Virtual Cache
by Jbond
N 37° 49.605 W 122° 25.273

2022 is the Year of the Hide! To honor Virtual Caches and the unforgettable destinations where they lead us, we venture to Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay for a trip to America’s most famous prison. Alcatraz Island combines natural beauty with a complex past of incarceration and civil rights protests. Let’s roll back the clock and visit “The Rock” for our Geocache of the Week: Escape From Alcatraz (GCF7A2).

Alcatraz Island is one of the top tourist destinations in San Francisco today, but for much of its history the island was a federal penitentiary designed to house notorious inmates deemed too risky for mainland prisons. To find this Virtual Cache, the cache owner Jbond invites geocachers to roleplay as newly arrived prisoners to the island and forge a daring escape from the prison.

Picture yourself in the early 1960s as you arrive on Alcatraz Island for the first time. After your most recent attempt at prison escape, federal officials sentenced you to hard time on “The Rock,” putting your previous attempted escapes to bed. As you exit the boat, you’re booked and given new clothes. Your exit from booking leads you into your cell block; there you will craft a devious plan to escape once and for all.

Image by xpj.

With all the time in the world, you ponder what you need to outwit even the smartest prison guard. To escape, you must travel around the facility to collect numerous supplies including a guard uniform, a boat schedule, and counterfeit money for your life post-Alcatraz. 

To buy time before officials notice your absence, you must convince the night guards that you are fast asleep at the final night check. With paper, glue, paint, and human hair from the barber shop, you can craft a papier-mâché false head to stand in for you while you flee through a utility corridor behind your cell. Ingenious!

Alright, here’s the escape plan:

  • Head to the barber shop; you’ll need real hair for the false head.
  • Visit Clyde in D Block, he has a critical tool: a boat schedule.
  • Drop by Henri in the library for forged money. He’s locked up for counterfeiting so you know he’s the real deal.
  • For paste, paper, and glue, visit Rufus in the kitchen. 

With all of these supplies in hand, you need just a few more things before your mission can truly begin. A visit to the recreation yard is in order; ensure you are in the work party headed to the docks. While the rest of the inmates perform maintenance, you have an ulterior motive. Notice the color of the lines below and memorize this location. Fine details can make all the difference; there’s no room for error, especially at night.

Lastly, it’s time for the most vital piece for your getaway: a guard uniform. Since befriending several inmates in the cafeteria, you learned that Sam in the sewing shop is the guard’s tailor at Alcatraz. A few alterations later, the uniform fits like a glove, and the final piece of the puzzle is in place! Ok, enough looking in the mirror—it’s time for action.

At last, it’s time to make your getaway! Place the beautifully groomed false head in your bed and chip away at the loose block in your cell. It leads directly into a utility corridor which is your ticket out! Make your way to the docks under the cover of night; don your false guard uniform as you walk. San Francisco is so close, you can almost taste it!

You spot a supply boat on its way to the island—right on schedule. You confidently board the ship as a guard returning home after a long shift on the island. You peer back to take a final look at the supposedly “inescapable” facility. Congratulations, a new life awaits you!

Image by Kubatronix.

Thankfully, your supposed “escape” was purely a work of fiction. The cache owner Jbond partially modeled this Virtual Cache after the escape attempts of Clarence Anglin, John Anglin, and Frank Morris, in June 1962. Officially, the FBI determined that all three men perished in the frigid water of the San Francisco Bay. Speculation lives on to this day regarding whether or not the men successfully swam to shore.

Image by dschinny.

As you board the boat back to San Francisco, there is no doubt that you had quite the adventure! From the prison library to the docks, the Virtual Cache provided you with an in depth tour of the island that few visitors can say they experienced. Small but mighty, “The Rock” has an unforgettable history that lingers in the minds of all who visit.

In celebration of 2022 as the Year of the Hide, Geocaching HQ recently announced Virtual Rewards 3.0. An opt-in web page is now available for geocachers to apply for a Virtual Reward. The page is open until February 26, 2022.

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world. Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

Source: Geocaching

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