CacheCrazy.Com

Friday, January 30, 2015

Looking back at ~ The Best Guest Blogs Ever - Shaggy from the cache "Giants Despair"

Some of you may have already met our guest blogger but if you haven't, you're in for a real treat. Meet Shaggy from the cache "Giants Despair". Yes, it's Shaggy himself so without further adieu , meet the man at the cache. Enjoy!





Wow, like man this is a real honor being a guest blogger on CacheCrazy.Com. I've bee a fan since it started in 2009 and here I am today, a guest blogger, like far out! I haven't been this excited since I was at the all you can eat, super mega buffet. That was a great week!

Anyway, My name is Shaggy and I'm the guy attached to the cache at Giants Despair, GC28ZCH. Bloodhounded put me out in May of 2010 and I have been here ever since. Before that I was just another play thing but today I have a real job man.While hanging out here at ground zero I have a lot to do man. Like I really work up an appetite hiding the cache from mugglers. They are like everywhere man and they want to take me so I can't stress enough, if you find me, please hide me, man! HIDE ME GOOD!!!!!!



Just hanging out man, come find me
Bloodhounded made me a bit unique. He has the log in a bison tube that I hold for you and then a Velcro patch on my back attaches me to the cache container which is filled with all kinds of goodies. He was cool and let me wear my favorite shirt man, like I haven't changed it since so like don't mind the scuffs and scratches. I wasn't always a funky monkey, I use to be shinny and new man, like check out my start up photo dude. I was all sparkling clean but, 365 salami and swiss on a submarine roll with mustard later, well like I'm slip sliding away man, but nothing old Bloodhounded couldn't fix. He came out the other day and cleaned me all up, filled me up with cool swag and asked me to do this guest blog. Like thanks man!


Shaggy Night Caching
So, come out and see me anytime day or night (this is a great night cache). I hope you're not afraid of giants man, because like I'm the giant and you have to fine me and reunite me with the gang. Then complete the Scooby - Doo Where Are You series. 48 geocachers have already been here man and let me tell you, some of them were like real scary man but everyone was cool and for the most part took care of me. I'm still here right man? I like getting visitors and if you bring me a triple decker peanut butter and jelly with banana sandwich, like that would be groooooooooooovy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   


Like I'll catch you later man and remember, keep on caching man! Keep on caching!
  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

That Four Letter Word


Folks, I am not one to use four letter words. That is the bad kind. You know, the kind that could get your mouth washed out with soap. So says my mom. Well there is another four letter word that I usually don't use, but I used it yesterday.

You see I got up early and as I approached the back of the house I looked outside and then I said it. SNOW! That's right, snow. There I have said it again. I usually don't say it until I am ready for hunting season. Then it can snow and I really like it.


Now you need to understand that I use to work at a hotel and every time it snowed I got called in to work early to plow, shovel, plow, shovel, and shovel some more, and then finally throw around some salt. It never bothered me until one year when the snow was really deep. I'll relate the story.

My boss, the owner of the hotel, told me since it was starting to snow, and we were supposed to get a lot, that I needed to go get my wife and kids and bring them back to the hotel so they could stay there and not worry about the snow. I thought this was very kind of him. I picked up the family and brought them back to the hotel and we all got checked in. Then I went to work plowing and shoveling.

Well as I got up by the catering department where the big patio was I heard some pounding on the glass doors. I turned around and there was my family standing there all in their swimsuits by the indoor HEATED pool.





WHAT! I'm out here freezing and shoveling snow, and looking like the Abominable Snowman, and they are all in there having the time of their lives swimming. They laughed and I felt like crying, but my tears would have frozen, so I just went on shoveling snow. When I was done shoveling I went back to my room, which by the way had a Jacuzzi in it, and I enjoyed a nice hot soak.

Yes that was a very disturbing snow storm and I'll never forget it and neither will my family. Actually I was thankful for a boss who cared enough about my family to allow us to spend one snow storm together for free.

