Friday, August 1, 2014

Geocaching With Friends

From July 2012
The email showed up late in the day from Dodger in his simple one line manner."Want to go caching tonight?" Unfortunately, I knew my answer was, "I can't make it" because of other scheduled commitments but man, I really wanted to go. Then the next day Dodger said he was setting something up for next Tuesday, I assured him I was IN! He was inviting several other folks that we cache with and some new friends as well. I was excited as I haven't done much geocaching in the past few weeks because life just seemed to have other plans for me during this time.

I found out the geocaches we were planning on doing and I read over the cache pages in detail. You see, on the night I couldn't go, Dodger and another friend of ours walked away with not one, but two DNF's! They were out for revenge and determined to get these done and I was happy to help.
One of the many caves

I picked up Dodger in my little Honda and with the sunroof open and the stereo playing some classic rock tunes we were off to meet the gang. With the temperature in the high 80's and the humidity about the same, it was going to be a hot one but overall, it was a beautiful evening. When we pulled into the prearranged parking area the only folks there were Val from the K-Team and Joe aka Midas1. This was the first time we had met Joe and he was a real cool guy. Val is always fun to cache with and has a nice laid back disposition. The four of us made a pretty damn good caching team as seekers and hiders. We were ready for the challenge.

Joe checking coords
The first geocache was Caching Does A Body Good GC3C0Y1 A nice 3.5/3.5 multi cache that seemed to have some specific challenges. The cache page said that stages 1 and 3 were easy and 2 and 4 not so easy. Hmmm, sounds interesting. A few DNF's and some logs that painted the picture that this cache was going to be rough and fun! You know when the cache name has anything to do with fitness you had better had your Wheaties.
Everything was going along just fine and somewhere around stage two we found ourselves shoulder deep, reaching into rock holes and pretty much coming up with nothing! Joe had found this stage previously but he wasn't budging on a single hint which was cool. After awhile we needed just a little assistance in the right direction, found the stage and we all moved on to stage three.

The rock formations in this area were impressive with large cliffs and several shallow caves. The hint said it was behind a rock so that narrowed it down to only one billion likely spots and the GPS was next to useless bouncing off of these massive rocks. We split up and attacked in a "you search high, I'll search low" technique  that proved to be successful! Dodger came up with the find and we were all just a little bit thankful that search was over.
A nice little stream ran at the bottom of the ravine

Val smiles and remains positive
Now it was off to the final and we knew we were in for it here. GZ was at the base of a cliff like structure, thick with Rhododendrons or "Rodies" as Joe called them. The hint said it was up half way. Up half way looked to me like you would need some special equipment to get it. maybe the cliff was a diversion! Maybe it was half way up a tree? Half way up to GZ? Half way????? We searched and search but Dodger had the idea to go around the cliffs and come in from the top. In short time with his geocaching prowess he was scaling the cliff and let out a loud, "I found it"! We all went to the top, rested, signed the log and headed back to the car.
Super Dodger on the ledge

The next cache was one that Joe himself hid and it hadn't been found yet even though it was place two weeks prior called Bucky Beavers 2 (summer home) GC3Q05R This was another multi with a rating of 3.5 difficulty and a 3 terrain that was nearby and the FTF was still up for grabs. Joe assured us he wouldn't give it away and by the way he held strong at stage two of the prior cache, I knew he wasn't kidding.

Stage one took us right to the stream with a tip toe ledge and a nice fall if you're not careful. Joe parked himself stream side and we worked the area over good. Remember, Dodger and Val couldn't find stage one previously and logged the DNF. I was already sweaty, filthy and banged up from the first cache so I just threw down and sure enough came up with the stage.

The woods were dark but cool
I wont give away any spoilers here but the stages leading up to GZ were tough, well thought out and the 3.5 rating was well deserved. We had a small coord communication error that just added to the fun (for me anyway). Val found a critical stage and it wasn't long before we found ourselves at a classic geocache location that we all fear and love at the same time, a rock wall. Dodger smugly said, "I'll let you guys find this one" while he settled near a neatly stacked pile of rocks. It was obvious. We found it. BUT WAIT! It's a freaking decoy! Joe just laughed and we proceeded to search and search some more and didn't claim the find until the cache was in hand! A shared FTF and a nice walk to the car while scratching off an FTF lottery ticket and laughing about all the crazy stuff we were going to do with the money when we won.

Getting coords to the final!
Well, needless to say we didn't win the lottery but, we all walked away winners of a different sort. We earned  two very well deserved and worked for smileys, met a new friend, shared an FTF, got a good work out and left with great memories of another day Geocaching with friends. Who could ask for anything more? It made me remember why I love Geocaching so much. I logged my finds and awarded Joe with a favorite point for his excellent work and creativity.

Until next time, cache safe and cache crazy!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Quest ~ All they need is a geocache challenge!

I'm impressed with recent network reality TV. The Quest is just another example that people are crazy and love the "animal" within each of us. The Quest is staged in fantasy era but the challenges are pretty cool! It reminds me of a Spartan course with some technical tweaks. Check it out and you tell me what you think of clashing with the enemy, firing giant crossbows and free hand archery to remain in the game! Part reality, part fantasy, pure adventure.  I don't know about you, but I'll be watching! It's a fairy-tail with real people in it....... BH

Where did it go?


Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and imagine caches placed  back where they belong.

The other day I received an email from a cacher who had found one of my caches. He stated that it was wet and needed the CO’s attention. I decided that I had better get out there and check it out. So the next morning I headed to work a little early and stopped to check it out.

