CacheCrazy.Com: April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

SEASONAL ALLERGIES

 


Or, "How I learned to stop worrying and love the outdoors"



DctrSpott
  
For me, it happens every year in northeastern Pennsylvania. March draws to a close, and the weather starts to warm up. Everything starts to thaw out, the sun comes out, everyone is wearing shorts. The biking and running population seems to explode. And I finally get to cast off my miserable, cold-to-the-bone attitude, and adopt a cheery, springtime persona. So Boltzmann and I, and whoever else has also contracted this spring fever, cancel classes, call off work, and try to absorb as much sunlight as possible.

And so it goes on for a week or three. Outside nearly everyday, several shades tanner, and generally in a cheery disposition. Cars and houses get their spring cleaning, winter bodies slim down towards summer ones, and life is generally improved. "Yeah, I guess living in Pennsylvania isn't that bad." I this Vitamin D induced high, I hardly notice or mind my slightly watery eyes. Or the occasional sneeze.

And then, out of NOWHERE, it hits. Suddenly, my nose is simultaneously a clogged airway AND an unstoppable torrent of mucus. I'm sneezing enough to propel a small waterbourne aircraft. Someone has decided to sandpaper the back of my throat in my sleep. I'm miserable again, and anyone else who shares my affliction knows why: seasonal allergies.

So, since I seem to forget each year, I'm sure you other victims could use a reminder too. Use these tips to stay sane during the spring pollen season:

  • Air conditioning is your friend. The filters in those buggahs will catch most of the pollen trying to get in your house or car. Even a filter or cloth over an open window will catch a lot of the pollen trying to get in.
  • Shower and change clothing often. This isn't always practical, but it does help.
  • Avoid going out on those dry, humid, windy days. These are the ideal conditions for pollen and allergens to spread.
  • For once, rainy days are actually a boon: the water washes a lot of the allergens off, and keeps it from floating and spreading through the air.
  • Dear lord, don't go out from 5am to 10am! Everything has just woken up and bloomed: pollen and allergens are at the highest, you'll be a goner if you go out there!
  • Mouth and nose coverings can look silly, but help a great deal. Try a bandana for something a little less silly than a face mask. Sunglasses with offer some protection for your eyes.
  • For medication, start early. Don't take allergy medication when you have symptoms: anticipate the weather, and start at least a week beforehand.
  • Similarly, some people swear by eating local honey. In theory, the honey is produced by bees from local plant life, and should have a small dose of the local allergens. Exposing yourself to the allergens early may act like a vaccination, and make your effects less severe later on.
  • If you can, try taking a vacation. Get out of areas with a high pollen count.

Any other tips? Share them in the comments!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SIGNATURE ITEMS

By Big Al

What are Signature Items, and what do they mean to you?






WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!
Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and let your signature be known.

Do you have a signature item? Do you even know what a signature item is? What does it mean to you? These are questions that we are going to look at today.

I first found out about signature items by finding one in a Geocache. It looks like a small compass, and is very colorful. I knew it was different from a Geocoin because there was no trackable info on it. I decided to keep it. Since then I have found a number of different items that I have kept. Then I started reading about them on the forums. I could not believe how many people have their own signature item.


So what is a Signature Item (SI)? A SI is a cacher's way of leaving their mark that they have visited a particular cache.  GC.com states it this way: "An item unique to a specific geocacher that is left behind in caches to signify that they visited that cache. These often include personal geocoins, tokens, pins, craft items, or calling cards". 

Most SI's are not left at every cache visited; just ones that seem special. Usually these are left if the cacher really likes the cache and the way it was hidden. I have not only found poker chips, but I have found  Ranger beads (Pace Counters), personal Pathtags, buttons, wooden nickels, and Geocaching pins. Most of these end up on my backpack.

















So what does a SI mean to you? To me they mean someone really enjoys Geocaching. They enjoy it enough that they sit down and come up with a unique item that specifically states "Hey, I was here!" It also says there was something special about that cache. I now take note of which caches these items are left in. Now don't get me wrong you can leave a SI in every cache if you want to. But that could get costly if you're paying good money for a personal geocoin or pathtag. At first I left a marble in every cache. They were cheap and I know some people collect them. Then I began to think about it more and started noticing the nice coins on the forums. They are really nice and I know that they have special meaning to their owners. That's why when a fellow cacher gives you one it says something about them and you. The more I thought about it the more I knew a geocoin was not what I wanted to do, yet.

Then there are the Ranger Beads. I love this way of keeping track of how far you have walked. Pace counting as it is called is a way military personnel learn to keep track of how far they have walked. These are beads attached to a piece of parachute cord and when you have walked a certain distance you move a bead. When all 9 beads are moved then you move an upper bead.  These are neat items and again time has gone into making them. I knew this one too was not for me. I needed something more personal. Then it hit me. I love the outdoors, so why not make it with something from outdoors. Excellent idea. Now would it be wood, stone, or something else.  I think something else would be perfect.

