Geocaching. Strolling alongside crystal blue streams and through golden fields in the bright summer sun, over crystal white mountain snow-tops or meandering in lush green woodland with the melody of a thousand songbirds in your ear. On the way to hunt Geocaches of such craftsmanship and handiwork you swear they were made by the finest craftsman of our time. The thought alone is enough to rouse any slumbering couch potato aware from the television. But what if Geocaching had a dark side? The unspoken side, dare I say it, the dirty side? I had such an occurrence today and it would seem, so have many others.
Normal scenario, I’m out of work for an hour to pick up some lunch and think I will grab a quick cache to satisfy my urges on the way back from the supermarket. A quick glance at the map and I spy a likely suspect, sure its in the middle of a small housing estate, so I am not expecting great things scenery wise but with any luck it will be a quick cache and dash and I can be on my way.
The cache was hidden by a small piece of street furniture and had I looked at the pictures others had posted, I would have gone straight to it. But that’s not my style. I know best you see, so I bouldered straight over and through the trees and began my search. It didn’t take long. Not to find the cache but to realise I had put my foot straight into a discarded pair of boxer-shorts. An odd find took a slightly sinister edge when I noticed that they had been soiled, quite badly as it turned out, from someone who must have been so ill I began to worry if they actually made it home.
I don’t really want to repeat what came out of my mouth but you can imagine. Why would someone do such a thing? This was a busy public place surrounded on by houses yet just into the tree line from a busy road someone had removed their clothing, presumably cleaned themselves and then simply discarded the evidence. Nasty.
“A dead badger next to gz that was visibly moving with maggots and the stench was horrendous”
Was this a one off? Who knows. I certainly had not seen anything like it before and I hope to not see anything like it again. I was so shocked I did what anyone normal person would do, I posted it on the UK Geocaching facebook group and asked others to share their findings. It felt better to share. Thinking I would be alone in my disgust, here are just a few of the replies I received. The conclusion? The general public are a disgusting bunch;
“Found rotting carcasses at GZ a couple of times, the fresher they are the worse it is!”
“On my very first day solo caching I picked up a dirty disposable nappy, didn’t realise what it was until it was in my hands……it almost put me off caching, but I persevered. I still don’t enjoy solo caching though!”
“I knew the bonus cache was in a fake dog poo and made my husband pick it up but unfortunately it was a fresh real one!”
” I have found the old “cache hidden in a fake poo” so now if I am having trouble finding the cache I always have to poke things with sticks to be sure… but yeah mostly dead animals. I reached into a pine tree that was FULL of dead birds… not sure why there were so many. Oh and a frozen opossum.”
“Seen knickers and tights hung on branch of tree next to style on a circular route”
“Oh there was that time we found a huge fish miles from any pond or river. We thought it was the cache at first until we realised it had previously been alive and actually looked like it was going to explode any second. The thought of “I’m a celeb” style fish guts all over us had us making a hasty retreat!!”
“Yesterday I looked for one in a little park area, behind some bushes were a load of different bottles filled with what I’m hoping was Irn bru.”
“We have to admit to postponing maintenance on one of our caches due to logs reporting that there was a very smelly hedgehog carcass next to it. And we once found a cache in a hole in a tree then discovered there was an active beehive in the next hole”
So next time the sun is shining and your have some spare time to kill, please do go skipping out of the door Geocaching. Just be careful where you tread.