Cave Creek man dies after fall on geocaching trip

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- At 79-years-old, Chuck Mettile was not finished learning. He loved adventure and the outdoors, so when family introduced him to geocaching - his daughters say he was hooked.

"He didn't care if it was pouring, 120 degrees, he loved to do it," said daughter Cyndi Davis.

Geocaching is when people go online to find coordinates, then set out to find items hidden at that spot, a sort of modern day treasure hunt. On Saturday morning, he told his wife Jinny, of 37 years, that he was going to go pick up just a few caches.

"Off he went, and he was gone too long. At 3:15 I called him and wondered what was up," she said.

He was healthy, prepared for the heat and had a cell phone, but he didn't answer.

"We knew it was really bad when he wasn't here for dinner," said daughter Cheri Garick.

The family called 911, but Mettille''s granddaughter said it was the online geocaching community that came to the rescue, dropping everything in the middle of the night to join the search.

"These guys show up. Strangers! And those are the people who found him," said Desiree Tuey.

It's believed Mettille fell not too far off a trail near New River after he was the first to find a cache that now belongs to his family.

"In his excitement he may not have been looking or whatever and fell," said Cheri Garick.

As painful as this is, and as strange as it sounds, those who loved him feel like it's a very Chuck Mettille way to go.

"It's one heck of a shock to go through a sudden death anytime, but just to know that he went out in a blaze of glory...he would have loved it," said his wife, Jinny.