This was a great challenge cache and I really enjoyed spending the day working on it. My wife agreed to keep the boys at home with her, which allowed me to tackle some of these caches. I arrived at the arboretum just about 9:30AM and started off the day with a couple of easier caches near the beginning of the forest. As I slowly made my way north, I picked up a few more caches. My hope for the day was to grab a couple of caches and at least find and sign the challenge cache so that when I completed the challenge I wouldn't have to go back for that one. This time of year is definitely the best time to tackle these. Today was absolutely beautiful, making the several hours of hiking bearable. It's late enough in the year that most of the undergrowth is gone and the tree cover is gone so my GPSr was able to settle pretty easily. Still there were an over-abundance of thorns near almost every GZ I approached.
By about 10:30-11AM, I finally made it towards the back of the park and had to make my water crossing if I wanted the final and the couple of other caches back there. While I was crossing over, I saw that I was fairly close to Smashing Ground's Cache of the Month winner, Just Listen. I was in a hurry to get out to the challenge cache and my GPSr wouldn't settle, so I figured that I didn't need this one and I'd just swing back later. If you end up out in the area, don't skip this cache it definitely deserves the CotM win. I did manage to come back and eventually make this find after grabbing a couple of others. However, in all this I missed completely one of the caches and when I finally realized it, I was almost a mile away and didn't really feel like hiking back, making another two water crossings and hunt for this one. Oh well, next time!
Around lunchtime, I got a call from my wife and decided to start heading back to the car and make my way home. As I wandered back grabbing caches I realized that I had found almost every cache in the park. Finally back to the car and the final tally was 18 finds, 1 DNF, 1 unsolved puzzle, 1 cache I missed and 1 cache at the entrance that I was too tired and lazy to stop and look for when I left. A pretty good day for me all in all. As I headed back towards Madison, I got ahold of a caching friend who was going to take a geocoin over to England for me.
It turned out that mxmarg was out along the Glacial Drumlin Trail working on the America the Beautiful series with mesman, legoboy13 and their family. So I ended up jogging down the trail until I met up with them and then hiking back to my car and grabbing six more AtB caches along the way. The Racing Yorkshire Geocoin Kevw is heading back home to England care of mxmarg! Thanks again for the lift. At the end of the day, I had managed 24 caches with only one DNF, met some new geocachers and managed to get a coin on its way.