Hi everyone, wow I have to admit we have let time run by and have also let ourselves get behind on our stories as a result. The Geocaching Road Trip '15 is still in full swing, and some adventures have taken place to result in us getting a few more of this summer's souvenirs!
First up was AnnieMaroo (Victoria's queen of CITOs and Earthcaches) CITO (Cache In Trash Out). I have to admit when this one popped up in my notifications email I was puzzled. The event "Invasive Removal: Broom and Blackberry Vines - GC5WQWD" was listed as a Difficulty 5 Terrain 2 event. Personally I had never been to a CITO with a difficulty of 5, so curiously I read the listing and found that what she stated in the listing would technically allow for it to have that rating. It stated:
1) You needed to use your brain and identify two different invasive plant types (Scotch Broom & Himalayan Blackberry). So you had to use your brain and not kill the wrong plants.
2) You needed to know how to use specialty tools to properly extract the invasive plant.
3) And you needed to be able to devote 2 hours of labor to the job.
All good enough reasons for the rating. But what we had in store for us when arrived is what really allowed it to be difficulty 5!
Now before I get started, this particular event was going to be giving us two of our Road Trip '15 souvenirs. It would so score us the "High Five for the Earth" souvenir for attending a CITO or logging an Earthcache. The second souvenir it would give us is the "Let's Get Extreme" souvenir for finding any difficulty 5 or terrain 5 geocache (or consequently in this case event). Now I admit many would challenge the legitimacy of this event's rating, but I assure you it was deserved.
I Mr. GO Team arrived early that morning to the event location. The morning sun was already hot, and was promising us that it would only get hotter. When I pulled into the parking lot for the event location I saw our event's host walking down the trail pushing a wheel barrow full of tools to the actual GZ (ground zero) of the CITO. I decided to hang out in the parking lot a bit waiting for others to arrive, but after 10min of waiting no one had showed up. So with that I decided I would head over to meet up with Annie.
As I walked down the trail I looked upon familiar locations of various geocache hides that have scattered this trail in the past. Filled with nostalgia I stopped to snap a few pictures with my phone, and then proceeded to find AnnieMaroo.
I arrived to find her sitting in the shade of a benched shelter overlooking the bird sanctuary in the distance. We chatted for a
while, and soon we heard the sound of many feet walking down the trail. This signified that the rest of the workers were on their way to us. After a quick introduction by AnnieMaroo about what we were to do, what to focus on and what to avoid, we were ready to tackle the the job at hand.
Looking at the small hill we were to work on one could see that it was 2 Terrain, so this matched perfectly. However what lurked
below the the tall grass as a maze of pot holes, and blackberry trip lines. Everyone got to work snipping away at the blackberry vines and trying to not get snagged. Avoiding getting snagged was something all together different, it is like these plants have a mind of their own. No matter how hard I tried I always found myself getting all caught up, and this resulted in numerous scratches even through my pants and shirt. And for those that wore shorts and t-shirts, wow there was some blood loss!
After 2 hours of tireless work in the blistering heat and tons of lacerations, the event end was called and we all headed back to the little shack. The whole team had only made it halfway up the hill, but we did make a difference in how much Himalayan Blackberry still had a foothold on the hill. However the Broom wins the day, as we never made it up to the top of the hill where it lived.
After getting back to the shack and sipping on some water and cooling down a bit, we gathered for a quick group photo and dispersed for the day.