This series of caches caught my eye when I was browsing the geo-map of New Mexico and instantly knew it was on my 'must do' list. SchnauzerQueen and I started planning the trip for New Years Eve and off we went. From start to finish, these 100 caches cover about 14 miles from first cache to last, plus the mileage to get back to the freeway, and took about 7 hours for us to complete. That is about double the record time but we did take our time and enjoyed to day and the sites.
We have many fantastic memories from the day but none compare to our encounter with the cows. One cow in particular. I have given him the name "Cache Cow" for obvious reasons and he will forever have a spot in my heart and on my blogs. At the third cache find we noticed a little group of cows coming our way. That's cool ! Right? We have a little company and we know that the cows must be a bit lonely out here in the middle of the desert. Right? They were just getting close when one kind of smaller cow separated from the group and moved our way. It was almost like he was putting himself between the other cows and us. Funny. Right? We got in our car and crept down the road toward the next cache, about 1/3 mile away.
We had walked about 100 feet from the car when we noticed that the Cache Cow had moved to just behind the car and was making sounds that I have never heard from a friendly cow. He may be a small cow but he didn't look helpless or weak in any way. Cache Cow allowed us back to the car but did move to take a look in SchnauzerQueen's window; a close look. Yep - she wasn't afraid but smart when she put her window up. Cache followed us to the next stop and sure enough managed to catch up long before we were done. A plan had to be made to pull these off. I drove, SchnauzerQueen would hop out find the goods and I would try to distract the cows and keep Cache Cow back to a safe distance.
This is the routine we followed as we proceeded down the road to stop 15 where we came to a cattle guard. We never got the names of any of the other cows nor did we name them ourselves. What I did discover is that cows like homemade oatmeal cookies and they will stop to search for them even if there is only a small portion to share.
Take your camera – there is more in this area than caches. We saw many types of vegetation, interesting rock formations, the ‘cow family’ and scattering of other cow families that we all friendly, signs of the American ranchers (a beautiful coral) and a great sunset. Even without the searching for caches it would be a great day trip. But the feeling of hitting that number 100 was quite fulfilling.
It is important, to me, to share a warning about the road conditions. The weather had been nice and dry for many days but there were still little patches of snow in areas and some very muddy spots. Even some of the parts that appeared to be mostly dry proved to be extremely slippery and there is no doubt in my mind that if we had come to a stop, we would have set up temporary permanent residents with the cows. So beware of the mighty mud. I have to give a lot of credit to the little vehicle that we drove. SchnauzerQueen recently got this 2011 Kia Sportage and it really did the job. The fact that it has a little higher clearance helped us with some spots. But I still wouldn’t recommend a vehicle without 4 wheel drive most of the year.
There is a lot of history connected to these caches. If you can take the time to read the info on Geocaching.com about each of the heroes, you will understand how much feeling Docgeo put into this project. He also put in a lot of time and effort. The caches are well placed with a great variety of hiding places which couldn’t be easy in this area. Docgeo kept all caches within a reasonable range so that it is possible to complete the series in one day. I am hoping to get Docgeo to write us a little article about this project; it’d be great to hear from him first hand.
Watch for more on this trip later in the week.