Over the years I have been asked my a number of people if I wanted to join them to do Bushwacker, but it is something that never really interested me as it was just another cache in the woods and nothing really interesting and it was also over 3 hr drive from home, so really it was just too far away for me to even think about it. Then Team Goju’s series of Lingham Lake caches were publsihed and it sounded interesting, but again it was just too far away. Then finally in December another cacher convinced me and suggested that we make it into a Challenge Caching day as it fit perfectly to what Challenge Caching was about. The planning started and January 21st was picked for the day. The plan was to do all of the caches here. Then a week later by total coincidence an event was published for the same day in the same area as we intended to do the Challenge Caching 8 day. I thought this was a good idea at first but we wound up losing too many people who then decided to just go to the event and not bother with all of the caches. Then started all the negativity about it being impossible to do all of the caches in a day and that we would be stupid to even try. Some of the things being said were getting a bit ridiculous and out of hand. I knew I was able to do it and I knew some of the others who would be able to do it too. There was never any doubts in my mind, but with all that was being said I just totally lost interest and decided to no longer go. Then I started receiving several offers for me to tag along with other or asking if I still wanted to go. Since I lost interested I took a wait and see approach, but got an offer that worked out well and a few others were still interested. We decided that we would go and do the caches on January 14th, the week before the event. We were all set to go but looking at the forecast the day before at lows of -18 with even worse windchill, the answer was easy to postpone it, and so we did with plans to start at midnight on January 21st.
By the time Friday morning rolled around there were now five of us who were going, so it was a team of bggy, Micd, MrPirateCat, Team Goju and myself. Micd was kind enough to drive and by midnight we made it to the trailhead and got ready for the big adventure. We started hiking at 12:39am. It was dark and around -10C with no wind. This made for a perfect day. -10C was actually better than the 0C that it briefly reached during the day. The trail was great and hard packed all the way from the trailhead to the Y intersection where the left fork lead to Bushwacker and the right to the event. At the bridge a few kms in from the trailhead we spotted a Jeep with someone sleeping in a tent, but continued along figuring they were probably sound asleep. As we turned onto the left fork at the Y intersection, the trail changed. It was no longer a hard packed wide trail. We could see the faint snow covered impressions of when the cachers on ATVs went through here a couple weeks ago and the fresh ski trails of Lifeguard1 from going in yesterday and his foot prints from heading back out. It was still manageable enough to walk along. We pressed on and of course stopping for all of the caches along the way. We made it to the first hunt camp at 5:28am, which was a good thing as Team Goju just went knee deep into the water and it was a good time for a brief rest. We woke up one of the guys that were staying at the hunt camp and he invited us in. At 6:04 three of us we were on our way again grabbing each of the caches along the trail, except for 2 of the more difficult ones in the area that involved some potential water crossing which we would get on the way back from Bushwacker.
At 8:52am, we made it to Bushwacker which we spotted hanging there from 20m away as we approached. Signed in and congratulated each other and took a group picture and continued on to the last two caches along the trail. There was not much of a trail along the last 750m to the last two caches and the only thing we had to follow was Lifeguard1’s footprints. Snow was about a foot deep here and this was the toughest part of the entire hike, but still manageable. After finding the cache at the end of the trail we turned around to head out and at the beaver dam to Bushwacker, we met up with coman123 and his son and had a nice chat before continuing on back along the trail to the two caches that we had skipped. One of these caches was Almost ‘Bushwacked’. We approached Almost ‘Bushwacked from the north across the long beaver dam and this was definitely the easy and right approach, as going out we tried to go to the east and this proved very difficult as there was a lot of swamp and water all around and we were uncertain about the ice conditions based on previous observations earlier in the day. We managed to get out, but it was a tough trek. What we thought we may save in time and distance by going east as someone suggested, was not to be the case. Once back on the trail we headed back to meet the two members of the group we left behind at the hunt camp, but we thought Team Goju might be looking for us on the trail, and sure enough he was. We heard him coming back behind us and waited for him. We made it back to the hunt camp at 1:15pm and after another quick break we were back on the trail at 1:37pm and now headed to the event.
On the trail we came across northernpenguin and chris-mouse and had a nice chat. They were continuing on along the trail to find more caches. A little while later we came across a lady hiding in the woods, which we concluded was Syl Belle who seemed to be signing the log of a cache and then the event host Jack2u along with another cacher. It was good to be able to meet the event host especially since we were late for the event and he told us where the log was so we could sign it. That was it for meeting anyone else for the day. Back at the Y intersection we found the rest of the caches leading up to the event and finally made it to the event at 3:30pm and then found our the last cache of the day with Ashley’s Hide just beyond the event for a total of 57 caches. And now the 7km hike along the nice trail back to the parking. Arrived back at the parking at 5:50pm just as the sun had set.
- Total caches found: 57
- Distance hiked: 37.5km
- Total time on trail: 17h 11min
- Total time from first find to last find: 14h 14min
- Total time stopped at hunt camp (included in above times): 58min
Now that it’s all done, I’ve got great memories of a wonderful adventure that I was able to share with four good friends. I am glad I did it and never had any doubts about my ability or those that I was with. I look forward to the next big adventure or challenge.