Since I am a hunter I happen to have a number of deer antlers just laying around. That was when the idea hit me. I would make deer antler key chains. So I set out making a trial key chain to see how they would look and function. I cut the first antler and then glued a small sticker to it. The sticker is the GC pendant. Then I dipped it in polyurethane. Once that was dry I dipped it again. I did this several times to make sure the sticker would not come off, and I wanted it to look professional. When it was totally dry I put some paracord through the hole and then braided it into a key chain. I thought it really looked cool. Then some of the people I see saw the key chain and said they loved it. I knew this was now a hit. I started making more of them to be sure to have plenty on hand. This past week I left my first one in a cache and I have many more to drop off and make.








So tell me what signature items have you seen, and what ones do you have. Also, comment below if there is a special reason you have the signature item that you chose. And if you would tell us which kinds of caches you leave them in. Whatever you do just have fun and keep those signature items coming. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dodger's Favorite Cache Logs Vol. 2

Ever had a crazy experience or had something really funny or strange go down while out caching? Ever wonder if anybody ever reads your cache log and hears about your wild adventures? Well, I do! From time to time, I’m going to use my Tuesday posting to feature some of my favorite geocaching logs. So keep watching – you might be surprised to see yourself featured here on Cache Crazy.

Today’s “Dodger’s Favorite Cache Logs” comes from Cache Crazy's very own BigAl437.  Here is his "Bad Elves" (GC2EJWE) adventure...
 
Found it October 10, 2010 by BigAl437 (156 found)

What a laugh. Read my DNF and you'll understand. Anyways, I picked my kids up from work and we decided to do this one on the way home. I knew it was getting late, but hey we always wanted to do a night cache. We headed off into the right direction, and into the night. It did not take us too long and we found it. Should have worn boots. My kids could not believe the size of it. You really outdid yourself with this one. Not only was it an excellent place to hide one, it was jam packed full of SWAG. Now comes the interesting part. We started to leave and the GPS started bouncing all over the place. We were wandering around for a while trying to follow our tracks back to the car, but we kept getting deeper and deeper into the woods. We were running into a lot of snags, but then we finally hit an area where the GPS acted correctly and we found our original path. Then it was an easy walk out. Wow! Glad we made it out. I really did not want to have to call someone to come rescue us. Thanks again for such an outstanding cache. STL, took a TB and left a TB.
 
Didn't find it October 10, 2010 by BigAl437 (156 found)

What a neat place this is. We found part one with no problems. We then checked out the entire place and agree that something mysterious went on here. I entered the cords and the next cache popped up, which was about 6000+ miles away. I rechecked the cords and I had entered the numbers correctly so I thought maybe I need to recheck the cache page and see what I needed to do next. We were pressed for time so we had to leave. Later when I got home and read the cache page I knew there was nothing else to do except for trying to figure out why my cords were so far off. Then I looked and somehow the West had changed to East and that put the cache across the ocean. Just one little mistake could cost you big time. We'll try again later today.

It's right around here, gang... Give or take 6,000 miles.  That, friends, is why we don't just simply follow the arrow. 
 
Thanks for reading “Dodger’s Favorite Cache Logs” and remember to share your experiences when you log your finds. Folks are reading!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pocono’s 7th Annual Easter Egg Hunt




First of all I want to wish all of my friends, family and colleagues a blessed Easter and a wonderful day of celebration of the rising of our Lord. I hope your day makes wonderful memories for all of your families. Happy Easter!

I don't think Dodger would mind me rerunning this post with some added pictures of his family. It just seems fitting at Easter to read about a geocaching Easter egg hunt. So here it goes.......


Nice weather.

Good folks.

A beautiful park.

An Easter Egg Hunt.

Fun for all ages.

Geocaching.

Now that’s my kind of day!

Event History

On Saturday, we had the pleasure of attending the Pocono’s 7th Annual Easter Egg Hunt (GC2QCAT) at Brodhead Park in Stroudsburg, PA. This annual spring gathering got its start back in 2005 and was originally hosted by unimoggers. They had an idea of combining the fun of an Easter Egg hunt with a geocaching event. For that first event, they hid approximately 500 eggs filled with candy and various prizes. Since that time, Stellar Jr. has taken over the hosting duties of this ever-expanding extravaganza. At the 2011 event, over 1,200 eggs were hidden for geocachers of all ages to find!

Event Setting

Brodhead Creek Park is a 34-acre property that is part of a proposed greenway system. Hiking trails snake through the woods, and picnic tables with grills and two pavilions make up some of the amenities. In addition, Brodhead Creek flows through the park, providing easy access to excellent trout fishing. The property is also home to what is locally known as the Titus Swimming Beach, now a fishing pond for all children age 12 and under.

