CacheCrazy.Com: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Not Wednesday... On Tuesday

We have lots of runners in our neighborhood.  Mike (Bloodhounded) is really ripping up the trails.  He just finished up a great track season!  And here's two more after completing their very first race...

Two future superstars - Annalie (DLC) and Andie (Bloodhounded)
See you all tomorrow with a full report from a great Memorial Day Weekend...

Dodger

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day
To all who have served and lost their lives, I deeply thank you
And to all whom I love, that are not here with me today, I miss you
You'll never be forgotten.....

And if you leave a mayo based salad out in the sun for more than one hour @ 80 Fahrenheit and consume it, you won't soon forget that either.
Have fun!
Watch for this decipher, coming this fall 2011 to a geocache near you!
BLOODHOUNDED

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it......


And I feel fine….. A great tune by REM






By: Bloodhounded

Notes from the author: Crazy talk I tell you, it's crazy talk.....
or, is it?





Judgment Day/Rapture/Day of Reckoning, call it what you want and believe what you will however, last Saturday 5/21/2011 was supposedly the beginning of it all! The Day of Reckoning has its origins with Noah and the ark and the flood of 4049 B.C.; an act of god, the bible says, driven by the a world overrun by violence and corruption. That much is true.


On the news we see all of the flooding in the south, hear of earthquakes in distant lands, watch the devastation of tsunami, pray for folks who have lost everything to tornado's in the Midwest and local areas where we have never seem tornado's in the past! How can a country of geocachers go caching in weather like this? It’s a major setback in the national growth of our sport. Think of the thousands of archived caches caused by all this “earth” disturbance! Man, it will take awhile for these folks to rebuild and get their lives back in order, well alone geocache.  Maybe I’ll create a foundation for the restoration of “Devastated Geocaches” . A group of committed volunteers who collect ammo cans filled with swag and a log book to replace missing geocaches around the world! Don’t laugh, I’m serious. The foundation of Devastated Replacement Auxiliary Geocaches or DRAG for short.

Is there something to all of this Day of Reckoning? I will say that things do seem a lot more unsettled around the world these days. It’s kind of scary and so sad to think of that even the mention of the end is unacceptable. But, let’s face it guys, eventually the whole thing will come to an end. Hopefully not in my, my kids, future grand kids and their kids lifetimes. The fact is that we are a mere speck orbiting in infinity with many, many larger specks that can get off course quite easily over time and wipe us out in an instant. Just like squashing a bug. No floods, tornado's or any other craziness. That’s the way I see it going. We’ll know its coming and won’t be able to do a damn thing about it. BAM! Done……….Game Over.

I can assuredly tell you that as you read this post, the world will not end today. That’s right, you heard it first from Bloodhounded at CacheCrazy.Com that, “The world will not end today!” Tomorrow might be a different story but, not today. After all, it can’t end! Why we have too much to do, right? The lawn needs mowing and the shopping needs to get done. Oh, and don’t forget about work and the kids need to go here and then be picked up. We are much too busy for the world to end today, sorry no time, can’t stop, gotta go, later……..get my drift.

Enjoy life my friends, no matter if it’s one or one trillion days. Go caching with your family and friends and have fun. You’ll never get this time back, don’t waste it! And don’t worry; if you missed the end of the world on 5/21/2001 you’ll get another shot at it on January 1st, 2012.

Until then, cache safe and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!
Bloodhounded

PS: Come on let’s all sing together
Get the lyrics here

Friday, May 27, 2011

Geocaching Statistics

Geocaching Statistics

Premium memberships may offer a better way to play the numbers game .




DctrSpott


Are you a premium member? If not, look into it: there are some serious benefits, and it's a great and inexpensive way to help the site. If you are, you've probably noticed one of the great new features, geocaching statistics. Statistics have been popular for a long time, with sites like My Geocaching Profile providing detailed statistic breakdowns for display on your profile page. The addition of statistics directly to your geocaching.com profile allows for a more streamlined, instantly updated version integrated right into the site.

While out with the other CacheCrazy.com team members recently, we exchanged ideas on solutions to the "numbers game" that people tend to play. How can we get more people to come and invest time finding quality caches, instead of finding ten times as many parking lot cache-and-dashes in the same amount of time?

