CacheCrazy.Com: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

The World Is Our Gameboard: The Sussex Branch Trail

I've often heard the phrase "The world is our gameboard" used when discussing geocaching.  Yes, we play with a set of rules designed to keep us away from locations which are not ideal for caching, for several reasons, but our world offers us a plethora of really cool locations.  In this series, we're going to take a look at those which are close to us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

SBT Placard
As I've mentioned before, most of my caching is done in conjunction with my work schedule.  A hectic home life doesn't provide much time to head out on weekends, so caching before work and on lunch breaks it is.  One of our offices is located in Sparta, New Jersey.  Sparta is located in beautiful Sussex County, about 90 minutes from downtown Wilkes-Barre.  This past winter, when I found out I was going to be working out of this office, I did what anyone else would do- I logged on to geocaching.com and went right to the maps, to scope out the caches!  I couldn't believe how many caches were out there!  Northwestern New Jersey was offering me a whole new adventure, and I couldn't wait to check out all the really cool places and caches I was studying up on.  It wasn't too long before I discovered one of these places-the Sussex Branch Trail.



Liberty-Water Gap Trail
The Sussex Branch Trail is a "Rail-To-Trail" which follows a section of the former Sussex Branch line of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad.  It extends through Sussex County from Byram Township, north into Branchville.  Better yet, the Sussex Branch Trail is part of a larger system of Rail-To-Trails known as the Liberty Water Gap Trail, which starts at the Delaware Water Gap and ends at another landmark: The Statue of Liberty.  The SBT is approximately 20 miles in length, and passes through not only wooded areas, but neighborhoods, and even swamps.  With such an eclectic selection of terrain comes quite the variety of cache hides.  While most I've found thus far have been of the micro variety, the quality and creativity behind many of the hides keeps me coming back.  The trail also offers many history lessons and breathtaking views.


Entrance to one of the many sections of the Sussex Branch Trail.


It's awesome to know I have a place so close to work, where I can take a nice hike and find a couple caches at lunch, without having to break a major sweat.  With over 20 miles of terrain, plenty of caches sitting out there, just waiting for me play hooky from work- for just a little while!



Thursday, September 29, 2011

YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT?

By Big Al

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!!

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and do what?


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

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

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

                                                        SWAG
You know how it goes; you find the cache and your kids paw through the swag while you’re signing the log book, and then when the stuff gets put back inside your kids say “I’ll put it back dad”, so you let them. The only problem is that they don’t really put it back where it was. Then the next guy comes along and finds it and the same thing happens all over again. Before you know it your container is not where you placed it.
I therefore submit that we all change how we approach a cache when hunting for it. I am resolved to REALLY take notice where a cache is placed when I arrive at GZ. Is it in a stone wall? Is it in a pile of logs?



Is it under a rock? Is it hanging from a tree branch? Is it in a bush? The where is just as important as the how.
So next we look at how it was placed.  If it’s covered with bark and sticks I’ll be sure to do my best to recover it just the same way as when I got there. I’ll ask myself “how high in the tree is it” before I take it down.

                                            Is that high enough?

                                        Do you see the ammo can?

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



I’ll also watch my kids rehide the cache to make sure they put it back like we found it. If I can do this, and you could too, then maybe we’ll have better luck at finding those caches, and making sure they are placed ever so carefully back just as we found them.

I realize that some caches are just plain hard to find and that is okay, but this is a way that we can make sure that the cache we find is placed back just as we found it so it’s ready for the next cacher to find.  I think we can all make a difference in cache placement and that will keep the game fun for a long, long, time. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY - Chef Mario Garcia and S.L.A.P.


By Bloodhounded: Hey guys it's Bloodhounded coming to you from rainy Chicago, Illinois where I am presenting at some meetings for my company but was able to squeeze in some time for fun and made an interesting new friend. 


OK, so I did it! I joined S.L.A.P.

I am on a business trip and staying a few mile west of Chicago. The area is named Oak Brook Terrace  and I'm staying at the Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook right next to the Drury Lane Theater and Convention Center. It is a real nice place and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
 

I was yapping with the GM and was able to tour the kitchen and meet Chef Mario Garcia, Executive Chef of the property. It was awesome!




He even offered me the opportunity to man the sauté station during dinner hours and I nearly accepted but I humbly declined.




I will tell you that the place was spotless! Great job Mario! This is a property that I will return to for sure.



