CacheCrazy.Com: September 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Lee's Memorial Travel Bug Journey. - The Start

Note from Bloodhounded: This is so freaking sad but incredibly inspiring at the same time. I really love this post and requested permission to post this at CacheCrazy.Com and track the progress and updates! What a wonderful way to keep the memory alive and share this young mans spirit with us everywhere in the world! FANTASTIC! That's all I can say, FANTASTIC!
If there is one thing in life that must cause more stress than anything else it's the loss of a child, taken when they have so much more life and  potential ahead of them. That day happen in January 2007 when young Lee had his terrible accident which left his parents, Shaun and Carol with nothing more that total devastation and the rest of the family completely shocked.

As a Grandparent I knew that I wanted to do something to keep his memory alive, not that he would have been forgotten anyway, so the idea of a memorial TB seemed a great idea for me to send off, therefore giving and all the family a chance to watch Lee's journey around the world.

I think that my Son's comment on Lee's Memorial TB page is the very best way to understand Lee, his hobbies his loves and what a really lovely boy he was.

Link: http://www.geocaching.com/track/details.aspx?id=2173266

On the 2nd July 2009 my Son joined me at St. Swithun's Church in Leonard Stanley where I had placed a cache a few feet from Lee resting place, this was just on the outer side of the churchyard hedge. The TB was placed inside the box and we retired to our homes to watch what happens, yes with some trepidation.

Within days it was on it's way via a few local caches when an incredible fate took over his travels. A cacher called Little White Collie found it and the lady was in fact Lee's Cub Scout Mistress, she wrote,

"knew Lee, we just had to retrieve and move on this TB. He was a smashing lad and a great loss. Will find a cache in a place that he would have liked for the TB's next stop."


 I came to meet Louise & Graham soon after and we became good geocaching friends.



His bigger journey had started as they took the TB down to the South Wales coast and a place called Swanlake Bay, Lee had been here camping in his cub scout days so LWC had made this special journey for him.

Within 24 hours Lee was to make a move across the Atlantic landing in New York State and rested in a Quaker House, well it was a leap of 3,300 miles.


Connecticut came next where he had to wait patiently for 5 months in one cache, giving all of us back home the worry that he had been lost.

January 2010 and someone took pity on him by picking him up and moved it to her own cache whilst making the comment, 


"Handsome boy and I love curry to, will placed him in my cache called Treasures of Love since it appears he was very very much loved."






Another nice person in Connecticut picked the TB up and again added such a wonderful comment,





"How touching a memorial, how often God recalls his best children early, thank you for sharing."


It is so heartening that cachers make an effort and I decided to send each person a quick message of thanks from then onwards.


New Hampshire and Vermont followed where cacher Al81 was running "The Harpoon Brewery Octoberfest Road Race for The Norris Cotton Cancer Centre", a distance of 3.6 miles with Lee also tagging along, not sure if that was a lot of exercise for him, but after the fest he was dropped off in a lovely quiet park to rest a while.


I'm sorry to report that the next person, who again I appreciate took the time to pick up the TB, commented that they were going home to Colorado and will drop it off ASAP. Obviously I don,t know the circumstances, but they didn't place Lee Memorial TB in a cache for 9 months (19/10/10 to 11/7/11). We had given up hope and believed he had gone for good. How wrong we were!!(To be continued)


Lee's incredible Journey continues in the next episode, and oh! boy did some great geocachers give him a good time with lots of travelling, especially for his birthday and Christmas during 2011.

Lady-Magpie AKA Skinny (that's my new nick name for Heather, doesn't she look great?)
Keep on caching girlfriend!

FRIGHT WEEK UPDATE


10 Insane days and nights of torture by crazy authors who want to share their story with YOU!
Oh ya, that's Fright Week 2012!
 It's back!

UPDATE! To date I have received 17 stories! Thank you all who have submitted. Man, it's going to be a tough decision! You still have time to get your story in. I am shutting off submissions at 12:01 EST October 15th 2012 so don't wait any longer!

I encourage everyone to contribute a story to FRIGHT WEEK by going to www.CacheCrazy.Com and click on the badge in the sidebar. Email me your scribblings, I mean, masterpiece with at least one picture. I am going to select the top ten posts and line them up numerically 1 - 10. Then I'm going to feed them into a random selector and post them in the order that the service provides backwards, counting down to the number one post! The top three posts  will receive a prize (to be determined, something cool though) and the number one post will be the FRIGHT WEEK FEATURED AUTHOR/STORY that will post Halloween day at 12 noon until Halloween night at midnight (and receive a special prize).
Sounds like fun? Join in and let your imagination be your guide. Have fun with it!
Thanks!
Bloodhounded

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog post, thank you and have a fun weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Surviving The Flood

On September 2nd of last year I performed maintenance on one of my caches, GC2ADFW Remembering Agnes: The Min Matheson Cache.  Acting on a recent log's message about a damp container, I decided to make some minor adjustments.  I felt the final stage was too close to the river, and with flooding occurring in March, it was time to move to higher ground.  We were in the middle of what felt like monsoon season, and the general feeling was the Susquehanna River was going to rise.

