CacheCrazy.Com

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!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Geocaching; What is this all about? A Beginners Special Feature



By Big Al

Note to readers: This article is intended for anyone to read, but it's especially for folks who are new to the sport. If you're not sure what it's all about then read on.




WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!
Grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit back and take it all in.

Geocaching (geo-cashing); what is this new sport that is becoming one of the best outdoor sports around. Geo, which means “earth” and cache, which means “a place where items are stored or hidden”, when combined together means “to hide something in the earth.”

In the old days items such as money or treasures were hidden in the earth to keep them from being found by unwanted people. Today, treasures, or “caches” as they are known, are hidden with the intent of being found by other people. The only catch is that you have to have the coordinates to get you to where the cache is located. And, not only do you need the coordinates it is to your advantage to have a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver to help you get to those coordinates.




Once the coordinates are entered into the GPS you follow them to what is called “Ground Zero” (GZ). This is where the fun begins.

Let’s look at how the cache ended up being hidden in the first place. A Geocacher, one who plays this scavenger hunt, has to hide the cache. This is not an easy task. They first have to find a suitable place for the cache to be hidden. This could be on public or private land, and needs to be done with the land owner’s permission. The cache location could be in a log, under some rocks, in a tree, in a stone wall, or just about anywhere. Once the spot is found the Geocacher takes several coordinates with his GPS and records them. These are averaged out to get a more accurate reading. Once this is done the coordinates are then marked for later entry on the web site Geocaching.com, which is the most widely used Geocaching site. We’ll talk more about them later in the article.

So the Geocacher has a place to hide the cache. Now he must determine what size of cache container to use. There are several sizes of containers that are used. They are Micro, Small, Medium, Large, and Extra Large.










Bottle Cap Micro Cache

                                                                 Medium Cache

Large Cache

A Micro cache could be as small as a bottle cap, bolt or film canister, and usually only contains a log sheet to be signed by the person who finds it. A Small cache could be the size of a magnetic key holder or a small Rubbermaid container that could hold a log sheet and about a cup or two of contents. The Medium, Large, and Extra Large containers are usually Army Ammo cans of varying sizes, or Lock-n-Lock containers that can hold not only a log book, but they will contain different trade items (SWAG-Stuff We All Get) left by other Geocachers. The idea behind SWAG is that if you take something out of a cache you need to put something back in.

BEANIE BABIES SWAG

 The main requirement for a cache container is that it must be waterproof. If it is not then the logbook and SWAG could get wet, and no Geocacher wants to find wet or soggy stuff.

Next he needs to figure out how to disguise the cache so that it’s not as easy to find. If it is too easy then it is not as much fun. For our example we’ll use a small 2 cup Lock-n-Lock container that has an air tight seal. In it we will put a logbook and some SWAG, which might be a matchbox car, a rubber ball, a pair of dice, a keychain, a watch you’ve been waiting to get rid of that works but is the wrong color, and a Travel Bug (more on these later). Then he takes the cache out to the planned hiding spot, which for our purpose will be in some rocks. Now he puts the cache container in among the rocks, and then he covers it with more rocks. He wants it to look as natural as can be. Now off to the computer to get it published.


So the cache is hidden, and the coordinates marked. Now it just needs to be logged on Geocaching.com. Once their permission is given, and it has been reviewed, it can be published to the World Wide Web for all Geocachers to search for. Each and every cache has its own page associated to it. It lists the coordinates, historical information, and clues or hints to find it. There is also a log of all past Geocachers and whether they have found it or not. This is also where we will log it if we find it.

Geocaching.com is just one of the sites where caches can be listed, but they are by far the largest web site around for Geocaching, and the Basic Membership is free unless you want to purchase a Premium Membership. On this site you can learn just about everything you want to know about the sport. They cover where the caches are located, how to hunt for them, how to log them, how to hide them, and they even have articles on buying and using a GPS. If you’re looking for any information about Geocaching then this is the place to start.

