CacheCrazy.Com: March 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

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, March 28, 2013

Spring Break







My son, BigAlJr1993, was going on Spring Break from college and Molly who attends with him was joining him at our house for the entire break. We picked them up from college in Upstate NY and then loaded the car with their belongings. Boy was that car packed.





My wife and I had decided that we would search out some caches on the way home and introduce Molly to Geocaching. We were able to secure three caches on the way home.

The first one was a micro about the size of a bottle cap. It was an easy find. We signed the log and then moved on. Our second cache was at an Information center for the Adirondack Mountains. We had to walk into the woods a short distance to find this one; did I mention that it was snowing and very cold? Well it was. We also were not wearing the proper shoes for being out in the snow, but then we weren't going to let that stop us.

We found the cache with no problems. It was a nice ammo can. Molly was pleased to see that they come in different sizes. We dropped off three TBs that we have held onto for too long. I then stocked the cache with SWAG since there was not much in there for kids of any age. On to the next cache.

We stopped for lunch at a local BK and then I did a search with my SMART phone for any nearby caches. There was one not too far away so we headed for it. Now this seemed like a typical skirt cache, but was I in for a surprise when I lifted it up. Low and behold there was a rat under there.

                           Craftimom with the rat in her lap

This little guy had a film canister in his backside with the log in it. We all got a good laugh out of this one. We signed the log and headed home. So we found 3 caches, but better than that we had introduced Molly to Geocaching. She was hooked for sure. After getting home she signed up for an account and now has to log her finds. This weekend we plan on spending all day Saturday taking her out for more caches.


Well that was our trip to Upstate NY to get them, but then we had to make a trip over towards NJ to pick up my daughter, Kyo-Kat. She is in a traveling choir tour and they were finishing up on Sunday and we were going to meet them at a mall to pick her up. We left in plenty of time and arrived with no problems. Katy then called and said they had just gotten on the road and they expected to arrive in about 4 hours.

WHAT? Four hours. You've got to be kidding. What were we going to do now? Well there is always time for a Geocache, or two, or three. The only problem was that I had not brought my GPS or Geobag since that was not in the plans at all. Well once again the smart phone comes in handy.

We were able to look up 12 caches around the area and begin our search. We found a number of micros and I just can't understand why people hide them when it's a perfectly good place for a much larger cache.

We were at a bus stop searching for a micro and we just could not find it. We had searched everywhere possible and I knew we were at the right spot from the hint. No luck. We got back in the car and started reading the logs and noticed that the last three people had logged it as a DNF. This really began to upset me. That was when the police car drove by. Oh boy. Did someone call us in for snooping around the telephone pole? He pulled up behind us and to our right and just sat there. We decided to hit the road.

We headed on to another cache, which we found. Then we decided to find a small series of three caches all within driving distance of the mall. They were odd little caches, but nicely hidden.


                         Some sort of bug

We were up to 9 caches now and still had time to kill. We then saw a nice park called the Algonquin Park. It had two caches located inside of the park area.


We parked and started our walk into the park. Now I must tell you that Craftimom was wearing her dress shoes from church. I was in sneakers. We had to cross a little bridge to get to the first one, but then it was back in the woods a little bit. We were crawling all over some rocks and she was slipping around. I thought this might not have been a good idea, but then we found the cache. It was a nice loc-n-loc. We signed the log, but did not have anything to leave. I guess next time I'll take my Geobag no matter where we go.

We then started walking off toward the next cache. It was a nice walk even though it was cold out. We finally turned off the path to head to GZ and the woods became a little mushy. Well we were determined to find this one. Craftimom saw it with no problem in its hiding place while I could not see it until she pulled it out. What did you expect for a guy that is going in for Cataract surgery on 4/1. That's a story yet to be experienced and told.

So we ended up with 11 finds and 1 DNF. After we found the last one Katy called and said they were just about there. We headed off to the mall and got there just before they did. What a day. We were tired, cold, and couldn't wait to get home to go to bed. All in all it was a fun day. Next time we'll wait a while before we go pick her up. Well maybe we won't because there is always another cache or two to find, or three... or maybe a dozen.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another hike to Gaskill Peak on a gorgeous clear day

I enjoyed the hike up to the top of Gaskill Peak last Friday, so when Princess Toadstool said she was heading for another mileston, cache #1400, I suggested she find my new cache on Gaskill Peak, as well as SMOKEY's two caches, with the one on the top being number 1400.