In part, the best way to accomplish this is to keep producing fun, quality hides, with great swag and breathtaking scenery. But undeniably, there is a great feeling to see that Caches Found ticker count up. Geocaching statistics provide some great new numbers that are just as, if not moreso, exciting. Instead of just seeing a caches found number increase, I can now see my average terrain and difficulty ratings.

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to play the game. Some people are perfectly content to play cache-and-dash and blast that found ticker into infinity. Others are just as happy to play them game without concern for numbers. As a guy who grew up in the video game error, I just can't help but love those statistics, souvenirs, and other little achievements.

So what do you think? Will geocaching statistics help change the numbers game, and increase the hit rate on quality caches? Let me know it the comments!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What's in a HINT?


By BigAl

Did you ever really think about what goes into the hint you give your cache? I sure hope so. Hints are really important and can keep a Geocacher sane. 







WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!
Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and give me a hint.

Have you ever been out looking for a cache and you couldn’t find it so you decide to decode the hint? The hint is “ab uvag arrqrq.”  You pull out your trusty decoding paper and begin deciphering the code. 



As soon as you get the first several letters decoded you know what it is and you start getting upset. “Why did they have to put anything at all if it is not going to help.” If I can’t find it and I go to the hint then there is a reason for it. I CAN’T FIND IT!!!  If I could find it I wouldn’t have been looking at the hint.

Hints, if given, should be just that; A hint. It should be something that is going to give you a little help without you having to call the CO and ask him for assistance. (That’s PAF- Phone-A-Friend.) More on that later.
Here’s another one:  “uvag vf va gur anzr.” (Hint is in the name.) Sometimes this is very helpful, and sometimes it is not.  The cache name might be “Xxx Xxxxx Xxxxxxx (x’ s are to keep the real name hidden) Micro Cache.” So the hint could lead you to believe you are looking for a “micro” size container. This could be very helpful, especially if you have looked before and not used the hint. But what if it is not helpful as in the name of “Don’t be Stumped” and the cache is actually in a rock wall. Come on folks use your heads. That name would be great if you hid it in a stump, but a rock pile?

                         This should be "Don't be stumped"

                       "Don't be stumped" doesn't work here

Here's another one I found recently. The title of this one is "The Thin Blue Line." Here is the hint: "Look Kids, Big Bend, WV 26136. Parliment!-- Clark W. Griswold. What in the world is this? Who is this? I was with my wife on this one and we had no clue as to what this meant. What kind of a hint was this?

I am going to share with you some ideas I have about choosing your hints wisely. Now maybe you say “I already choose my hints wisely,” well that is great.  But it never hurts to have a refresher course on anything. So here goes.

When choosing your hint look at the sourroundings around the cache area especially at ground zero. If you’re hiding it in a stump then the above hint would be fine. Let’s say you choose to hide your cache in a stone wall then you could use the hint “General S.W. Jackson.” (Stone Wall Jackson.) An easy hint. Maybe you decide to hide the cache in a pile of logs. Your hint could be “How much wood could a Wood Chuck chuck if a Wood Chuck could chuck wood?”, or maybe it would be “evidence of a chainsaw.” Make the hint have something to do with where it is hidden, or at least something that makes you think about where it could be hidden.

Let’s say you hide the cache in an oak tree. This is a good one and could have several opportunities for a hint. Such as “Where have all the leaves come from” or “Acorn producer”  or “Squirrels love this food producer.” Part of having a hint should make the cacher think a little bit. You want them to engage their minds. That’s what helps prevent Alzheimer's. LOL. You want them to think, but you don’t neccessarily want to hand them the cache on a golden platter.

Now I know some of you are saying “the hints need to be a little harder.” Well that is fine too. Make them a little harder then. A recent one I saw was spelled backwards. That was a little harder, but I did figure it out. Maybe you want them to figure out a problem that will give them a little clue. Let’s say you hide the cache in a cemetery. Your hint might be “Mr. Miller walks on them” meaing his feet. Which would lead me to think about where his feet are. So I would look around the wall or bushes nearest his feet. (Never hide a cache in or on a grave stone out of respect for the deceased.)  Whatever you do just don’t try and aggrevate the cacher, unless that is what you’re trying to do.  And I hope that is not the case.

If your “hint” has nothing to do with the cache, container, or general area then maybe it should not be the hint. Read your hint several times and think about it. Will someone else be able to figure it out? Does it make sense? If not don’t use it. If it takes an Engineer with a degree to figure it out then you might want to reconsider it. The last thing anyone wants is to be out there hiking around the woods for a couple of miles and then not be able to figure out the hint. That is just poor cachemanship. (That’s a word now if you did not know it. LOL.)

