I know it’s closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving, but something slightly odd has happened in my caching community and I want to talk about it for a moment.
We have had a cacher in this community who has been quite…recalcitrant. I personally developed a bit of a disliking for him without ever having met him and and discussions of him from longer time cachers who know him personally did nothing except intensify that dislike. Among the things about him people found distasteful, he has for years been placing unknown caches with solutions so difficult they effectively require mind reading. As a consequence, there are unknowns all over the region that are three, four, five year old and have never been found. And, of course, the type of guy he is, don’t expect any hints or guidance, even after all these years.
This brings me to the first part of this I wish to consider: what is even the point of placing a cache that you don’t want to be found? I understand placing one that is difficult to the extreme because there are people who want the challenge. But to place it with the effective intention that it not ever be found? What’s even the point?
That said, our recalcitrant cacher recently reached out to the community to express contrition for his previous behavior. Along with his apology, he has also released a list of final coordinates for a whole bunch (85-ish) of unknowns spread all over the city and the region. Besides kicking off a bit of a FTF rush (I’m sad that I didn’t get FTF on a go based puzzle I’ve been considering for about a year because I actually play), it has also made me think about the importance of community in geocaching and this is my second point of this post…
I have, for the most part, done this alone. I am somewhat wired that way. I’ve even been leaning away from doing it with my kids, both because they’re not enjoying it as much these days (they are not liking the outdoors as they once did) and because their new complaints about the outdoors make it difficult for me to enjoy it myself. Despite my lone wolf tendencies, I have a friend who I cache with when she comes to town. I have phoned the proverbial friend when I had a particularly difficult one that they’ve found before. As much as I’d like to be a hermit, someone has to make hides. Someone has to host events. Someone has to run the megas, arrange the trips, and, even in a wider sense, make the blogs and the vlogs and the podcasts. We climb the trees for each other, or supply the ladders. We maintain each others’ caches and we give each other hints. Other cachers are, arguably, the most important TOTT we all have. It’s been nice to be a part of it myself and, even though this one has historically been less than friendly, I guess it’s nice to welcome someone back into the community. So thanks for the Thanksgiving miracle. It’s kind of you. And now I may be able to get some of those pesky question marks off my map!