CacheCrazy.Com

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Looking back at ~ The Best Guest Blogs Ever - The Forgotten Soldiers: Our Military Working Dogs at ~ Indulge Thyself

 I was so impressed with this article on U.S. military work dogs that I had to reach out to our friend and follower, Lea and ask if I could re-post it here. Her blog is Indulge Thyself and it's a great read where I find myself often. Check it out for yourself.  
Here is how she replied:
"Hi Kevin, thanks for your appreciation on the article. About the re post... sure, absolutely :) I just have a request... on the link back to my blog or credits section, can you pretty please add that since my husband is a USAF (we are serving overseas) we are humbly asking for prayers for our troops' safety. We really need support on this part especially for those serving in the dessert."

From all of us at CacheCrazy.Com To Lea and Marco Nario ~ THANK YOU! Service family's sacrifice so much, moving frequently, traveling all the time and of course always protecting our freedom.  GOD BLESS!

Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act

You might have heard about the legislation introduced early this year that would finally take U.S. military working dogs (MWDs) out of the category "equipment" and make them bona fide "Canine Members of the Armed Forces." If it passes, these loyal four-legged heroes who risk their lives for the safety of our troops would at last be officially recognized as the brave warriors and lifesavers they have been for war after war. The bill will help provide aid for the dogs when they retire. The bill is also... way, way overdue.
The legislation aims to provide (1) improved adoption process, (2) veterinary support, and (3) recognition for retired MWDs.
When soldier dogs and handlers deploy, they barely leave each other’s sides and develop a very close bond. When they have to part in order to fulfill a unit requirement, it can bring the toughest soldier to tears. I’ve never heard of soldiers who cried while returning their old rifles or body armors. The fact that dogs are considered “equipment” is terribly inhumane. Sure, they’re not human soldiers, but they’re a far cry from a rifle or any military equipment. Play a kiddie game with children and ask which of these things does not belong, and they will point right to the dog. Most people will, too. Search the Internet about the bond between a handler and his MWD. Or about the courage and loyalty of these canine partners, walking ahead of our soldiers to clear the path, sacrificing their own lives. If you call these dogs equipment that you can easily leave or get rid of after war, then I do not know what the words hero and friendship mean.
How can you consider these canine partners "equipment"?



Military service dog resting with US soldiers after a hard day's work.


How can you leave your bestfriend behind?

If you want to help the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act pass, let your senator or representative know you support it at this website
Here are the legislative IDs for the legislation: House: H.R.4103. Senate: S.2134. You can track the status of the bill here.

Project: Troop Dog’s A.D.O.P.T. Program and US War Dogs Association’s Operation Military Care K-9
Both organizations send care packages to MWD teams overseas and maintain current lists of requested items by deployed units. Their projects offer ways for groups, companies, and individuals to get involved. 
Below are some photos of care packages sent to MWD teams overseas. The dogs and handlers are extremely grateful for all the help, love, and assistance.





Donations for Specific Items
Kevlar for K9s and other Vest-A-Dog Network groups help canine units acquire protective Kevlar vests for their working dogs to wear like their human partners. Military Working Dogs Cooling Vest Project (by Support Military Working Dogs Organization) also provides cooling vests and other protective gears such as Doggles, earmuffs, Muttluks, and other items for dogs deployed in war zones in extreme climate conditions. 
Doggles have anti-fog lenses with 100% UV protection, protecting the eyes from light, dirt, sand, flying debris, and insects. The muttluks give the paws superior footwear protection as the heat of rocks and dirt on desert ground are murder to the dog’s pads. The earmuffs help the dogs relax during flight when in helicopter operations, making them ready to work when they get off.

Doggles in action


Happy with his protective vest


Muttluks protect the paws from the scorching hot ground


Earmuffs help the dogs relax while in flight


Furminators for grooming

Just a few of the letters sent by our soldiers to the Support Military Working Dogs Organization:


"The heat out here is murder on the dog's pad. The dog would jump up and down due to the heat on the ground. Before it was just pad coat but with the booties the dogs are not bothered and once back at patrol base they come off to store." - LCpl Martinez, Oscar IDD Thor
"The moondust like dirt is thick and gets into his eyes. With the goggles he doesn't have that problem. It took some adjustment but Gunner has no problem working in the moondust."
 - Cpl Cooper, Jonathan IDD Gunner.


