A couple of weeks ago, hundreds of new caches appeared! These are along the Essex Way, a 81 mile combination of existing footpaths, bridleways and roads. I don't know why they do this; taking a bunch of existing tracks and claiming that they're something new.
But the caches - they're new. About 400 of them. Not to be attempted in one day!
The problem with caches like this, is that they're in one long line, unlike the circuits that I usually do, which take me round in a circle and get back to the car. So how to attempt these?
There's three ways. The first, and most horrible, is to walk several miles of caches, and then retrace your steps. Horrible because the walk back will be boring, unless you cleverly did every other cache on the way out. Even so, you're walking twice as far, and you're walking twice down a poor surface.
The second way is the way that many people use. They team up with another cacher, put a car at each end, then walk the route. That works well. I have a variation on this, where I leave the bike at the far end, walk the route, then bike back.
The third way is the way I went today. I took the bike along the route, and cycled back on tarmac roads, So although the way out was muddy, squishy and difficult, the way back was a piece of cake.
I had an immediate problem. The PDA claimed that it didn't have any map files. I don't know why, but it does this occasionally. But I have the solution - a spare PDA. Unfortunately, the buttons on the spare don't work, but that's only a mild inconvenience, because the touch screen does work.
I started at number 1; that's often a good place to start. I finished at number 28, and cycled back on the roads to get back to the car for lunch. Then I relocated the car and did another 20 caches; out on the tracks, back on the roads.
I also had another go at "Toot Hill Trivial Pursuit", which ladysolly and I did a couple of years ago. Sadly, I didn't manage to find two of the caches, or the bonus (I guessed a couple of numbers). Today, I failed again on the two caches "Chicken pie" and "Pork pie", but I did find the bonus, which made me very happy.
The Essex Way track, I have to report, is muddy. Very muddy. Muddy and soft, not a good surface for biking, and parts of it are pretty poor for walking. Although it's not as muddy as it was this morning, because I brought quite a lot of mud home with me.
49 caches done today, and two DNFs
I want to do this Essex Way challenge and was wondering how to overcome the start/end long walk back puzzle and was contemplating the bike option. But seeing as the route is muddy, I think I am going to take the two car option.
I guess the race is on for the frist person to complete the entire Essex Way Geocache!