For more information on all recreation areas in Stroud Township, check out http://www.township.stroud.pa.us/parks.htm.

Everyone gathers together for the Easter egg hunt
(Thanks to our friends "Catching Caches" for the photo)
The Big Day

We arrived at the park early and were greeted by Stellar Jr., The Jump, and Stellarscapes. As more participants rolled in, we had the enjoyment of catching up with some of our buddies we hadn’t seen in a long time. We also had the great pleasure of meeting cachers face-to-face for the first time, folks we only previously knew through the NEPAG forums or by seeing their entries in cache logs. Talking with old friends and making new was easily the best part of the day for me. There was a wide assortment of raffle prizes up for grabs as well as two games of guess-how-much-candy-is-in-the-jar.

Ah, but the big draw this day for the kids was certainly the egg hunt. Not far from the pavilion was the biggest field of Easter Eggs I had ever seen in my life. Our two kids along with the rest of them stared in amazement, anxiously awaiting the drop of the green flag. It was organized so that the youngest attendees got a head start, followed by older children, and then finally the adults. No one needed to worry about not getting eggs – plenty to go around might be the understatement of the week! Most of the eggs were filled with candy, but some held special tickets – “I got a golden ticket! I got a golden ticket!” A little Willy Wonka there. Sorry. I digress – for donated prizes. Our oldest daughter, Annalie, was lucky enough to win one – a huge box of Crayola sidewalk chalk – Thank you, Cerberus1!

Here we go!

After the gatherers had a chance to go through their loot, the raffle drawing was held. Geocoins, Easter-themed baubles, and cache containers were just a few of the items on the table. Once again our kids hit the jackpot, each winning a new toy Easter Bunny to bring home.

Finally the event started to wind down, and various groups broke off to hit a few of the nearby caches. (We got a few right there at the park and then took a short drive to pick up a few more in the woods near the small town of Analomink.)

Thanks to Stellar Jr. for hosting this fun day. No doubt, everybody in attendance had a ball. I know we did!
Looking forward to seeing everybody on the trails and at the next event. Until then,

Happy Easter!

And look what we have here......
(Photo courtesy of our friends "Catching Caches")
Happy Easter from all of us at CacheCrazy.Com
 to you and yours!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Can You Help "My Friend"

                                                   By: Bloodhounded
Notes from the author: "My friend" has this problem and I was hoping that maybe some of you senior cachers or an enthusiastic cacher could help me, I mean him? Here is "my friends" letter that I told him I would post for advice.




Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY'S

Sometimes it's the littlest things that bring the biggest pleasure......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Windmill Hunting in the Barrens

Nothing like starting a 4.5-star difficulty/4-star terrain cache at 5:15 in the evening.

And pretty much on a whim.

And with heavy winds and the occasional passing shower and even some snow thrown in.

And on a school night.

No worries, that’s just part of caching with the Dodger Lizard Crew and Bloodhounded.

Come on along…!

THE BRAINSTORM

We had magnificent plans of getting the Cache Crazy team together for a group outing, but schedules just weren’t meshing. When it looked like all was lost for the weekend, suddenly gears started to click, and it became clear that DLC and Bloodhounded were both going to end up having Sunday evening free. What shall we do… what shall we do… Hey, let’s surprise our colleague and buddy DctrSpott by showing up in the logs of his brand new adventure cache “Windmill Hunting in the Barrens” (GC2RYXK)! It was too windy for fishing anyway so, like a couple of geniuses, why not go climb trees in the woods instead, eh? Time, conditions… none of it mattered. The idea was just too grand and took on a life of its own. With a big ha-ha and drunk from exuberance, off we went…!

WEATHER, TERRAIN AND BEGINNING STAGES

5:15 PM. Blue sky above us, black sky hanging over the valley behind us, a stiff breeze pushing it all this way… And we were just starting. Nevertheless, optimism was high and we made short work of the beginning stages even as we got hit by the first smatterings of rain. Bloodhounded acted as our initial retrieval “expert” and made the finds like a pro.

Bloodhounded or a bear?

“Safety First” is our motto. Notice how the “expert” keeps both hands on the tree at all times… Oh wait… Forget it.

We were cruising! Where was this terrain? This the best you got, Spott? Ha ha! Bring on the rain! Bring on the weather! Bring on this “physically challenging” cache!

“You call this a storm?!?!?!”

THE DIFFICULTY RISES

The weather continued to toy with us. The rain changed to snow and sleet and, just as suddenly, the clouds moved off to the horizon and the overhead sky cleared. This strange pattern would continue the rest of the evening. Additionally, the terrain continued to morph until we were faced with pretty much of a swamp-walk right to the end of our journey.

Our trail to victory.

