Look into the Light


Well, admittedly with a helpful prompt from CO, I had this puzzle solved months ago with a plan to make it my 1000th find. However, a combination of lack of opportunity and simultaneously trying to complete a year-streak meant that that milestone was clocked elsewhere. Since that time I've been rather pathetically putting off finding this, despite an ongoing plan to focus mostly on 5/5s, with ropey reasons like, it's a bit far for a single find and I'll just leave it a few months until the weather is warmer...

Today I just thought, "What will I remember most? Waiting until the summer to put a wetsuit on and gingerly picking my way to the cache? Or eschewing warmth, comfort, and equipment, and just driving there today, hiking across snowy Exmoor, and striding purposefully, and naked, through a flooded adit?"

Yeah. And it was extremely cold walking the ridge. Throughout the drive, the snow came and went along with the altitude, but once at my elected parking space (the northerly option was out of action as snow had been ploughed into the space, so I parked to the south on the road) the snow was between six and ten inches deep, peaking in the drifts at hip-height. Visibility was low, as well as the brightness being high, as the wind was whipping up the snow and cloud cover was low. Happily, the footpath was fairly visibly marked by tufty rows of grass to either side.

The walk was hard because of the snow, but it was extremely pretty and on a few occasions I saw deer drinking from the stream. Eventually I arrived at the adit and found my way up to the opening (the climb up was unexpected, and difficult when everything was under snow). Happily, there was a reasonably large, if low, dry area inside, so I was able to take shelter, gain some privacy, and, er, find somewhere dry to leave my clothes! I should emphasise that nudity was not done for its own sake, but because - paradoxically - it was Baltic over the moor and I considered it quite sensible to make every effort to keep my clothes dry.

So. Um... I took off all my clothes, but for a woolly hat, a head torch, and wellies (the adit floor has sharp stones), and I stomped off to find the cache! I learned only recently that the temperature of caves (as far as I can tell) remains constant regardless of the conditions outside, and so the water was perfectly bearable and the air quite pleasant. And it was very nice to be able to stand straight and just march along. Equally it was nice to be able to spot the cache from metres away and just go straight to it!

Once back at the entrance I did take the opportunity to make a photographic record of this patently ridiculous caching day and the grizzly proof is in the image gallery. I have made some effort to make it - if not family-friendly - at least less family-surly.

Then it was dry, dress, and make the much more difficult stomp up the ridge and back to the car, during which I managed to lose both of my clever snow-chains-for-boots, such was the depth of snow.

Thank you for an interesting and challenging puzzle, and a cache that stretched my sanity as much as anything else.