US Trip 2014 – Reaching a major milestone

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One of our goals on this trip was to reach find number 8000. We were a bit unsure if we were able to make it, but we had to give it a try!

A few weeks ago, it became more and more obvious that this goal was reachable! After a few calculations, based on our plan, we estimated that we could reach the milestone on the top of Pikes Peak. That changed.

We found more caches than we had planned, and had to adjust the estimate. Unless we encounter lots of DNFs, this is the day!

After driving several thousand miles with the rental, it was starting to get a bit too dirty. So we borrowed the garden hose at the hotel in Pagosa Springs, before heading towards Great Sand Dunes National Park and eventually Colorado Springs.

Attempting to get some of the dust off the car

The first cache today was the earthcache GC22ZXJ Pagosa Hot Springs, which took us to a place that smelled just like Yellowstone! Feels like we just got that smell out of our nose yesterday. After finding the required answers (we got a bit confused as to where the earthcache actually wanted us to look), we continued towards Great Sand Dunes National Park.

We stopped at a few caches along the road, including a couple virtuals. One of them, GC9C64 The Big Misty, turned out to be a bit harder hike than we had thought. But it wasn’t too bad, and it was a nice way to wake up properly!

We drove past a viewpoint along the road, and I suddenly decided to turn around and enjoy the view. Even though there was no cache there! The view was simply amazing, and we got to see some muggles feed a bunch of chipmunks.

The view

The major happening today (besides find number 8000), was the visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park. This was the tenth and final National Park on this trip.

We did three earthcaches and one virtual in the park, and we also purchased some more geology books at the Visitor Center. Earthcaches have really made us enjoy geology!

We ended up walking quite far out on the dunes, much further than we had planned to. Walking in the sand was easy in the beginning, but it got harder and harder further out. By the time we got back, our shoes was filled with sand! They had sand everywhere, so we threw them directly into the dumpster (we had planned to throw them away anyway, they were well used).

Great Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes
Great Sand Dunes

Before leaving the park, we did a last stop at the Visitor Center to quality check our answers for the earthaches.

The next stop, GC12TY8 Nice View was a special stop for us. After signing the log, we can proudly say that we have 8000 geocache finds! We have a long journey behind us, with lots of wonderful memories. But that is nothing compared to the journey ahead! This is only the beginning, now, we’re off to the next 8000!

We are very pleased with reaching this goal, with several days still left of this trip.

Last year we logged find number 4000 on the Original Stash Tribute Plaque, it’s amazing that we’ve doubled the number one year later!

Find number 8000

After find number 8000, we still had several miles left before reaching the hotel in Colorado Springs. We found a few caches along the road, and decided to skip several of the caches we had planned and concentrate on getting at least on in each county and find the special caches (virtuals and earthcaches).

We were able to get to Colorado Springs before sunset, and could find the virtuals without any problems.

The last virtual, and the last cache of the day
The last virtual, and the last cache of the day

After finding the four virtuals we had planned (we decided to skip the fifth a long time ago, since we couldn’t understand the task properly), it was time to get something to eat and get to the hotel.

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