Anyway, between meetings I had a few hours to kill and had all intensions of going down town and completing a story on Chicago’s Urban Caching Scene but the rain was not letting up and decided to do some quick grabs right around the hotel. I was expecting microcity but what I wasn't expecting was finding a fun and humorous series called S.L.A.P. 






This is the text from the four geocache  series called S.L.A.P.





Do you or does someone you know have a skirt lifting obsession?

We sure do! Everywhere we go, we constantly see lamp post skirts and wonder if they have caches hidden under them, or think they should have. Because we feel this way, and think others do too, we have founded S.L.A.P. (Skirt Lifters Anonymous Program).
We here at S.L.A.P. feel the best way to help with this problem is to place as many skirt lifting caches as we can to help satisfy our obsession. If you or someone you know is crazy about skirt lifting, a S.L.A.P. is just what the doctor ordered! Getting a S.L.A.P. is always free and it just takes a minute from your busy day.

Please contact us if you want to get a S.L.A.P. Chapter started in your town. Our motto is “There are skirt lifters everywhere that just need a good S.L.A.P.!”

I love geocache hiders with a good sense of humor. I was also reading through some of the logs and folks were having fun with the SLAP acronym. Here is one of my favorites.
"How do you stop a geocaching-obsessed 5 year old from whining about a mall visit? SLAP him. Thanks"
LOL, it was fun and only took a short time. Not my usual style but hey, variety is the spice of life! So, spice it up baby and cache crazy!



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodbye Butterfly



Readers of our blog know that we're big fans of the yearly Monarch Butterfly release.  Here is a slideshow of our first release of the year...














GOODBYE BUTTERFLY

Flitting from flowers to tree
I'd watched it fly so gracefully
"Come fly to me" I'd say
A closer look just for today

Summer now with exit near
Alas my visitor will not appear
Leaves in piles begin to form
Summer flowers have dried and gone

Yet, as I sat watching expectantly
There in all its delicate beauty
It came to me;
Its gold and amber wings touching
My hand
That moment of trust
Oh how grand!

I'm sure it came to say farewell
Perhaps it knew me as a friend;
That brief moment I shall not forget
That butterfly of summer
My moment with nature
Forever in my memories will blend

Nancy Ellen Crossland
9/09/2010


Friday, September 23, 2011

Apple Cider, Pierogies...and a Benchmark?

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  The dog days of summer are behind us, the air is crisp and cool, and the scenery is breathtaking, especially up here in the northeast.  Football and hockey return, and baseball begins its "second season".  The days are shorter, but the nights present us with some fantastic sleeping weather.

One of the recent traditions for my family and I has been to attend the Dallas Harvest Festival.  The festival takes place every September in Dallas, PA.  The tents and stages are set up right in the heart of town, where local talent gets to showcase its skills, and vendors present their crafts, as well as tasty treats.


Lots of pumpkins 
Aren't you, Barracuda?
Arts & Crafts
I wanted to ride the firetruck and ring the bell, but the girls said I'd embrarass them.

 After watching my girlfriend's daughters perform with their dance group, we spent the rest of this gorgeous afternoon checking out the rest of the festival.  There were plenty of baked goods, canned goods, and, oh yes, fried foods!  On this day, the pierogies were my food of choice.  The missus opted for the fried Twinkie.  We all shared in a large helping of home cut french fries.  I'm a big fan of cider, so we were sure to pick up a jug or two of some locally made apple cider.  Refreshing!



DALLAS RESET 1957
As we finished our walk around the tents, the girls said they wanted to check out their rival dance group, which was about to take the stage.  We found an open spot on the street, on the steps of a bank, and took in some of the entertainment.  While standing there, I took notice of something under one of the children's feet.  It stood out like a sore thumb.  I knew this round, green, object.  Lo and behold, I'd just stumbled upon an NGS benchmark!  I took a closer look revealed it was DALLAS RESET 1957.  How cool is that?!  I've got a few benchmark finds under my sleeve, but to find one by accident made my day.  I logged my find, and saw the benchmark was last logged as found in 2007.  In benchmark hunting terms, that's no big deal, but to spot something seemingly random to others, and say "hey, I know what that is" provides a peculiar sense of gratification.

Now excuse me, while I finish my cider.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Are You Prepared?

By Big Al.

I hope this article gets you prepared for some safe caching.

