Recently, geocachers in the Rochester area have been wrapped up in a heated caching competition. Back in May, the first of 7 geocaches was published in the Tough Mudder Challenge Series by a mysterious character Socky P, which is the alter ego of one of our local cachers. With a name like Tough Mudder, these caches wouldn’t be easy.
The caches will NOT be hidden in parking lots! This series is meant to bring back a little old school geocaching fun, so if you enjoy spending time in the woods, hiking on trails, off trails, ammo cans, and exercise, then you should join in on the fun. This series is meant to be physical. If you complete all the caches in this series, you will obtain bragging rites that you are a Tough Mudder Warrior.
The series consists of 6 individual multi caches and 1 bonus cache. Points are awarded to finders based on the order of signatures in the physical log book of each cache. The cacher with the most points at the end of the series would be grated a $20 prize and eternal bragging rights!
I had the opportunity to talk with Socky P about the new Tough Mudder Challenge Series that has been taking over the Rochester area.
Sherminator18: How did you first come up with the idea for a competition style series?
Socky P: About a year ago someone put a comment on a Facebook post about how much caching has changed, and the “new generation” of cachers not knowing what caching was like in the “old days”. At that point it first popped into my mind to do a series with an “old school” theme.
Also, every summer I try to plan some cache excursions with some of my caching friends where we go out of town and hit some great parks and challenging caches/terrain. I’ve had a blast on some great caches…that take you to cool places and cool experiences like creek walks, gorges, etc. And I know how much fun it is for me to do caches like that with other people, so I envisioned a series with that type of cache/terrain that would give people that same fun experience together with some of their friends.
S18: Did you have specific locations picked out first? Or did the idea for the type of hide have you out searching for a location?
SP: Beginning last fall I brainstormed locations, and also the types of cache experiences I wanted to do and really hit it hard over the winter. I did most of my [initial] searching using the geocaching map on the website. I did not have a set number of caches in mind for the series but originally set out to do 9, (8 plus a bonus), but some locations did not work out due to hidden puzzles and various other things and I wanted each to be high quality and not just do more to have more, opting for quality over quantity, so it got reduced to 7. Once the winter broke, I think around March, I began to go out and scout the areas I had identified on the map.
S18: How long did it take you to plan and place all 7 of the caches in the series?
SP: With each cache I did AT LEAST 3 trips through it, but most I would say required 4-5 times. First there was the initial walk-through, where I would scout the area, envision the cache, and take very rough cords at spots that were worthy of possible hides. I’d submit those spots [for coordinate check]… if approved and reserved, I knew I was good. 2nd trip out I would often place the hides (never the final, just the waypoints) and take much better coordinates. I would hide the containers but leave them empty so I could go make the waypoint slips for them at home. 3rd trip would be walking through it again, placing the waypoint slips in the containers, placing the final ammo can, etc. There were numerous ones I had to visit more than 3 times, but it was always AT LEAST what I just described.
With each cache I stayed ahead of the series. By the time I announced the series, #1 was all set up, #2 was partially set up, and I had done walk-throughs with most or all the others. And the bonus was hidden before the whole thing began. I did not think people would solve it ahead of time, but there are some smart puzzle solvers around so I figured it could be possible. I think I visited the bonus location like at least 5 times to check on it.
The trunk of my car was packed with things for months; containers, materials, my boots, flashlights, spray paint…and my pink backpack that was on my back each and every trip.
S18: What has been the geocaching community’s reaction to this series?
SP: I’ve been blown away by the reaction of people. So many of you gave favorite points to these caches, and as someone who takes great pride in their hides, favorite points mean so much to me. I put many, many hours into each cache, so someone writing a great log or giving it a favorite point makes it all worth it, as I know they enjoyed it the way I meant them to when I constructed it. I’ve been truly humbled by the response. And it is so awesome that there was such a great combination of older caches who have been around for many years, and newer cachers who were not around during the old series, and it seemed all enjoyed it.
It was a ton of fun for me to do, and while I am pretty good with handling rugged terrain and physical challenges, I was beyond impressed with people’s determination to persevere and get through a series of caches that takes hours to do. Really impressed by everyone who completed it.
Many thanks to Socky P for taking the time to talk with me and for putting out an excellent series of challenges caches!
Geocaches in the Tough Mudder Challenge Series: