Posts Tagged ‘Van Etten Lake’

Woke up to a beautiful sunny day here in Northeast Michigan and knew it was going to be a good day of geocaching.  I had researched all of the caches on Wurtsmith Air Force Base quite a while ago, but we just had never gotten to them yet, so with gas prices nearing $4.00 a gallon, we decided to stay a little closer to home.  I packed a picnic lunch, gathered all of our ‘cache bags’ together and off we went to find the 19 caches I had selected.

Robert and I usually take turns navigating and driving.  Usually, whom ever plans the caches, does the navigating, and today was no different.  I’m not as good navigating in the deep woods with no roads as he is, so I felt pretty confident that with lots of roads around, I’d do ok with the gps.

The first cache was very cleverly hidden, but Robert picked up on it pretty quickly.  We have come to rely on our ‘cache sense’ pretty heavily.  Sometimes we just stop, look around, and try to figure out what is out of place, or what looks like an ideal hiding place.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes not.  The hiders of caches have gotten very creative in some instances, but most of the time, we can figure it out.

The next two caches required a bit of a hike.  But since it was such a nice day, we didn’t mind at all.  These caches took us to an area on the backside of the base that we never knew was there.  That is one advantage we have discovered since we started geocaching.  We have seen places and areas that we probably would never have thought to go to.  The third cache was almost a stumper.  We were following a creek for quite a ways and the gps kept pointing to the other side of the creek, and after reading the other peoples notes, I felt we needed to be on the other side.  So after finding a good jumping spot, we went to the other side.  Hiked a little way, and wouldn’t you know, now the gps is pointing back to the other side of the creek!  So once again, we had to find a good crossing spot.  My feet got a little wet, but not too bad, and now we are down to just a few feet on the gps, so the search really begins.  After stopping and looking around with our ‘cache sense’ radars on, we finally found the one that that was not natural out there, and yes, it was the cache.  Thank goodness!  We could head back now.

The next few caches were pretty easy pick and grabs, we did find a trackable in one of them and plan on helping it along it’s way.  We stopped for lunch at one of the ball fields, enjoyed the view of the large jumbo jets, that we are unsure of what is exactly being done to them there.  Is the old Air Force Base now a “plane graveyard”?  We don’t know, will have to find out.  After our lunch break, we had just a few more to do on the Base and then we had a few to catch along F-41 near Van Etten Lake.

Two of our caches along the lake were in a state campground.  The first one, we had been to two times before, with no luck.  So this cache was beginning to irritate me, just in the fact that we couldn’t find it.  The first time we were there, there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, so we chalked it up to that.  The second time, most of the snow was gone, but some still in the shady areas, again, no luck.   So, I told myself today that we were either going to find it, or I was going to e-mail the owner to see if it’s even still there.  We decided to split up and search many feet from ‘ground zero’.  The hint included didn’t make too much sense, but I kept it in mind none the less.  Just about the time I was about to give up yet again, I spotted it.  I yelled to Robert and he came over, relieved also to have finally located it, even though our gps said it was 35′ from ground zero.  Yes, the pathtag was still in it, that was one of the driving forces to come back for the third time.  We signed the log, replaced the cache to where we found it, and happily hiked back out of the campground.

The second cache in that same campground was at the other end, and it also was giving us a bit of a problem.  We had been to it once before, but the snow was pretty deep, but today, we decided to give it another try.  Again, we split up and searched quite a ways from ground zero.  Robert was the lucky one this time, he shouted to me that he had found it, 26′ from ground zero.  Again, relief that we can finally get these two off our list.  Signed the log and was able to leave the campground.

By now, it’s late in the afternoon and we have just two more to do.  After reading the previous notes on the next one, we found ourself on the wrong side yet again, this time a very tall fence, not a creek.  So we turned around and turned down the road that ran alongside the base.  After that it was a pretty easy find.  The last one, we didn’t know which side of the fence to be on, we decided to continue on down the road we had just come down, oops, wrong side, AGAIN!  Turned around and found an opening in the fence and then was able to find it easily.

What a day!  We ended up finding 15 of the 19 caches I’d selected, and we seen areas of the base that we would never have known were there.  That’s the part of geocaching we really enjoy.

Happy caching,



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