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!!!

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and learn to be prepared for some safe caching.




Okay, let me set the stage for my story. You’re sitting at home checking your email when you get a notification that a new cache has just been published and it’s at one of your favorite spots for hiking; Rocky Ridge. You realize that if you leave right away you could get the FTF. You decided to head out and try for it even though it’s a little early in the morning. Since it is getting cooler out you grab your brown fall coat and out the door you go.

You arrive at the parking area, put your gear on, and head into the woods. You begin thinking that if you plan this right you could pick up several caches that you have been wanting to find as well as getting the FTF. You start heading up towards Rocky Ridge. The Sun is just beginning to crest the hilltops and you know when you get to Quaker Point it’s going to be a beautiful view.

You arrive at Quaker Point and your GPS says you’re about 10 feet from the cache. You begin searching and low and behold you find the cache. You slowly open the log book and then you get really excited because you are the First to Find. Yes!! It all paid off. You quickly sign the log book, check out the swag, drop a signature item in the ammo can, and re-hide the cache. You are pumped. Another First to Find. You look out across the hillside and see all of the trees as the leaves are now turning from green to beautiful reds, yellows, purples, and oranges. What an awesome site. You quickly take a few pictures and then you begin heading back the other direction. You take a short cut to another trail, which leads you to Lower Valley Trail. The plan is to pick up another cache along the way.

As you approach GZ you realize that the cache must be in this big thicket of serviceberry bushes. You make your way inside and you begin looking, but then your coat gets stuck so you stand still for a bit and try to get it undone. That is when you realize the cache must be on the other side of the bushes. As you come out of the bushes your mouth drops and you see something you never expected to see and you begin shouting “no, no, no.” That’s when you realize that the camoflauged hunter standing there is letting off of his bow. He then states “almost mistook you for a deer; next time you might want to wear some orange.”





Yes, this is just a story, but it could happen. So my question to you is “Are you ready for caching during the approaching Big Game season?” Many hunters will be taking to the woods very soon to persue their love for the elusive Whitetail Deer and Black Bear. But in some of these areas there will also be Geocachers heading into those same woods. You might want to decide not to cache in areas where there may be hunters. If you have caches in areas where hunting is allowed then you might consider disabling them during the season.

Here are some suggestions for us cachers who may still want to go out there and search for a cache or two.   
   
     Wear an orange coat or vest, or at least an orange hat.
     

      
      
     Carry a cell phone.
          Make sure someone knows where you’re going to be.  
     Carry a firstaid kit even if it is a basic kit.
      Carry a whistle.
        Don’t wear black or brown clothes while in the woods.
        Be vigilant of your surroundings.
        If a car or big truck is parked near the parking cords of the trail head maybe you should consider coming back at another time.


Thankfully no cachers or hunters were hurt during the writing of this article. Please be safe as you cache and remember that we are sharing the woods with many other people, especially during the upcoming hunting season. Cache safe my friends; cache safe. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY'S - The Future of Geocaching according to Bloodhounded

It is my opinion that Geocaching has yet to see its full potential. In the 11 years of its existence it has become a favored past time of millions of people worldwide however, if its growth rate continues, it will explode in the next five to seven years. If you talk to some of the cachers who started in the beginning, they will gladly tell you how the game has changed. From ammo cans to nanos and letterboxes to logbooks, they just don’t play the game the way they use to. And guess what? 11 years from now it will be different from today let alone 20 or 30 years in the future.


Join me now as we look into the digital log book of a Regular Geocache hidden as “Zelton” GC23000IGH623DF50001A entered by a geocacher named “Melbrain” in the summer of 2041.

 “Wow, what a z’upper dynamic cache! I was trailing with Dembelton and saw this one come up on my encoded flash transponder. It looked Kool so we set out to find it. The heat sensory microchip was a real nice attachment from the cache guardian and we also enjoyed the lazar frequency scramblers as it made the find more challenging (how clever). Our geodynamicis were in high gear as we neared GZ and I had a feeling I knew where it was so I infrared the area and sure enough it came up on the screen. We viewed the histogram data of the cache and registered several traveling microbots after reviewing their missions and set them free. I traded the antique iPod Touch (still works much to my surprise) for a home Lasik kit that I tooled with the Melbrain 4D symbol etched into it.  TFHC!”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wildlife Encounter

Dodger here with a story for you from a September day several years ago.  I decided to share since the changing of seasons has dredged up the memory.  Enjoy this true tale of a man-wildlife encounter...



