January 13th, 2004
Three new caches had published in Reno. One was bobthecat's Dash Through Reno's Past, another was LaughingGravy's Parks Walk-About. I can't recall what the third one was, but I know there was one. Back then, there weren't too many cachers in Northern Nevada, much less FTF hounds. Caches could sit for days or weeks back then. Abeyoni was the FTF king. He'd look through the Newest in Nevada and find the new ones up north and go for it, regardless of where it was. His was the name you saw on all logs. He was the one to beat.
On this morning, I had time and figured I'd try for it. The other multi was downtown Reno, in an area I wasn't familiar with. So I took the chance to head to Mira Loma park. I was worried about the mile plus walk that the Gravies had mentioned on the page. But holding the print out (long before paperless caching here) I made my way to the coordinates. By cutting back and forth I was able to get the information needed and head off to the final.
Course I hadn't cached too much in Reno and promptly got lost in the Hidden Valley neighborhood! Left, left, right, left, I remember zipping back and forth so where my track log was a useless wiggling mass of lines! Oh how much I've come to rely upon Google Maps now and how fun it was to jump into caching blindly trusting a GPS with no accurate map!
Finally made it to the end of the road. No other cars around, did my wandering around the entire valley have someone sneak by me and make it out and back? Only one way to find out! I set out, following the monochrome arrow that was saying "Go that way!" Up the hill I went, looking for footprints and finding none, until the screen showed 10 feet and the cache was found. A blank logbook (an honest to goodness log book no less!) awaited me and I penned my name and story on the sheet before closing it up and heading back.
The trail ran along the top of the hill, before descending down to a gully leading out to the park. As I began the downward slope, a tall guy with a baby riding in a backpack was turning to begin his climb up. We both stopped and stared at each other. Without ever having met, and far enough away that faces were indistinguishable, I heard him shout up "NevadaWolf?" There was only one person it could be, only one person heading up for the first to find on LaughingGravy's new multi. I shouted back "Abeyoni!?"
That was the first day I got to meet one of my best buddies. The grin on his face was absolutely massive and the huge I got was one of the biggest. No way was I just going to bail, so I walked back with them (AJ being just a tiny thing back then, I can't believe how big he's gotten in the last 6 years!). We just talked as Abe searched and AJ looked on. Finally the cache in hand, he signed their names and I got the picture. AJ happened to see the sparkly wolf stickers I was putting in caches at the time. The next thing I know is he's coughing and choking. Dad saved the day (though not my stickers) and we left the cache laughing and continuing the conversation back to the cars.
One of the best days ever. I'm still smiling as I write this entry. Thanks applejohn for asking for the story.