived for a significant period of time before being re-hidden and resurrected. Regardless, Turkey Run State Park is not to be missed.
- G.A.Kohler (GC7BA2N)
A virtual cache located on the beach outside Salvo, NC, at the shipwreck of the G.A. Kohler. Lots of reasons this made the list: I love the OBX; 2022 was our first visit in 5 years; shipwrecks are really cool; and this one was quite impressive. I apparently was lucky to see it in all of its glory, vs buried under the sand as it often is.
- GoT: The Wall (GC8RCD3)
Another epic 10-mile paddle on the Patuxent River, a little bit south of last year’s. This one started at King’s Landing Park and wrapped at Hallowing Point. The caches are part of a 50-cache series based on Game of Thrones, some of which are land-based, and others which are accessible by boat only. Completing the series is one of my projects for 2023.
- Grand MasterMind (GC9TPR1)
A fun, left-brained puzzle followed up by another great hike in Patapsco Valley State Park. Not much more to be said about this one!
- Il Milione (GC9G3AT)
This was a really nicely done field puzzle and gadget cache, with progressive clues to help guide the gadget-cache-challenged among us to a solution and a successful find. A well-constructed and well-done cache all around.
- Kerckhoffs (part 2) (GC9PAWZ)
A tricky, but fun, encryption-themed puzzle cache that had me scratching my head for quite a while, although not nearly as much as its sequel has me scratching my head!
- Lakeview From 1700 (GC950D)
This is an older hide along the Appalachian Trail near Annapolis Rocks. Lots of fun rock scrambling, culminating in a nice, secluded spot on the side of the mountain with a spectacular view. I love caching along the A.T.!
- The Mailboxes of Hawk Ridge (GC9A68J)
A unique suburban puzzle/scavenger hunt type cache that tested my observation skills, and a Tomulus hide! What’s not to like??