Saturday, May 25, 2024

Barbecue's Cache: Caching Gremlins from the Geocoin Club


   It's time for another visit to Barbecue's Cache! Today I'm showing off another Geocoin from my collection. It's another Chris Mackey design from Geocoin and was the coin for September 2020. This one is called "Caching Gremlins" and pays tribute (or perhaps offers a warning) to the ways that geocaches can end up damaged or missing. 99 percent of the time geocaches are placed outdoors (there are limited scenarios where they are allowed inside), so you're essentially having to find a way to shelter your cache from the elements and from muggles. Yeah, muggles. What's a muggle? Well, in the Wizarding World they're non-magical folk but in geocaching they're non-cachers. Caches are exposed to high and low temperatures, wild animals, environmental changes (floods, rockslides, forest fires), and, yes, folks who stumble upon it by accident. 
   The Caching Gremlins coin has an antique copper finish with a soft enamel for the colored details. The front of the coin has a crazy looking gremlin face in the middle with a very wicked intent. When something happens to your geocache that you can't explain, who can you blame? The gremlin! Gremlins came about in the 1920s as a excuse facetious excuse for malfunctions in aircraft and other machinery, especially in military settings. Surrounding the gremlin's face here are some icons reflecting the different issues that can effect geocaches: A snowflake for cold weather, an animal print for animals that sometimes disturb caches (or invade them), a landslide warning sign, what looks like an underwater ammo box cache leaking, and a flame for both high temperatures and forest fire. It's entirely possible to find an older metal ammo box cache in a heavily wooded area that has been through a forest fire. Sometimes the interior contents have melted but the metal boxes themselves are usually fine. If it's a plastic or Tupperware container, forget about it. I've seen photos where cachers have found melted hunks of plastic that were presumably the cache. 
   In between the icons hare images of different nature environments for hiding caches. Urban caches are very popular as well but they're far less adventurous (usually). Let's check out the other side of the coin after the break...

* This side shows off a really funky gremlin surrounded by fall leaves and in the middle of pillaging an ammo box geocache. He's clearly giving a lecture here as the edge of the coin reads: "Watch closely young sprites... just follow the magical geocacher spirit and it will lead you to its treasure box!- The Wise Old Gremlin." It's kind of like the Screwtape Letters for gremlins, I suppose. 
   When hiding a geocache, you do have to think about how you can make the cache survive. Metal ammo boxes are kind of the gold standard but they're tougher to hide, more expensive, and are more tempting to muggles. 

* The pathtag that is included uses the gremlin face from the front. It's a simple design but quite fun. The white enamel for the face makes it really catch the eye. 

   When you're out caching you're going to find plenty of caches with damage to them. Wet logs, insect invasions, and broken containers are just part of the experience. Cache owners are supposed to maintain their hides and geocachers themselves are supposed to report if something is amiss, but I notice that many hiders disappear and many hunters and finders would rather just mark that they found a cache rather than report serious damage. Containers hidden outside can really take a beating from nature, not to mention gremlins. Be on the lookout and try to plan for all scenarios if hiding a cache!

To see more of my Geocaching collectibles, check out "Of Travel Bugs, Trackables, and Travellers."

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