We realized based on a clue in the last hide that we were approaching some sort of field puzzle. We had written down the rather cryptic hint and marched on. When we reached the latest installment of Ground Zero, we poked here and there for a few minutes before the light bulb clicked on. After some assumptions and quick ciphering, we were 100% positive that we had the coordinates to the Final in hand. Clever boy you are, Spott, but nothing these Robert Langdons can’t handle. We declared triumph – “We’ve got it in our sights now!”

Still, something didn’t feel quite right.

Little did we know that despite having the correct coordinates, we were still a long way from signing the logbook. Even worse, we were going to do something I just don’t like to do – use the Phone-A-Friend (PAF) option.

EVIL DCTRSPOTT AND SOME CLEVER TRICKS

It made perfect sense. Surely Spott used his field puzzle as the prelude to the grand finale. When we got to yet another new Ground Zero, I was even more convinced we were at the end. What a great place to stash an ammo can!

This preconceived notion turned out to be a big mistake, and it cost us dearly in our battle against nightfall. There were just so many good hiding places. Bloodhounded had Ground Zero nailed down and spent most of his time scouring that spot. I expanded out to well over 100 feet, checking every nook and cranny. Over and over and over… it’s here… it HAD to be here somewhere. At one point, I was sure I found it. I spotted the “cache” and went to reach for it. Whoa. Not so fast, slick.


That ain’t no ammo can.

After blowing an hour looking for the phantom ammo can, almost getting quilled by a porcupine, and now losing the fight against darkness, it was time to outline a new strategy. Getting a hint from Spott would not be good. First off, we didn’t want him to know we were trying the cache. Secondly, we both really like to solve these things without additional hints. That’s just the way we play the game. The problem, though, was it was already well after 7:00 PM. Did we want to try it again another day? Yes and no. Neither one of us knew when we’d get another opportunity. Finally I decided to bite the bullet and use a PAF…

Dodger text to Spott: “Stuck on (physical feature excluded to avoid spoiler). Hint?”

Spott response: “Are you on Stage ‘x’ and is that you CJ?”

Ha! Some “colleague and friend”. He didn’t even know it was his Cache Crazy teammates! That’s too rich. I was about to respond with, “Hey, dumb @$$, it’s us!” but Bloodhounded quickly cut me off - “No, no! Don’t tell him!” Ooh, very good! So without lying but without exactly telling the truth either, I responded, “Yes, Stage ‘x’.” The fun from our little masquerade quickly evaporated, though, when I got the hint. We were NOT at the Final. I spied the hide immediately and we both cursed ourselves, Bloodhounded for not seeing it initially and me for convincing myself the whole time that we were at the end. Hmm, so it seemed the good Doctor has more brass than I gave him credit for. I retrieved the stage, almost falling once and almost dropping the container once. With the needed information and a good deal of sand knocked out of us, we went on our way. Looking back now, I do have a question for DctrSpott – How did you rig that up? I no longer question your heart, just the reach of your arm.

We were left with another decision to make – bag it or press on knowing full well that we weren’t going to finish before sunset.

PRESSING ON

Screw it. Pressing on was really the only option. With darkness beginning to close in, we continued picking up stages. I got my turn to play “Stage Retrieval Expert” and quickly gathered up the coordinates.


Dodger or just another blurry picture of Bigfoot?

“Safety First” is our motto. Notice how the “expert” keeps both eyes open at all times… Oh wait… Forget it.

THE DARK TOWER

Finally, it started to make some sense where we were going.


That’s what we’re hunting.

The mechanical giant against dark skies.

For real now, the Final was near. So were those windmills. They just hung in the dark sky with their incessant WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH. The howling wind, the on-and-off rain, the clouds moving constantly in front of the moon… It was spooky, no doubt, but very, very cool. We scrambled all over the place looking for the prize, but in the dark it was just a shotgun approach.

“Where are you?”

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

“Over here. Did you find it?!”

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

“No. You?”

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

“No.”

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

And of course, the dreaded cell phone call from concerned wives…

“Where ARE you guys?”

“We’re still in the woods. We’re fine. We’ll be home in a little bit.”

(“Little bit” being a relative term...)

“Are you OK?”

“Yes! We’re fine!”

Just as I was about to pitch the stupid phone in the creek, I realized that we might need Spott again. I put the phone back in my pocket…

Well, what the hell. It was time for another PAF…

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

“He says it’s around here.”

“Where?”

WHOOSH… WHOOSH… WHOOSH…

“Wait a second, wait a second… YES!!!!”

“You got it?”

“WE FOUND THE FINAL!”

We signed the logbook with the aid of a flashlight, quickly swapped some swag, and made tracks for home.

ONE MORE ERROR IN JUDGEMENT

Instead of backtracking through the woods, we decided to take one of the windmill access roads back to the parking area. It was a decent walk for a while – you could see all the lights in the Wyoming Valley from high atop the Wyoming/Penobscot Mountain ridge (elevation just over 1,900 feet), but we were gradually walking too much downhill. After a hike much farther than anticipated we started to parallel the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and then came out on PA Route 115 about 1.5 miles down the mountain from where we started. At this stage of the game we had little choice but to foolishly walk the highway shoulder back up the mountain to the vehicle. That was an adventure all in itself, but we survived.

