CacheCrazy.Com: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

CONGRATULATIONS Kyo-Kat

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!!

A big congratulations go out to my daughter Kyo-Kat, aka Katy Alfred.




My daughter just graduated from Luzerne County Community College with her Associates of Applied Science in Computer Graphic Design. I am so proud of her.

Katy started her degree four years ago while still being homeschooled. That's right, she was attending college while still going to high school. This is called being dual-enrolled. She then graduated from high school in 2010 and started attending college full time.  She was able to attend college with two of her homeschool friends that are pictured here.

               Kyo-Kat, David, and Liz

Katy did all of this while also working at the Assisted Living Facility where I work. She had moved up from being a Server to being Head Waitress. This really made her dad quite proud. She has always been my little Princess and it was a pleasure to see her finally walk across the platform to receive her diploma after all of her hard work.

                  Katy receiving her diploma
After the ceremony we were able to go out and get some pictures with her friends and one of her professors.


              Eddie, Liz, Katy, and Carl.

               Katy and our little Simba kitten.

Please help me to congratulate my daughter Kyo-Kat for her accomplishments. Nice job Katy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

500th POST AT CACHECRAZY.COM!

Today marks the 500th post at CacheCrazy.Com and it's quite a big deal for me! When I started CacheCrazy I knew what I wanted it to be but needed help from others to make it happen. Today, I have realized my dream and I have had the good fortune to work with such a talented and fun team. We have had so many great articles to share with our readers and each other and we are going strong.


To all of the Admin Authors, Honorary Authors, guest blogger's, commenters and readers alike, I sincerely thank you! Without all of you CacheCrazy.Com would still just be an idea and not a reality (which would just drive me nuts). You have given it a life of it's own and I have done my best to build a sustainable network of talented people to keep it alive and well. 


From the bottom of my heart and from the top of the highest mountain I yell, "Thank you for being a part of the success that we all enjoy! CacheCrazy.Com is not MY blog, it's OUR blog and that's the way it's going to stay! FOREVER..............."


I love all you guys!
Bloodhounded 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Caching in on BMP's

Another quality post by Kim at Snug Harbor Bay


One of the best things about being self-employed is that I can pretty much schedule my own hours.  Plus, I work with my husband, so if I want to take a day off and play hookey, it's usually pretty easy to do unless the snow is flying.  Today is the last day of my sisters visit, so we took off to do a couple more caches since it was such a nice day.  The first one we did was called "Caching in on BMPs" and it was a 4 stage cache.  That mean we had to go to 4 different locations and find a cache container and figure out clues to the next stage.  This is part of the cache description from the cache page:

This geocache is sponsored by the Lake County, Illinois Stormwater Management Commission (SMC). The objective of this multi-cache is to find 4 different caches and learn about Best Management Practices (BMPs) along the way. Stormwater BMPs are acceptable practices designed to improve water quality by preventing or reducing stormwater runoff pollution, conserving water and recharging the aquifer.

We head out to stage one, which is at:

On our hike to the cache, we passed a few silo's and a cistern....


When we reached the cache site, this is what we found.  Can you guess where the cache was hidden?

If you guessed that it was hidden inside this birdhouse you were correct and you have what is known as "good geosense."

Inside the cache box was a clue and some co-ordinates for where we were to go next....
Stage 2 was at this little bridge over a creek and we had to locate the 2nd box with another set of clues...

Stage 3 was a hike thru the forest, a little over a mile round trip, where we had to go to this bridge and get some information off of the bridge tag...


Here is the cache at the final stage....
After that we went to the Lake County Office and we each received this coin as a keepsake.
It was a really nice morning, the sun was shining and temperatures climbed up to about 50 degrees, so it was a great way to spend some time with my family.  The whole 4 stage cache only  took us about an hour and a half to do, we learned all about BMP's and we got a collectible coin on top of it!


Friday, May 25, 2012

A Tale Of Two Rocks

A funny thing happened to me recently, while out geocaching.  I found the same cache container on two successive cache finds.  No, not just the same size container.  It was the EXACT container.  It was on two different days, in two different counties, in two different states.  Under normal circumstances, I'd think that was pretty cool.  Heck, even writing that opening sequence makes it sound pretty cool.

It wasn't.  Let me elaborate.