I arrived at GZ and the first thing I noticed was that the cache was not exactly where I had placed it the first time. Also, the guy was right; it was wet inside, but the log was dry. I removed everything out of the container and wiped it out with some paper towels that I had brought along. I think I’ll start carrying some of them in my caching pack from now on. Once I had it cleaned out and dry I put most of the swag back in, but left out the stuff that has been in there since day one. I figured if no one has taken it by now it needs to be removed. I then put some cool swag back in its place. That got me thinking about something; do you place the cache back exactly where you found it?

Sometimes when I arrive at GZ I have trouble finding the cache and then I realize that maybe someone else did not put it back exactly where it was supposed to be.

You know how it goes; you find the cache and your kids paw through the swag while you’re signing the log book, and then when the stuff gets put back inside your kids say “I’ll put it back dad”, so you let them. The only problem is that they don’t really put it back where it was. Then the next guy comes along and finds it and the same thing happens all over again. Before you know it your container is not where you placed it.

I therefore submit that we all change how we approach a cache when hunting for it. I am resolved to REALLY take notice where a cache is placed when I arrive at GZ. Is it in a stone wall? Is it in a pile of logs?

Is it under a rock? Is it hanging from a tree branch? Is it in a bush? The where is just as important as the how.

So next we look at how it was placed.  If it’s covered with bark and sticks I’ll be sure to do my best to recover it just the same way as when I got there. I’ll ask myself “how high in the tree is it” before I take it down.

                                            Is that high enough?

                                        Do you see the ammo can?
I’ll look at how the rocks were placed around the cache so I can place them back in the same order. Maybe the top rock is covered with moss and if I don’t place it back the same way it won’t look natural. Always remember that a cacher is looking for things that are not natural looking, or things that just look out of place.  

I’ll also watch my kids rehide the cache to make sure they put it back like we found it. If I can do this, and you could too, then maybe we’ll have better luck at finding those caches, and making sure they are placed ever so carefully back just as we found them.
I realize that some caches are just plain hard to find and that is okay, but this is a way that we can make sure that the cache we find is placed back just as we found it so it’s ready for the next cacher to find.  I think we can ALL make a difference in cache placement and that will keep the game fun for everyone for a long, long, time. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ What is Geocaching?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Caching Towards Galena, Illinois

By: Kim @ SnugHarborBay
Posted on September 5th, 2011
Today was a perfect day weather-wise.  Temperatures in the 60's.  Wow, we haven't seen 60 degrees in months.  It felt wonderful!  We decided to get up early and head out by 7:00 am.   We drove out to Rockford, Illinois where we ate breakfast at one of my favorite places - The Golden Corral.  I think they have the best breakfast buffet EVER!  If you see a Golden Corral, do yourself a favor and stop and eat breakfast.  You'll be glad you did.

After breakfast we headed out towards Galena, Illinois.  We stopped along the way to do some geocaches.  Can you spot the cache in this picture?

This was the first one I've found like this and I thought it was pretty good.

The next one we stopped at was at the Blackhawk Battlefield Monument.  Blackhawk was a famous indian warrior in Illinois.  Here's a little history lesson taken from "The Blackhawk War of 1832" By James Lewis, Ph.D:

As the war chief of the band, it is hardly surprising that Black Hawk himself led attacks on two white forts in northwestern Illinois, nearly a hundred miles from his main encampment at Lake Koshkonong. On June 24, Black Hawk and roughly two hundred Sauk and Fox warriors attacked a small stockade on the Apple River near modern Elizabeth, Illinois. After besieging the fort for much of the afternoon, Black Hawk sent the warriors to gather badly needed foodstuffs, horses, livestock, and other supplies from the nearby settlers' cabins and farms. The next day, they reached the small fort at Kellogg's Grove, where a Kickapoo war party and Capt. Snyder's militia company had fought nine days earlier. Black Hawk's warriors tried to ambush a group of soldiers as they left the fort, but instead found themselves pursued by a militia force under Major John Dement. A series of clashes ensued in which the militia fought bravely. At least nine of Black Hawk's warriors died in the fighting, including two of the leaders of the band.

Here is the monument....

This is the cabin that was on the property....

We searched all over for that cache but we couldn't come up with it.  I really hate to have a DNF, but we spent over half an hour looking for this one and that was long enough.  We had other places to go and caches to find, so we were soon on our way.  

The next stop was at the Apple River Fort.  This information was taken from the cache page:

Apple River Fort was hastily erected in 1832 during a period of skirmishes between settlers and Sac and Fox lead by Black Hawk. During early June 1832, a young Abraham Lincoln and his militia slept here on their way to Galena. On June 24, 1832, Black Hawk and 200 warriors attacked the fort. It is the only fort attacked by Black Hawk and his warriors.
The village of Elizabeth is named after three of the women who helped defend the fort.
The current reconstructed fort is next to the location of the original fort, which is defined by the split rail fence.

We really enjoyed doing this cache.  We quickly found the cache, where I dropped off 2 TB's and picked up one TB to move along.  But touring the fort was really the best part.  We got to climb all over everything which we really enjoyed.

Chickens and roosters were running around outside of the fort....

Louie and Chablis posed outside one of the old cabins....

Here is the fort entrance.  I am always surprised at how small these old forts really are.

The first building we explored was the blockhouse...

View from the 2nd floor....

The 2nd floor sleeping quarters.....

 Shhhh.....  who goes there??

Snoopy was thirsty and needed a drink of water...

The vegetable cellar and the tools were in another building....

Inside the cabin were 2 interperative actors.  They were actually cooking their lunch over the fire....

It was a beef stew with homemade noodles and dumplings.  It smelled really yummy!

We got to sample some pumpkin bread they had baked earlier in the day.  

See this post at Kim's blog SnugHarborBay


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