It was an amazing sight. After a long and gruelling hike I zeroed into the final location. I gazed around surveying the area with the precision of a bald eagle as I prioritized the all the logical hiding spots . Jumping to action I raced through the obvious locations with no luck. Oh, a tricky one eh? You think you can hide from a Family Navigator do you? I paused once more scanning the area again when I noticed moss a little askew. Pouncing as fast as I can I turned over the moss, reached into a hole, and pulled out my reward. I had done it. My 1000th geocache find in 1 year. On the final hour of daylight on the final day I finally had done it. I signed my name on the log, replaced the cache and glided gracefully back to the car. As I reached the car there was a group of people including Phil Koeghan of The Amazing Race fame. I jumped on the mat that was laid out for me and Phil announced to the crowd
“After 365 days, 2500kms walked, 1 small part of 1 country travelled, (mumble mumble) pounds lost, and 1000 geocaches found, Martin Pedersen of FamilyNavigation.com is the grand completer of the Geocache Diet!!!”
A roar came up in the ever increasing crowd. Streamers fell out of the sky, I was being lifted up on shoulders… and then I woke up. Nooooooooo!!!. Phil hasn’t given me the $1 million dollar cheque yet!!! As much as I tried I just could not get back to sleep.
It was 3 hours before sunrise and there was still some caching that needed to be done, for real this time. Trying to not wake everyone else up I prepared for my trip, had breakfast, and then left home in darkness. Happy to be ahead of schedule I turned on the GPSr as I neared the starting point for the day. To my horror I discovered that something had gone wrong with the transfer of the geocaches on to the device. It was empty. Not a good start to the last day of the Geocache Diet. I reluctantly returned home to fix my error and then left again behind schedule. I had some catching up to do. The rest of the story is not nearly as exciting as my dream so I will summarize. I did some caching before meeting another cacher at a trailhead and did a fantastic hike…wait a moment I can say that the geocache diet went out with a bang. This was the same trail I wrote about in “Big Bang on the Geocache Diet” because this is the sight of the Ripple Rock Explosion many years ago. Since I did the hike the first time the caching angels dropped 7 more caches for me to find so I now had good excuse to hike it again. It would have been good to say that the geocache diet went out with a bang, except the geocache diet did not end on this trail. When I returned from the hike I still had two caches left to reach 1000. I said goodbye to my caching friend and then pondered where to end my geocaching exercise challenge. I quickly chose an earthcache, just past a quick traditional geocache. I thought an earth cache would be a good way to finish and it would also be the most northerly cache completed in the past year. This earthcache was to show off an artesian well where water constantly flows from the earth. One of the requirements was to take a self portrait in front of the water pipe so it encouraged me to photograph the historic moment. And at the click of the shutter, at 3:15pm on January 16, 2011 I completed the geocache diet. I patted myself on the back and drove home to make dinner for the family. I also found three more caches on the way back for good measure.
I had set 1 year as the duration of the challenge which makes the Geocache Diet over. It may be officially over but in reality there is no completion date. Even if I was at my target weight the challenge would not stop. The goal of this challenge was to exercise regularly and have fun doing it. As I mentioned a couple weeks back, this is a serious sounding activity that gives adults permission to go play in the woods. This is a good thing and not something that is going to stop. I still have a long way to go to meet my weight target and I am going to continue towards that goal. I need my daily exercise and it comfortably fits into my schedule now. I will continue to geocache with my family and by myself because I really love it but I will not be finding 1000 caches over the next year. I would if there were another 1000 close to home but in reality the next 1000 would require too much travel. Instead I will go get newer caches that get published in our area and really good caches when we find ourselves in new towns. I really enjoyed trying to reach 1000 caches in a year but when it comes down to it, the numbers mean far less to me then the experiences I had.
I have seen so much this year without going too far from home. I have gone from sea to sky, along rivers, lakes, waterfalls, dams, old growth forests, sand dunes, estuaries, and you name it. I have learned so much about navigation, local plants, wildlife, and when not to go into the woods. I have cached on hot days where the final cache was followed by a swim in the ocean and I have cached in the snow. I have done many easy caches where I could see the hiding spot before I got there and found caches after days of worth of pondering and return trips. One of the first caches I went looking for I still have not been able to find. I feel better for the exercise and there is so much I want to share with my family. The Geocache Diet is over and it does not require any hoopla, famous hosts, streamers, or even a million dollar cheque. It was just a fun little thing I did as an excuse to get outside, get in shape, and play. It did most of what I wanted it to do but most of all it made me want to continue. The time has counted down on the Geocache Diet but for me it is far from over.