My writing has really suffered this week. I’m not sure whether it’s because this is a 3rd draft going over the same stuff, or there are hidden nerves because of problems with previous drafts or because I’ve actually suffered this week.
Last Sunday saw me take on my biggest geocaching challenge yet, and as far as big challenges go, this one was totally unprecedented.
The Ultimate Geocaching GPSr Field Test
Whilst you were all recovering from your hangovers on a windy and rainy New Year’s Day, myself and a couple of geocaching friends decided (for fun) to go out in the worst conditions possible and find over a hundred caches over 20 miles, wallowing in mud and wading up to our knees in floodwater along the way. But it was all for science as we took along a range of GPS receivers to test with the view of declaring which one was best of geocachers. GPSTracklog has published an account of the day and our verdict, so be sure to check it out!
Oregon 650 Review At GPSTracklog
Over at GPSTracklog this month I’ve written a review of the Oregon 650 Handheld GPS device purely from the perspective of a geocacher. This is Garmin’s top of the range device but as I discover, you may encounter some problems with it as a cacher. Worth a read if you’ve been thinking of upgrading recently. Be sure to check out the full review
In many ways I should look back on 2013 as a shit year. It challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. But in reality, I think it was actually a really good year. The universe decided to throw everything it possibly could against me… and it lost.
Leggedon was a defining moment and I surprised myself with how I reacted. If I’m being honest, I would have pegged myself as someone who when faced with overwhelming adversity would have turned away. But I didn’t (probably more out of stupidity than courage), and in doing so discovered some inner strength I didn’t know I had.
This came at the same time as a second draft of the sequel to Four Realms seemed to collapse on me. As much as I like to use fate, destiny and divine providence as a storytelling device, it’s not something I really believe in. But if the fates really wanted to try and stop me in my tracks they made a bloody good attempt in 2013. But I still won.
New GPSTracklog Article On Trackables
My latest Geocaching article for GPSTracklog has gone live today. This month I provide an introduction to the world of trackables, covering a few of the basics and giving some handy tips. Be sure to check it out!
After I was off my pace for the last expedition, I was keen to get out and prove to myself that it was due to the manful rather than the hills. My usual geocaching crew were off doing a series I’d already done and whilst I don’t mind caching on my own, it’s more fun with someone (plus, it’s very difficult & time consuming to get into undergrowth currently with my legs like they are).
Not everyone can get up at 4am on a Sunday morning. I’ve learnt that it takes a special kind of willpower to do so, especially when the prospect is a day of aching feet and miles and miles of walking. Still the fact that I couldn’t go geocaching for so long has resulted in a sense of freedom when I now do. And the fact I can walk so far after all that has happened is a reminder of how hard I’ve had to work to get the leg back to a stage where I can do it. Like everything in life, sometimes you get knocked down. You either stay knocked down or you get up and come back stronger.
And I do feel stronger. I actually feel like I’m in the best condition since I started geocaching in 2008. But that doesn’t mean that at 4am on a Sunday I don’t feel like crap. As I did on this day, just over a week ago. I woke with a scratchy throat and was worried I had come down with this cold that is knocking everyone out around me. Still, I’d felt the same when I’d gone and done my record-breaking day near Peterborough so I just put it down to early mornings.
Our target for the day was the Kent / East Sussex border and a place called Brightling. It’s a place with a church and a couple of houses and nothing else. Except under the ground is a huge Gypsum mine. There’s very little evidence of the mine above ground except for a huge overland conveyor which looks like a massive snake working its way across the countryside.
So what do you do when you’ve done the impossible? Well you raise the bar up and challenge yourself again.
Following my 133 solo cache find day last month I’ve been feeling pretty proud of myself. I realise that personal challenges are just that and may mean absolutely nothing to anyone else, but for me to come back from the leg injury and set a new solo best felt like a major victory.
But I’m still getting stronger and felt like it was time to take on another challenge. I’m happy to let my solo record stand for some time. I can think of only a handful of people who could do that number on their own in a day, and none of them have bad legs.
Instead, this time I wanted to beat my all time daily record which stood at 135 (only 2 less than my new solo record). I’d identified a route near Peterborough to be able to beat this and enlisted my friend Westie to come help me.
Friday saw me in the Nene Valley near Kettering. Having finished my course in Birmingham earlier that day and due in Cambridge on Saturday it made sense to travel direct and stop off along the way to do some Geocaching.
Over the years I have worked for a number of companies that say they offer training and then in reality never do. So when the day job offered to send me to Birmingham for the week, I jumped at the chance. Whereas for most people a week away, stuck in a hotel, sounds like hell, for me it’s perfect.
I train during the day, get to geocache in a new area in the evening and then write when it gets dark. For me that’s pretty close to perfection.