The big cache quest had come to an end. It was 10:00 PM.

SECRETS REVEALED

We never did tell Spott that it was us contacting him from out in the field. When we each got home, we went ahead and logged the find. About ten minutes later, my phone buzzed…

“Had I known it was you two, I would’ve let you get lost in the woods … Good job!”

Love it, DctrSpott!

THE REVIEW

I used “The Gunslinger” analogy once before to describe a cache, but if ever there was one that captured the essence of “The Dark Tower” series this is it. Readers of the books and attempters of this cache would surely see the connection – the barren landscape, the mechanical windmill giants, the peculiar weather, trying to do everything properly or be doomed to start all over from the beginning… It is a “DctrSpott meets Stephen King” adventure.

Each stage of the cache was laid out beautifully and not knowing how many you had to tackle really kept us on our toes. The care and planning that went into this cache is top-notch and it definitely is appreciated. It’s great fun.

I’ll also say that DctrSpott might be the guy who puts the “Crazy” in Cache Crazy. Of course, you obviously have your followers and we’re right there with you. As Obi Wan told Han, “Who’s more the foolish – the fool or the fool who follows him?” I scoff! That wizard’s just a crazy old man!

Geez, guys, I guess I’m still looped up from hunting those windmills...

Rock on!

Dodge

Saturday, April 16, 2011

GUEST BLOG - DAN THE WOODSMAN FROM PROJECT: EXPLORE NEW YORK

Welcome to another guest blog segment on CacheCrazy.Com. Today I would like to introduce a new friend and blogger peer, Dan The Woodsman, the creator and editor of PROJECT: Explore New York. Please welcome him, enjoy his story and check out his work.


It’s never good to be lost in the woods. Unless you’re with Dan The Woodsman, in which case its perfectly fine!


Hello, my name is Daniel Campbell. I am a nature and wildlife photographer and owner of the blog Project: Explore New York! I have always been an outdoor enthusiast, I can remember when I was a young boy and exploring, and then building all sorts of forts in the woods behind my home. Over the most recent winter I was stuck in one of those “I am not good at anything” ruts and I searched for my calling. Then I went ice fishing. I searched some more and then went snow shoeing. More searching followed, and then the light bulb went off – I know about the great outdoors! And POOF! Project: Explore New York! was born.



If you love cachecrazy.com than you’ll enjoy Project: Explore New York! because I too am a geocacher, albeit a new one (I believe I have 6 finds under my belt). Regardless, I love to share my geocaching adventures. My blog goes beyond geocaching as I also take you to the great state forests, parks, and backwoods trails all over the state. Areas frequently visited include Green Lakes State Park, Highland Forest, and the Adirondack Park – the largest park, the largest state-level park, and the largest national historic landmark, in the country.



Not only will you see short write ups and guides to these areas, but from time to time I also bring out my video camera so you can actually SEE the trail that I talk about. I share information about hiking, specifically light weight hiking, and camping. I talk about gear, food, safety, reviews, hints, tips, and tricks...with the occasional unique New York location mixed in for flavor!





My blog is also an avenue for me to share my photography with others. I am by no means a professional but my photos will show you nature from a unique prespective, an angle you have never seen before.



So join me, Dan The Woodsman at Project: Explore New York! and let’s go get lost in the woods.


Dan "The Woodsman" Campbell

Project: Explore New York!

http://www.projectexploreny.com/


Lost In the Woods Photography

http://lostinthewoodsphotos.weebly.com/


All photographs and video by Dan The Woodsman and are copy right protected. Please contact Dan for details of permission for use of material. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cache Around the World

Cache Around the World





DctrSpott
  


For many of us, caching is an activity that takes place locally. For Pennsylvanians especially, this happens in local parks, suburbs, state parks, and state game lands.  Caching around the world, however, has some great benefits.

First, a bit of logistics. If I know in advance I'll be taking a major trip someplace, I'll look up some local caches on the Geocaching website. Searching by zip code allows me to sort through and find caches with the attributes I'm looking for, while searching with Google maps allows me to see what caches are close to places I plan to be. The official Geocaching forums have several subforums for state and region: these, coupled with the websites and forums for any local caching organizations, can provide reliable suggestions for the best local caches.

For those shorter or not planned trips, smartphone users have a nice advantage. Any internet enabled phone can access the geocaching webpage, but it is far easier to use some of the geocaching apps. Both Android and iPhone users have the official Groundspeak geocaching app. Many other apps exist, but c:geo by carnero is by far my favorite. It's "live map" feature and ability to store caches makes impromptu caching extremely convenient.