"Tori had really bad pads with the heat on the rocks. With the booties not a problem any more. We live to hunt for IED's.
" - LCpl Valles, Chuck IDD Tori
"The cooling vests help out at the patrol base where the heat index is high. The cooling packs don't take long to cool." 
~ LCpl Lopez, Jose IDD Bandit
The Military Dog Promise (from Troop Dogs):
My eyes are your eyes.  To watch and protect you and yours.  My ears are your ears.  To hear and detect evil minds in the dark.  My nose is your nose to scent the invader of your domain.  And so you may live, my life is also yours.




This post is dedicated to all military working dogs, especially to those who never made it home.

(Special thanks to the following organizations for the information and photos: US War Dogs Association, Save-a-Vet, Troop Dogs, and Support Military Working Dogs Organization.)


Super job Lea and thank you for sharing! I also have a geocache dedicated to our military dogs called "WAR DOGS" check it out! All I can say is it takes you to a helicopter that you can explore and have fun with but the message is strictly serious. Dogs are amazing animals and I respect their contribution in our freedom efforts!

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Devil's Playground - A Geocaching nightmare come true

This was by far one of my favorite geocaches of all times! I can't help but run it again! BH

WARNING - This post contains graphic pictures, text and video. If you are offended easily, please go to this link to enjoy " Tools Of The Geocacher " Proceed at your own discretion. 
*note - some of the following is fact and some is fiction and you can decide which is which. BH

It was a Saturday evening in late February. The wind was blowing through hemlocks outside and the cold winter air frosted the window panes. I looked out onto the lawn and hoped that the weather would change for tomorrow. I had planned to attend the Travelnbhappy21 event celebrating their 2000 geocache and take part in the three caches that Nishollow had just put out named “The Devils Playground”. I placed a few more logs on the fire and retired for the evening.

I remember thinking how much fun it was going to be as I drifted off to sleep. The breakfast, meeting new geocachers, old friends and checking out all the cool raffle prizes, it was surely going to be great! Just about the time I fell asleep I entered the thought of the geocaches that Kyle had in store for us. That’s right about when the nightmare began. My body was shocked as if someone doused me with cold water. I was wide awake but I had to be dreaming, I thought to myself however, it all seemed so real.

I was driving on a dirt road and parked off to the side of a field in a place I have never been before
however, somehow I knew this was the place to park. The sky was dark and winter‘s chill was in the air as I climbed out of my truck. Over the knoll I could see this crowd of people coming towards me. There had to be at least 40 people of all ages and along with them were dogs, 6 or 8 beautiful dogs ran free and wild. I was just standing there and as they passed, some waived, others smiled and I too joined them for what, I wasn't sure, but I soon found out. We traveled through the woods at first on a trail and then through the woods of large old trees and dark forest cover. I seemed content to chat and tag along but still not knowing what our destination had in store for me?
Soon there was a group huddled around a large hollow tree, much excitement and picture taking was going on and the dogs howled with excitement. What was all the interest, I thought and I made my way through the crowd. That’s when I saw Nishollow standing there with this shit eating grin on his face saying, “Bloodhounded, come here and check this out”. He had some strange glass box in his hand and he reached out towards me. It didn't take long to realize that the box contained a freaking skull! It had some strange artwork on it and two eyes that stared at me in a way that brought chills down my back! “What the HELL is
that?” I said and everyone around me laughed but this was no laughing matter as Nishollow extended it out towards me. “Here, hold it” he said and I reluctantly held the crazy voodoo head in a box up for a closer look as others took pictures. Weird in some ways, but extremely detailed and artistic in others, I didn't know what it was, but I liked it. Soon, Kyle took the head from me and placed it back into its rightful location and while the others moved off into the woods, he hung back making sure that everything was perfectly in place before he bid the head farewell.