I want to briefly touch on PAF (Phone-A-Friend.) Actually this should be called Text-A-Friend. It means to text the CO and ask for a little help for some of those really difficult caches. You know the type. You’re at ground zero, but just can’t find it. You have already figured out the hint, which was a good one, but you’re just not finding it. Then you text the CO. Hopefully he’s got his phone with him and he has the opportunity to respond back to you. I have never used this function of Geocaching before. Mainly because I don’t have an Iphone or whatever those phones are called.  I think it’s a great idea if the CO gets your message in time. Otherwise you might be out there for a while.

I was out caching for a FTF once and came upon another cacher who had been there for a while with no luck. She had texted the CO several times, but had not received an answer back from him. She eventually left. I kept looking. Then a few minutes later when I was about to leave I found the cache. It had fallen out of its spot. As I was getting ready to sign the log another cacher approached. He asked if I had found it and I said yes I had and I got the FTF. He then told me he was the CO and since he had gotten the messages he decided to come take a look and make sure it was there. We then talked about the hide and then I left. I felt bad for those who were there ahead of me and had used the text-a-friend because he had not been able to get back to them right away. Sometimes the TAF helps and sometimes it doesn’t.

I hope this helps you to think about your hints and if you need to go back to the cache page and change a few of them then go ahead and do it. It won’t hurt a bit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY?

Digital picture editing made so easy, even ol'Bloodhounded could do it!

If you are like me, you love pictures! There is nothing that completes the vision in my mind more accurately than a picture with a well written story. I could put myself in the shoes of the author. The only problem is that when I take pictures, they rarely turn out as awesome as the actual view I had in mind.

We at CacheCrazy.Com pride ourselves to support no advertising however, if the service is great and free, well then that's a different story, right?

You have to try Picnik. It's a browser powered photo editor that is 100% free and so easy to use. The end result is awesome and the image is ready to use in several formats. I have used many different programs in the past to edit digital pictures but none as quick and simple as Picnik. So consider this a public service announcement that the free service offered by these folks is worth checking out if you want to make some simple (and not so simple) adjustments in your end results.

Here is a picture that I took with my camera on my phone. it's a shot of the Lehigh River just outside of White Haven, PA on my way to check out Dodgers adopted, Re-Hidden Lehigh geocache. You'll notice that this is also the featured picture on our blog page today. I wanted it to match the color scheme better and look a little warmer. No problem, with just a few adjustments I had it ready to upload. But wait! I need to match the size perfectly to fit the HTML formatted template, and in pixels no less! Piece of cake with Picnik, I just clicked on adjust size and was able to choose a few different methods of sizing. I set it to 244 X 195 and it fit right in the frame perfectly on the first try saving me time and frustration.
As the morning mist came off the river, I was mesmerized by the rising suns beams of pink and gold over the purple flowing water. The picture turned out ok, but was missing a lot of the feeling of warmth and color.

This is the same picture after using Picnik. Notice the pink and gold tones are captured here and the purple and blue water are very close to how it actually looked from my eyes and in my mind.


After compressing it to best be viewed on the Internet, this was the end result for the blog page. Pretty cool, don't you think?

So if you have some of the same frustrations that I have with pictures and not a lot of time for editing, try Picnik out for yourself. You can also match it up with a Picasa free online photo album account and work between the two without any trouble. They are both products of Google and work very well with other Google products as well, like Blogspot, Blogger and Gmail.

Have fun with it and create wonderful memories through pictures because after all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Bloodhounded

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Opposing View

It’s not always sunshine and lollipops here at the Cache Crazy headquarters.  (The other guys right now are like, “What?  We have a headquarters?”)  We’re all buddies, but sometimes we see things differently.  Sometimes we even – gasp! – disagree.  So today I’m going to play the devil to my colleague’s angel and take an opposing viewpoint. 
Some time back, Bloodhounded wrote a very good and interesting article called “Making Geocaching Better One Cache at a Time”.  In a nutshell, he advocates carrying replacement containers and swag to repair damaged caches.  First and foremost, there is nothing at all wrong with that.  I, too, have come to the aid of my neighbor from time to time by leaving swag, cleaning up garbage, and checking to see if a cache is still hidden after several people have logged DNFs.  It is a good feeling, and it is fun.  My question, however, is this – Where do you draw the line?  Specifically – When do you fire off the “Needs Archived” salvo? 
The answer to that question is undefined.  I see it as a judgment call by the referee.  Maybe a cache just had some bad luck or maybe the CO is a buddy of yours or is somebody that you know is actively playing the game.  Fine.  Give it CPR.  Gee whiz, you might even consider requesting to adopt it.  Cool.