Caching around the world is a great way to see an area through a local's eyes. Local hiders have the best knowledge of the surrounding area, and can lead you to some truly unique and hidden places. In these situations, geocaching can be the basis for a great adventure in a new place. It can also be a great way to introduce new friends to the game. If nothing else, you're almost guaranteed to make some interesting stories along the way.

 




Spott , relatives, and COs at a Jamaican FTF!









The serious cacher is also behooved from caching around the world. Just as a conference or sabbatical allows the proliferation and dissemination of good ideas and techniques, caching in a new area is a great learning experience. Clever hides, locations, and containers may inspire new ideas, which you'll bring back home, and in turn teach to other cachers. You're advancing the future of geocaching! Go you!

So, caching around the world leads to some good experiences, great stories, and even helps you develop your skills. If nothing else, it gives you total bragging rights over all your friends. And that is reason enough to do anything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY'S

Why Not Wednesday's will feature an eclectic collection of pictures, games, videos, posts and just about anything that relates to well, anything! So hey, why not send in your contribution to WHY NOT WEDNESDAY’S and have it posted here.

CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE COPY TO PLAY WITH

Friday, April 8, 2011

Real-Life Cache Lessons, Vol 1

Real-Life Cache Lessons
Vol 1: Following Directions





DctrSpott





Caching is fun. If you don't believe it, just take it from me. I'm the kind of guy that has a hard time doing things if they're not fun. But, given my line of work, I love any experience which combines fun and learning. And while good ol' book-learnin', like the kind you might find in GCPC79, Reading is FUN!(damental), I find learning street-savy, real-life applicable knowledge is a much more challenging, much more rewarding task.

As a guy who is a human being, who teaches college students, and who interacts with people on a daily basis, I can tell you: following directions if rough. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm a pretty smart dude. Why should I put up with someone else telling me what to do? I can figure it out myself. I don't need someone's help. And so the familiar cycle begins. Cache description? Pfft. Hints? Yeah right. Just plug in those coords and let 'er rip.

With views like this, it's easy to get distracted.
And so began my little lesson. While traveling on business in California, I decided to stop for a few days in the beautiful Santa Monica. Being a huge fan of caching around the world (stay tuned for future post), I decided to combine my leisurely stroll on the beach with some caching. After all, it's a good way to see areas from the local's perspective, a veritable dream for travel bugs and geocoins, and gives you total bragging rights to your caching buddies back home.

So, using c:geo on my Droid Incredible, I brought up GCMTA6, Lord of the Rings. Listed as a 1/1, with a slurry of trackables, I figured it was a good way to start the day. Plus, the prospect of a physical challenge is always exciting for me. A short walk to the listed coords put me smack between 4 palm trees. After a sweep of the area came up empty handed, I began to try the thing keoki_eme taught me so well: climbing a tree.


Ever try to climb a palm tree? They don't have branches. After making a fool of myself for about half an hour, and confusing many a native Californian, I gave up and continued my walk on the beach. But the 1/1 cache stayed in my mind all day. What was I missing?


Be advised the cache can only be retrieved on sunny days between the hours of 9-5pm (7:30pm in the summer), and remember the code words “The Geocache flies at midnight.” Our operatives at this location can also provide you with transportation should you feel the urge to scope out the rest of this historic area.
After reading the description carefully, and gleaning some information from the comments, I eventually figured it out. I won't spoil the fun for you, but a local on the scene told me "Yes, we see people standing in between those palm trees all the time with their GPS in hand. We always ask, 'Hey, you looking for something?', and they almost always respond, 'Oh, no, nothing.' Haven't ever seen someone try to climb a palm tree, though." There's a first time for everything, I suppose.

So, the lesson is: always read your directions carefully. Or if you don't, at least don't make a fool out of yourself in public.


And don't forget to submit your favorite NEPA geocaches!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

AND NOW A MESSAGE FROM UNCLE BLOODHOUNDED
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE BUGGER,
 HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Random Two Weeks; A Random Post

Ever since our big Spring lovefest two weeks ago here on Cache Crazy, the weather has taken a rather obvious turn for the worst. By now I’m sure we all figured to have the yard cleaned, the fishing gear ready, and about a hundred more caches under the belt. Alas, ‘twas not meant to be. Here’s what we’ve been doing during this not-quite-winter-but-not-quite-spring transitional period.

Caching and Cache Maintenance

All winter long, we picked up caches here and there. I believe the last one we got was The K-Team’s Price Park Cache. That was on the real nice Friday on the weekend before spring. As I mentioned in a previous post, we completed maintenance on Re-Hidden Lehigh. Last weekend, in the fresh snow and brisk wind, I cleaned up all the stages of Cache of the Day. So that one is ready for spring and summer now, too.

