I have been doing a lot of power walking lately. I have been charging up hills, beating my 10km loop times, and feeling great for it. Since I have found most of our caches in our area many of the walks have been 7-10km hikes with only 1 or 2 caches found if any at all. This is fine as geocaching is just one aspect of getting out on the trails that I like. When geocaching is on my mind I like to do a good variety of caches from easy finds with long hikes, challenging puzzle caches, or many stage multi-caches. Once in a while it is fun to do a whole bunch of easy caches on one single trail. On these days I need to find a power trail.
Power trails can be a sensitive topic for geocachers as many do not like the idea of stategically placing standard and easy caches designed as a way to boost cachers total finds. On a power trail a cacher, or multiple cachers, hide easy caches close together so the people looking for caches can find many in a short period of time. Many of these power trails are designed for car travel where you can park within a few meters of each cache. One power trail not too far from where we live is a route called VLH where there are 100 drive up caches between 2 towns on a gravel road. While I may do this series one day (probably not on the same day), I am not sure how much I will enjoy this type of trail as I fear I would find it a tad boring. There is a 27 cache drive up power trail, called the Alphabet Soup Series, that we took the family to but the kids lost interest shortly after 10 caches and while I completed the series later I must say I have had much more enjoyable caching experiences. The power trail I finished the other day was a little different.
The ERT series in Campbell River is a series of 31 caches placed on an old logging road that now prohibits motorized vehicles. Besides the 31 on the series there is also quite a few other caches that were placed in the area prior to the power trail. While it is a good cycling trail, it was also a good trail for me to hike. To complete the series I took two trips to the trail 10 days apart and combined I found 41 caches and walked around 19kms while spending 5.5 hours on the trail. This means I found around 7.5 caches for each hour while on the trail. Since I basically cached my way down the trail and then walked back the same way to the car, you can see that not much time was spent searching, or walking between each cache. The power trail did for me exactly what it is designed to do. Get me out on the trail, have a good easy walk, and boost my geocache find total.
When I started the geocache diet I knew that my 1000 cache total for the year would include some of these types of days. Before I started the geocache diet I set a limit of 15 caches that could be found in one day so for my two trips to the ERT trail I am only recording 30 out of the 41 finds towards the 1000 finds in a year. I decided to find more each day because I was knocking them off quickly and I wanted to complete the trail to avoid a return trip. I must admit that there was a bit of guilt while I was boosting my numbers with ease. I think for the most part a few Power trails are fine and I did enjoy it even, but I still could not imaging finding too many more in a day without it getting repetitive and boring. It is obvious that these types of trails are popular as the amount of people who look for these caches, because there are so many, is higher than other caches that are stand alone. There are people who will go out of their way to do these types of trails as it does boost your numbers in a hurry. I hope power trails do not become the norm however as I prefer finding creative geocaches. I enjoyed the power trail but I will say that I enjoyed some of my 9km single cache hikes, which included a fun puzzle or multi-cache, more than my 9km, 25 cache day. I do like variety and it was fun to have a different type of caching experience. The main thing was that I was outside and getting some exercise.