I don’t usually go out of my way to look for Earthcaches. The general idea is that you make your way to the published coordinates and educate yourself about the significant geological and geographical features found there. In order to log the Earthcache and claim a smiley, you have to answer questions set by the cache owner, which often feels like submitting GCSE Geography coursework!
This day was different though. As a North Wales Mega 2016 side event, there were plenty of people to share the reading with. There was no shame in admitting that you struggle to remember the difference between igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The theme of the day was very much, “give it your best shot and you can claim the cache”.
Furthermore, the Earthcaches were broken up with Letterbox hybrids, a welcome variation from striations, plucking and other glacier related terminology. Below is a picture I took from ground zero of a letterbox cache called, “Cwmorthin Miners Trail 1 – The Incline”. This was a 2.5 difficulty and 4.0 terrain letterbox. It was interesting to see the remains of quarrying machinery here, where carts were pulled up the slope.
Later in the day, we tackled “Cwmorthin Geology Trail 7 – Water Quality” which actually saw us checking the acidity of the water with (provided) Litmus paper. Many thanks to the cache owner and the North Wales Mega 2016 committee, who obviously put a great deal of time and thought into the two newly published series.
Personally, I consider the best part of geocaching to be meeting new people and sharing the experience. I partnered up with geocachers CDinc, Simonthebridge and geo-hound Daisy. We had a great time and didn’t allow the constant drizzle to dampen our spirits. The picture below shows the rest of our team, shortly after testing the water quality.
Cwmorthin valley is well worth a visit for its breathtaking scenery. The road and track to the car park is a bit hairy mind, so make sure you are comfortable with that before setting off. One final bit of advice; as a former mine, you will be walking over a lot of slate, so make sure you wear sensible footwear. I logged eight Earthcaches and several letterboxes before we called it a day. Happy caching!