It was a long hike from the beginning of the Forest Service Road, but it was an absolutely beautiful, and very clear, day.



Looking out from the slot.




Taking pictures of the fantastic view.



Looking down on Lawson Peak from the top of Gaskill Peak.



The "Alien" rock and the spectacular view beyond.



The view to the east showing Barrett Lake

I put the White Jeep in my cache and Nancy retrieved it from there and put it in the cache at the top. I forgot to take more pictures of it and "Lil' SMOKEY" when I retrieved him from the cache, but I'll make sure I take pictures of "Lil' SMOKEY" during the time I have him in my possession and when I finally send him back out in the wild.


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This post was written by Miragee from her personal blog Musing About Geocaching. You'll find a lot of great articles and awesome adventures there. Karen is a regular contributor to CacheCrazy.Com.
Thank you! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

iGadgets- Endomondo


About a year ago I stepped on over to the Dark Side, and purchased an iPhone.  It wasn't what I originally set out to purchase, as there were other phones I had eyed up, but I was familiar with the device, from dealing with them at work, so I figured it was the best way to go.  Besides, my top priority was ditching my current provider network and switching to a new one.  A jazzy phone was an added bonus.

I learned of an app called Endomondo from a co-worker and friend.  He uses it on a regular basis to track his progress running and cycling.  While I'm not up to that level of fitness at the moment, I wanted to check it out, as I heard of several of its nifty features.  The Endomondo app can be downloaded, free of charge, from your smartphone's app store.  I soon discovered there was more to Endomondo than tracking my walks.

In its simplest function, Endomondo allows you to track your activity of choice, be it walking, running, cycling or whatever.  It will keep track of duration, distance and calories burned.  If you've purchased a heart rate monitor from the Endomondo store, it will monitor your heart rate.  You're also able to set a goal (I want to run five kilometers today), beat a friend (I want to cycle a mile farther than Joe), or even follow a route (I drove a route, and mapped it out to be a mile, now lets walk it).  These features are all available in the full version, with the "Beat Yourself" and "Interval Training" available in the Pro version. 


 


At the end of your activity, you're able to see the data compiled for that workout.  The display will show you when you started, the distance you went, how long it took, your speed and altitude data, as well as how many calories you burned.  The map tab will show you the route you took, marking your start and stop points, as well as mile markers.  The mapping feature is useful, as I know what routes I can take, depending on how far I want to walk.  Additionally, I'll take the time and calories burned and import the data into MyFitnessPal, which helps me in tracking how many calories I can consume in a day.

If you're into the social media revolution, Endomondo allows you to share your workouts with others via Facebook and Twitter.  You can add people to your friends list, and see how your exercise stacks up to that of others.  Even if you're not a fan of social media, the friends list could be a good motivation tool.  You can send and accept challenges.  Endomondo, itself, even issues challenges from time to time, and hands out some pretty cool swag to those who accept and complete the challenges.





All in all, I think this is a pretty cool app.  There's something to be said for seeing your hard work in statistical form.  Similar to the displays on the treadmill at your local gym, Endomondo does an excellent job in letting you gauge how well (or poorly) you're doing in your activity of choice.  It's social networking features are nice, if you're into that sort of thing.  Lastly, you can't beat free.  Endomondo gets two thumbs up from me!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

GEOWOODSTOCK XI UPDATE







Well folks it's time for an update on Geowoodstock XI. We are down to 25 days until the registration closes, and only 65 days until the MEGA EVENT begins. WOW! Time sure does fly when you're waiting for an event to begin.

Here is the schedule for the weekend of the event:


Thursday, May 23, 2013

  • 5:00PM to 5:30PM
    • GW Ex-Eye Eve-Eve Meet and Greet GC46MX1
      • If you can spare 30 minutes during your visit to the Lakeland area, stop by and visit Eagle Dad and Xenia.
  • 7:00PM to 9:00PM
    • The Captain Was Here For GW 11 Lakeland, FL GC471EZ
      • Join the Captain for some good times, good food and great geocaching  companionship.
         