So back to the word snow. Are your caches ready for the snow that is coming? This might be a good time to get out and check them before they get buried. Make sure they are properly filled and water tight, so that when that big storm comes they will weather the storm with no problems. Also consider if you need to disable any of them due to their extreme location.

Which brings me to another point. If you are going out after caches during the snowy part of the year make sure you take plenty to drink. Both hot and cold might do you some good.






Also be sure to dress properly. You know like thermals, warm socks, cold weather boots, gloves (even the ones with the strings tied to them so you don't loose one of them), hat and a scarf. It's also a good idea to take along some snacks. As a matter of fact it's good to take snacks along everywhere you go whether your caching or not. Snacks are just good anytime. You can make them healthy or just plain good. It's up to you.

And, I'll give you a little hint. When you get close to the cache turn around and walk backwards. It really throws off the next cachers who visit. So as you prepare to say that four letter word make sure you're prepared to go out in it after those snowy caches. Cache safe everyone.

Big Al

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lake Country Caching



We went out to Lake County on Sunday with my parents and found 15 caches, and had 1 DNF, in about 3 hours.  It was just nice to get out early on a Sunday morning and not have to deal with a bunch of traffic and muggles.



The view out over this lake was really pretty.


The cache was hidden somewhere along this boardwalk....


Notice that I am wearing my SAUCE headband and my STITCHFORK DESIGNSsweatshirt!


We had to wade through this field....


..... to find one of my favorite caches of the day....






Mom and Dad discussing another cache....


The last cache of the day was up on a hill overlooking a pond.  Mom spied the cache and we were done for the morning.








We were home in time for lunch and an afternoon of NFL. And a nap....  It was a great way to spend the day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Currently Obsessed with: Geocaching

Hi guys! I was scanning the Internet looking for obsessed folks just like us and I found Jamie! I loved this post on her blog, "A Forest Frolic" and asked if I could post it? She said "sure" and the rest is history! I can tell you one thing about Jamie, she is CacheCrazy! Enjoy....

This week: I haven't been to the gym once...I've opted to take little hikes instead...
Geocaching
I've traveled with bugs...
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I've given the thumbs up...on numerous occassions...
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I've laughed...out loud...all by my lonesome...and still smile when I think of this one...
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I've ONLY gotten on the computer to check my Etsy shop orders & to do some research at the library...to find the geocache that was IN THE LIBRARY (how awesome is that?)
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I've adventured with friends...
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I've become a pro at finding micro caches in parking lots (who knew?)...
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And today, I even bought knee-high rain boots to keep in the car (one can never be too prepared), so I can wade through all of these little creeks I'm encountering...
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The girls and I have learned local history and played on a train...
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I've woken up before the kids on a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, to make a 'coffee-run' and found this one...
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If you want to join in on the fun, please visit www.Geocaching.com, but fair warning...it is addicting and F-U-N...a real-world treasure hunting game where players try to find hidden containers [called geocaches] by using gps devices (I use my iphone)!! 
You may learn history, discover something new, enjoy a hike, solve a puzzle, get some fresh air, spend quality time with family and friends, the list goes on...
Please let me know if you've tried geocaching, or might, after reading this post.  If you have tried it...does this obsession ever go away?!? ;)  I'm finding myself thinking of ways to solve the puzzles instead of sleeping, or where the caches might be that I have searched for and haven't found yet, or doing searches for them on every errand I run, tee hee.  Aaaahhhhhh...
Jamie :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

366 Days of Caching*

*Over 2 years

Act I
I found my first cache on March 8, 2011. Then a second and third cache. I found more the next day, but the 10th I took off (though I can’t remember why.) Starting on March 11th, I decided to go for a 30-day streak. That turned into 60 days, and then on to 100 days. My wife wasn’t too sold on the streak idea (especially after the night I had to go out in the driving rain at 11:00pm 15-20 minutes away to find a nano in a CVS parking lot.) Consequently I ended it after 105 days.