It was a Saturday, around 2 or so, and I decided to take my English Setter Trapper for a walk before some friends would arrive for the kickoff of the Penn State-Notre Dame football game.  It was a pleasant weekend afternoon and the dog needed some exercise anyway.



We took off on our jaunt, leisurely strolling along the well-maintained lawn that follows the Army Corps access road to the Francis Walter Dam.  Both Trapper and I were enjoying the fine day, both content in our thoughts.



After some time, I noticed a patch of milkweeds growing in the taller brush off into the woods.  As you know, milkweeds are an important food source for the monarch caterpillar.  The Bloodhounded kids collected a few of these critters in a jar for our family so that we could enjoy their transformation into beautiful butterflies.  I decided to venture into the woods to gather a few leaves so that I could feed our temporary pets.



Since I didn't want to drag the leash and Trapper through this heavy growth, I had him sit patiently in the lawn.  I had just about picked a handful of the milkweed leaves when I heard the unmistakable buzz.  I knew immediately what I was about to see.



Alarmed, I spun around and moved out of the tall weeds.  Trapper and the timber rattlesnake were literally nose to nose!  The snake was coiled in his classic pose, the rattle pointing high and piercing the air with its warning sound.  Its head was cocked back, daring the dog to make a dangerous mistake.



I hollered sharply to my good dog, "No!  No!  No!  Back!  Back!  Back!"  Trapper initially obeyed, but his curiosity was still piqued.  He must have thought, "What is this new creature that I've never seen?"  After taking a few steps back, Trapper tiptoed toward the snake again.  I shouted loudly.  "Trapper, No!  Trapper, No!"  The rattler continued with his menacing warning sound.



Trapper must have realized the danger at this point and quickly trotted over to me.  I grabbed his leash and together we watched the reptile for a few more moments.  We finally decided that our fate had been in Mother Nature's hands long enough for this day.  We walked away, leaving the beast to create his peculiar symphony in peace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't Let Summer Get Away

By Bloodhounded: Grab your fishing rod, fire up the grill and get outside to play because it isn't fall yet so, don't let the last few weeks of summer get away! Join me for some fun in the sun before we get ready for one of the most beautiful times of the the year, fall. But, the leaves haven't changed yet and there are plenty of warm days ahead. I'm not letting summer go without a fight! Join me in the fun and games and some good eats too.......










Welcome to the CacheCrazy.Com Summer Time Fun online magazine final summer edition



Everything you need to know about ticks.....THEY SUCK........that's it.   

I did an article called “Bite Me” that covers just about everything that wants to take a bite out of you afield.  The one single most despised critter (here in the north east anyway) is TICKS! I hate them!

 Ticks gross out everyone! I don’t know anyone other than a guinea hen who really “likes” ticks. With the recent scare of Lyme disease, everyone is tick crazy. First of all there are two types of ticks here in NEPA that you’ll encounter. The deer tick which is small in size but packs the Lyme disease punch and the dog tick which is larger and just gives you the skivvies. Once you find one it all over! For the rest of the day or night you feel them in your hair, crawling up your legs and worse! If you start to feel flulike symptoms shortly after you must get medical attention. Soar joints, fever, and achiness are other signs of the onset of Lyme disease. Insect repellant will help prevent them from hanging on and digging in for dinner. Make sure to spray your cloths too or you’ll be bringing some home for dinner. Also, check your dog before they get in the car.
                                                                                                                                                     
KIDS – They say the funniest things – or – out of the mouth of babes category.

While geocaching with my youngest daughter I was complaining that my legs hurt, I was out of shape, too old and to please slow down (this was of course before the awesome condition I’m in today, lol)! That didn’t seem to slow her down so I grabbed for my stomach and said “and I have such bad gas” (hey it worked and sounded good at the time). Just then we happened upon four college gals hiking out. They smiled at my little one and one of them said “are you guys having fun?” my little angel said “we were until my dad told me how old and tired and out of shape he is”, the girl laughed and said to me “you better pick it up old man” jokingly but, my daughter was right there to defend me “that’s because he has real bad gas” she blurted out very a matter of factly!!!! They laughed and kept on walking, I could have killed her!
 A simple "yes" would have sufficed.
                                                                                                               
10 BBQ Chicken recipes that is sure to please

Everyone loves chicken and what better way to serve it in the Summer than a BBQ? I have a few basic recipes and a few barrowed favorites and I’ll share SOME of my secrets with you (hey, I can’t give you everything).

