Geocaching on The Great Western Trail

imageIn the heart of Wayne County, Utah, five hearty souls take the challenge of searching for Caches on the Aquarius Plateau.  This plateau, appropriately defined for it’s many lakes, streams and forest pools (for those Millennials looking for a “forest pooling” area).  The Forest Service mapped the plateau in the 1920’s and 30’s, improved roadways and made it much more accessible for hikers, climbers, equestrian riders, bikers and many Outdoorists wanting a place to get away from everyday stress, called life.  The practical goal was to connect Escalante to Boulder to make it possible to send and receive mail from the outside world.

The Aquarius Plateau accommodates the much unknown National Trail called “The Great Western Trail which has as it’s Northern beginning on the border of British Columbia and Idaho and has it’s Southern beginning on the border of U.S. And Mexico in Arizona.  This trail has the distinction of being the longest National Trail in America traversing 4,455 miles.  It is about 65% complete but many Trailists have endured the undeveloped stretches of the trail and successfully completed it.

Geocaching has a global presence both in urban and wilderness settings alike.  If ever you want to “spice up” your outdoor experience infuse a few Geocaching challenges on your schedule with your Outdoorist Friends and Family.  There is a new phenomenon, Pokemon Go, arriving on to the Social Networks.  Pokemon Go and Geocaching have the same goals in the texture of their activities, that is to get people outside and explore the Great Outdoors both in Urban and Wilderness Worlds.

One OutdoorLoyalty.com’s blog entitled “GPS and Geocaching:  OutdoorLoyalty and You” should be a must read for it’s clear and factual history of GPS and Geocaching and how they merged into this worldwide phenomenon beginning on the first day of the 21st Century.river-977476_1920

The 5 participants in this Caching Adventure, Adam, Haley, Kiefer, Christian and myself are all contributors for OutdoorLoyalty.com’s rise to stardom.  The story begins just outside of Grover, Utah on the Historic Route 12 which borders the Eastern Edge of Hell’s Backbone Wilderness Area and Aquarius Plateau and on the Western edge of Capitol Reef National Park.  Our group set-up our campsite on the grounds of the Bar-CH-Ranch over the 4th of July Holiday Weekend.  Our goal was to map out Geocaches in the Hell’s Backbone and Aquarius Plateau areas, using www.Geocaching.com and our GPS System.  We narrowed our search down to a “cache” in the vicinity of the Hell’s Backbone Bridge on the edges of the Gap that the bridge spans known as the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness.   This bridge was built by the CCC in the 1930s to replace a very troubling bridge which was built for foot traffic only so as to open up the area to hikers, National Forest Guides and Service agents to reach the Aquarians Plateau from the South starting at Boulder, Utah.

imageOur day began with an early breakfast at the Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder.  With the support of available Wi-Fi, we found the GPS coordinates of the targeted cache 37degrees58’13.08″ North and 111degrees35’56.40″ West which is about 26 miles west of Boulder on a very passable gravel road to Hell’s Backbone Bridge.  This bridge is 109′ long, 14′ wide spanning a 1,500′ crevasse with views of the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness.  Along with the GPS coordinates, we also found on the Geocache website the encrypted  message (hint) to finding the much sought after location of the cache. Here is the encrypted msg:

YBBX-VA-N-PENPX-VA-GUR-EBPX-BHGPEBCVAT-ARNE-FZNYY-GJVA-GERREimage

(LOOK-IN-A-CRACK-IN-THE-ROCK-OUTCROPING-NEAR-SMALL-TWIN-TREES)

After an interesting (no, intense) search along the rim of Of Box-Death Hollow Wilderness, we finally found the Cache on the very edge of an outcropping buried under lose rock chips.  The dates of the first “finding” of this cache went back to 2005.  The content of the Cache Box was toy soldiers, notebook and pencil, coins of several countries, flash light (amazingly still working) and several other treasures.  We added a 2016 penny and signed the scroll.  The  only rules for Geocaching is simply “Take Some Stuff, Leave Some Stuff”…

This Geocaching event brought us in to the depth of the area, where we experienced the  Flora and Fauna, as well as some breadth-taking views above and below.  Every cache we have discovered over the years has brought us closer to our surroundings and slowed down our expedition to see and feel what surrounds us at that moment.  All of this technology and these outdoor journeys have been the resultant of making satellite encrypted information available to the public, like you and I, on Jan 1, 2000.  The early “cachers” blazed the trails for all Outdoorists to enjoy while visiting a place of intent for their outdoor experience.

“And so we live in concert with the Outdoor Spirit”…

Below is a great write-up about The Aquarius Plateau in Utah by Wikipedia.  It is the final step of the Grand Staircase…

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquarius_Plateau

 

 

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