Allow me to submit, for your approval, the fake plastic rock geocache.  I'm sure at one point in time, this was the latest innovation in cool cache containers.  Many a log surely were written about how "I've never seen anything like this before, awesome job!  TNLNSLTFTCLMFAOLOLTTYL!"  This isn't a knock on the rock cache.  It's stood the test of time, and truth be told, it's still a cool cache container.  I have no problem coming across them from time to time.


The first fake rock cache find was in a park in New Jersey.  Ground zero was at the bottom of a slope, about 100 feet in the woods from an open trail.  There were quite a few potential hiding places, and judging from the ratings, I might have to climb the slope.  The hint for this cache wasn't of much use.  If you've ever read my theory on cache ratings, you'll understand why I thought this one might be a fake something-or-another.  The difficulty rating was a four.  The terrain rating (3) led me to believe I wasn't climbing a tree, and most likely wasn't climbing to the top of the slope.  I concentrated my search to the beaten paths on either side of the large rock face.  I had no luck with the right side of the rock face.  There were no nooks or crannies with obvious hiding spaces, nor was there anything out of the ordinary.  It was shortly after I focused my attention to the left side when I saw a couple baseball-sized stones sitting about eye-high.  Bingo!  One of the stones was our aforementioned fake rock geocache.  I found this to be a great hide.  There were dozens of potential hiding spots, yet the "rock" was sitting there, in plain sight.  A well placed 4/3 rating on this one, indeed!

Cool cache container...or torture device?
A few days later I hunt for another geocache, this time in Pennsylvania.  The ratings were a 3/2, I believe.  Having read both the description and hint prior to arriving, I had a gut feeling what I was getting myself into.  Upon arriving at ground zero, my first thought was "The cache owner should have just written 'Here's 1,000 rocks, find the fake one!;"  That's exactly what I was doing for a half of an hour-fishing for a fake rock amongst a bed of rocks.  I don't know what was more aggravating- the fact the cache was where it was, and what it was, or my stubbornness keeping me looking for a stupid piece of molded plastic for so long.

Semi-pot-kettle-black alert:  I own a cache hidden in a rock bed.  It's not a rock, though, and the rock it's under is marked.

As my fiance can attest to, I have a temper.  I was so worked up after finding that cache that I had to go find ANOTHER cache to restore my faith in cache hiders everywhere.  I'm not cache crazy, am I?

Here were two identical cache containers, yet the method in which they were hidden were completely different, and as such, had different difficulty ratings.  Perhaps I can't fault the cache owner of the second cache.  It was a truly evil hide, and I'm sure other cachers would not only spend more time searching, but feel differently about their search.  I found it to be a frustrating waste of time.

Have you ever come across anything similar, where like caches hidden in a different manner, made for unique caching experiences?




Thursday, May 24, 2012

CONGRATULATIONS BIGALJR1693

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!

Grab a cup of punch, sit back and help us celebrate our son's graduation.





Well he finally did it. Our son, Carl, aka Bigaljr1693, graduated from High School. Carl is our fourth graduate from our Home School (Alfred Academy). We are very proud of him for this accomplishment. It has not always been easy for him, but he succeeded.

I must say that a big thank you goes to my wife for her many years of dedication to our children in teaching them at home. Without her none of this would be possible. Okay, so I am the principal, but she has done 99% of the teaching.

                   She's not short; he's just tall

We were fortunate to be able to attend the Christian Homeschool Association of PA (CHAP) convention in Harrisburg where my son was able to participate with 14 other homeschool seniors in a graduation ceremony. Out of all 15 students he was one of them asked to give a speech and I must say he did very well.

         Carl was always a HEAD above the rest

               And you thought I was tall



We are thankful that God has allowed us to teach all of our kids at home and now we only have one more to go. Somehow I think the next four years are going to fly by. In September our son will be attending Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake, NY. Yes we are proud of him and his accomplishments.

WAY TO GO CARL!!!!! WE KNEW YOU COULD DO IT.
You're the best and I know God is not finished with you yet.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY ~ Johnnygeo on Geocaching Safety ~ Lamp Post Caches, are they safe?

