Early last week, a Houston cacher said that he was thinking about archiving a scorpion-themed Geoart he owned in Gillespie County. A local cacher and friend of the site, Razorbackgirl, put out a query: did anyone want to go after it before it disappeared? A number of cachers answered the call to action, and I didn’t have anything I had to do, so yesterday ten of us went out to sting the scorpion! It began early with a quick local assemblage to consolidate into vehicles and head out. We were already ahead of the game because one of the attendees had already solved most of the puzzles and got the missing solutions from friends. We reassembled upon our still early arrival in Fredericksburg, consolidated further into three SUVs, and then set off for the back roads.

Naming ourselves the Scorpion Expeditionary Force, or SXF for short, we took on the quest methodically, the assemblage overwhelming each cache in turn. To be honest, it turned out to be overkill for the most part. Most of us were well-experienced cachers. I count myself among the ranks of the well-experienced at this point, but must also admit that I was the least “well experienced” of the bunch. There were two cachers who are newer with far fewer finds, but both are also quite talented, easily holding their own among a seasoned crew. However, the overwhelming approach turned out to be warranted on a few occasions. It’s difficult to find a cache in a tree when it’s already fallen to the ground. It’s funny to find both the cache and the previous container that had gone missing. And it’s even better to have an entire panoply of TOTTs at your disposal at any given moment.

As the day began to wear on, we began to feel a bit peckish out there. Many had brought lunches, but most had thought of other cachers, too. Many of us brought snacks, mostly healthy, for our fellows to enjoy. One brought a giant container of mixed nuts, another oranges. Another still brought apples and cheeses. I myself brought about a pound and a half of carne seca for mutual consumption. My only regret is that I didn’t bring more of the spicier chile flavored carne, underestimating how popular it would be. And hydration was a must! Even though it was cool and dry out there, water is the lubricant that keeps body going. There’s probably a better metaphor, but what do I look like? Some kind of doctor guy? My point here (and I do have one) is that there were lots of extra jugs for bottle refills or any other needs.

Not all the caches were related to the Geoart, of course. We took a little time to see several old cemeteries with the graves of long-ago settlers, and stones with the names of roads we would drive upon. We took one of those cemeteries as an opportunity to plan strategy. That one was part of a church yard. While I have a very specific rule that I don’t mess with a church on a Sunday, it was far enough away from the church, still in session, to not raise any immediate questions. Besides, we were there in a sizable group, and there is a certain boldness brought about by solidarity. Another cemetery was an excuse to do a rider swap. The main drivers remained in their vehicles while the riders switched things up, changing the dynamics for all involved. Cliques can happen, but cliquishness need not be tolerated!

Unfortunately, tragedy struck one vehicle. During a stop, something (seemingly transmission or drivetrain based) happened, resulting on one SUV breaking down. Part of solidarity is looking out for one another. A couple of us looked to see if we could figure out the issue. While Triple-A was being called, we figured out how we could make things work once we knew what was up with the towing. Ten people in two vehicles was not going to work for us, so one vehicle took off back into town to get the car that was left behind and convey anyone who needed a toilet or other needs in town. The other vehicle went off to grab a few more caches. We were down to fifteen out of ninety-six caches left to tackle, and six were down an inconvenient side road. That vehicle grabbed those six so we could grab the remaining caches and head back into town with no detours. The owners and I stayed back at the broken vehicle, waiting for the summoned tow truck. Everyone re-converged about forty minutes later with the extra vehicle and inconvenient caches resolved. After another fifteen minutes, the truck arrived. Once paperwork was signed, and destinations were resolved, we all set off again to finish off the last of the Geoart and a few more caches on the way back to town.

Fredericksburg, being a German community, isn’t known for its barbeque or its tacos. Where better to end the successful (though costly) day than at a German restaurant? Many schnitzels were ordered and eaten (though not by me because German food isn’t my thing, but their grilled chicken was good). Many stories were told. Many laughs were had. Despite the final complications, it was a good day. Over a hundred caches were bested, trampled beneath our proverbially sandaled feet. And even more importantly, we all got home safe and sound.

In the end, we pulled the scorpion’s stinger! Can you think of a better way to spend a day? If you can, let me know!

8 thoughts on “Stinger!

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