“Be a good scout – replace the cache just like you’d like others to do.” 
“Don’t be ridiculous - Archive it, you coward!”
What I’m really talking about is that cache you find that is, say, an old Kool-Aid jug with a seal-on lid and the contents are a nice potpourri of glop.  To make matters worse, you check the cache page and see two “Needs Maintenance” logs and a whole slew of notes saying things like “Contents are soaking wet” and “Really could use some TLC” and “Everything is moldy and rotten”.  Then you see that the CO has like four finds, one hide, and hasn’t logged on in two years. 

Come on, you’ve all found them.   I’d guess that it tees you off, but, then again, I really don’t know.  Maybe someday I’ll set up some sort of sting.  Put out some soupy caches on purpose and get John QuiƱones to hide in the woods.  When you show up at GZ, he and his camera crew can ambush you with a lot of on-the-spot questions. 

"Tell us, sir - why didn't you trade evenly?"
Anyway…
Call me wrong if you will, but I say these things have to be pounded with the “Needs Archived” hammer.  Oh sure, you could rescue it, but what about when the container gets cracked again or the swag gets pilfered?  Does it then become YOUR responsibility?  Are you some sort of default ghost CO now?  I say archive it and let somebody else have a chance at hiding something there because, remember, it’s not just that pinpoint location that is being wasted.  A cache gobbles up everything in a 0.1 mile radius.  If my quick math is right, that’s somewhere around 20 acres give or take. 
Think about that.  20 acres of geocaching wasteland.
Clean out the deadwood and let the new shoots grow, I say!
Now please don’t misunderstand – I do not urge you to use this tactic simply because you don’t like a cache.  I think we all know that’s not fair.  The NA tool is not to be deployed lightly.  We can never be quite sure why a CO has neglected his cache.  You have to think of yourself as being kind of like Spiderman.  You know – with great power comes great responsibility. 
Certainly, though, we all have seen these caches.  In fact, we’ve seen them many times.  So instead of being geocaching’s version of Johnny Appleseed, I say let’s get the junk cleared out. 
So there you have it.  I suspect I’ll be sending my blogger resume out by the end of the day.
Who’s with me?
“I’m plumb out of Tupperware!”

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Fungus A-Mungus

A DIY cache container by: Bloodhounded

Notes from the author: This is a neat little cache that you can set most any place and get great log results. It’s easy to make and fun! Why not make one of your own?



Jeff from nucci6 is a friend of mine from State College PA. He found one of my caches where I use a similar container and made mention in an email that he would really like one. So, I made a replacement and gave it to him. Now it resides at GC2RZP1, The Mushroom Cache at Penn State University mushroom research center. A very cool location indeed.

Here are just a few logs from recent finds:

·         April 10 by carels (14462 found)
# 14115 FTF Thank you for the cache. I liked the container.

·         April 11 by JBT (1784 found)
Aah, the fungus is among us! We met up with engineco3 and TheGeoSleuth near GZ and had a nice visit. Thank you for the fine hide and great cache container!

·         April 21 by kmbartek (191 found)
crazy cache container.

So, if you want to get this kind of results and place an evil cache that really looks cool, here is the DIY step by step for The Mushroom Cache.

