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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!

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....

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