Having received an invitation from Sevencards to join him in hunting down the 'Firefighter' series along the Kiel River, I started to make my plans. Luckily, the lil hippies would stay safe and sound at home with their mom. This gave me the opportunity to leave Madison at about 4AM and take a long, convoluted path to Kiel. Along the way, I managed to find caches for; WI Falling Waters Challenge, WI Population Center Challenge, Triple Fizzy, Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher, WI County Challenge, WI DeLorme Challenge & 4x Grid-Filler's Delight. By the end of the day, there were twenty-three smilies along with sixty-plus LCG points.
My first stop of the morning was Oshkosh, where all I needed was a multicache to complete part of the Population Center Challenge. Luckily for me, WWII Veteran's Memorial was a simple PNG multi that I had no trouble with in the pre-dawn darkness. A quick glance at the clock showed me I was still on pace as I headed to Appleton. My goal here was to grab another multi (fail) and GC18TW6 to fill in a spot on the Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher (success)! Pulling into the neighborhood a little after 6AM, I was nervous about finding the cache in the snow and darkness. Lady luck was on my side though as the first spot I started to clear rewarded me with the sound of a stick hitting plastic. Quickly got back on the road, happily putting that mindbending puzzle behind me. Now it was on to Green Bay, where I had a quick multi and puzzle lined up along my route.
It was at this point, after completing my Population Center goals, that I had to tempt fate and detour northeast in an effort to add Door & Kewaunee counties as well as grabbing another DeLorme page. In the end, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to complete them as I don't often get to that part of the state. The Door County cache proved no problem, but on the way to Kiel via Luxemburg the ice and snow were making finding a cache difficult. In the end, it was a WSQ that saved the day and got me back on the road. At this point, Google Maps was telling me that I'd be 15-30 minutes late for our meetup, but nothing to do for it but drive. As luck would have it, I pulled up to the Kiel River parking before everyone else and found Barry & Val of sweetlife getting ready to head out.
We decided to join forces and tackle the river together once Sevencards, ruff54 & polish cutie arrived. In the meantime, we walked over to Patrick Star and did a little ninja monkeying while we waited. Turned out the cache was archived, apparently right after I had loaded it. The container was still there and it was a fun warmup for the two mile plus hike down the frozen river. It also finished up the 2/4.5 spot on my Quad Fizzy Challenge, which was a bonus. Our gang headed down the river, eventually meeting mjlambert while signing in at Axe #6, and completing my Triple Fizzy at the next cache Rescue Squad #7. #7-10 are all on the LCG list, which netted us all fifty points for our effort. On the way back up the river, we ran into tc54915, neonride93 & lakefly85 on their way out.
After going our seperate ways, Sevencards, ruff54, polish cutie and myself headed up to Manitowoc in order to try and find GCGXCE. We couldn't find an approach for WP2 on that one, but did manage to find a waterfall cache on the way over so it wasn't a complete loss. With our DNF, the rest of the group called it a day and I headed over towards Appleton again to grab a couple more puzzles. I couldn't bring myself to climb GC1DRME, but did grab several of the nearby Iconoclast puzzles as well as GC12DAD for the Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher Challenge. I also ran into Lacknothing while out on the trail here which was a pleasant surprise.
All in all it was a great day spent walking frozen water and monkeying my way up some pretty incredible trees. I even managed to avoid injury until my very last stop, a PNG TB Hotel where I managed to slip on snow covered ice getting out of the car and smash my elbow. I also borderline froze my hand as it tingled and hurt for the two hour drive home. All's well that ends well and this day ended pretty well for me spending some time with the boys before hitting bed. Spent 14 1/2 hours out driving 600 miles to get 23 caches for a half dozen different challenge I'm working on. It doesn't get much better than that!