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On The Trail Of An (Almost) Original Slingshot

Benjamin Louws is missing a vital piece of geocaching equipment – a slingshot.

Obviously, this isn’t your everyday geo-kitbag item – unless, like the Australian geocacher, you’re trying to create a near “museum-quality” replica of the first cache, Dave Ulmer‘s Original Stash (GCGV0P).

Benjamin Louws

Louws (GC handle: The Talent) has spent the last six months researching the original contents of that legendary Beavercreek, Oregon hide, repeatedly watching a video of its placement and discussing the artefacts within on the GC.com forums.

He’s even spoken to its creator to gleen as much detail as possible. “I contacted Dave Ulmer and have had a bit of a chat with him about it, and Team 360 (aka Jeff Holliday, caretaker of the Original Can of Beans) contacted me and gave me some great info also.”

So far, Louws has collected all but two of the eight items originally placed in Ulmer’s 2000 stash. “The biggest item I’m still looking for is an aluminum slingshot handle like the one in this picture but Jeff from Team 360 told me that it had ‘air holes drilled in it’. They don’t sell many of them in Australia and my wife doesn’t want me spending too much more money on it. I will get it one day soon though.”

The student and young father has also just realised that he’s missing the “Delorme CD-Rom” listed on the logbook.  “I had a good look at the YouTube video that Dave Ulmer made before hiding the cache, and it appears that the software was something called Delorme Explorer V1.0. It may have been one or two discs.”

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To-date, Louws’ scavenger hunt has seen him track down:

  • A large black bucket with matching black lid, which was harder to source than expected.
  • Delorme Topo USA Version 1.0 software
  • A compact, silver cassette recorder
  • Four US$1 bills
  • “A pretty notorious” can of Western Family Blackeye Peas
  • Tony Chiu’s book Ross Perot: In His Own Words
  • George Of The Jungle VHS tape – and it’s the latter that inspired his goal.

“I thought it would be cool to do and I had a copy of George Of The Jungle on VHS when I was a kid. I dug it out and that started the ball rolling. I originally didn’t intend on making my cache so accurate; it’s just sort of snowballed,” he says.

Taking stock: Louws’ tribute stash.

“Obviously, my George Of The Jungle disc is an Australian release edition. Many of the items are not exactly the same but they are extremely close.

“For instance, the cassette recorder which was originally used was not branded the same, but was the same machine with a different brand logo. The black eye peas tin now uses a new image but it’s the same brand as the original. The book and topo maps are exactly the same.”

Louws created his replica logbook in Photoshop but says he’s “still not happy” with the colour of the paper. “It looked better on my monitor. I might re-do it again. I copied it quite precisely from the YouTube video to get the text and handwriting accurate.”

Hardest to source were the pre-2000 US$1 bills. “A friend of mine who lives in Oregon spent about 30 minutes in a bank flipping through bills looking at the date stamp. Most of the other items had to come from the USA, but eBay and Amazon are good for finding what you need.”

All of these items will be eventually be placed on display behind a see-through acrylic panel inside that large black bucket and hidden in his home state of Queensland. “The stash will be placed in the bottom of the bucket and a round piece of clear plastic will be silliconed over it so that you cant touch/trade the items. There should be plenty of room above it for new swaps/trackables.”

But as with any great idea, Louws has suffered the odd setback – starting with his wife’s displeasure at the project’s cost. “It hasn’t been a huge amount, probably around A$100, but most of that has been in postage. A lot of the items had to come from the USA. My wife is not impressed that I spent A$20 shipping a ratty old book that I’ll never read out here.”

Pioneer placement: The original Original Stash.

Even the fact that the Original Stash wouldn’t pass Groundspeak’s current placement rules forbidding buried containers, food and weapons has not deterred the Aussie. He plans to modify the slingshot so that it can’t be used for its intended purpose, adding that he hopes “drilling the neccessary air-holes to make it accurate might be sufficient”.

And that infamous can of beans must still be emptied and the metal rust-proofed. “This will need to be completed before I put the cache out.”

Not that Louws has an actual location picked out for his tribute yet. “It’s likely that I’ll hide this cache in central Queensland, where I live, but we are planning on moving to a city in a year or so and the cache will move with us. We’ll be somewhere along the eastern seaboard of Australia.”

Name-wise, he is thinking of “something boring like ‘Australia’s Original Stash Tribute’. “I’ll try to include heaps of info on the cache page about how geocaching started. I plan on hiding it within 100 metres of a major highway so it gets plenty of visitors who run route pocket queries when they go on holidays.”

Meanwhile, though, there’s an aluminium slingshot handle and some software to locate.

*It might be a shot in the dark but It’s Not About The Numbers is hoping one of our American or Canadian readers might be able to help Benjamin Louws out. If you’re happy to source the aluminium slingshot or Delorme Explorer disc/s, please use the form on our Contact Us page. To sweeten the deal, we’ll send the Good Samaritan/s an INATN geocoin (and a few other goodies) as thanks.

3 comments

  1. The Talent

    I managed to get a copy of delorme 3d explorer. All I’m looking for now is the slingshot 🙂

  2. The Talent

    Thanks to Team360, I now have a notepad of the same brand and manufacture as the original log book. It’s getting more and more authentic!

    1. kjwx

      That’s great, Ben! And thanks a lot, Team 360.
      I’ve been keeping an eye on eBay for that damn slingshot. if you see one, let me know …

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