Just a few days later, on the 7th, all ears were on the weather report, and all eyes on the river.  Projections were being made about a crest occurring sometime over the weekend.  It would be bad, but it would be a gradual rise, and time would be had to make the proper provisions.  The Wyoming Valley knows the drill.  The usual low-lying areas were on notice.  Sometime during the day, on the 7th, I decided I'd make it a point to head down to my cache, and if need be, and get it out of dodge until the situation was over.  For one, I didn't want to see the cache get washed away, but more importantly, I'd hate to see someone try for a find in adverse conditions.



I woke up on the 8th, and couldn't believe what I heard.  The river level rose dramatically overnight, and the projections for flood levels and cresting were adjusted.  On my way to work I swung by the park, and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I wasn't alive in 1972 to see Agnes, and I lived in Scranton in 1996, so I was new to seeing the Susquehanna, in all her swollen glory, up close and personal.  There had to be dozens of onlookers, as well as members of the media, gathered on higher ground, looking down below at the raging river.  Debris from upstream was floating by.  Lawn furniture, pieces of structures and other items were all swept up from the neighboring counties to the north, and making their way to the south.


At some point in the hour or so there, it struck me: my cache is somewhere in that raging river.  I was way too late to make an attempt in retrieving the cache container.  Min had a good run, I thought, and it was bittersweet irony that a cache dedicated to a flood would be lost in a flood.



Life returned to normal over the next few weeks.  Those who were evacuated returned to their homes, with varying degrees of sadness.  Some rebuilt.  Some got bought out by Uncle Sam.  Others just walked away, never to return.  There are homes, particularly in Plains and West Nanticoke, which have been totally abandoned.  The majority of Wilkes-Barre, proper, was spared by flooding, as the levee system, improved as a result of the 1972 flooding, held up.



It was not until the first week of October when I was able to drive down to the area where the cache would have been.  Garbage and other debris littered the landscape near ground zero.  I reached its hiding spot, turned over the rock which was to be concealing the cache.   Much to my surprise, the cache was still there! Wow!  What's even more amazing was what I found when I opened the container:  its inside and contents were bone dry!  Where I suspected poetic justice was going to be served, I found a geocaching metaphor, if you will.  I hid a cache honoring someone who stood her ground in the 1972 flood, at its time the worst natural disaster in American history, and here, as it turns out, the cache stands its own ground in the historic flooding of 2011.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WHY NOT WEDNESDAY ~ Geocaching with Clay Matthews



















YOU BETTER GET THAT CACHE MAINTENANCE DONE RIGHT NOW! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rookies

A few weeks ago, my wife Liz, Kevin’s wife Dawn, and I were out for an evening jog.  Coming back from the run, I spied a couple walking in circles on the side of the road and staring at what appeared to be a smartphone.  Now being a veteran to the game, I knew immediately that this couple was trying its hand at geocaching.  I also knew that there were no geocaches where they were so, of course, I couldn’t resist helping out.

I swear this is a 100% true story.

So anyway, I saw these greenhorns walking in circles on the wrong side of the road, opposite the U.S. Army Corps office here at the Francis E. Walter Dam.  I do know that there is a geocache stage over by the building, Bloodhounded’s Man’s Best Friend.  So like I said, I knew what was going on and called out as I jogged by –

“You finding anything?” 

Of course, the guy tried to play it coy but instead came across all clumsy –

“Uh… Wha’ you mean?” 

I started to laugh. 

Then the woman came clean with the whole gig, selling out who I assumed was her husband, and she was… well… to tell the truth, pretty annoyed –

“No, we are not.  We are not finding anything.  THAT is the problem.” 

Then I really started to laugh. 

So I responded, “You’re geocaching, eh?”

With that, the husband finally lit up –

“Well yeah!  Man’s Best Friend?”  (With “Man’s Best Friend” coming out as a question.) 

Me:  “Did you find stage 1?”

Guy:  “I didn’t know there was a stage 1.”

(The woman gives him a glare.)

Me:  “Come on.  I’ll show you where you need to be.”

