Tuesday, August 30, 2016, found Richard Janssen – also known as baldeagle45 – completing the epic task of traveling to and finding a cache in each of the fifty states in the union.
But not just any caches. These are the Cache Across America caches: fifty caches placed across the United States, including the final in Washington, D.C. This particular challenge has been completed by fewer than thirty cachers worldwide.
Baldeagle45, from Chester, Illinois, was visiting his niece and family on the island of Kauai when he was introduced to this series. After a visit to tour the Arizona Memorial on Oahu, he convinced his family to let him try to find some caches on the island. They agreed and he made the CAA-Hawaii his target. Making the find, he determined that he would take on the mission to complete the challenge.
During the summer of 2013, Baldeagle45 found sixteen more CAA caches – an achievement in itself for just a few short months of hunting. Because of his job – a Transportation Specialist – he waited until the following summer to pick up on his quest, adding twenty-three more caches to his count. By 2015, he was slowing down a little, due to distance and time availability, picking up an additional two to add to his tally, for a total of forty-two finds. With only eight to go, however, he wasn’t going to give up.
On June 16, 2016, baldeagle45 directed his attention to the southwest, grabbing Oklahoma on his way to New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. After attending GeoWoodstock in Colorado, he headed home. The next step was Montana, followed by Alaska. He now needed to head east to complete his odyessy.
On August 26, 2016, he headed to Vermont, Maine and Delaware, finding the necessary containers on the 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively. The final was now within reach! After receiving a little help from Lorriebird & ZSteve, on August 30, 2016, at 10:07 am, baldeagle45 completed the series by obtaining the final cache in Washington, D.C., bringing an end to his multi-year, multi-state adventure.
There was one more thing to wrap up this amazing journey, however. To those elite few who have completed this series, there is a prize beyond the caches and bragging rights: An exclusive coin, created solely for this challenge, the Cache Across America Finishers Coin.
Cache Across America Finishers Coin
In addition, finishers are honored with their photos on the cache page, so that everyone who accepts this challenge can see who has attained this exciting goal.
So, what does this cacher have to say about his success? The first thing is that you have to like traveling. Baldeagle45 likes driving, so the tens of thousands of miles he traversed didn’t bother him, though he did have to keep in touch with his sisters during his trips because he claimed all of these caches by himself.
The most difficult cache in the series for him was in Montana due to the one-hundred-foot elevation terrain change in a short distance. Taking his time, he was able to make the find and continue on.
While he found the cache series to be a challenge, he didn’t find it to be a “difficult” challenge. The caches took him to what he described as a large variety of “ordinary and special places”.
“Each state and the placement of the cache was a new experience. I didn\'t know exactly what I was going to find, or if I could get to it. I just kept trying. That\'s the excitement of Geocaching: the thrill of the hunt. Whether it\'s in the woods, mountains, deserts, rural, or cities, you follow your GPS and try to find the cache. It is an electronic treasure hunt. The goal and satisfaction that you get out of it is determined by what you put into it. You have to love it and I DO.”
Asked if he preferred challenge caches over other kinds of caches, he responded, “I don\'t prefer challenge caches over other types. I like any cache that gets me to a new place to visit and explore. The challenge is to try to think like the CO that hid the cache. The excitement of finding the cache is the reward for the effort you put into it.”
SLAGA extends its heartiest congratulations to baldeagle45 for this remarkable accomplishment!
Cache Across America Series Final
Cache Across America Bookmark List of Caches
Cache Across America – Missouri
Cache Across America – Illinois