Note: only members of Geocaching.com can hide caches that they then publish to their web site.

Now lets look for a cache. First we log onto Geocaching.com and type in our zip code. From there we look at caches that are hidden near our location. Once we have chosen a cache we download the coordinates into our GPS and off we go.



After a short drive we arrive at the parking area. Here we get out and begin our journey. Our walk or hike to Ground Zero (GZ) could be just a few yards, or it could be several hundred yards. Only time will tell. We follow our GPS headings to GZ and let the fun begin. We start by looking around right at GZ. We look high, we look low, and we look under and inside. We also take into account any clues or hints we picked up from the cache page. Let’s say our hint was “Don’t be stumped.” This would mean we need to look inside, or around, any stumps near GZ. Ah, there is a stump right in front of us. Upon further investigation inside of the stump we find the cache. We open it up and take out the logbook and sign it. Then we look through the SWAG. We decide to take the Travel Bug (TB). We then place the cache right back in the stump and leave it just as we found it so that the next Geocacher can have just as much fun finding it as we did.

When we are done caching for the day we go back home to the computer and back to the cache page.

There we log the cache as “Found”. Always be sure to put your adventures in the log and tell the owner how much fun you had. If you did not find a cache then be sure to log it as “Did Not Find” (DNF).










Then we search out the Travel Bug. A TB or Geocoin (GC) is an item that has been placed in a cache by another Geocacher. It is trackable on Geocaching.com through the unique trackable number on its tag or in the case of a GC the number is engraved right on it.

                                                                  Nocturnal Hunter Geocoin              
                                                                    
                               
                                                                          Scamper Travel Bug

TBs and GCs also have their own pages. They tell you all about the item such as what goal it has, how far it has traveled since it was released, and who the owner is. The TB or GC can also be logged into your account. This is one nice feature of using Geocaching.com. All of your “finds” are automatically numbered, and kept up to date, once they are logged in. Just be sure to take your TB or GC with you the next time you go out and drop it off in another cache so that it will continue to travel along on its mission.

Well we found the cache, took a TB and logged our finds. Now it’s time to move onto another cache. That’s the beauty of Geocaching, there’s always another cache to be found or a new place to hide one.

Happy Caching!

___________________________________________________________

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Would You Do For A Geocache?


Our very own Admin Author, Kim submitter her story and picture to FTF Magazine under the category of, "What Would You Do For A Geocache". The people at FTF recognized her quality of work and loved the pic so much that they published her in their magazine. Kim blogged about it at her personal blog, Snug Harbor Bay awhile back and we applaud her for keeping with the cache crazy motto of crazy caching and just having fun!
Way to go Kim!

Do you have a great story of crazy caching?

Send it HERE with a picture and you might be published by CacheCrazy.Com ~ What Would You Do For A Geocache?

BH....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Can you log those DNF's? PLEASE!

By: Bloodhounded
Notes from the author: You might think that logging a DNF makes you look bad as a geocacher. Quite the contrary, you could be the hero not the zero.


So the air is starting to cool, the days are shorter and you are wiping the dust off of that GPSr in anticipation of some autumn caching. You’re day dreaming of the adventures, the fun and healthy exercise but what is probably the furthest thing from your mind is what I want to talk about today. Logging those DNF’s!

Oh yes, the dreaded DNF! For those new to caching it’s an acronym for Did Not Find. You know that little blue sad face that looks you straight in the eye and makes you feel the failure of the hunt. Fear not my caching friends, for all is not lost. That little polar opposite of the famed smiley has its place in the geocaching community and serves several positive purposes. Today I’ll go into a few examples of what the DNF means to me as both a Hider and a Seeker.

But first a story:


When the cache page says
an ammo can, you're think
ing big, right? WRONG!