My First Log on Backstage at Souderton (GC1XBP1
Of course, I didn’t stop caching. Far from it! But I did stop caching every day. I set a personal goal to find 1,000 caches my first year, by March 7th, 2012. I grabbed all the caches I could, everywhere I went. On March 3rd, 2012, I found 26 caches, the last being my 1,000th cache! (Abby's Cache GC1RNH3) That included one trail where I found 11 with my caching family, RaE1O-EFam (brother) and ladyiredhat (mom) and some of our kids (aka the microcachers,) and 15 other caches around the Reading, PA area.
I hosted a World Wide Flash Mob VIII event “Singing in Souderton” (GC2WKDZ) at the site of my first cache find
After that, I paused to consider my caching experience to-date. I know some cachers who have found 10,000+ or even 50,000+ caches, but still: 1,000 is a lot! Was I having fun? Most of the time, I decided. At that moment, it hit me: all caches are not created equal! I realize this probably seems painfully obvious, and I already knew this simple fact, but what clicked was the “why.”

What I realized is, for me, lamp post and guardrail caches just don’t have the same appeal as really awesome caches. I started off caching either solo or with my kids, but realized it’s REALLY fun to go with friends. One of my most memorable caching adventures was with the CacheCrazy crew and the Trilogy of Terror, with my good friend Team Firenze and new friends Bloodhounded, Nishollow, TravelnbHappy21, and many others. My most recent exiting caching adventure was Raiders of the Lost Cache near Lebanon, PA with geobuds Team Firenze, Geo-Ben and our microcachers.
Raiders of the Lost Cache adventure
What makes these caches so awesome? Sure, the nature, the hike, the views from the top, the physical and (sometimes mental) challenge, but mostly, it’s the camaraderie. You just can’t do a lamp post cache with a group. Alright, technically you CAN, but it’s just not as much fun having a group stand around a lamp post while one person lifts the skirt to find a pill bottle and signs everyone in as climbing a 250 foot boulder wall/waterfall then climbing back down 15-20 feet into a cave with that same group. (Plus, having more eyes usually decreases the chances of DNFs!)
Trilogy of Terror: the climb up (with Dodger of DLC)
Trilogy of Terror: the climb down (with Bloodhounded and Smithie)
Trilogy of Terror: View from the top (you don’t get THAT at most guard rails)
I still go caching alone; it’s nice to be alone with nature and my thoughts, caching along the way. But it’s even more fun to go with a friend or two (or 15!)

So, now I had 1,000 caches under my belt, but I wasn't anxious to go grab another 1,000 easy finds, and I didn't have time to find 1,000 high-quality caches over the next year, so what would my next challenge be?

Act II
Pondering what to do next, I soon took a look at my statistics page. I scrolled down and noted my calendar. I had found caches on 251 unique days. In one year. Wow, I really had been caching a lot! That meant I needed to fill in 115 unique calendar days. It seemed so easy at the time...
Lots of green…but lots of white too!
If you recall, I had started with a 105-day streak a year earlier. That meant I didn't have any open calendar days to fill until June. I had still found geocaches on most days up until October, when I had contracted Lyme’s disease in 2011 (yes, most likely while geocaching; don't forget the Deet!) November picked up a little, but then bigger and bigger holes appeared in December and January. And I have no idea what I was doing in February 2012, but it definitely wasn't geocaching as it was mostly empty. Then, back to March where I only had a few days to fill.

So that was it: I settled on filling in my calendar grid as my next challenge. October and February would be a little rough, but hey, I had done 105-days-streak, so what difference were a couple most-of-a-30-day-streaks? I used a little trick I picked up from a Podcacher episode and filled in my Google Calendar with the days I had open, setting a reminder and email on each one. This means that each night I would get an email reminder and a popup on my Android phone telling me to find a cache the next day.

