Picking out the 10 best is proving to be a challenge. Here’s what we’ve got so far:
#10 – Easy to Overlook, Tucson, AZ
#9 – Nuke on a Mountain, Sundance, WY
Tonight, we continue our Top 10 geocache countdown. The #8 slot is a find from July 2008 (during our honeymoon) called “The Caves of the Door Bluff Headlands.”
One of our favorite places to explore is the Door County peninsula in Wisconsin. Located on the state’s eastern shore, it juts out into the lake like a little finger sticking out of a mitten. The peninsula has Lake Michigan on the eastern side and Green Bay on the western side. They meet at the top of the peninsula, where there are a number of islands. The largest of these is Washington Island, a fishing community and resort town. The strait that runs between the peninsula and Washington Island was called Death’s Door by the Potawatomi and Winnebago Indians and later by the Europeans. The winds, waves, currents and rocks of these waters have claimed everything from birch bark canoes to iron hulled steam ships along with the people in them. This is where the county got its name – the shortened form of Death’s Door. It’s famous for two things – shipwrecks and cherry orchards. It has plenty of both.
The tip of the peninsula is called the Headlands. It is heavily forested and weather beaten. The dominant terrain feature of the area is the steep cliffs, about 40 feet high, which go right down to the water. These bluffs are actually the exposed edge of the Niagara Escarpment, an elevated plateau that runs from upstate New York to Chicago. Four hundred twenty miles to the southeast of this picture, the Niagara River roars over the edge of this same escarpment, creating Niagara Falls. There’s nothing like that here, but geologically, they’re the same.
Rock fracturing and erosion have carved out caves in the bluffs. They aren’t very far in and you don’t have to be a spelunker to retrieve the cache. The trick is finding the right one and getting to it. So now you know why this cache is called The Caves of the Door Bluff Headlands.
This cache is a significant undertaking. First, you have to find your way through the forest down to the shore. There’s one trail that will get you there and lots of dead ends. There is no trail on the shore itself. The entire walk to the cache is along the shore picking your way through talus rocks with shaky footing. There’s not one square foot of soft stable ground and it’s a slow grind. Make sure you wear stout shoes. Flip-flops not recommended! Then you have to find the right cave and get to it, which means climbing and entering. The final phase is potentially the toughest – getting back. The shoreline all looks the same so finding the one place where the trail leads back up into the forest can be tricky. Fortunately, previous explorers have marked the spot with a huge driftwood teepee and others have added rock cairns. The driftwood teepee is a key marker and we made our own stack of rocks to make double sure we knew where to head inland. Take a good look around you when you break out on to the shore and stay oriented. You’ll be fine.
Give yourself several hours for this one and make sure you take water and sunscreen. A flashlight might be helpful too. If you have some energy left, there are numerous other caches in the immediate vicinity. They are much simpler. This is the only one that requires you to negotiate the bluffs of the Door county headlands.
Enjoy …. The Cachemanian Devils