Fast forward to the group once again gathering around, laughing and picture taking, what did this all mean? Another head or something even stranger? I never really could make it out but one of the braver members of the group started to scale down the chasm. What was down there? The whole group cheered when Duane emerged from the gap and held a green container of sorts into the air! I recognized the container as a ammo can, and in my dream I told myself I was geocaching, but this didn't feel like any geocache adventure I have ever been on. It felt strange, like the excitement was building, I could feel the anxiety of the group and everyone looked just a little nervous as we moved on to what I assumed was the final.
The group somehow got ahead of me. Off in the distance I started to see them disappear one by one. Even the dogs were disappearing! I was reluctant to go there and slowly eased in for a look. An old abandoned mine entrance was swallowing them up whole! I was drawn to it. Closer and closer I went until I was right at the entrance and I bent down to look in. Folks were going in willingly! Were they all nuts!?! Who in their right mind would enter an old abandoned coal mine? Every childhood nightmare I ever had started to resurface! What monsters lurked in there hidden in darkness? I figured that if several
people went in ahead of me, the people eating cave dweller in there would probably have had his fill. Hey, I'm a nerd and not all that brave, old mines kinda freak me out, you got a problem with that? I too climbed in and was faced with a police boundary line that went straight across the entrance! I knew I shouldn't be there but I couldn't help myself, I had to continue in deeper and deeper. Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could see that others had been there before us and what I found was frightening!

This wasn't just an old abandoned mine shaft  this was a literal torture chamber with the remains of human bones and evidence of unthinkable acts everywhere. Some poor souls were completely vaporized while others beheaded and dismembered so grotesquely that I wanted to puke. Old crates that displayed this odd symbol that reminded me of a bio-hazard held some of the answers to the many questions that ran through my mind. Who would do such a thing? And, why?

Nearing the 100 feet deep mark, part of the answer was chained to the rafters. Soon I realized just what was responsible for these inhumane murders, Zombies! This was a place where zombies took their prey and tortured them for what seemed like information that they needed. They wanted something and may or may not have found it here but these carcasses appear to be that of agents from some federal division with an acronym FVZA? These agents were mangled and massacred and many still in their “death position”. There on the ground, propped up against a toxic waste barrel was a high level agent, brief case still handcuffed to him and littered with roaches and maggots. What was most frightening was the bible sat in his lap as a sign of his only comfort in the cold, damp, dark dungeon of Hell!



I had to get the Hell out of there! I could not see or stomach any more. My eyes were scarred with so many inhumane and sacrilegious sights! I feared I would never be the same. I see the light, I’m going towards the light, faster, run, don’t look back, falling down, get up, got to get out of here, I've got toooooooooooo!!!!!!!
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin wake up! My eyes shot wide open and I sat straight up in bed. My wife looked at me like I was nuts. “Bad dream?” she said half smiling.” Oh man, the worst!” I said as I wiped my eyes to clear my mind of the horror I just witnessed in my nightmare. “You had better get going if you’re going to that geocaching event” she advised. I got up and took a shower but I couldn't cleanse myself of the fear, the gore and disgust. I decided not to go to the event and started cutting firewood instead to clear my mind but no matter what I did, the memories of that dream came back to haunt me all day long!

That evening I had some time to surf the web and I thought I would check out some of the logs from the event to see what I missed. There were a few telling a tale of an awesome time which I expected and I was feeling bad that I didn't go. But, I almost fell off my chair when I looked at the group picture and standing in the second row on the left smiling away was, ME!?!?!

I leave you now with this madness and some really cool pics!

Special thanks to:
Nishollow - You never cease to amaze me! You are my Geohero! What else can I say!
travelnbhappy21 - Congratulations! You guys are two of the greatest people I know who have positivly influensed the sport of geocaching! Thank you!
All of the event attendees: I had a great time with you guys and even though I was under the weather, I enjoyed your company. Until we meet again, keep on caching!
midas1 - Always great to do some geocaching with you brother, thanks for the company!
All of our excellent contributing photographers, helpers of the hides and others:
Pserine, adam9512, John Galt?, Dave (ST.FU) Zellers, Hound,  jkur247 and captainmath! Great job guys!
Special thanks to all of the contributors of raffle prizes too many to mention! There were over 40 quality prizes up for grabs (CacheCrazy.Com contributed a wood slab woodbured clock of a pike striking a spoon, Secret Weapon #7 aka pinecone cache in display wooden box and a new concept cache duo the "his and hers" leopard print camo cache combos)
...................and thank God I have a strong faith in Jesus! That's all I can say.............BH






Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Pork Tenderloin wrapped in bacon over seasoned rice with mushrooms and sauteed dandelion


I have been playing around with pork which is a value at today's market and a delicious alternative to chicken (again), beef and fish as a protein. Anything wrapped in bacon is good but pork and bacon work well together and make a flavorful, juicy meal that everyone loves. I served them over seasoned (boxed) rice and a garlic, dandelion and mushroom saute. I cook by eye and flavor so you wont get exact measurements here but if you cook at all, you'll get the general idea. This is an easy meal to make and so good! 
Here's how to make it:    
  • I cleaned up a pork tenderloin of it's silver skin and cut it into 2 inch medallion sections. 
  • Then I took a piece of bacon and wrapped it around the medallion, I rolled it and pressed it then, I seasoned them with fresh ground pepper and secured with a toothpick. 
  • In a separate pot make Zatarain's Jambalaya Rice Mix original. Follow box recipe. 
  • I needed 1/2 lb of bacon for 8 pork medallions so I cooked the rest off for later use (tomorrow's BLT, breakfast sandwich or salad topping, ummm). In some of the left over bacon grease, cook one pack of pre sliced baby portabella mushrooms for five minutes. Add chopped garlic followed by your greens and saute for another five minutes tossing frequently. 
  • I used dandelion because it was available and reminds me of summer but kale is a good sub, just cook a little longer to tenderize. I moved the saute to a separate bowl. Add the saute to the rice at the last minute, right before you serve. 
  • Pan sear the tenderloins wrapped in bacon on both sides in the same pan. Hit the pan with just a splash of white wine to deglaze and create a pan sauce.
  • Reduce heat and cover for about 8 minutes then turn off the heat and let them "set" for a few minutes. Pork cooks pretty quick, don't overcook.
  • Fluff rice with a fork and add to plate placing medallions on top of the rice (remove the tooth picks). 
  • Bring the pan to high heat and reduce quickly, add a pat of butter to complete the pan sauce. Spoon some pan drippings over top and your ready to eat!   
You don't need to be a chef to enjoy and present a great meal. You just need to get creative with the ingredients you have on hand and have fun! What's in your pantry? Bon Appetit! BH

Friday, February 20, 2015

Some really great caches ~The Trilogy Of Terror ~ A CacheCrazy.Com Event

____________________________________________________________________
This was over two years ago but it seems like just last month! What a great event and an awesome group of people. Let's enjoy it one more time! If you dare......BH
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Eve of The Trilogy Of Terror

It was a dark and stormy night!
Thunder crashed and lighting ruled the skies with blinding bolts of light!
The 15 lay their heads at rest for tomorrow will bring adventures and tests of power and might!
Their souls stir as the storms, in flesh and in sprit.
 Good Night……
Good Night……                                         


I just couldn’t sleep! It was after midnight and I knew I had to get some quality rest but it just wasn’t happening. So, I decided to write this in hopes that my mind will settle. 


Some of this is fact and some is fiction and you’ll have to decide which is which.

 Why am I so wound up? I’ll tell you. This past spring, DctrSpott was coming to town and I wanted to take him on a geocache adventure. I came up with three totally awesome caches and wanted it to be epic. So, I named our adventure “The Trilogy Of Terror” just to hype it up and add a theme. It never came together because of work (of course) but I vowed to reschedule and just over a month ago, I did. Tomorrow is the big day that I’ve been waiting for. The Trilogy Of Terror. There are 15 of us going and it’s going to be quite the geocaching adventure.  15 of us with one simple goal, to find three crazy caches and get home alive!
Nite…..
We all met at a mini mart that was easy to find and close to the 1st cache 

That night I tossed and turned, restless and anxious but finally at 3:00AM, I did fall asleep.