1.       Use quality self drying clay that you can find at any craft store. Follow the package instructions. Use a water tight container. I used a chemistry set sample containers.
2.        Mold your masterpiece. Follow the package instructions for the best results. Be sure to press the bottom of the container into the clay to make and indent. Later you'll use this as the attachment location.
3.    This is your chance to inscribe your cache name of anything else (like maybe the coord to the next stage, hehehehehe [evil laughter]. Tip - don't worry about the messy "scrap" you get from etching. You can sand that off later, or leave it on as texture.
4.    Drill a small hole right through the cap (half the diameter of the nail you plan to use) 
5.    Work a nice sized nail through the hole with the point exiting the top of the cap.
6.    The end result should look like this.
7.    This will be the first time you will use the 5 minute epoxy. Get the feel for it and know it's cure stages. Epoxy the nail in place so it is solid and firmly in place. 
8.     Now it's time to paint the mushroom cap (my fav). The one on the right is the refurbished original mushroom I gave nucci6. I had to fix an area of the cap that was coming apart. I fished them both together. Any acrylic paint will work.I like to mix the paint with white glue. It adds a layer of protection and make a cool opaque look to the mushroom. 
9.      Paint it any way you wish. Glow in the dark paint would be cool for a night cache, right? I decided to match the natural as close as I could.
10.   This picture sucks but basically you want to epoxy the mushroom cap to the BOTTOM of the container. Then once it's dry "paint" the entire cap with epoxy. This works as a sealer and the epoxy makes a solid, durable surface.
11.     I like to paint the whole project and cover it totally with two coats of epoxy. Here is what it looks like when it's done. The epoxy makes it bullet proof and last for years.
12. Here is a picture of the refurbished original that resides at GZ
13.    I like to personalize stuff and love the way the paint darkens in the etched clay. This cache container complete with log was given as a gift to DctrSpott to place in the state of Wyoming while he attends grad school there this fall.

The container is naturally waterproof with the cap shedding the rain but I still like to place the log inside a small zip lock bag to add another level of protection. The nail works as a spike so it wont move, fall or roll away. 

That's all there is to it. You too can be the proud owner of this unique container that attracts favorable logs and is fun to find. All it takes is a little time between the stages and some creativity and there you go, a mushroom geocache container of your very own!

Have fun!




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Garmin Nuvi take 2

By BigAl

Note to readers: Last week I talked about loading my Garmin Nuvi with Geocaches. This past weekend I put it to the test.





WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!
Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and listen to Eldred.

Last weekend my wife and I went to the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania (CHAP) conference. This is a conference we go to each year to look for the curriculum we will be using the next year as we teach our kids at home. It is a big conference with lots of vendors there to display there wares. We always plan on arriving on Thursday afternoon so we can drop off any used books we no longer need. These books are sold to other families at a reduced rate. Got to love a good bargain.  After we drop off our books we usually go to the hotel and get checked in. Then the rest of the evening is ours.


Last year when we did this trip I was in a wheelchair due to just having heart surgery. We tried to find a couple of caches, (yes I am determined surgery or not), and we were successful, but we also had a DNF. I hate them. We had tried on two different days to find that particular cache, but it was just not happening that year.  So this year with our books dropped off, and our room reserved, we headed out to FIND THAT CACHE. 

This year we were doing our caching a little differently and my wife was really determined to find our DNF from last year. We would be using my Garmin Nuvi 1350T. Last week I posted an article about finding out how to download Geocaches into the Nuvi. We were really looking forward to using it and seeing how it worked.  I had already downloaded about 445 caches into it so now Eldred was ready. Eldred is the voice we use for our turn by turn directions. He is a cool little elf from the North Pole.

As I drove along I brought up my Extras icon and chose it. That is where my caches are listed. Then I choose Custom POIs, and then all POIs. Up came the caches that were all there.


It lists 4 caches on the main screen and their distance from your current location. Since we had just been to a Walmart to pick up some groceries we decided to find the one that was listed as less than a tenth of a mile away. It was GCGKBP. 

















When I chose that cache Eldred told me to proceed to highlighted route.


video
                             ELDRED THE ELF

So off we went. Eldred tells you right where to turn and then as we approached GZ he says “arriving at destination.”  We get a real kick out of him. He always has something funny to say like: “Snowball fight” or “Are we going to any toy stores” or our favorite “Please don’t make fun of my little elf shoes.” Well we arrived at our destination and began to look. Both the Nuvi and my etrex were showing us at GZ. We began to look and sure enough I found it. My wife and I signed the log and put it back. Then it was off to the next one, which seemed like it was over in the parking lot near another store.

We followed Eldred and arrived at GZ. We parked and then got out and started walking around. This one was not as easy. We looked and looked and then I finally saw it. Neither my wife nor I had found one like this ever before. It was a nano. I had never seen anything so small. My wife could not believe it was the cache. I showed her how it came apart and then we unrolled the log. It was totally filled up and so we just signed where we could. I made a note to tell the CO that it would need to be replaced. I don’t have anything that small or I would have done it for him.  We put it back and as we were leaving a couple getting in their car gave us a look. I told my wife not to worry because if they went over there they would never spot the nano. It is concealed very well.