In the never ending quest to enjoy life to it's fullest, the theme is, "SAFETY FIRST". Today our new friend and safety adviser at CacheCrazy.Com, Johnnygeo tells us very clearly that, skirt lifting may be hazardous to your health! Let's all learn a little and play it safe! 
Disclaimer



(updated Jan.23/08)
Lamp Post Caches, are they safe?

At the end of this post I want you to answer the question... Please take a read...

***In this post I'm refering to the type of lamp post cache that a person needs to lift a skirt or cover to grab the cache. This cover usually protects the bolts of a post and most of the time, but not all, there are no wires exposed. I am NOT talking about a lamp post cache where a cacher would hide a micro inside the opening of the lamp post beside energized wiring. A cache placed inside the opening of a lamp post is a very serious safety concern and should NEVER be created. If a cache is found inside a lamp post, please contact a Geocache.com reviewer to have the cache archived and the local utility company to close the lamp post opening properly.***

Now... let's talk about a micro under a skirt of a LPC...

I "Googled" Lamp Post Caches on my computer and came up with a lot of hits on the subject. I read how they're lame because they're so boring after finding 10 of them in a row. I read that they're on private property and that a cacher needs permission before they hide a cache in the lamp post. I read that a lamp post cache caused a bomb threat.

All of these concerns are valid but from a safety perspective I think we're missing the boat. There needs to be more thought on how a lamp posts electrical equipment fails. It's happening way too much to say.. Ahhh, that never happens...

Remember, everytime you lift a lamp post cover to find a cache, you're trusting that the lampost wiring has not failed from old age or has not been vandelized before you got there.

As I've said in the past, a city, town, etc can have the best electrical maintenance program in the world, and still, the power equipment can fail, like anything else.

For a handful of you that may be asking yourself, "I haven't heard of anyone getting killed by geocaching by a lampost", you're right, and I hope that knowbody ever does. BUT people doing other hobbies, walking their dog, playing around lamposts and other types of electrical equipment are getting killed. 

Here's some proof on what's going on "out there". (please click on the link for the full story)
(1)... The electrified spots were discovered during emergency inspections prompted by Ms. Lane's death...Manhattan had 53 electrified manholes and service-box covers, and 30 charged lampposts. The Bronx had 6 electrified manhole and service-box covers and 25 charged lampposts. READ LINK
(2) The downtown electrocution of a 9-year-old boy was caused by the failure of the insulation in a 480-volt wire in the base of a light post, according to a report from investigators. READ LINK

(3)An ungrounded light pole is being eyed as the possible cause of death of a 9-year-old girl at a self-serve carwash Monday evening, a city official said Wednesday.
(YOU NEED TO SCROLL DOWN A BIT TO FIND THE STORY) READ LINK
These are just a small hand full of incidents that are occuring out there.
Lamp posts are meant to be safe because they're out in the general public but as you have just read, that's not always the case. Lamp posts are meant to give light to an area and to be left alone... not to be played on or in.
Also, if we teach our children it's okay to lift up covers to this equipment, will they know what not to enter when they're alone? Probably NOT. READ LINK
Let's not have our kids get-used-to playing around this equipment.

There are so many other places we can hide and find geocaches, let's stay away from electrical equipment.
So, are LPC's safe?

Thanks for stopping by,

Johnnygeo
About the author: 
Name: 
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
I enjoy travel, cycling, trail running, Okinawan karate and Geocaching
I work for a large power utility company as a Health & Safety Professional, "The Safety Guy". I graduated at the University of Alberta in Occupational Health & Safety in 2008. 

If you're a geocacher please take a moment to visit my blog on Geocaching Electrical Safety.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

You Just Never Know




Geocaching is not my only fun but sometimes frustrating activity.  Visitors to this blog may have read some of my previous stories on hunting.  It, too, is fun yet frustrating, and I can’t emphasize that more when it comes to pursuing spring turkeys.  I wrote about my adventures last season while hunting the Penn’s Woods tom, and now I invite you along on this year’s season…

It had been a tough May for me.  Hunters were bagging gobblers but I just couldn’t pin them down.  I had some action but nothing hot.  I started to think that maybe this just wasn’t my year.  When it comes to hunting turkeys, though, perseverance is the key.  You just never know when it all is going to come together.  So yesterday morning, without even the aid of an alarm at this stage of the season, I was tired yet wide awake at 4:15 AM.  Well, why not I reckoned, and off I went.