March, April, and May cruised by. I cached at my leisure and had fun doing it. June came, and I only had 2 days to fill in, easy peasy! Similarly, July and August were no sweat (except from the heat, of course!) September wasn’t bad, but October was pretty bare (Lyme’s disease, you’ll recall.) By November and December it was getting colder, darker, and harder to cache. On one calendar day I was sick but I still crawled out of bed to go find a cache that wasn’t too far from parking.

January had lots of holes to fill in, but somehow I managed it. February…what the heck was I doing in February 2012? I have no idea, but definitely not caching. Luckily I had grabbed some caches on February 29th since that won’t be around again for a few years. I slowly plodded away in the cold, the rain, the ice, and the snow until all of February was filled.

And then, March. Only 5 days left! I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, beckoning me! By this time, the local cache hiders had come out of hibernation (plus a few new local cachers) and the area had been re-populated with caches. This was very good news because there was a time when I had mined the entire 30-mile trip-to-work area dry (and a good radius besides.) Consequently, the last 5 were relatively easy to get. I had a little fright when a snow storm was forecast, but I had a cache or two on reserve that were (technically) within walking distance of home for extreme cases. Fortunately, I didn't have to resort to them. Then, my intended final cache yielded a DNF...but fortunately I had a GPSr full of backups on hand, and soon had my final cache: Howe Easy 4 (GC3HME1.)

And that brings us to today...one day after the end of the 366 days. I can sum up in two words how I now feel: Satisfaction and Relief (though I haven’t decided in which order.)
366 Days Completed!
So What Did I Learn?
The hardest part was rationing caches. By this, I mean passing through an area where I know caches abound and not getting them because I know I’ll need them another day. I did not like this at all, and this is my biggest relief with my 366 days behind me. It made caching seem more like a chore than a hobby or fun activity, similar to how I felt while on a streak. That was the secondary reason I ended my 100-day streak a year earlier (the first being my wife was definitely not on board.)

I also learned that this was indeed a challenge. Finding a cache every day, even an easy one, gets progressively harder over a year’s time as the easy ones get checked off. Some days are very busy with the rest of life getting in the way. Some days you are sick or just don’t feel like caching. But in the back of your mind is that drive to complete what you have started. The final five days were a relieving count up to 366.
Would I do it again? No, I don’t think so. I doubt that I would do a streak either. I’m glad to be done, but for me, what it takes away from my geocaching experience was too great for a repeat performance.

Shout Outs
I want to mention my friends in the caching community who helped make this successful. First is TAXMAN 1, who probably helped fill in a quarter of those days with his multitude of hides. Next is my mom, ladyiredhat, who was both my cheerleader and geocaching apprentice, and of course my good geo-buds, Team Firenze and Geo-Ben, who are always (well…usually) ready to get out for a caching excursion early in the morning before work or with our multitude of microcachers on the weekend. Thanks to Bloodhounded and the CacheCrazy.Com crew for giving me a place to write about my thoughts and adventures, and also to help create new adventures. And thanks to you, readers, for visiting us here at CacheCrazy.com! Here are several pictures of favorite caching excursions and friends.
Father’s Day geocaching hike with Team Firenze (left) and Geo-Ben (right) at Lehigh Canal at the LVGGP Wherigo Tour  (GC3BARN)
My first webcam cache: FDU Webcam (GCPDBZ)
Caching with ladyiredhat near Mille Bornes (GCZN72)
Caching with geoslam (who took the picture) at World Coin Cache at Washington Rock (GC209CE)
Act III
So, what’s next? I really haven’t decided yet, but I’m leaning toward filling in my difficulty/terrain grid. I have 58/81 spots filled, which means I have 23 spots open. Of course, they all are a 4 difficulty and/or terrain or higher. But this time, I’m not setting any time limits or anything, so I can do it when I want, if I want, and do whatever other caching excursions I want. Or maybe something else...stay tuned here for updates!

So what challenges have YOU attempted and/or completed? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for checking out CacheCrazy.com!

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