Belfair Cache Machine

A “cache machine” is geocaching social where someone sets up a route that people can follow to make a high number of geocache finds in a relatively short period of time.  On Sunday, I attended one in Belfair, WA.

Since Belfair is not too far from home, I planned on driving up the morning of.  Traffic on Sunday/holiday weekend/at 5am/westbound was far more benign than I anticipated.  I rolled into town pretty early, but it was still dark and I hadn’t met up with my geocaching buddy to start.  Rather than wait in the parking lot for half an hour, I drove back into town, looking for an open espresso hut.   I passed a few of them, losing hope that anything would be open on a Sunday/holiday/weekend/at 5am, when I saw the “open” sign up ahead.

About the last thing I was expecting on a cold (20F) morning was to be greeted by a barista in a swimsuit:

Barista: Generic banter about holiday.

Me: Unspecific response. Reciprocal inquiry of same.

Barista: Unmemorable follow-up. What can I get you?

Me: Medium mocha.

Barista: Comment about local sports team event occurring later.

Me: Unmemorable follow-up.

Later, I discovered that I’d found Belfair’s “Espresso Gone Wild.”  Except for the swimsuit aspect, which I thought was more weird than kitten-killing, it was completely tame.

I met my geocaching buddy at 7am and, unable to convince him that he needed coffee, too, we set off for the first set of caches.  Complete.  Chaos.  Though it was completely dark (still), you could see the bobbing headlamps walking back to the cache.  In fact, they just kept it out for the next person to put back.  Once back to the car, it’s a quick drive up the street to the next.

Very crazy.

After the tenth cache like this, we decided we’d do the route backwards in hopes of avoiding the Blitzkrieg of cars.  A few other folks had the same idea, but soon we had enough spacing that it became enjoyable again.  There were a lot guardrail and gate hides.  By the time my geocaching buddy would pull the key out of the car, I’d have the log out, signing it for both of us.

Then we came to the first toughie – a hike to an ammo can that currently resides somewhere among a clear-cut fir forest.   Debris was everywhere, there was nary a hint, and we all found ourselves playing the Follow-the-Garmin game.  With nearly a half-hour invested, we gave up.  Later on, we found out the cache owner visited and had a hard time finding it.  As he is a high-volume person himself, he allowed us to record the find while he updated the page for others.

The next really tricky one was a NIAH (needle in a haystack).   A pile of gnarled logs harbored a “2.5 difficulty” micro.  We conjecture it was more like a 4.0, but one of the local cachers made the grab.  The cache was well-hidden up and inside a nook of this thing.  He happened to bring a flashlight.

The next bloc of caches were nicely-sized containers located in a wilderness park.  Finding all three took about forty minutes, but it was enjoyable hiking time.  This is why we geocache!  Unfortunately, it’s a bit at odds with the concept behind a “cache machine.”

We had a series of guardrail micros that helped bring the overall average up.  The only memorable one was “Lake Tahyua,” where we ran into a local geocacher using the Cache Machine as an opportunity to educate the community about Letterboxing.  He was quite the personality: older guy, self-taught, bright, enthusiastic, energetic, eccentric and convinced everyone who’s not Doing It His Way is wrong and must be corrected.  He seemed nice enough, but I could see how his personality would clash on the forums.

We continued along the (reverse) route, picking up a cluster of caches in a campground area.  Here, we worked with another group of long-time cachers.  They were pretty pleasant, and much mellower than our friend at Lake Tahuya.  As I was walking by one of the cars, my (new) Oregon 450 picked up a “Chirp,” a wireless beacon that they’ve installed in their car, using it as a mobile travel bug.

By now, it was late in the afternoon.  The posted route would have us doing some interesting out-and-back for a small handful of caches.  Because we didn’t want to miss the post-event shindig at JR’s Grill in Belfair, we skipped those and anything whose description suggested it was more than a few minutes’ walk.

Total for the day: 61 finds (59 traditional, 1 multi, 1 puzzle), 3 DNFs.  Whew!