I had the strangest dream. A dark and stormy night was all around me with lightning like I’ve never seen it before. Out of the black clouds above appeared two hands clinching a golden sack. A voice rumbled through the heavens, “Take these and supply your adventurers with one in no certain order and you will be protected”. What? What you talking about? Protected? From what? From who? In my mind I had many unanswered questions.

The sacred coins as they appeared that day, amazing! 
I woke up to find 15 wooden coins, wood burned by the spirits themselves. Each coin had a number from 1 – 15 with CacheCrazy.Com on one side and a very strange looking character with “The Trilogy Of Terror” on the other.  A pretty cool piece to remember the adventure.  At the meeting location I handed them out and also collected some path tags. We all met new friends and there was a lot of meet and greet going on but inside we all were feeling a bit uneasy and anxious. Before long we would embark on the journey.We announced it was time, and we headed for our cars and just like that we were gone!!!

First stop in The Trilogy Of Terror was, “THE EVIL WITHIN” (take some time to read the logs, we’ll wait).

A true Geocaching work of art!
We followed the leader who was Nishollow.  This was one of his many crazy caches! When we all pulled in and got out of our cars, between friends, family and geocachers, there was like 30 of us! It was an instant party with folks saying, “Wow, that’s so cool!” and “What the hell is it?”. Everyone was having a good time as ggggeo2 took to the puzzle on the door to the evil. He knew what it was because he had emailed me the cracked code from the cache page last April but he let everyone weigh in and In no time we were in!

Opening the door was similar to the creaking door in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you didn’t want to look but you had to! Good lord the craziest things were in there! It was an eclectic collection of freak, creep and gore complemented with an artistic flair! This wasn’t just a freaking geocache, this was a work of art worthy of being displayed on the front lawn of Groundspeak itself!  We all took turns on the logbook that we fished out of a lock n lock filled with life-sized (and maybe they WERE alive at one point) bugs! We all lined up to be photographed by Lesley (I think that was her name) who is a professional photographer from NY and just happened to be a bystander.

 Three cameras and three photos is all it took and we were off and running to the second geocache in The Trilogy Of Terror, “SATAN’S CRACK” (go on, we’ll wait)   

Again we lined up like a caravan and piled out onto the road (right near dead man’s turn). Frequent travelers wondered who we were and could see the determination in our eyes focused on one thing, to get that geocache! Well, stage one anyway. Smithie23 showed his agility and experience of high terrain and urban geocache FTFing by dodging a speeding car, leaping over the guardrail and coming up with the stage securely in hand in one superhuman bound! Obviously he’s been working out!

We poured out onto the road

Speaking of a “workout”, that is exactly what each of us was in for. Oh sure, the CO (Ript2Shrds) says in the ache page, “90% is on an open path”, like hell! Even the open areas resembled a “jungle like” flora. You had to crouch down to walk through most parts but that was nothing compared to the boulder waterfall climb! I loved this place! To me it was like a magic kingdom and the boulders stood in the way of us signing the log! We climbed fearlessly led by Nishollow who offered little in the way of a hint but was huge in the areas of help, reassurance and possibly the best way up. First we had to reach the top and I was going no matter what! If today is the day the good Lord is going to take me, then so be it (actually I was scared shitless). One wrong step, lost grip or unsteadiness and you were surly going to meet your maker. This was no joke and in my mind a 4.5 terrain level.
Our trail up starts here
A total body workout
Slater came out of the water and shook off all over me, LOL! I luv geodogs!
Our decent into the crack 


George ggggeo2 in on the decent
Sometimes it was better to go under than over
At the top it was awesome! It didn’t seem like HELL at all. In fact it seemed more like HEAVEN! The view was fantastic and the height was invigorating! The climb was TOUGH but this alone was so worth it! After we looked at several gaps in the massive rocks we decided that we had found Satan’s crack and immediately we crawled in. This was not going to be easy! The crevice was narrow and dark but the “cachey areas” were down there, all the way down there and several of us decided to sacrifice ourselves and man, I’m glad I did. It was bigger than my first apartment down there. I can tell you that contrary to what you may have heard, Satan’s crack is cool and damp, not at all the fiery pit you would imagine. In some weird way we all found it rather refreshing to hang out in Satan’s crack.