I was still trying to jog, so the whole time I was jogging in place and suddenly off I went jogging toward the office.

They just stood there.

Me:  “Come on!  It’s all right!”

They just stood there some more, and I jogged over to Man’s Best Friend stage 1 GZ and finally stopped.  No newbie couple to be seen.  Huh.  Weird.  Where are they?  I started to walk back to look down the driveway when I finally saw them on their way.  The woman still looked mad so I guessed it wasn’t her idea to go geocaching.  Not sure.  About that same time, Liz and Dawn came jogging by and I heard the guy say to them something like “I thought it was somebody’s house” referring to the office where GZ is nearby.  Eventually they made their way to me –

Guy:  “Hey, uh, I’m just learning how to use this.”  (Referring to his smartphone GPS.)

Me:  “Hey, no worries.  We all had to start some time… Now listen… Right HERE is Ground Zero.  Right here.  The hint is something like, ‘it’s SHOCKING’ or ‘the dog is named SHOCKER or SPARKY’… something like that… SHOCK-ing…Get it…?  SHOCK-ing…  Shocking…?  Get it?  It will ‘shock’ you.  Shock?  Don't ya get it?”

Two blank faces stared at me while the woman threw her hands up in that exasperated “well there’s nothing here” kind of way and just gave me a look.

Then I found myself shouting –

Me (pointing to my head):  “THINK, THINK, THINK!!!  SHOCKING!!!”

Two blank stares, and I jogged away.  They must have thought I was the weirdest person on the planet.

As I got down the driveway, I couldn’t resist one more hint –

“LOOK ON THE BUILDING!!  SHAHHHHHHCKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And that was it.  I saw neither a Found It nor DNF log the next day.

If you’re out there, mystery couple, let us know!  We’d love to get you back in the game!

Did YOU ever run across some rookies?

Based on my hint, do YOU know where the stage is hidden??

Thursday, September 20, 2012

50 CACHES

WELCOME TO THIRSTY THURSDAY!!

Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, sit back and see if you can count to 50.







Last week everyone learned how old BigAl 437 really is. Yes, I turned 50. One of the goals the kids and my wife thought I should do was to find 50 caches during our vacation to and from Florida since we would be there during my birthday. Here's how it went down.

Due to our wanting to get to Florida quickly we did not do too many caches on the way down there. We figured we'd hit a lot while we were there and then we'd hit more on the way back home.

Now I'm not going to bore you with all 50 caches because that would be, well just boring. I'm going to highlight some of the nice caches we hit while there and give you some great pictures to gaze upon.

Now before I get into my story let me state that we grew tired really quickly of not finding caches that were supposed to be easy finds. I mean come on, a C&D is supposed to be easy if it's listed as EASY, and it's listed as a 1.5, 1.5. Then tell my why is there a cliff nearby that I could easily slip down to my death? This just seems to be our luck this whole trip. We really had to work hard at finding nice caches, and big ones at that.

Tell me why would you also put a cache where there is trash? Now I know that they will say "it wasn't that way when I placed it there", which may be true, but don't you go back and check your cache and also do some clean up while you are there. I didn't have enough bags to clean it up all by myself. (Yes I did pick up some stuff.)

Okay, enough ramblings from the Mad Geocaching Non-Pensioner. But let me say if you're going to hide a cache please make it worth my while and for the sake of my kids put some decent swag in there. There I go rambling again.

One nice cache we did was GC23FG9. My niece's husband had already found this one, but he was not going to help me. He wanted to see me find this one by myself. He did take me along a different path so we would not have to cross the creek that was there. When he crossed it the water was a lot lower than when we were there. I was sure glad we chose not to cross it.

Once we found the cache we had to take a few pictures. Especially since this was a Story cache.

















The theme of this cache has to do with a story. The CO wants everyone who finds the cache to write one sentence in the notebook. It can be anything you want it to be as long as it is friendly. One person had written about a Geocaching Bigfoot, so I just had to take a picture of this guy.






























He really looks like a Bigfoot, but he is actually Spanish Moss. I think if you ran into him trying to do a night cache you might be in for a scream. This was a really nice area and if the water is clear you can even find a spot to swim. We did not since I am not favorable to seeing if there are gators in the water.

Since there was a TB in the cache I decided to take it and help it move along. I also placed one of mine in the cache since he has been waiting to be set free.

















The CO also says that at the end of the year he will publish the entire story, so I have set this cache on my "Watch Listing" to check it out when it is done. I sure hope he does it since there were some pretty cool sentences written.















