Epic 14 State Weekend Roadtrip

On Sunday, November 4, a group of Ontario geocachers undertook a 25-hour geocaching adventure and found geocaches in 14 US states in a single day. The cachers were lulu_zulu, gr812nv, and myself, Norshley, from London, and bruce iroquoia from Hamilton.

The trip began early in the morning of Saturday, November 3, with an Ontario cache in Grimsby, followed by a few difficult ones in the Buffalo to Rochester area of New York. Then we visited the highlight of the day, GC39 The Spot, the oldest cache in New York. We continued on and found a few in Syracuse while stopping for lunch, then a quickie in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, and one more in each of Vermont and New Hampshire before settling in for the night. We had found caches in Ontario plus 4 states which covered all nine difficulty and terrain levels, in order to accomplish several challenges in the Hamilton and Detroit areas.

After a brief sleep in a Brattleboro, Vermont, we got up at midnight and commenced our trip. The first cache was GC3QXAC The Circle of Stealth, an easy one just west of the border to New Hampshire. We then travelled across the southern edge of New Hampshire to Nashua, stopping briefly along the way for a webcam cache. Our goal for the second state was GC9E NH #1 – Mines Follies, New Hampshire’s oldest cache, which the CO nashuan had recently serviced and re-enabled so that we could include it on our itinerary. While in New Hampshire, the clock turned back an hour, so it was now only 1:20 a.m.! We continued eastwards to the border of Maine, the third state, and found a great cache in Kittery, GC11D9 Fort McClary Cache, which had 73 favorite points. Then it was back on the highway towards Boston, and our goal was GC74 First Mass, in the Boston suburb of Woburn. We hiked up the small mountain here in the dark and after searching for a half hour finally found this tricky cache, Massachusetts’ oldest, at 4:50 a.m. to claim state number 4.

Southwards now past downtown Boston to Newport, Rhode Island, the dawn greeted us and we stopped for a breakfast break. Newport was a beautiful town, and the sunny skies were gorgeous overGCEC Brenton Point. After logging the oldest cache in state number 5, we paused for a group photo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and I dipped my finger in the cool water. We then crossed the bridge to rejoin the freeway in Connecticut, and headed towards GCE4 Another Brick in the Wall. We met a jogging nun in the woods and then found the oldest cache in Connecticut, state number 6.

Shortly after leaving Connecticut, we crossed into New York and were within about 10 miles from the Bronx. We detoured to the north to avoid the traffic-cluttered city, and crossed the Tappan Zee bridge towards Harriman State Park and GCBF Boston Cache, the third oldest in the state, the 7th of the day. Then we headed south into storm-ravaged New Jersey. Our goal cache was GCC8 gerbiL cacHe in the Ramapo Valley Reservation. Sadly, the park was closed due to flooding and the cache was inaccessible, and so we substituted an easy one nearby, GC1A31Z Deep Fried Rocky Mountain Oysters, for state number 8. We were noticing that even in this northwest corner of New Jersey, over 20 miles from the coast, there were power lines down and power outages, and most of the gas stations were closed or out of gas. We made a strategic decision to not chance running out of fuel in our route through Philadelphia, and took a detour to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to refuel, eat lunch, and find a local geocache. For our 9th state of the day we found GC3PA8H A view of the Stacks.

Next we stopped briefly for a very interesting cache in a southwest suburb of Philadelphia, GCZY69 Psycho Suburban Cache #1: Abandoned Springhouse, but even our 8 searching eyes couldn’t come up with it. So we noted our first DNF of the day. As we resumed our trip southwestwards, dusk made the skies dark, and we needed flashlights once again. We found GC3E76 Dela Where? in, obviously, Delaware, our 10th state of the day. An hour’s drive into Maryland and across the city of Baltimore found us at yet another oldest cache in the state, GC1FD Jusef’s Cache. A steep downhill hike on slippery leaves brought us to this cache, the 11th state accomplished.

The highlight of the day was next, Washington, DC. We found a traditional cache GC3F0DM Stanton and Deliver on our way towards Capitol Hill. Then a brief tour of the Mall and a glimpse of the White House, and two virtuals, GCDE1 Capitol View, and GCEB2 The view of an “Honest Man”, the latter of which was DC’s oldest cache. We considered the District of Columbia a state-equivalent, and counted it our 12th of the day. A short hop over the Potomac River to Arlington, Virginia, brought us to state number 13 and GC29F4B M’s Memorial Day Cache. Then we took a wee spin northwards to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a beautiful town overlooking the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Our goal cache was GC1H9T3 A house on a hill top, which had 103 favorite points, but we just couldn’t locate it, even with four bright flashlights. So we grabbed an easy one around the corner, GC1WNR6 Haunting Hides “Screamin Jenny” to claim our final cache of the day, and our 14th state, and ended the day at 11:40 p.m.

We stayed over at a cheap motel in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the next morning headed home. We did a bit more caching on the way back, finding a cache in each of WV, MD, and PA within 20 minutes, across the Cumberland gap where Maryland narrows to a few miles across. The Pennsylvania one, GC2BCKX Mason-Dixon Line Marker, was the site of our group photo for the day, posed across the Mason-Dixon Line with our left legs in Maryland and right legs in Pennsylvania. We cruised through Pittsburgh, stopped just inside Ohio for a cache there, GC17PGK Tiny Tots Freeway, and then two oldie western Pennsylvania caches, GCFF Stone Wall Stash and GC184 State Game Lands #109. We found one more quickie cache in New York and then a much-needed supper of chicken wings at the famous Anchor Bar in Buffalo, and a final quickie cache in Fort Erie, Ontario to make it 5 states plus Ontario for our final day.

Our trip was a wild and crazy long weekend, and we were able to find a few challenge caches and qualify for a few more, but the best part of it was that we had a blast! We’re already planning our next trip, 14 more states starting from Kentucky and looping around through the Virginias and the Carolinas, across Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, and ending in southern Indiana. Maybe this winter or spring….

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