We then had Eldred take us to two more caches, but these turned out to be DNFs. If I haven’t told you I hate them.  My wife said if we were going to find the cache from last year’s DNF we had better get going because it was starting to get late. Last year we did it in the evening and I think that was part of our problem.  We chose the next cache and let Eldred lead us to it.

We arrived and there were plenty of people going in and out of the store. This is a really big store and lots of hunters and fisherman really like it. I mean who doesn’t like a Bass Pro Shop. We parked near GZ and got out and began to search for it. We looked at all of the places we looked at last year, plus a few places we did not look at, and still no cache. Since I know there are some bolt caches around I began checking all of the bolts. No such luck. We then remembered some of the logs we had read beforehand and I began using my Geosenses. CACHAM! Found it. Now the only problem was getting to it. Let’s just say I’m glad my wife is as nimble as she is or we might not have gotten it. She retrieved it and we signed the log. Can they make these things any smaller? I hope not.

Well with 3 caches under our Harrisburg belt, and 2 DNFs, we headed back to the hotel. I won’t go into all of the details of our hotel stay, but lets say we will not be staying there ever again. Next year we'll have our own internet service and we won't have to depend on the hotel we stay at 

Here are some things I noticed while using my Nuvi. I still don’t have something set correctly, because as we drove along the highway caches that are within 1 mile should have popped up on the screen, but they did not.  That is a feature I was really looking forward to. I guess I’ll have to play around with it some more until I get it right. Also, if you’re driving on a road that is parallel to the road you should be on the GPS does not tell you you’re off track. He thinks you’re heading the right way so he doesn’t say anything until you make a wrong turn.

All in all I enjoyed using my Nuvi and I was glad we found some caches. Now I need to program it for caches around here, and I think I need to change the voice.  “Anyone want some fruitcake?” “Anyone?” “Eldred get out of the fruitcake you’re beginning to stutter.” 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY'S

SMILE AND BE HAPPY!

oR elsE.....:(

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spring Gobbler Season

If hunting is about patience and perseverance, then spring gobbler hunting is really about patience and perseverance.  Nevertheless, it’s one of the most fun and most challenging opportunities that an outdoor lifestyle has to offer, and the spring season is a beautiful time of year to be afield.  You just never know what you’ll see, and the 2011 campaign captured it all for me.
The first hunt of the year brought the sounds of turkeys gobbling, but nothing came my way except two deer browsing their way past.  The second outing to the same location made for the first rattlesnake sighting of the year.  When I went to retrieve my decoys, I spotted the buzztail lying on some rocks and enjoying the late-morning sun.  I watched him for a few moments but when I moved to get my camera, he quickly shot underneath the nearest stone.  I took a long stick and gently tapped the ground hoping to hear him rattle, but he stayed quiet.  Not wanting to disturb him further, I left him be.  On the third day, I heard turkeys gobbling on the opposite side of the valley from where I was located.  I was disappointed but not surprised – turkeys have a way of keeping you guessing.  I stayed anyway, hoping to perhaps call in a silent bird.  I caught movement out ahead, but it wasn’t a turkey – a coyote was hunting along the ridgeline, 100 yards out.  I watched him until he disappeared from my sight. 
Deer, rattlesnakes, and coyotes are all wonderful sightings, but the turkeys just weren’t cooperating.  While I knew they were in the area, I just couldn’t seem to pin them down.  Perseverance is easy to define.  You just stay at it.  But patience, well, there’s a fine line between patience and madness.  So on that third morning, I made a calculated decision to switch locations and be patient somewhere else.  What a wise move it would turn out to be.  Even now, I can’t help but think about it in real-time…

A perfect bluebird morning and high with optimism, I am set up at my new vantage point by .  The idea is to sit as long as possible calling every 15 minutes and just wait it out. With two decoys in a clearing in front of me and a blown-down tree and rock outcrop at my back, I make my first call… 
The sun is warm and I am reasonably comfortable.  At , I send off another series of quiet yelps… 
The decoys gently sway in the wind and the towhees trill their unmistakable “drink-your-tea” song.  I check my watch to be sure I don’t over-call.  At , I yelp again... 