Now it’s certainly possible to bag gobblers all through the month of May, but turkey hunters realize that at this point of the season we are in the fourth quarter of the game.  So in an attempt to shake things up a bit, I decided to try a spot I hadn’t yet touched this year instead of the other areas I had frequented most of the previous weeks.  As the woods awakened, I began a very slow walk listening for a gobble.  When the sky grew lighter, I began softly calling.  Off to my left, I caught the sound.  There he was, and I thought I knew how to set up on him.

After a little calling battle, I knew I had a good chance at tagging this bird.  He was interested, and I was in a decent spot.  Finally I saw his head poking up out of the scrub oak and blueberry bushes.  Unfortunately he didn’t want to come closer.  It was difficult to judge the distance, and, while certainly a gobbler, I could not see his beard.  There simply was no shot opportunity.  I knew not to panic; the bird wasn’t spooked and I had time.

Then something unexpected happened.  YELP! YELP! YELP!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  YELP! YELP! YELP!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  What bad luck – a hen had moved in down the hill and to my right.  No matter how good I could call (and it’s not very good anyway), nothing was going to top the real thing.  I heard his gobble fade as he moved away and disappeared out of sight. 

I prefer to be a relatively quiet and patient gobbler hunter, but that doesn't always get it done.  I played this game too many times, and I finally learned when aggressiveness is a necessary tactic.  So I quickly jumped up and scooted out to cut him off.  When I got to where I figured was between the hen and the gobbler, I very softly called.  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  GOBBLE!  Yes indeed, I had him.  Only minutes later, there he was.

Very pleased with the morning’s excitement, I snapped several quick pictures and headed for home.  As I made my way out of the woods the thought struck me again – “You just never know!”  I smiled as my pace quickened – I couldn’t wait to show the kids.  It had been another great season!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Geocaching Adventures: Indian Fokelore Edition

I had a few hours this morning to kill so I decided to snag a couple caches that have been sitting in my todo queue for quite some time.  Both are a bit out of the way, and have a higher terrain difficulty.

As it happens both also have an Indian theme to them (feather not dot).

The first cache, Light Of Indian Grave Mountain, is near an old Indian burial site.  Apparently the bodies were dug up in the 50s and sent to Washington, DC.  The cache is located 200 ft up a waterfall, over which a small creek flows.  It was difficult in spots getting a foothold on the wet stones, loose wet earth, and rotting vegetation.  More than one tree was knocked over as I vainly grabbed for handholds :)  After a bit of clambering I made it to ground zero and located the cache after a few minutes hunting.

On the way down I met a husband and wife caching team, some of whose caches I have found in previous adventures.  It is always cool meeting other cachers on the trail.

The second cache, called Twin Poplars, is a monument to peace.  The story goes that back in 1737 two Indian tribes, Cherokee and Catawba, had a territorial dispute which led to an epic week long battle.  At the end both sides got tired of fighting, so they declared peace.  To mark the occasion they tied two poplars together, which have since grown together into a rather cool looking arch.  For more information on the story check out this article from the Caldwell Heritage Museum: Twin Poplars.

The cache hunt itself starts at a parking space located at the end of a narrow bumpy country lane.  A path 0.2 miles long winds through the woods to the bottom of the hill where the twins are located.  From there it is a slippery climb as the hill is fairly bare, and muddy.  Once you are up to the twins you can proceed 30 feet farther and snag the cache.

Even if you are not a cacher I recommend checking out these areas as they are worth the hike by themselves, especially the twins.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

They're Out And About!

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and listen carefully.



With the onset of warmer weather there are some critters that are beginning to come out and about. Of these critters there are a few that are in need of some respect. The first of these critters is the Northern Copperhead.



The Northern Copperhead is one of three poisonous rattlesnakes of PA. It is also PA's most abundant rattlesnake.  They range in size from 24 inches to 36 inches. Here is some interesting reading on them.


Factors That Limit the Northern Copperhead in Northern Pennsylvania
By: Philip Dunning

Introduction:
The Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) is a medium sized stout bodied snake in the family Viperidae, subfamily Crotalinae, which is the same subfamily as the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). The dorsal surface has 12-21 reddish brown hourglass bands which narrow at the midline of the back and widen towards the ventral scales. The background color is paler than the crossbands and ranges from brown to pink.



