Day 5 began with the usual hotel breakfast. We were contemplating the fact that we’d completed 318 of 602 caches on the series. Technically, we’d used less than half of the available time. We’d had two “short” days and one full day. We still had two full days and as much of Tuesday as we needed to see how many more we could do. We were planning to head to Jouy-le-Comte, and I started to think about the serious possibility that we could complete them all by Monday night. This would leave Tuesday for a relatively lightweight day of driving (and of not wearing walking boots anymore).
To achieve that we were going to have to do at least 282 caches in 2 full days. Whilst that may seem a lot, it’s worth remembering that so far we’d had some crackers so far. We had one day where we’d made 120 finds despite not starting until 11:20 am. And another where we’d made 129 finds whilst taking an hour off in the afternoon and giving up early (ish). This lead us into some feelings of confidence. A day in which we found 150 was more than possible. We still had big areas of the circuit where the caches were all grouped in tightly packed circular walks. Jouy-le-Comte was one of these two.
So we set out with the specific intention of caching until we fell over. The more we could get done on this day, the fewer we’d have to do on Day 6 and hopefully we could make an empty day for Day 7 (aka “going home” day).
Off we go
We also set out a bit earlier than we had done on previous mornings, as we’d got a little bit further to drive and didn’t quite know how long it would take to get there.
We started in the village of Jouy-le-Comte, which is apparently so insignificant that it doesn’t have a wikipedia page of its own. It does have quite a pretty church though, as do most of the settlements in the area.
Our first cache was signed at 9.25 am. There was a run of about 15 caches up a drivable road with a car park at the top. Much of the road was through the village, but it was the morning of Easter Sunday, and there were so few people around that I didn’t think we’d be causing many problems.
The first 15 took us about 45 minutes. Then it was on with the walking boots for our first little stroll of the day. This first walk was 7.5 km in length, took a shade over 2 hours, and resulted in 30 more finds. Not bad so far then. 45 finds and only just midday.
Next we parked up at the church in Jouy-le-Comte to complete the “bottom half” of the caches on the eastern edge. On this walk we spent a further 100 minutes, walked 6 km and found a further 21 caches. Happy days – not yet 2 pm and we’d already found 66 caches. The day was going pretty well by most measures. We decided to celebrate our success for 10 minutes by resting our feet. We had a drink and attacked our last remaining pack of chocolate mini-eggs we’d bought from the UK.
From here it was a question of deciding which areas to focus on. We’d got a whole raft of caches on long walks in the areas of Valmondois and Nesles-la-Vallée, and a bunch of potential drive-bys and short walks to the north of Nesles-la-Vallée, leading back to Frouville and Hédouville. And then there were still a bunch of drive-bys to the west of Valangoujard. Decisions, decisions !
Our choice was to spend the rest of the afternoon “mopping up” some of the scrappy-looking areas, and to leave the two substantial-looking walks for Monday. This meant we headed into Nesles-la-Vallée and got ourselves into drive-by mode. In the next 3 hours or so we completed a further 40 caches alternating between drive-bys and short walks. After this we drove into Frouville to attempt a more reasonable lengthed walk from there.
We’d neglected the fact that it was evening on a religious holiday. As a result, the car park at the church was full. Ho-hum! There was another one a bit further along the way. This was the starting point for our third (and final) significant walk of the day. This one was 4.7 km long, took 90 minutes, and yielded 16 finds. Quite slow by the standards of the week, but we were getting a bit tired.
When we got back to the car it was around 7 pm, and we knew we had at least another hour of reasonable daylight left, and we felt that at usual rates for drive-bys we could get another 20 finds in. We eventually completed 22 more and still had some light left, but decided we’d done enough for one day, so we gave up and drove back to the hotel.
When I got the day’s activity loaded up onto the PC I was surprised to discover we’d managed a frankly ridiculous 151 finds in the day, 150 of which were from the MTVO series. By my reckoning that meant a fairly easy sounding 134 to find on Monday.
Isn’t it pretty when you show them all on a map like this? Jouy-le-Comte is on the right-hand side of this map by the way. The name is hidden under all the smiley faces.