    Friday, May 24, 2013

    • 7:00AM to 1:00PM 
      • TECO/VFT Trails Event GC45ERX
        • Bring your bike and ride this Rails to Trails path.  Volunteers will be available to shuttle cars or arrage  to pick you up at one of trailheads if you would like to do some walking.  
    • 1:00PM to 2:00PM 
      • Lunch with kitticat GC46NF7
        • Have some ribs and a smiley!  Join kitticat for lunch.
    • 5:00PM to 8:00PM 
      • Friday Night Meet and Greet GC42PJA
        • Early Check-in registration package pick up for registered attendees of GeoWoodstock.
        • TB's/geocoins may be dropped off off at this event so they will be ready to go Saturday for GeoWoodStock.

    Saturday, May 25, 2013

    • 9:00AM to 5:00PM
      • GeoWoodstock XI GC3K3YB 
        • Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland, Florida

    Sunday, May 26, 2013

    • 10:00AM 
      • Peace, Love and CITO GC46XA7 
        • Geocachers are well known for "cach in, trash out" and this event is an opportunity to CITO MEGA-style
    • 4:00PM 
      • Welcome to the Space Coast GC478BD
        • The Space Coast would like to welcome everyone coming into Florida for Geowoodstock. We are hosting an event on Sunday afternoon for anyone that would like to make a short drive over to the coast and see the beach and other highlights on the Space Coast.
         

    More to come!


    I don't know about you, but I am really getting excited about going. I've been in contact with my niece and her family as they are going too since they live in Florida. Lucky cachers! 

    Volunteers are needed. 
    If you are going and would like to volunteer you can go to the official GWS XI site and register as a volunteer. You might even get some cool swag. 

    Hope to see you there. 


                     Bloodhounded, is that you there in the middle of all those people? 



    Wednesday, March 20, 2013

    Why Not Wednesday ~ MISSING REWARD!

    I am sorry to say that Velma is missing! She was last seen at Ground Zero at the geocache, The House On Top Of The Hill, part of the Scooby Doo Where Are You Series. What a bummer! Do you know how hard it is going to be to find a Velma action figure! So, I'm offering a cool reward if anyone can either provide the real Velma or a four or five inch high replacement. I am replacing the cache with a replacement container. Once a Velma can be sourced, I'll attach her to the container and we'll be back in business! Not bad, it made it three years without being muggled and all the other members of Mystery Inc are still with their respective cache (knock on wood) Thanks!
    BH

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Spring Geocache Maintenance


    This past Sunday was very similar to many. Get up early, enjoy a non rushed cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer, make breakfast for the family and go to church. But, this Sunday was very different from the rest from that point on. I didn’t have to run to the restaurant to open up, I was off and I had time to hang out with my son Michael. It was a marvelous day, so I suggested some geocache maintenance and he was quick to agree. With a little persuasion and a promise to stop for a raspberry ice tea.

    I had planned on going sometime in the week so I already had the needed supplies in the truck but, we didn’t need the truck for the first one. It was right across the street from the church. In the cemetery, as a matter of fact, where at ground zero you’ll find a unique geocache container at, “No Pets Allowed”. This cache has had over 200 finds and its location right off I-80 makes it a quick stop for folks driving by. The log fills up quickly and I just happened to have a brand ne CacheCraz.Com log to replace it with. The mushroom cache was my design and it’s withstood a few years here but it does look like it’s time to change it out to a new mushroom this summer. For now however, its ready for finding and considered maintained. We logged our maintenance via my Droid for the first time. Very quick and convenient. Off to the next!

    Aint no bugs on me” is a fun little cache that my daughter actually put out but I maintain it. It’s a little bit of a challenge cache and you either have to be really tall plus standing on something or climb the tree about 12 feet or so using a large wild grape vine that is entangled with the branches above. I was happy to see that it was up in the tree instead of on the ground where a few who seekers said it was. The log needed changing and the little zip lock bag was renewed. Maintained log at the cache page and away we went.