Lets fire up that grill and dig in….

1. Bloodhoundeds own BBQ chicken – This is a very basic recipe of a traditional BBQ sauce with the flavor of garlic and a twang of hot pepper sauce.
Ingredients
©       2 tablespoons vegetable oil
©       1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
©       6 cloves garlic, minced
©       3/4 cup ketchup
©       1/3 cup vinegar
©       1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
©       2 teaspoons brown sugar
©       1 teaspoon dry mustard
©       1/2 teaspoon salt
©       1/4 teaspoon black pepper
©       1/4 (5 ounce) bottle hot pepper sauce (I like Frank’s Hot Sauce)
©       1 (5 pound) chicken, cut into pieces

Directions
·         Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until tender. Mix in ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
·         Preheat grill for high heat.
·         Lightly oil grill grate. Place chicken on grill. Brush constantly with the sauce and cook 8 to 15 minutes on each side, depending on size of piece, until juices run clear. Discard any remaining sauce.


2. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Chicken – This one is a no brainer. Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ sauce is ready right out of the bottle. I’ll use this as a “base for a few different sauces and each offers a different flavor.
Ingredients
©       Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Recipe BBQ sauce (the sauce is BOSS)
©       1 (5 pound) chicken, cut into pieces

Directions
·   
·         Preheat grill for high heat.

·         Lightly oil grill grate. Place chicken on grill. Brush constantly with the sauce and cook 8 to 15 minutes on each side, depending on size of piece, until juices run clear. 

ü  TIP – try adding maple pancake syrup to your sauce to add a little more sweet and a great glaze on the chicken, trust me, you’ll love it.

3. Beer Can Chicken – Not really a “BBQ” per say but an excellent Grill treat and a one of a kind flavor.

Ingredients
©       1/2 cup onion, coarsely chopped
©       6 cloves garlic, cut in quarters
©       Fresh sprigs of thyme (6 or 8)
©       2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
©       2 teaspoons brown sugar
©       1/2 teaspoon salt
©       1/4 teaspoon black pepper
©       2 – 16 oz cans of Guinness Lager
©       2 –(3 pound) chickens whole

Directions
·         Open both cans of beer and drink one half of each one. In can openings split garlic, onion, thyme, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Then place the can inside of bird cavity (standing up legs down). The can will sit on the grill and simmer the herbs “inside” the chicken.
·         Preheat grill for high heat.
·         Place the chickens on the grill standing up (you may have to remove the upper rack to accommodate the size of the bird). Season with salt and pepper.
·         Grill for 1 hour and 30 minutes on MED (325F) until the internal temp is 175F. Let chicken “set” for 15 minutes, remove form can and serve.

4. Texas BBQ Chicken – yummm, this sounds so good with chili powder and paprika, I’ll bet it’s a winner.

5. Thai Style BBQ Chicken – Oh baby I love Thai food! I may try this one right now!

6. BBQ Bill’s Citrus Smoked Chicken – I love smoked meats and the lemon lime soda marinate has me intrigued.

7. BBQ Miso Chicken – If you haven’t tried Miso (soy bean paste) you don’t know what you’re missing. We use it at the restaurant on several very popular dishes. Using it to BBQ is genius.

8. BBQ Southern Fried Chicken – this recipe is not made on the grill but it gives you two wonderful end products. You can eat the chicken BBQ or eat it Southern Fried, either way it’s a winner!

9. BBQ Peanut Butter Chicken – I know, I know, you’re saying “ewe peanut butter chicken” that’s right and it’s awesome. We use a variation of this for a very popular appetizer. Folks love it but be careful of peanut allergies.

10. BBQ Chicken Cordon Bleu – This sounds awesome! I love a Cordon Bleu and doing it as a BBQ seems to be just a perfect idea!

So, there you have it, some of the best BBQ Chicken you’ll ever eat. Enjoy the cooking process, get the kids involved, have fun with it and then even if it tastes like crap, you’ll still enjoy creating it!

Bon Appétit
Thanks to allrecipes.com for the links and pics


Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Very soon Autumn will show her bright beautiful colors and the cooler nights will change the seasons and a whole new opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
Fave fun and cache crazy!

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