‘What a great cache this is going to be”, I thought as I placed the final to a small multi cache that I hid last summer. “It’s going to be awesome”. First you have to figure out the puzzle on the cache page and then it’s on to an apparatus that you need to “work” in the field in order to obtain the coords to the final. Then just a short distance away, in a very beautiful spot is the treasure however, the area is truly the gift of the cache. I scouted it out several times, I have it all worked out. I even placed a spare key nearby in case there is trouble in the field with the lock on the apparatus. I carefully thought of everything! I think I stayed up most of the night doing the cache page (I always like to do elaborate cache pages) and when it was completed I sent it out to be reviewed and approved. Within a day it was approved and published on GC.com. I couldn’t wait to see the log of the FTF! Who would it be? How would they fair with the apparatus? Would they appreciate the location as I did?

At work the next day I happened to glance at my Gmail account and there were three new emails. Surly one of them was the FTF. My hands made quick work of the keyboard and sure enough there were two GC emails. Much to my surprise, they were both DNF’s!!!! What? A DNF? Something isn’t right! Both of the geocachers I knew and both were very good at the sport. I immediately temporarily archived the cache until I could check it out. Within hours I stopped and found my problem right away. When copying my coords to the computer I transposed a few numbers and was off nearly 100 feet. I couldn’t apologize enough and I felt like an ass. One of the cachers drove 40+ miles to get the FTF only to take part in a wild goose chase. Then I found out that the cache was looked for the day prior by two geocachers however neither logged the DNF. Had they done this I could have had it fixed right away and saved my friend a long drive to the Poconos for nothing. But, because they didn’t, I just thought folks were slow to the grab it because it had a small hike along with it.

This was a lesson learned for me on two fronts.

1. I always log a DNF if I give the search a fair look and don’t find it.

2. To always triple check my coords on a hide and then, check one more time for good measure.

OK, so you have to log the DNF. Does it mean you suck at geocaching? No… What it means is that you have given the cache a thorough search and according to your GPSr you are at GZ but you’re not finding it today. You may return tomorrow and BAM, there it is but today, no go. No big deal and you’re doing more good than harm to your caching reputation for doing so.

If we as geocachers always found the cache easily the very first 10 minutes of searching, it just wouldn’t be as fun! Now I’m not saying a DNF is a good thing, it sucks, but it is truly part of the game.

Depending on your prospective here is what it means to me.

As A Hider

• When someone logs a DNF at one of my caches I always contact them and by the Bloodhounded law, offer a hint. So you’re likely to get a little assistance if you want to try again.

• I actually like a few DNF’s on my hides. It tells me that the cache is challenging but doable and offers a fair share of frustration and enjoyment at the same time. There is nothing like the feeling of returning to GZ and making the find after several attempts!

• My rule is “three strikes and you’re out” meaning, after three DNF’s and I’m off to check it out. I might even temporarily archive it until I know more if I can’t get out right away. This stops the bleeding and prevents others from being disappointed.

• I have had about a 50% success rate with the three strike rule. Half the time it’s there for the finding, I check the coords, and it all matches up, I post a note to the cache page and activate the cache. The other half of the time the cache is missing and needs to be replaced. I usually do that right away as I bring a replacement just in case, post a note to the cache page and activate the cache. I never ridicule the DNF posters if it’s there and ALWAYS thank them in either case.

• I respect the geocacher who posts the DNF. They are the people who keep the cache active and alive. If they don’t post it I assume everything is OK. A cache could go through a few cachers who don’t post and then you find out it’s missing by doing maintenance or from another cacher who does post it. In any case, I always want my caches to be found, stocked with swag and have a nice dry log to sign.

As A Seeker

• Before I go caching I always look at the last three or four logs. If I see a few DNF’s I know it’s either going to be a tough one or I may need to replace it if I can.

• If it is ridiculously ignored and there are several DNF’s, I’ll email the CO. If I do not get a response from them I’ll forward an archive request to the reviewer and have it cleaned up.

• If the location is super cool and there are several DNF’s I may try an adoption and take the cache ownership responsibility (more on this in the near future).

