Continuing my series where I revisit each of the Geocaching Souvenirs I have earned and reminisce about how I came to earn it…
I earned the Oregon souvenir on August 12, 2004. It was just my 15th cache find and was notable for being my first cache outside of my home province of Alberta and my first cache outside my home country of Canada.
We were doing our second Oregon coast vacation with our friends Kevan and Susan. The first vacation had been the summer before I discovered caching so getting the chance to experience Geocaching outside my home area for the first time was quite exciting for me.
We were camped at Bullard’s Beach State Park near the town of Bandon, OR. The four of us were out for a walk down towards the lighthouse with Kevan and Susan’s beagle Bolt.
At this point I hadn’t really “come out” to anyone about my caching habit so I let everyone else carry on up the pathway while I made some excuse to lag behind. I quickly located the appropriate tree and soon found the film canister tucked away in a knothole. With that, the appropriately named “Bandon #1” (GCHN9Q) was found.
Three interesting things about this cache find. One I remembered, one I had forgotten, and the other I only realized today.:
I remembered after I caught up with everyone and, of course, had to do some explaining about what I had been doing and — failing to come up with a good cover story — I explained Geocaching to Kevan and Susan. Rather than thinking I was insane, they thought it sounded very interesting and we would find two more caches along the way that evening. That was the first time I introduced anyone to caching and was the birth of ab_duramax.
I forgot that I didn’t bring a pen with me that night so I didn’t sign the log when I first found it. Instead I returned a couple of nights later with Shirley and did the proper sign-in.
And, up until this moment, I never realized that I logged my caches in the incorrect order that day. My profile shows Bandon #2 (GCHXEF) as my first Oregon / USA cache. However, my online log revealed the truth. Back in those days I didn’t have Internet access while on vacation so I had to rely on recording my Finds in a MS Word document until I could get home and log them. With the capabilities of handheld GPS units and smartphones to record Field Notes, that sort of error would me much less likely to occur today.
As for the cache itself? It was originally hidden on February 8, 2004 and lasted until the owner Archived it on January 24, 2008. There were 248 Finds of the cache over that time frame. It’s interesting to note that the last Find came on January 25, 2008, the day after the owner archived it. Since the only reported issue with the cache prior to archival was a wet log I wonder if the owner ever went to retrieve the container or just decided it was too much work. Maybe that poor film canister is still sitting there in that tree…
Oregon has always been a favorite vacation spot for me so it is no surprise that over the years I found 234 caches in Oregon since that first one, making it my second-most cached in jurisdiction. Many great memories of caching in Oregon and it all started with a micro in a tree.