Robins come and go and a small spider crawls across my gloved hand.  Fifteen minutes slowly tick by.  At I continue with the strategy…

GOBBLEOBBLEOBBLE! 

All right, that’s why we’re playing this game.  He is pretty far away and behind me and I answer him right back… 

GOBBLEOBBLEOBBLE! 

Now the old to-call-or-not-to-call dilemma…  I decide to hit him with it one more time… 

Yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp… 

Silence. 

OK.  No panic.  Don’t over-call.  Don’t over-call.  He knows where you are.  Stick with the plan. 

At I make a few soft yelps and suddenly hear the crunching of leaves behind me.  Ever so slightly I peak over my shoulder – he is right there.  There is no way I am making another call – oh man, don’t look at me.  If I didn’t think he’d see the movement, I’d spit the mouth call right into my head net.  That’s how close he is. 

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm. 

The sound of his spitting and drumming goes right through my chest. 

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Don’t move.  He’ll see you so fast.  Come on, go to the decoys.  Go toward the decoys.  

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Five minutes go by.

Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.  Pffffft, duuuuuuuummmmmm.

Ten minutes go by.  He’s still directly behind me, and I dare not look.  I even close my eyes.  I am frozen, yet I am convinced he’s going to spy me. 

Now he is slowly moving to my right.  He has not seen me, but where is he going?  No, don’t walk away!  Yes, that’s it! 

Finally I see the bright red head poke out of the brush directly to my right.  I still can’t do anything.  The gun uselessly lies on my lap.  I need him to get fully into the open before I even think of moving. 

Fifteen minutes go by, but he’s coming now.  He is going to clear the brush.  He is going to the clearing.  Wait for it.  Wait for it…


With my gear slung over one shoulder and the welcome weight of a Penn’s Woods tom over the other, I reflected on the hunt.  For every hundred mistakes you make, you get maybe one time where you do everything right and it goes perfectly.  Yes, it had been a spectacular day, but it had also been a great season.  With all I had seen and the eventual success, I couldn’t believe I deserved such fortune.  

As I headed for home at the conclusion of my spring gobbler season, I quietly said a prayer of thanks for all of life’s blessings. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

6 Cache Maintenance Secrets (that bring the fun back to the game).....

 Oh what a beautiful morning it was!
The fresh smell of spring, birds singing and a clear reminder that folks will surly be out geocaching today! I had better get those last few caches checked today!

Steph and I headed to GC28ZD5 The Mystery of the Lost Boy Scout Camp to do some needed maintenance. It is right near our home and perfect for a little exercise.




















The cache was not as it was when first placed. The dog bone with "BLOODHOUNDED" inscribed in it and glued to the top of the lid was gone. Also missing was the figurine of Freddy (it's part of a Scooby-Doo Where Are You Series) and the swag was short.
TIP #1 - Always top off your cache's swag. Don't forget that geocaching is a treasure hunt. There needs to be a treasure. Even a small chache like this one can have a lot of room for some neat items.


















Next I checked the log. Man, there was a lot of folks who came to this cache and signed the log. In fact, the whole front of the log sheet was filled.
TIP #2 - Be sure to bring some extra logs of different sizes with you when you do your cache maintenance. This way you can have a quick replacement for cachers to sign.















I looked over the container well. You would be surprised how just a small crack or broken seal can allow moisture to enter the cache.
TIP #3 - Check your container over well. If you find anything missing from the seal or damage to the container it will have to be replaced.


Some type of writing instrument should be incorporated into the cache. I like pencils because they don't freeze up, you can break them to the size you need and you can sharpen them with a pocket knife.
TIP #4 - Don't assume that the seeker has a pen or pencil. Always try to provide one when you can.




If you have a small zip lock bag, it's a good idea to seal the log, cache description and pencil in it inside the cache. This way if the container fails, the log will still be dry.

I guess the most important tip I can offer is to enjoy the maintenance process. Know that the work you do here today will benefit serveral geocachers behind you.
TIP #5 - Have fun doing maintenance. Take a buddy and enjoy the day just as you would if you were seeking. 



So, there you have it, five tips to help making your cache maintenance fun and easy. And now for the sixth and final tip:
TIP #6 - Make cache maintenance part of your twice a year cache program to keep seekers happy and always insure a dry log.
All smiley's are not created equal, make your's a special one!
Happy Caching........ 

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