• If it’s a brand new cache and there are a few DNF’s I’ll wait for it to settle out and then go for it unless I’m after the FTF, then I am either in the DNF group with the rest of them or victorious and it means that much more knowing that others have tried and failed.

• REMEMBER, logging a DNF is GOOD for your caching reputation. Others will appreciate your efforts and make an assessment on their own whether or not to search for it. You did your job! Put the geocache on your watch list and see what happens. If the next cacher finds it, email them and ask for some assistance or just ask the CO. I always offer hints and have had some folks get three and four hints (even maps drawn for them) before they made the find. It’s cool to help others.

• DO NOT ask for a hint to be the FTF! That is just bad edict and most CO’s will not offer any hints until the FTF is completed and then it’s OK to ask.

So to wrap up this controversial topic, keep in mind that as a geocacher you have several responsibilities. Some of these include; to leave no trace, report any dangers of the cache in the log or to the reviewer, trade up or even, repair and replace as needed or to your ability at that moment, place the cache back exactly or better than you found it, log those DNF’s and most importantly have all kinds of cache crazy fun!

Friday, January 16, 2015

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE MAGAZINE a CacheCrazy.Com Exclusive 2 Day Special


                                                                                                               














Welcome to the world-famous Lehigh River Gorge in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains - home to one of the most popular whitewater rafting trips in the country and word headquarters of CacheCrazy.Com!  Here you'll discover a close-to-home adventure that feels a world away!  Awesome wilderness scenery and exciting, fun-filled rapids combine for a picture-perfect outdoor day!
  
















You can go as wild or as mild as you want to. Try busting the wake in your kayak or joining the family on a river ride through mild white water of the Lehigh River on the stretch between White Haven, PA to Jim Thorpe, PA this 25 mile section has a little bit of everything you could want. 

You'll laugh. You'll scream. And you'll soak yourself silly!  Absolutely no experience needed! 

                                                                                                                                                      

Grandpa Goes Geocaching

During the past week, I was able to spend some quality father/son time with my youngest son, Jacob, in some of our North Georgia State Parks.  In fact, our trip took us to 11 parks to be exact.  And while that was a treat itself, I was also treated with being able to take my dad geocaching for the first time.  There we were; three generations of Davis men enjoying time in our wonderful state parks doing what we love to do, hiking, geocaching, and being together.


Prior to arriving in Bolingbroke to pick up my dad, Jacob and I stopped for a bite to eat at an old Macon favorite, Nu-Way Weiners.  Since I used to eat there plenty of times growing up, I thought it would be neat to introduce Jacob to this legendary restaurant.  My meal consisted of a hot dog and hamburger, while Jacob chose the hamburger meal.  We grabbed "Poppa" three hot dogs to go.  Nu-Way's slogan is "I'd go a long way for a Nu-Way".  We had indeed just traveled 138 miles for a Nu-Way.  But then again, who wants to go out hiking or geocaching on an empty stomach?


After a short stop at my parent's home, we set off to our first stop of the day, Indian Springs State Park (thought to be the oldest state park in America).  Since it was terribly hot, my plan was to spend only enough time to retrieve the stamp from the cache and then be on our way to the next park (we are currently participating in the Georgia State Parks Geo-Challenge).  My purpose was to introduce my dad in a way that would be favorable, but not intolerable.  The temperature that day was 95 degrees with very high humidity.  Upon arriving, we quickly located the 3/4 mile Overland Nature Loop Trail and set off to claim our prize.  Having done some prior research, I noted that the cache would not be too far along the trail, so the opportunity for a quick park and grab presented itself.  (Note:  My dad is in his late 60's and I was very proud to have him out with us, but I did not want him to have a negative experience dealing with such high heat and humidity.  And since my son and I would be leaving the next morning for a week of hiking and geocaching, as stated previously, I merely wanted to introduce him to our favorite hobby in a favorable way)


The trail itself turned out to be moderately difficult.  While I'm not an expert on rating, I would probably give it a three out of five star rating.  At times, the trail would become quite narrow, and navigating the slopes and declines presented unique slipping hazards, such as dirt, rocks, and moist ground coverings.  Having traversed much more difficult terrain, it was really no problem for my son and I, and I'm happy to say that my dad progressed just fine too.  As far as wildlife goes, I guess they were hiding somewhere trying to keep cool.  All we were able to see were a few lizards, a frog, and a couple of woodpeckers.  Though scarce, I'm thankful for what we did see.


