The First FTF?

Welcome to the first cache (for me) of 2023!  Full disclosure: it was on the January 2 because I partied just enough on New Year’s Eve to be feeling a little crunchy, so I logged a challenge on New Year’s Day.  A whole bunch of new caches dropped on New Year’s Day, no doubt influenced by the new New Hider souvenir.  One of them was relatively close to home and placed by the same CO who inspired my recent night caching, so target acquired.  I set off into a neighborhood park, well ensconced in the middle of the city.  Half of it is a well-manicured public space, meant to be enjoyed by children, joggers, and dog owners. The other half is more natural and overgrown, serving as a haven for a few hidden tents and rough sleeping patches.  I walked down a path through the trees which led to the GZ, a bridge connecting the meek and the wild.

As I began my search for the cache, confusion set in.  The cache page described it as a D3.0/T1.5 small, and the hint described it as magnetic and out of view.  I would have thought it was a nano if it hadn’t been described as a small.  I started down the embankment to examine the underside edge of the bridge – not an extreme altitude change or anything, but certainly more than a T1.5.  I looked for a box of some kind stuck down there but had no luck.  I didn’t want to get too far under the bridge (I wasn’t dressed for it), so I began checking the hollow girders that make up the bridge.  About a foot inside one, I saw an Altoids tin.  I wasn’t sure it was what I was looking for because it wasn’t big enough to be a small.  I also couldn’t reach inside because my hand was too big for the hole.  Luckily, I had my trusty (though rarely used) extendable magnet and was able to slide it out.  That’s when I also realized that the cache wasn’t magnetic.  If it were, I would have felt the extra effort required to slide the tin out.  Thinking about it, I also realized that I had overthought the search because the Difficulty was higher than it warranted.  I popped the container open to find a feather, a ring, a polished stone, and no magnet or log.  I had recently taken some things out of my bag, so I wasn’t carrying spare logs as I am wont to do. However, I did have my trusty clipboard with pad, so I was able to write something on a piece of paper to leave and show I had been there first. 

Inveni, inscripsi, reposui.  But I also took a minute to ask a question: was this actually the cache?  It wouldn’t be the first time I’d found something that was not what I was looking for. It was in the right location and looked like something the CO might have hidden based on previous finds, but the reality of it in comparison to the description didn’t entirely jibe.  If this wasn’t it, I didn’t want to claim first to find honors I didn’t earn.  That wouldn’t be fair to whomever found the “real” one.  And besides, I have a reputation to protect here!  Luckily, it was easy to find out.  I reached out to the CO with a picture asking if that was it.  And it was!  Nice to know my first actual cache of the year was an FTF and not mired in controversy.  And, in keeping with my promise, I even gave it one of my (soon to be less) stingily hoarded favorite points!

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