I am very much against "throw-downs" yet I found what I felt was an exception. Kind of.
We had a rash of cache thieves here in WA last summer. The thief would target entire trails, and trails that were the favorite of cachers here.
This was around the time the Ape cache was taken. People used to travel from all over the world to find that cache. To take it meant somehow getting around the huge chain that chained it to the rock. They also took all the caches in the area of the ape cache.
Another cache that was targeted was the oldest cache in WA state that that time. Once again, the entire trail was cleared of all caches. It maybe had around ten of them on it.
Those two trails were really high profile. There were forum threads on them. A number of people got together and replaced those caches. Groups of cachers went out to each trail and replaced a whole lot of caches, rather than waiting for each cache owner to get up that trail and get their cache. It had already been confirmed by many finders they were gone, including, in most cases, people who were there a second time with their friends.
They got permission of the cache owners, and replaced all the caches they had permission for.
I feel this was rather a sort of anti-terrorism sort of thing, rather than throw-downs. Permission was gotten ahead of time, and it was a special circumstance. The whole community here supported the action of those people.I think it was good people weren't going to stay victims to the cache thief, but do something about it.
Fast-forward to 9 months later.
There was another trail cleared of it's caches that was not so high profile. There wasn't any special caches on it, but just another trail in the woods. Because it wasn't so special, and wasn't cached as often, so the DNF's trickled slowly in, but many knew the trail was cleared out. A lot of people were waiting for the caches to be replaced to do that trail again. I was one who was waiting. And waiting. And waiting. My friend wanted to do that trail, and I let her know the caches weren't there and only one of them had even been disabled. It had been 9 months since they were cleared out, but could be another year or two before the trail got up and running again. I said, "the heck with it" and started emailing cache owners.
Of all the emails I sent, most replied. Only one said to leave one cache if we didn't find it, because it was a special container that matched the hide. He had two hides, and said to replace the second hide if it was gone.
My friend and I got together backpacks full of containers and headed up the trail. At each cache we spent a long time looking. Together we exhausted every possible hiding spot within a huge circumference of GZ before calling it gone. We cache together often. She has around 6,000 hides, so between the two of us we've found some very difficult caches, and these were all very easy hides. We found a couple of them, one was a very difficult find off trail that we didn't think the cache maggot could find, and the other was VERY difficult to get to, where a lot of trees had been downed and it was a very long difficult hike off the trail. We figure he didn't bother with that one. All the rest were gone.
We were not able to get all the way up the trail due to the snow level, but all the ones we reached we had permission ahead of time for. We ended up with two spare containers at the end, and placed two new caches ourselves, to complete the trail. Later I came back with a small container for the parking area, so parking could be easily found. That was the only cache in the area that was taken and had been archived.
We did not do it to get the smilies. I will admit we claimed the smilies, but I felt we did earn them in a different sort of way.
I really felt like we did it
1. To get the trail going for geocachers again
2. to get a good hike in that day
I think one of the most important things geocaching does for people is to get them out of the house and get them in the great outdoors and get them exercise. I'd love to see more caches on every trail around here (and may be placing more soon).
This is a beautiful trail that people will find now. There's a great string of caches there now and more people WILL hike that trail, what would not have before.
That's what caching is about to me.
I have benefited from many people placing caches and doing maintenance over the years. I haven't taken on many caches because I don't think I would be good with maintenance. I don't think people should take on caches who think they won't be good with maintenance. I've wanted to give back in some way. This, I felt, was a good way to do it.
I would never, ever place a throw-down without extreme circumstances like this. I felt in this case it worked well. It got a good trail going that would have been down a long time before each owner got up that trail to check their cache. Most of the owners, after 9 months, still didn't know the trail had been cleared out.
We didn't do it for the smilie. It seems to be well received here.
I posted it to the local forums so people were aware the trail was up again and could ask questions.
I'm really glad people could get out on that trail and enjoy the beauty of that place.
(edit for typos)
This post has been edited by Sol seaker: 03 May 2012 - 01:29 PM