Once out on the trail, and following Jacob's lead (JDAWG), we closed in to about 250 feet of the cache location and a strange thing occurred.  While not really strange, but it was still a first, we noticed that some muggles were milling about down around the GZ.  (For those of you not familiar with the term muggles, it is what geocachers call non-geocachers - it is a term adapted from the Harry Potter series.)  At least we thought they were muggles.  As it turns out, they were geocachers too!  Though we had run into other geocachers in other state parks, this was the first time we'd ever walked up on some at the same cache we were pursuing.  They had arrived only minutes prior to us.  Having not dealt with this before, I was a bit unsure what to do.  Initially, we continued on down the trail until they noticed us, but I ultimately decided to stop, turn around, and move back to give them their space and time.  As they took notice, I simply called out to them that we were geocachers too, and we'd gladly wait back here.  They thanked us for the gesture and continued with their own quest.  After a brief wait, we were rewarded with the find and retrieved another state park stamp.  From there, instead of returning the way we had come, we continued along the loop trail, much to the delight of my dad.  To see him talk and smile with my son along the way made the trip well worth it!  And as my dad later exclaimed, he had a great time.

After leaving Indian Springs State Park, we made the short commute over to High Falls State Park where we found a bit more of a challenge.  The cache was located along the 1.8 mile Non-game Nature Trail and we found it to be a bit more challenging due to its length.  Additionally, there were plenty of exposed roots, rocks, and loose dirt that made it tough to get proper footing.  Still, I would not rate it above a three on a scale of one to five.  And as was the case with Indian Springs State Park, this trail had plenty of elevation changes too.


Once we arrived at the GZ, it was time for my dad to take charge and locate his first cache.  After giving him the clue, he considered the possibilities and within minutes he had scooped up that beautiful green ammo can!


We continued on along the trail to its conclusion that day prior to heading over to the Bass Pro Shop. From there, we returned to a great home cooked meal that my mother had prepared for us. Then, it was off to bed for a good night of rest.  As I lay my head on my pillow that night, I reminisced about the day's activities and I couldn't be more happy of the fact that I was able to be there with my dad for his first geocaching experience.  I smiled when I thought about how many of my "first experiences" that he was probably proud to have been there for.  Naturally, I considered the same thoughts about my own two sons.  I went to sleep thankful!


**For more about the state parks that we visited, you can click on the links below.
Indian Springs State Park
High Falls State Park
                                                                                                                
Three thing you must know about
RATTLESNAKES!!!!!!

1. The Dos And Don'ts In Snake Country
When hiking, stick to well-used trails and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Always avoid walking through dense brush or willow thickets.
Be careful when stepping over the doorstep as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.

2. Is It A Rattlesnake Or Isn't It?
Many a useful and nonthreatening snake has suffered a quick death from a frantic human who has mistakenly identified a gopher snake, racer or other as a rattlesnake. This usually happens when a snake assumes an instinctual defensive position used to bluff adversaries. A gopher snake has the added unfortunate trait of imitating a rattlesnake by flattening its head and body, vibrating its tail, hissing and actually striking if approached too closely.


3. What To Do In The Event Of A Snake Bite
Though uncommon, rattlesnake bites do occur. The first thing to do if bitten is to stay calm. Generally, the most serious effect of a rattlesnake bite to an adult is local tissue damage which needs to be treated. Children, because they are smaller, are in more danger if they are bitten.
Get to a doctor as soon as possible, but stay calm. Frenetic, high-speed driving places the victim at greater risk of an accident and increased heart rate. If the doctor is more than 30 minutes away, elevate the bite and then try to get to the doctor as quickly as possible.



