How far have you traveled to get a FTF (first to find)?
Now I am not the type to drop everything to run out and get a FTF, however if I am in an area when one is published then I will go for it. In this instance, the cache has been percolating a few months being published back in March. I was more in the "I hope to get a FTF" mode".
The island cemetery is located on an island in Little Rush Lake just west of Waubay, South Dakota. To get to the island you either need a boat or you can walk out to the island during ice fishing season. Ice fishing season starts as soon as you can safely walk out on the ice.
Why put a cemetery on an island?
They didn't. Back in the 90's the waters started to rise. With no outlets for the water to go other than running into a couple other landlocked lakes. Blue Dog, Solomon Slough, Bitter, Rush and Little Rush are now all connected.
There are two different caches on the island. One is a multi-cache Almost-Flooded Cemetery Tour - SDSQ, GC5Q2AZ and the second is a letterbox Island Cemetery - SDSQ, GC5Q2AB. Island Cemetery could be found for a possible FTF.
We decided to go for it and make it a 3 day weekend of geocaching and adventuring in South Dakota.
Finding the boat landing off Hwy 12 was easy enough. The hardest parts was actually getting into the boat at the boat landing. There was a pretty good wind and no dock to aid in unloading and loading the boat. The shoreline was very shallow and had some good sized rocks were guarding the shoreline. There was a small place on the right side of the boat ramp with just enough water to get the boat to shore. The left or west side was a no-go with this boat. Keep that in mind if you are using a boat.
After a bit of fun getting off the shore line, it was time to head out to the island and find a landing spot.
On the leeward side we found a nice spot to land the boat. As we came in close there was the old cemetery fence lying on the beach.
The island was nice with mainly grass but it did have a few nettles to step around.
First thing I wanted to do was find the coordinates to the final stage of the multi-cache. As we were working around grabbing the data needed the letterbox cache was only 36 feet away. I made myself wait until I got the final stage coords. It took longer than it should have to get them all down. I did make one small error and quickly found the right data. You definitely always want to double and triple check your numbers and the data you collected before heading off to find the next stage of a multi-cache.
The final stage was over there...., so it was time to see if I could find the letterbox and get a FTF.
A couple things concerned me about this letterbox cache.
First was that it is was published on March 29th and a few geocachers grabbed the Almost Flooded multi for a FTF on May 1st but not Island Cemetery letterbox. Could they not find it, therefore could it be gone, or did they log it and forgot to post it on geocaching.com?
Second, did someone sneak out here on Friday or Saturday this week and not log it yet. Only looking at the log would tell the tale.
We went from beacon to beacon with no luck. We were starting to have a little trouble and a slight panic was starting to build that we might not find it at all. Sweeping back and forth along the island getting about 80 feet beyond the jumpy GZ (ground zero). A lot of good hiding spots but not the right one yet.
Finally I said "I have to stop and think about this." Room104 has a lot of experience hiding caches. Room104 has 8,052 hides in the United States making him #2 in the U.S. for hiders. (As of 6/15/15) If you hide a lot of caches you want make sure they are as maintenance free as possible. I have to believe this cache is not placed near water where it would might get swept away or flooded.
When you find a cemetery cache what are the rules of the hide and where do you normally find them?
There are no attributes selected but an attribute can be determined from the description. One of the most important attributes to finding a cache in my view was in the description. Winter friendly? yes/no
Assembling all this information lead me right to the cache. It was just right there the whole time. I just needed a different view. Analyzing all the information you can and compiling it does not always work for finding a cache but this time it did just that.
Feeling a good sense of accomplishment this far from home, off we went to make the find on the final stage of the Flooded Cemetery multi-cache. Then we started our 358 mile journey back home. TFTA! (Thanks for the Adventure!)
More info and pics.
TN Elliephant is only 20 months and has never been in a vehicle this long so that made it interesting for TN Mein Liebchen and me. My parents met us out there and joined us for the island caches and stayed the week for fishing. My mom and I were the only ones that went up on the island to search for the caches while Ellie was out "driving" the boat around.
The first day we went exploring Sica Hollow State Park. A haunted State Park about 30 miles north of here. I will be writing about that unique area next. Did I catch an aberration in a photo? You'll have to wait and see.