Price Park Cache

Skiing

What a year for the resorts. Believe it or not, on the third day of spring, I got out for yet another evening of downhill skiing. It was nearly beyond my skill level, as it was ten inches of fresh ice. I survived and think that it’s high time skiing is done for the year.

Birthday Party

Perhaps the greatest age – the most magical age of them all – is the age of three. Our oldest daughter Annalie hit the big “3” last week. We celebrated with a special outing to Barnes and Noble (she loves books) and a trip to Chucky Cheese. On Saturday, the weather cooperated enough to allow us to have a party for her here at the house. We held a birthday Easter Egg hunt, which is becoming a sort of tradition at the DLC residence.

Nothing like good ol' Chucky Cheese

Sadie finds some eggs

Bird Talk

Our bird feeder is habitually hosting an unusually large flock of juncos. In addition, we’ve still been getting nuthatches, various winter woodpeckers, blue jays, and the usual assortment of winter birds. Just today I saw a wren for the first time this season, and, another bird that is a mark of changing weather here around the Francis Walter Dam, a flicker. It seems to me we get large flocks of them passing through this time of year. Maybe it’s me, but I rarely see them before March or after May.

Chester the Squirrel

“Chester” has been putting a large dent into our supply of sunflower seeds. Ah, that’s OK. It’s nearly time to put the feeders away for the season anyway.

Chester having a snack

Running

Despite the tough winter, we’ve got what has morphed into a nice little neighborhood fitness program going. In particular, Mrs. DLC and Mrs. Bloodhounded have really been tacking on the miles. More on this in the weeks ahead!

Killing Time

In between I’m also managing to get in what is probably an unhealthy amount of television, mostly “reality” shows on the History Channel. The same stuff happens every week, but I’m still hopeful for the following:

1) Craig Rygaard finally gets decked (Ax Men);

2) The customer gets the upper-hand on Rick, just once (Pawn Stars);

3) Frank and Mike lose money, just once (American Pickers);

4) Randy Jackson quits trying to act so smart (American Idol; Last week’s gem – “Was that a Major 9?”)

What’s that? You can’t believe I watch American Idol? As I am fond of telling others, there are two types of people in this world – those that watch American Idol and those that lie about watching American Idol.

So rock on!

Dodge

Saturday, April 2, 2011

GUEST POST - Beth from TheDunsilFamily

It's a unique opportunity to introduce to you Beth and her caching team TheDunsilFamily on CacheCrazy.Com. In this guest post she describes her impression of geocaching from a muggle perspective and how she came to learn the sport. If you are like me, it rekindled my own "first" experience and acquaintance to geocaching. Enjoy her smooth style of writing and her story.


Howdy fellow cachers!


I'm Beth, one of the four members of TheDunsilFamily. (and, as you will soon realize, quite the talker!) This also includes my husband, Joey, and my sons, Jacob (7) and Joey (affectionately known as JoJo - 4). Our caching adventures started last May, when my brother, Michael (NinjaJedi), the biggest nerd on the planet, came to visit us one weekend with his fiance, Sammi (Dolli Momma). It was a gorgeous day, and we had planned on going to Francis Slocum for a hike and picnic. He decided that while we did that, we may as well grab some caches while we were there. I, of course, had no idea what he was talking about. Our family had always been avid hikers and outdoorsy folk. But what was this "geocaching" nonsense he spoke of?



I recalled him mentioning something about going out in the woods with a GPS and finding hidden containers last year when he visited. At the time, I thought it was so lame. What a geektastic thing to do! He had taken our parents out, and my father loved it. He even went as far as purchasing a lock and lock container and some swag to eventually place his own cache. (which has yet to happen) I had absolutely no interest in rummaging through the forest, searching aimlessly for some random container full of junk. I loved hiking. I was afraid that having a goal - finding a cache - would take away from the reason I loved it. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the nature and my surroundings. I would be so focused on the hunt that I wouldn’t be able to step back, take a million photos, and just breathe in that fresh air.



Little brother insisted I at least give it a try. He promised I would love it. He went on to geocaching.com and printed out some caching maps (that I looked at like they were in a foreign language) and we were off on this “adventure” he dreamt up.



When we arrived at the park, the excitement factor was high. Mike and Sammi were pumped to introduce their favorite hobby to us (and have some new blood to hunt with them) and we were really curious to learn all about this, and hopefully love it as much as they did. I figured that anything I can do that involves hiking and the great outdoors couldn’t be less than awesome. Not to mention their promises of cool and interesting “treasures“. We started off on our journey, GPS and maps in hand, and an overwhelming sense of discovery looming. Of course, I had no idea what I was looking at when bro showed me the coordinates and the direction in which we had to walk to find the cache, so we just fell back and followed them. When we approached GZ, the two of them looked at each other, grinning ear to ear, and took off in a mad dash to find their “treasure”. Apparently, they are in an endless competition to see who can find more caches first.