                                                                                                     

Why not try a Mountain Pie?

The great thing about pie iron cooking is that it's easy for anyone to get involved which makes it all the more inclusive and fun when cooking in a group or with the family. Although the learning curve is slight for basic sandwiches and pies, the complexity can be taken up a notch or two for those so inspired.








Basic Instructions 1. Place slice of bread, butter side down, on lower half of cooker. Spoon fruit, meat, or other filling on center of bread (see recipes).
2. Place second slice of bread, butter side up, on top of fillings. Latch hand; trim off excess bread if necessary.
3. Toast over campfire, fireplace or bbq until golden brown on both sides. A delicious snack in 4 to 6 minutes.

Aluma Fruit Pie
Use any canned pie filling; apple, cherry, and peach are delicious. Place filling between your choice of bread as per our basic direction. Grill until golden brown. Sprinkle with sugar and serve.

Don's Square Pie Sauerkraut

2 slices white bread
Leftover mashed potaoes (tip - when making potatoes substitute mayo for milk)
Sauerkraut
Shredded cheddar
optional ingredients - Leftover spareribs, deboned & chopped into 1" strips.

Place slice of bread, buttered side down, into cooker. Fill with ingredients, cover with remaining slice of bread buttered side up. Close cooker, latch handles and grill until toasted.


Cornbread
Prepare cornbread mix according to direction on package. Into a well greased cooker, fill cavity about one third with mix. Close, latch handles and bake over very low heat until done.



Rocky Road Treat
Spread peanut butter on 2 slices of bread. Add one large marshmallow and one chocolate bar square between buttered bread slices/ Toast in cooker until bread is golden brown.


Fried Potatoes
Place sliced potatoes in cooker, add butter, salt and pepper (to taste) and close. Grill on both sides over low heat.


Tuna Melts
Mix canned tuna fish, chopped pickle and mayonnaise. Place on slice of bread, buttered side down, and add slice of Havarti cheese and a slice of tomato. Cover with remaining side of buttered bread and grill until hot and toasty.


Beef Pie
Place one piece of pie dough loosely in cooker cavity, buttered side down. Add cubed, cooked beef, cooked potato slices, onions and pepper. Cover with remaining piece of pie crust, buttered side up. Close grill and latch handles. Bake for approximately 5 minutes.


Pizza Pie
Place slice of pizza crust in cooker cavity, add tomato puree, green peppers, slivered garlic, oregano, mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni. Cover with second slice of pizza crust. Grill 3 or 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness is reached. English muffins or sliced bread or pita can be used in place of pizza crust.



Garlic Buns
Spread inside of burger buns with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt and paprika. Turn each bun inside out and place into cooker cavity. Grill until golden brown.


Hot Ham and Cheese
Place slice of bread, buttered side down, into cooker. Place slice of ham and slice of cheese on bread. Add Dijon mustard and cover with remaining slice of bread, buttered side up. Close cooker, latch handles and grill to golden brown.


Sloppy Joes
Use canned, pre-cooked sloppy joe mix or make your own mix with hamburger, barbecue sauce and onion. (Meat must be precooked.) Place mix between buttered bread and cook over low heat until hot and toasty.



Bacon and Tomato Special
Fill whole wheat bread with sliced tomatoes, crisp bacon, lettuce and mayonnaise. Toast sandwich for 3 to 4 minutes in pie iron.


Eggs
Open cooker and use as two skillets, place one egg in each side of cooker. Use cooker in closed position for scrambled eggs; add onion, cheese, pepper, and mushrooms for omelettes.


French Toast
Dip 2 bread slices into egg batter, place both slices into cooker, placing strawberry jam between bread slices. Toast until browned.





Have fun and make your own Great Outdoor Adventures!
Bloodhounded
Editor and Chief Chef :)

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