Another nice cache was GC22ZHF. This hike took us through some very tall grass and if we had known how wet it was we would have saved it for a drier day. We thought we could hop along on the clumps of grass and make it to the dry land where the cache was. WRONG! We both ended up getting soaked to the knees. I made it to the cache first and as I was opening it I heard my niece's husband yelling. I asked what was wrong, thinking maybe he had seen a snake, and he yelled "bees". He took off running like I have never seen anyone run before. He had gotten stung several times including on the face. I went ahead and signed the log and put it back. If you are ever in the area just remember there are bees close by whom I believe are watching over the cache.




We also found one outside of Reptile World, which I wish we had had time to go inside and check out the snakes. Maybe next year. That's probably as close to a snake as my wife will ever get.


We also decided to do something I have never done before; to do a cache run. At least I think that is what it is called. There are way too many caches to count on this road, but we tried to get as many as we could get. These were all small containers and for the most part they were easy to get to. There were a few that we had to pass up  on due to the amount of rain they had received, which left the caches just out of reach.

 





























Here I am trying to balance on a very small branch that spanned the deep water around the cache. We did get it and log it.

Then Johnson gave his hand at the next one. He really had to stretch to be able to reach it. Once again we did get it. It was really not nice to be able to see some of the caches, but realizing they were just out of reach. They're on the list for next time.
















I do have to give credit to my wife, Craftimom, for taking a lot of our pictures. She was even able to get some nice wildlife photos.















Florida Vulture

                        Sandhill Cranes
















We soon had to leave Florida and head home. While on the way home we stopped at Quantico, VA and found a cache just outside of the base. It was an ammo can and a nicely placed cache.

We did stop and pick up several other caches, but if the truth be told we only found 5 nice size caches and the other 45 were all micros. All in all we had lots of fun. We got to visit family, swim in the Gulf, eat a lot of food, have fun, and find interesting places while Geocaching. It was a grand vacation. Thanks to all my family who made it possible for us to have such a good time. A big thanks also to the COs for placing nice caches.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Take Back the Sky: Cassiopeia

Picture this:

It's a cool, autumn night. You're sitting around the campfire, enjoying a Yuengling lager, relaxing with your good friends. "Hey, Dr. Spott," they say, "you're a pretty smart guy. Why not tell us about the stars?", barely containing their excitement. "Yes, you handsome rockstar, dazzle us with your knowledge!", exclaims your excited crush.

So, tell me: what would you do? Personally, my answer would be something to the tune of, "Well, there's... some kind of dipper....  probably big... and I think it's being held by a bear? And... uh.... planes... the moon..." and so on. 

Well fear not readers, cachers, outdoor enthusiasts, and lovers of knowledge. I present to you a new series: 
 

TAKE BACK THE SKY 

This week: Cassiopeia

Cassiopeia, or "the big W", is an easily recognizable and well known constellation, second only to the dippers. Visible year round to most Northern Hemisphere locations, she is most visible in November, making her a prominent autumn constellation.

The vain Ethiopian queen, so the myth goes, couldn't help but boast about her (and her daughter, Andromeda) beauty to anyone who would listen. Her claim, that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs, ticked off a particular sea nymph spouse, namely the easily agitated Poseidon. (Small world, right?) As punishment, Poseidon tied her to a chair in the sky, rotating around the pole, upside down half the time.

This slightly disturbing (although, by Greek standards, fairly mild) story does provide a useful tidbit of information: Cassiopeia circles the pole!  She can be used to locate the North Star, even when the dippers might not be available. Randy Culp explains:

Cassiopeia is a Queen in her chair, and even though this isn't the "official" way to look at her, I envision Cassiopeia's head at the left side of the "W", making the figure like a lounge chair with a foot rest. This is how I learned it as a kid, and it's very useful because you can easily find the North Star by going "Up from the Seat" of Cassiopeia's chair, in similar manner to going "Up from the Cup" of the Big Dipper. Since the Big W is on the opposite side of the North Star, this gives you a way to find Polaris any time of the year, even now when the Dipper likes to hide below the tree line.
Cool, right? That will surely impress your smarmy friends. On exceptionally clear (both of clouds and light pollution) nights, you can see Cassiopeia sitting on the Milky Way, a mind-blowing view of our fantastic home galaxy.

For you extreme stargazers, pop over to the Constellation Guide for more information.  (For example, Cassiopeia contains two Messier objects, objects that look like comets, but aren't!)


So, the takeaway lesson here is twofold: don't piss off Poseidon (or his sea nymph wife), and up from the unofficial "seat" of Cassiopeia takes you to the north star. I highly recommend getting your friends lost in the woods at night to show off that knowledge.  

That's all for now friends. Until next time, keep your eyes on the sky!

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