Neonate northern copperheads have a yellow to yellowish green tail used for caudal luring; this coloration darkens with growth (Gloyd and Conant 1990). Preferred habitat for the northern copperhead is open rocky slopes on the south side of steep inclines (Reinert 1984). They can also be found on wooded hillsides with some open rock and summering in valleys and rocky meadows or powerlines. The annual activity cycle extends from late April through October.

The copperhead has a large range within Pennsylvania. They can be found in scattered populations throughout much of the lower two-thirds of the state. They are not found in the northern tier counties.

range map
Range

A total of 34 copperheads were observed at field sites during this study. Most copperheads were seen in June or July, with a noticeable decline in August and September. Snakes were seen most frequently under partly cloudy conditions. A total of
16 snakes were caught and processed. Females (N=9) were captured more frequently than males (N=7). Males were larger than females in length, weight, and tail length. All copperheads were found on south/southeast facing slopes. Elevations that copperheads were found ranged from 600-1200 feet, with most being seen from 900-1000 feet. The “ideal” condition, which is the averages of all data gathered, that copperheads were observed would be June 21st, at about 2:08 PM. The average temperature would be 26.2 degrees Celsius, and the weather would be partly cloudy. This “ideal” situation was used to rank each outing and rank each site based on standard deviations away from this
average.  Once sites were weighted based on this model, the carbon county sites were ranked highest, with the northern sites of wyoming and pike counties being ranked the lowest.

Bibliography:
Brattstrom, B.H. 1965. Body Temperature of Reptiles. The American Midland Naturalist, 73 (2): 376-422.
Gloyd, H.K., and R. Conant. 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex. The Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio.
Reinert, H.K. 1984a. Habitat separation between sympatric snake populations. Ecology 65: 478-486.




If your out caching, or hiking, please beware that this snake could be out there too. Show them some respect and never try to handle them or disturb them in any way. You can read about my other adventures in Red Next To Yellow.  Be Safe everyone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How to Walk on a Fish Hook and Survive

The moment I read this I knew it had a place on CacheCrazy.Com, this is nuts! Kim from Snug Harbor Bay posted this on June 26, 2011 and I just love it! I think you will too......


Ok, now that I've gotten your attention, let me explain that I don't mean a fishinghook.  This fish hook is actually a breakwater wall in Kenosha, Wisconsin that is shaped like a fish hook.  It goes wayyyyy out into Lake Michigan and today we did a geocache that was hidden out on the end of it.  Go here to see a copy of the geocache page:  http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=6026342b-bb23-4690-b9bf-22aa516a0f23

Here's Lou and Chablis as we started the hike out to the point...



This geocache has a rating of 3 out of 5 for difficulty and 4 out of 5 for terrain.  I'll tell you one thing - these are some serious rocks out there....
Once we reached the correct location, which we found using our GPS unit, we had to climb down into the rocks to find the cache....

It was like a cave in there....

It was a perfect day to be at the lake - warm, sunny, light breeze....


Afterwards we wandered around the Kenosha Marina and enjoyed the sights...


We walked around the lakefront and grabbed a couple of more caches.  Can you identify them here?




Ok, that last one was kind of easy!  They are really re-vitalizing the lake front area of Kenosha and it is really pretty.  We saw this fountain that I just fell in love with...


We found another fountain dedicated to Christopher Columbus.... 


And of course we didn't miss a phooning opportunity!
An old time electric bus went flying by!  Believe it or not, this is similiar to the type of bus I rode in Chicago when I was a kid.  See the wires above the bus and the bar connecting the bus to the wires?  That's how they were powered.
We also checked out this beautiful flower garden...
Check out this gorgeous 1972 GTO - the girl posing next to it is pretty gorgeous too!  I want that car!!
This area of Kenosha is really nice.  I have to go back again some time soon because as we were leaving I spotted a Civil War Museum that I didn't know was there.

By then it was lunch time and we were starving, so we headed over to The Brat Stop....

The Brat Stop is famous in these parts for, what else???  Brats!!!  I had mine with red cabbage and american potato salad...  And a nice icy cold beer.
It was OUTSTANDING! 
So that was how we spent our day - now isn't that an interesting way to walk on a fish hook?



Kim at Snug Harbor Bay

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