    Our next cache on this maintenance tour is, “All Dogs Go To Heaven” which has a wonderful view of the Wyoming Valley and Wilkes-Barre, PA. The forest fire folks sit up here to watch of wildfires in the valley during the dry months. This is a camoed Lock N Lock and it’s been holding up wonderfully until now. I see one of the four lid clips is broken but the cache and the contents are dry as a bone! I’ll need to change out this container in the summer. We added some swag, read through a few logs, returned everything to the cache and back it went better than it was when we found it! I let everyone know I was here in the log and off to the next stop we went

    The Bear Creek Dam” cache is a cool historic location. It’s actually in the National Historical Society as a significant place of interest. Back in 1885 or so it served as a grand central for both timber and anthracite coal via rail or river. The cache is placed with permission by the Bear Creek Village bureau and it’s one of my handicap accessible caches. It was frozen in place however, I was able to unlatch the lid. Perfect, dry and full, no worries here and we moved on.

    Down the road, not too far is an old stone bridge where the road use to go. There near this resilient structure from the past lies my, “Bear Creek Village “ geocache. This cache is placed with permission of the Bear Creek Preserve Natural Land Trust. I have a unique addition to the cache page. If you log that you did CITO and the cache site or parking area, you get an honorable mention at the bottom of the page scrolling along. You also must have your geosenses in high gear to find this one. It’s not an easy grab. Because of that and it’s remote location, it really doesn’t get much action. Therefore, the cache was in really great shape but I did add some swag to it just to top it off.

    Do you have a geocache that needs some maintenance? That's ok if you do, just leave a note in the log or tempoarily disable it. Getting your caches in top condition and ready to welcome a cacher is fun, easy and makes for another day afield. It reminds you of the cool places that motivated you to put one there to begin with. BH

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Chemo Pond

    If there's one thing I love better than geocaching, it's geocaching with people who have never been before.  I had a great time introducing my favorite activity to a few coworkers who had never been and some who had never heard of geocaching.  Usually when geocaching, you want to try to avoid muggles.  If you have read the Harry Potter books, you know that muggles are non-magical people.  In geocahing, muggles are non-geocachers.  Luckily, these weren't any old muggles, but good friends who were genuinely interested in knowing more about the art of treasure hunting.

    Every summer, a group of educators get together at a camp on Chemo Pond.  We use it as a retreat and a place to unwind after a hard year's work.  We bring our kayaks so that we can see paddle around the lake and see the beaver dams.  We bring our sleeping gear and of course, plenty of food.  This year, my favorite treat was chocolate fudge with nuts and cherries.  

    Last year-kayaking by the beaver dam
    This year was special because one of our veteran teachers, and my mentor for the past three years, decided to retire.  I've been talking to her about geocaching all year and she has decided not only to start a geocaching account herself, but to also use her newly acquired free time to start writing a murder-mystery novel about geocaching.  She even got a handheld GPS as a retirement present to herself.  

    On Saturday afternoon, the group started asking me questions about geocaching and I dug out my bag and box of Pathtags and TravelBugs.  After a few minutes of Q&A, we decided to go out and actually hunt for one.  Not far from where we stayed was Camp Roosevelt, a place where the Boy Scouts of the area come to camp and participate in different activities.  We were fortunate enough to have a Boy Scout leader with us to lead us in the right direction.  She showed us the trails and told stories of snowshoeing and hiking.  


    Our first two tries led us down the wrong paths, although we did get to see the lake and a small cabin.  As they say, third time's a charm.  We walked through a mud patch and started down a third trail.  Our friend Patrice was navigating using the handheld GPS.  It was funny listening to the excitement in her voice as the distance to our destination got less.  "Fifty feet...forty feet...TEN FEET!"  Stepping off the path, there were many places where a geocache could have been hidden.  There were enormous rocks the size of sheds and plenty of trees.  Our only real obstacle was the bugs.  Four sets of feet shuffled through the leaves in search of a camo taped container with contents unknown.  