WE WENT DEEPER, DEEPER, DEEPER
We took turns looking in the most obvious place and finally we came up with the treasure! We handed it up several layers of rock and took it to the group at the top who deserved to sign just by making it up there alive! Eventually, I signed it last and had the misfortune good fortune to be the one to replace it with a hand from the might of Nishollow. Back at the top we bid the crack farewell and scaled down the side of that cliff with fluid movement compared by someone as a “mountain goat”! At the bottom I dropped my clip on pocket knife and while sliding it into my rear pocket the knife opened slightly!  Just enough to slab myself right in my A$$ CHEEK! What a fitting revenge from Satan himself.


and deeper until we reached the cache


































Skyler going in
Kyle at the top coaching us to go on



We all piled into our cars and trucks and headed for the third and final geocache in The Trilogy Of Terror, MARY SHAW (we’re waiting)


Our Friend Woody
We drove through one of the old Northeast PA coal towns and there wasn’t a car on the road. A ghost town of sorts, with many of the homes remolded from their yesteryear style of clapboard and mortar. A right here a left there and soon we were parking at the final cache. We were beat down, battered and bruised from Satan’s crack but that didn’t stop this gang! Determined to finish the series we trekked down a dirt road towards the first stage of the cache. A short distance away, thru the thicket, down the hill at the very bottom was the apparatus that we were hoping to find. We knew where it was but, no one jumped at the chance to be first. Dodger and ggggeo2 worked the cords and It didn’t take long for a portion of our group to brave the darkness.

A creepy dark tunnel 
This is such a great picture of just how dark it was
We all hiked and talked and enjoyed the beautiful day


Tight squeeze 
The Completed Badge
















Inside this creepy dungeon of darkness were pieces of body parts and sick looking dolls with dead stares that seemed to be everywhere. Live crickets were in masses hanging from the ceiling along with stalagmite. This was a crazy place and we knew it. I felt like we were being watched the whole time we singed the log and placed it back exactly as we found it. Then someone yelled, “SNAKE”!!!!!But it was only a salamander. That woke up a few folks for sure! We climbed out of the darkness to join the rest of the group waiting outside. Our eyes dilated from the darkness but we were so happy that we had finally finished it.

WE DID IT! We conquered The Trilogy Of Terror and lived to tell about it!


This was a fantastic day spent with some really cool people! We all walked away with great memories made while enjoying geocaching. It was done in a more extreme, odd and creepy way that was fun as HELL!  I personally had a freaking stellar day! I was able to cache with my son Brian who started me geocaching to begin with. It's a pleasure to know George personally now that we have met and his pal Paul is a great guy. Tina and Duane were just awesome and Kevin is an outstanding guys as well! All new friends include STEPHANIE  Skyler and his friend Jen. The "Big Man " Matt who is now part of my posse and Slater the geodog is too. Always fun to cache with Dan and Dave But my biggest thanks goes out to our fearless leader, Kyle! It's great to know you brother! Thanks to all who came along for the fun! I think it's worth mentioning some huge milestones right now.

  • Dave Smithie23 found his 700th cache at Santan's Crack! Congratulations!
  • Jen who was Skyler's friend, went one her very first geocaching trip ever with us! She was fun to have along and all she did was smile so I know she'll be back out there!
  • Matt who was Brian's friend, was also a newbie to geocaching and he was an awesome guy to have along for the adventure!
HERE IS THE FULL LIST OF THE VICTIMS  ATTENDEES 
1. Kevin aka Bloodhounded from Team Bloodhounded
2. Dan aka Dodger from Dodger Lizard Crew
3. Dave aka Smithie23
4. George aka ggggeo2
5. Kyle aka Nishollow
6. Skyler aka smbanfill
7. Paul aka Team Firenze (Fur-en-zee)
8. Tina aka TravelnbHappy21
9. Duane aka TravelnbHappy21
10. Matt Team Blueball
11. Brian Team Blueball
12. Jen Team smbanfill
13. Chris aka firetech37
14. Slater the geodog Team Shoop&Sheeb
15. Kevin Shoop&Sheeb




 
Stay tuned for PART II The Hansel and Gretel experience coming soon to this blog for you……… 

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