The fam blindly looked around, under, inside, and through everything we could think of in the general vicinity, while Mike and Sammi were more precise, calculating direction and looking in the places they knew caches were hidden often. We, of course, didn’t have this advantage. When we’d looked for what seemed like an hour (but was probably only about 10 minutes), I got frustrated and gave up. This was not the exciting, enthralling “adventure” they promised me. In fact, it was quite annoying. I sat on a rock, rolling my eyes, mumbling under my breath about how I could be hiking and taking photos of beautiful scenery right about then… but instead, I was watching a bunch of lunatics lift rocks looking for some sort of elusive container of unknown origin.



Through the haze of my aggravation, I heard a giddily proud, “FOUND IT!!!” off in the distance. I looked up and saw everyone standing huddled over their finally found treasure. I hopped up and joined them, sifting through a large ammo box plum full of various trinkets. I was stunned! They actually found it! I can honestly say I don’t remember what was in it. The pure elation of actually discovering it (not personally, but witnessing the find), and the joy and grins on my boys faces is what is emblazoned in my memory. I realized in that moment that it wasn’t so much what was in the cache that mattered, but simply the process of finding it. The teamwork and laughs… the sense of accomplishment… the excitement and joy on my children’s faces. THOSE are the real treasures.



Until next time… love one another!



Beth

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 2011 Geocaching Horoscopes

By: Stargazing Steph
Your monthly geocaching horoscope as seen in the stars somewhere above Bloodhounded's house brought to you by Stargazing Steph.


 APRIL  Geocaching Horoscope

ARIES

(Mar. 21- April 20)
Everyone in your life is a little out of control. Things in your life might feel reckless and uncontrollable. Stay level headed and step away from it all. Take a long scenic hike and pick up a few caches along the way. Being patient with others is critical right now.

TAURUS
(Apr. 21- may 21)
There may be a huge change of mind settings for you this month. Your friends and family are going through a lot and they may come to some realization that will in turn affect how you view certain situations. Accept the challenge! Go caching to get away from it all and clear your mind. You’ll figure things out easily with a little help from Mother Nature.

GEMINI
(May 22-June 21)
This is your month to break free from whatever you’re trying to escape – something, somewhere, somehow, thankfully, it will be harmonious and it will open you up to wonderful opportunities. Be self confident but do not act on erratic impulses. You may want to stay away from caching for now…Although if you can’t resist, a few cache & dash caches will satisfy your craving.

CANCER
(June 22-July 22)
Information not available known before becomes very apparent this month. Your awareness of your surroundings will be at its height of sensation. When caching this month, be sure to select one that includes a scenic hike and maybe even a challenge. You will take in and admire nature more than ever before so take advantage of the hike.

LEO
(July 23-Aug 22)
Reframing from the dependency of others is important this month. In fact, breaking away from all obligations, without disruption, is in your best interest. Take some time out to do some geocaching alone so you can sort out your thoughts in peace and quiet is very important.

VIRGO
(Aug. 23 -Sept. 23)
This in your life that you have been unsatisfied with will begin to straighten out this month. You need to be open to change and new opportunities. Don’t push what isn’t meant to happen. If there is time in your schedule to do some spontaneous gecaching, go for it!


LIBRA
(Sept. 24 -Oct. 23)
Everything that happened in the past is coming into play now. Good or bad, be ready to accept the challenge or to bond with old friends. In fact, take your friends geocaching and turn them on to all of the fun. It’s a great way to break the ice and rekindle old relationships.

SCORPIO
(Oct. 24 - Nov. 22)
Personal relationships in your life are at risk right now. Being more open minded and flexible to other peoples beliefs is important to maintain these relationships.  Take a loved one geocaching with you. It will be fun filled and strengthen the relationship that seems so fragile right now.
SAGITTARIUS
(Nov. 23 -Dec. 21)
This is a very exciting month for you. New forms of self expression and creative self release are about to explode. Now is the time to take no one and nothing for granted. Seek new forms of amusement if you currently look for a certain type of geocache then mix it up a little. Do a multi, a puzzle cache or take in an event.

CAPRICORN
(Dec 22 - Jan. 20)
When traveling this month, don’t have any expectations. Whatever you expect to happen, wont. Something else will. Maybe better, maybe worse but plan simple trips. Go on short geocaches and go with an open mind and be prepared for anything!

AQUARIUS
(Jan. 21 -Feb. 19)
You are going through a lot of changes this month. You start to realize that you are more important than you realized and you are gaining a significant amount of self respect. Everyday, routines are falling apart. Don’t fret! It will all fall together in the end. Clear your head, go caching!

PISCES
(Feb. 20-Mar. 20)
Material possessions seem to be slipping away from you now. This makes you appreciate the things you have in your life. Hold them close to you now and keep an eye open at all times. Watch out for danger. Be careful when caching and watch out for an injury that could lay you up for awhile.

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