    Only moments into the search, Patrice squealed in delight as she reached into a dark crevice to retrieve the plastic jar.  We congratulated Patrice and with great excitement, unscrewed the lid and peered inside.  Reading the log, we discovered that the cache hadn't been found in over eight months.  You would have thought by our reactions that there were valuable gems hidden inside.  We marveled at the magnetic band-aids, which we took, coins, pins, and a Boy Scout coin.  We left a coin as well as a bracelet in return.  

    Although we were wet, muddy, and bitten by bugs, everyone agreed that they had a fun time geocaching.  Weather or not they said that to make me feel good, I'm not sure :)  

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    This post was written by Jenny from her personal blog, Jenny Goes Geocaching. Stop by and check out some of her adventures for yourself. Jenny is a regular contributor here at CacheCrazy.Com.
    Thank you!

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    A Walk In The Woods








    Well I'm told that Spring is on its way and one way I know this is that each year the members of the Susquehanna Forest Landowners Association (SCFLOA) take a spring woods walk. This past Saturday was a beautiful day for a walk in the woods. Not only was it sunny, but it was not raining, snowing, or even windy out. It was a perfect day.

    Our group met together at Well Pad 49, which is on the property of Doug Sheldon. He is one of the board directors for SCFLOA. We would be walking his property learning about wildlife, trees, pipelines, and gas wells. We normally have a nice size group for these events, but this year we were blown out of the water with people.

    People came from all over the place to take a walk and learn what they could. We had about 70 people show up. WOW!! What a great turn out. We started the morning by having coffee and donuts along with some instructions. Since we had so many people we were going to divide into four groups and walk our stations through the woods.

                              Rich Fritsky (PA Game Commission Biologist)

    The first station I went to was all about wildlife. Rich Fritsky from the PA Game Commission was our speaker. He talked about different wildlife that comes to the edges of pipeline right-of-ways and how these pipelines can be a benefit to them. Deer will come out into these open areas to feed while some birds may tend to remain deeper in the woods.  He also talked on how to hinge cut a tree to make it possible for animals to get to the leaves while they browse.

                           QDMA Picture of a hinge cut tree

    When you make a hinge cut on a tree some of the bark is left attached at the hinge, which allows the tree to continue to grow and provide green leaves as food for the wildlife.

                                    Jared

                                     Sandy

    We then moved on to the next station at the far end of the pipeline. Sandy and Jared were our speakers. They touched on seeding the pipeline and making sure there was no erosion by the rain that will ultimately hit the hillside. They use a mesh that has two layers of material with hay in between that helps slow the water down. They also use water brakes that help slow it down too.   We then learned about the Pig Launcher that is used to clean out the pipeline before they send the gas through.

                             Pig Launcher
    They put a special tool in the pipeline and then send gas behind it to push it along. The tool can be cleaning as it goes along, or it can be taking measurements and all sorts of other data. (My son was disappointed that it did not really launch pigs.)

    Our third station was on trees and what we can do to help ensure a healthy woods after you've had it timbered or even a fire. As we were walking along one of our guides noticed a set of foot prints in the snow and asked us if we knew what had made them. Some people knew and some didn't. They turned out to be Fisher tracks.


    Fisher are really starting to make a comeback in our area. They are feisty little animals and they love to eat porcupines and red squirrels.

                             Fisher


                            Bob Hobbes (Forester)



                             Jim Kessler (Past SCFLOA President and Forester)



    We finally made it to our next stop and then talked about how to protect your woods if you have had it timbered. You can place a 4 foot high section of chicken wire in a 15 foot circle and that will keep out the deer. Then what's inside can grow undisturbed. We also learned about different types of tress such as maple, Red Oak, Birch, and many others.

    From there we went to the Jackson Methodist Church for our lunch. It was fantastic. We had all types of sandwiches, soups, chips and drinks. The ladies there did a wonderful job.


    And of course who better to eat all of those pies than me. Each of these pies were homemade  and they tasted great. All in all I it was a great day. I learned lots about pipeline right of ways, trees, and woodlands.



    If you haven't been on a woods walk lately I suggest you take one. It doesn't matter whether your walking in the woods looking for a Geocache, or whether you're just out enjoying life... Make the best of it and be sure to take someone with you.

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