Saturday, October 4, 2008

AWESOME Geocaching Event


This morning, my lovely wife was VERY kind and allowed me to take a break from unpacking in order to attend a geocaching event here in Ashburn.

Now, normally a geocaching event falls into one of two categories. The first and most common is a meet-and-greet. NoVAGO will typically meet at someplace like CiCi's pizza so you can place faces with names, share stories of geocaching adventures, trade travel bugs and coins, have a raffle for door prizes, etc.

The second is a CITO (Cache-In Trash-Out) event where we do some sort of a park cleanup. I'm going on a quick trip down memory lane here for a moment...

Me and YB at the Scott's Run Park Cleanup Event
January 2006

Me and the boys at the Rappahannock River Park Cleanup Event
August 2006

Me and YB at the Goose Creek Park Cleanup Event
December 2006

Anyway, getting back to the reason I started writing this post...

Here in Ashburn, a friend of ours who goes by the screen name Lion Heart likes to make puzzle caches. He makes wicked and awesome puzzles. I have spent many an hour in my comfy chair trying to solve Lion Heart puzzles.

Today, Lion Heart took his puzzle-making talents to a new level in the event he hosted today.

We all had to be there at 0830 to register that we were going to participate in the hunt and receive our packages of information.

At 0900 he welcomed everyone to the event, explained the basics of the hunt, and set us loose.

Lion Heart Welcoming Everyone to the Event

Inside the information packet was a "Lion Heart Hunt Newsletter." He really put a lot of effort into this and it really looked like a published official type of newsletter.

The Newsletter

On the front page of the newsletter were obvious GPS coordinates for six "Special Points of Interest." Everyone quickly plugged those coordinates into their GPS receivers and headed off to see what they would find there.

At each spot, we found a group of other cachers gathered around a sign with a clue on it.

Cachers trying to figure out one of the clues.

This was the first clue. It was a pretty easy one. Can you figure it out? (You're supposed to get a number out of each clue. I'll put the answer below).

On the next one, there was a picture of a butterfly. Well, in the newsletter was a page with an article about "Where do butterflies come from?"

This was at the bottom of the article on butterflies in the newsletter.

Also in our information packet was an advertisement card to a free class on Butterfly Enclosures at the Ashburn Nature Center.

This was the advertisement card that was in our information packet.

This is where I became REALLY glad that ES came with me on this hunt.

He figured it out!

There were three holes in the advertisement card, and they happened to line up with three of the butterflies on the article in the newsletter and revealed a number we had to write down.

The clues lined up to reveal the number 70.

ES didn't really help on the rest of the stages, but it's sort of like a golf scramble and playing "best ball" - as long as your team uses YOUR ball ONCE during the day, then you've contributed to the TEAM effort. Even so, thanks to his early on success at the butterfly puzzle, he was enthusiastic about helping with the remaining puzzles and didn't gripe about being hot or hungry or thirsty or tired or bored until we got to the final stage and found out we hadn't won (we were the 4th team to find it). It even made his "favorite part of the day" during bedtime prayers.

ES examines the clue at Stage 5

In other stages, there were pretend business advertisements in the newsletter that just so happened to have the same address as where the GPS coordinates led you. For example, on one of the clues it asked what Napoleon insisted his officers have in the field besides coffee, and the advertisement that corresponded to that address was a chocolate shop.

The last stage really threw us for a loop. Check this out...

Can you figure it out?

Hint #1: There's NO MATH involved in this one.

Hint #2: At that address, there was an advertisement in the newsletter for a brew pub offering "close to 100 varieties of beer."

Answers to stages 1 and 6 above:
Stage 1: Out of all the numbers on that page, only one of them was a prime number: 3.
Stage 6: If you push those keys on a telephone, they play the song "Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on a Wall." The number we were looking for there was 99.

After the first six stages, we all had to go back to the beginning to get the final clue from Lion Heart himself, and that gave us the last piece of information we needed to go find an actual physical geocache (that ended up being in his own front yard).

Thank you Lion Heart for all of the time and effort you put into this puzzle / event. What an AWESOME and FUN morning we had!


Caffienated Cowgirl said...

A tip of the hat to LW for allowing you to escape unpacking...I'm not sure I would have been that nice :)

Loping Squid said...

Let me respond to cc.

There is NO WAY I would have gotten out.