3 countries + 2 geocachers + 1 geocoin = an incredible twist of fate

Gabi, Mary, and the My Froggy Friend geocoin
Gabi, Mary, and the My Froggy Friend geocoin

A German geocacher and a Canadian geocacher walked into a geocaching event… well, they actually met at an event, and through a twist of fate, discovered they had something amazing in common.

Last January, Gabi (Whaleshark) travelled from cold, snowy Germany to vacation in warm, sunny Florida. She did a lot of geocaching on her trip, but the crown jewel was logging Florida’s oldest cache, Christmas Cache GCFA. It’s an arduous 3.5 mile hike full of everything you’d expect from a Florida adventure: trails, lush greenery, mud, swamps, deer, mosquitoes, rats, snakes, and alligators. But the publish date of the cache is December 25, 2000 (hence the name Christmas Cache) which helps a lot of people fill their Jasmer Challenge grid. Thus, the desire to find this particular (and popular) cache.

The path to GCFA begins easily enough...
The path to GCFA begins easily enough…
But along the way... Seriously, there are alligators. Here's a pic. There are literally dozens of photos just like this one in the cache gallery.
But along the way… Seriously, there are alligators. Here’s a pic. There are literally dozens of photos just like this one in the cache gallery.

After the sweaty and buggy journey of finding and logging the cache, Gabi headed back. Along the trail she spied a piece of plastic partially buried in the dirt. She bent down to pick it up thinking it was merely garbage (any good geocacher knows to always CITO).

Gabi at GCFA in January 2017
Gabi at GCFA in January 2017

Surprisingly, the plastic bag was packed tightly under quite a bit of dried mud. After some digging, out popped a bag with a Signal the Frog geocoin inside. Gabi thought, “Wow! What a great find again after finding a very historical cache. What a great day it turned out to be!” Gabi planned to clean up the coin and contact the owner once she had a little downtime.

Gabi found a muddy geocoin
Gabi found a muddy geocoin

The very next evening she headed to a nearby Geocaching Event which had been organized, “to celebrate geocacher friendships that develop across borders, connect continents.” About two dozen attendees from many areas came together to meet, mingle, discover coins, and talk geocaching.

Gabi, Mary, and other geocachers at the event where they met
Gabi, Mary, and other geocachers at the event where they met

Gabi struck up a conversation with a geocacher named Mary (Muskoka Pearl) who was down for the third year in a row from Canada. The topic of the Christmas Cache came up, and Mary told the story of her trek to the cache with 6 other Canadians the previous year — which also happened to be one of the wettest on record. The trail to the cache was 6 inches deep with water in some areas, and the mud was beyond anything imaginable. She told Gabi of how she had taken trackables to drop into this special cache, but somewhere along the way she lost her favorite one, probably in the watery, muddy path.

This is how wet and muddy the path was in February 2016 for Mary & crew
This is how wet and muddy the path was in February 2016 for Mary & crew
Mary's visit to GCFA the year before was the wettest year on record for the area
Mary’s visit to GCFA the year before was the wettest year on record for the area

At this point Gabi’s eyes widened, “Oh my! Could it be? Wait right here!” She ran to her car, looked in her rucksack, found the plastic bag caked with mud, then rushed back in to show Mary. Yup. The My Froggie Friend geocoin was in sad shape and covered with mud, but it was the exact coin Mary had lost almost a year before.

The Froggy GeoCoin when it was brand new
The Froggy GeoCoin when it was brand new
The Froggy GeoCoin after it had been found
The Froggy GeoCoin after it had been found
The Froggy GeoCoin after a good cleaning
The Froggy GeoCoin after a good cleaning

The women gave each other a big hug because they couldn’t believe the series of events that led up to their meeting. What are the chances of something this amazing happening?

As Gabi puts it, “So Mary and me are thinking now, we are two very happy people, come together in an unbelievable, wonderful and miracle way, to get know each other, so this must be a very special friendship, that starts right now…”

And as Mary sums it up, “Clothing is wet, but spirits are high. Mission accomplished.”

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