Waypoint NameSZDTTODTime btwetweenNotesPlaced
1MB74All StarM1.51.57:152/28/09
TRR1Belfair WaterwheelR1.517:230:08Cool icicles3/19/06
X3MQRomance? – Grab a Tic Tac!S11.57:280:057/11/06
116W9Blue star – Honoring Those Who ServeS227:330:053/5/07
VMR5North Mason Travel Bug ChamberR1.517:350:024/26/06
217QHPOWER’S OUT – WENT POSTALM1.51.57:410:0611/20/09
WE05GPR #2 – Mission Impossible!S11.57:510:10Diverged from group6/19/06
14M2HTree Farm: One Degree of SeparationR11.57:550:047/24/07
29V6VHaunted JunkyardM1.527:590:046/6/10
2KX94Things I “Hate” About CachingNA228:130:141/1/11
15BRQSpotting this Cache is Easy!M238:150:028/22/07
2KRG8Sparky the Fire DogM1.51.58:250:1012/30/10
203QVUp StreamS218:350:1010/19/09
1V3J2AWW SHUCKS!M1.51.58:430:086/21/09
1JDA8STOP, LOOK & LISTENM1.518:500:0711/23/08
1JDA0Dump and RunM11.58:570:0711/23/08
1JDADFOUL BALL?229:020:0511/23/08
1JD9VThe Blue Gate SpecialS1.51.59:050:0311/23/08
MMJNTahuya #2 – ElevenR2.539:480:29DNF, but CO said we could log it1/29/05
114GGThree StoogesS119:560:082/25/07
13EQCGPR2 – #5 PrudentialR1.51.510:040:086/21/07
114G3Tiger LakeS11.510:110:072/24/07
1BH0ATail of the TigerNA1.51.510:200:09DNF4/22/08
2AW2XTri as you mayS11.510:250:056/26/10
WVBGThat Way To SeabeckM1110:300:059/20/07
1YE2JTangled Mess IIM2.5210:580:28Hardest find9/8/09
NPRFGreat LibraryR2311:300:30Hike4/30/05
2K47PIt Came From The Other SideR2.5211:300:00Found w/Great Library12/6/10
PD9JThunderbird Track #5 – StreamR11.511:360:066/25/05
2C3ZHTahuya foolyaR1.51.511:410:057/21/10
22K36lake tahuyaM1111:530:12Fledermaus!1/2/10
1W4A7stumped on hollyS2.5211:590:067/19/09
1QDZKLk SymingtonM2212:080:094/22/09
12M3MBedrock Travel Bug & Gecoin MotelR1112:170:095/6/07
22BP8Bison by the Blue GateM1.51.512:230:0612/27/09
1W90KTangled messM21.512:300:077/20/09
22BQ3Bison by the Babbling BrookM1.51.512:350:0512/27/09
1C5J81 Time At Band Camp…M2212:500:15DNF5/11/08
1X2J5Must Love OystersM1.51.513:010:118/9/09
22BTTCloser to FineM2.5213:230:2212/27/09
1F462Stuck on MasonM1213:250:02Added8/9/08
22K3Ysalmon friendlyR2213:300:051/2/10
2EWH0One Degree of Separation: Tree Farm #26S22.513:490:19Added9/5/10
1C5N9Out In The StixR1.5213:590:105/11/08
1C5K3This Ain’t No KOA!!!M1114:150:165/11/08
1C7XDQuik Clam CacheS11.514:220:075/11/08
1X2HVSix Point MapleM2.5214:280:06DNF8/9/09
1D004Zone of InfluenceM21.514:410:136/5/08
1D00QWelcome WagonM1.51.515:020:21Hike6/5/08
1D00AX marks the SpotS1.5215:090:07P+G6/5/08
1C8Q1Joy OhJoy!S1.51.515:210:125/14/08
1D00GRobbins Lake CacheS1.51.515:420:21Hike6/5/08
1D00KTee TimeS2215:570:156/5/08
1CZZVU turn to Tee LakeS1.51.516:010:046/5/08
15PH2Road to OblivionR1.51.516:080:079/4/07
2C1YCI may take up yodelingS2216:160:087/20/10
1GF04Forgotten ViewL1.51.516:180:029/20/08
JACTMCHow Easy to Forget (A Different Kind of Cache)R11.516:290:114/27/04
199KPCritter’s Run?2.51.516:560:272/10/08
14WYVNOT BOAT RAMPS1117:000:048/4/07
2KXB6?Bark CodeS2.51.517:190:19Added1/1/11
2JD01EBelfair Cache Machine dinnerNA3.53.517:350:161/2/11
292WKbig beaver pondR21.5skip5/23/10
1GYPXH-006 Hood Canal ViewM22.5skip10/5/08
1C75AJIGG’S UPM21.5skip5/12/08
1C750Let’s Do The Jigg !R1.52skip5/12/08
2C7YVmicros are boringL1.53.5skip7/24/10
1GF19Mission Oriented H-007R1.52skip9/20/08
21M03N.O.P.C. FTF Challenge #6 – Enduro trailR22skip11/30/09
15JMZNot the Maple Syrup KindS1.51.5skip8/31/07
2AT40Oak PatchM11.5skip6/25/10
2BY73one along the wayS1.52skip7/18/10
15CEYOne Degree Of Separation:Tree Farm #27S1.52skip8/23/07
15HPXRendsland Creek CacheS21.5skip8/30/07
15JN1THE BURMA ROAD MICROM1.51.5skip8/31/07
2KREBECTheler Wetlands Tidal MarshNA1.51.5skip1/1/11
28QAVTiki Lucky Cache?2.51.5skip5/18/10
2FYV0Too many microsL1.53skip9/29/10

4 thoughts on “Belfair Cache Machine”

  1. Totally awesome! I was hoping to hear how this fun event went, not having any experience with a “cache machine”. When you first mentioned it, I immediately wondered about how everyone would order the caches. Trailing along in the footsteps of other cachers would certainly take away from the fun. Good job going at it backwards. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *