This is a guest post by a friend of mine in Kansas City. I heard he recently completed a full 366 day streak and asked if he would like to write a short article about his experiences. So I introduce KCSmiths.
For me, it started when I looked at a challenge (GC2EH02) to find a cache on every day of the calendar year including leap day. I had been caching for a couple years, making finds every other day or so, with maybe a 20 day streak and only one 9 day slump with no finds. So I started to check my open dates and made sure to find a cache on that day (this would have been toward the end of 2011).
As I started caching in 2012 I thought it might be fun to try to find a cache a day for 100 straight days. My streak started on 1/31/2012, but when I looked back I only missed 7 days in January. The winter of 2011-12 was mild for the Midwest, that seemed pretty good for starting the challenge. I decided to go for it. I usually only found one cache a day on the way to or from work or slightly off route. It brought a fun change to a commute that I’ve been doing since 1999 and it’s safe to say now that I’ve been on every possible detour between Blue Springs, MO and Overland Park, KS. The first 100 days wasn’t too bad. I had a few “saved” caches, ones close to home or work that had a low difficulty/terrain rating that I could grab if I needed to make a quick find.
After 100 straight days, I thought I could go for another 100, but I needed to plan my daily cache. Sometimes it was a specific cache plan and other times it was in general, get one close to home or work that day depending on my schedule. Planning around my kids’ activities and travel for work allowed me to expand my find area. If I knew I was going to the airport I’d wait to grab a cache in that area so I could “save” the ones close to home/work.
The key for me was to have an understanding family, flexible work schedule with some travel sprinkled in (I’ve cached in NV, NE, GA, FL while on business travel), and most importantly the patience to save a cache for another day, even when it was close. Saving caches for another day is terribly inefficient, but it was the only way I could see the streak working for me. Along the way I was fortunate to have a lot of new ones come along, especially caches in a series, in particular I remember the Follow The Yellow Brick Road Series coming at a good time when I needed some caches close to work that allowed me to stay well within my hour lunch.
Over the past year I’ve been able to widen my search radius and I have been known to stretch my lunch hour on a Friday occasionally. Luckily we are casual on Friday, since wearing jeans helps with some of the tougher terrain rated caches. When I think back thru the year, I can only think of one time where it was getting late and dark and I didn’t find my targeted cache and I had to burn a “saved” cache, an LPC close to home. I hated to waste it, but I needed a find and it was too late for making a longer drive. I don’t want to think about how many miles I’ve put on my car and how much gas I’ve burned going up to Shawnee Mission Park for a single find, especially when I know there’s so many more in that area, but time was a factor and keeping a cache alive for another day was also on my mind.
When I was closing in on day 366, I started to grab more than one cache along a route or area. No more “saved” caches for me now, I need to be more efficient and grab them when I can and not worry about saving it for another day. I still think I’ve got a few more days in row in me, its part of my daily routine now, like brushing my teeth. I expect I’ll feel a little sad when it does end, it’s been a great run so far. I guess you could say I’m a committed cacher…or I should be committed.
KCSmiths’ 366th cache was GC42GFR – KC Christmas Letterbox – Be A Deer. This photo was taken after he found that cache. Check out the Gallery on his Geocaching Profile to see some more photos from his year.