I was coming home from a thing late in the evening when I realized that I didn’t have my daily cache. Technically, I don’t need a daily cache since I’m no longer officially keeping up my find streak. However, I originally said that when I hit the four-year mark, and now I’m closer to five years, and it’s still unbroken, so who knows? Over the years, it’s been harder to keep up the streak because I’ve found all the low-hanging fruit in Austin, so I have to go farther afield to find uncomplicated ones. That’s not such an issue in the summer when the daylight disappears around 9 p.m., but when the light dies before 5:30? That’s a little more … complicated. I could always just log a challenge, but (a) I only have so many challenges before I’d have to get an actual cache, and (b) where’s the fun in that? But that’s beside the point. There I was, in downtown Austin late at night, lacking a cache. I looked at the map and saw a cache in a central neighborhood park. I’d been there many times in the last few years to grab a cache. I had cleared it out on several occasions (I say as if the park was stuffed to the gills with caches to begin with), but new ones always return from time to time. I parked nearby, pulled out the trusty Maglite, and went for a short walk. Eventually, I found myself at a crack in the base of a tree. The cache was a couple of weeks old, with only a few signatures on the log, most of which I recognized. It was simple enough to sign and return the log before returning to the car. I do not know if it will last very long, but this new cache had scratched my itch for the day.
New caches usually come from two sources: new cachers excited to place their first hides for others to find and experienced cachers creating a more challenging experience. Sometimes, it feels like there is a natural friction between the two. New cachers are frustrated with the “norms” and opinions of the experienced, while the experienced are annoyed with the devil-may-care attitude of the new. How many times had I been in either camp, damning some grognard for their outdated views or cursing some noob who doesn’t understand what’s really going on? I am equally somebody’s grognard and someone else’s noob. But we all need each other. We need new fresh thinking if we’re going to see new things. We need practiced eyes to know what works and what doesn’t. The new burn out easily without the experienced to lead the way. The experienced tire without fresh passion fanning the flames. Both play off one another with new ideas and old examples. That’s how the hides keep coming and evolving. And if nobody hides, nobody finds. So, to the noob cacher who placed this cache and made it easy for me to maintain my theoretically nonexistent streak, good luck, and I hope this cache stays around for a while. So many early caches don’t. But my first cache, four and a half years old at this point, still rocks on, so there’s always hope.