CacheCrazy.Com: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Horseback Riding at Wrangler Campground

Yesterday we decided to go horseback riding at a place we've never visited before - the Wranglers Campground at LBL.

We had reservations for 9 am, so we left the house at 7:45 because I wanted to stop and grab a geocache along the way.  I mean, I do have priorities!  The first cache of the day was called Hitch and Hide and was located outside a small, quaint grouping of country stores.

The cache itself was a quick find and a nice size cache container....

We locked up Chablis in the punishment post....  She wasn't liking it too much!

Last April I wrote about an accident on Kentucky Lake where a barge smashed into the Eggner Ferry Bridge and a section of the bridge collapsed.  The bridge has since been repaired and is open again for business.....

At 8:50 we pulled up at the stables....

They had our 3 horses saddled up and ready to go.

Chablis & Kyle were excited about going.  Kyle hasn't been on a horse in about 10 years, and had gotten thrown off his horse when we took him that time.  I was determined that he have another go at it and have a positive experience this time.  My nephew is so trusting of me!

Heading out.....

Wranglers Campground has beautiful horses and some terrific trails.  We had a very knowledgeable guide named Miranda, who was just as charming and as sweet as can be.  We took the 1 1/2 hour ride and the 2 of us chatted almost constantly the entire time.

The trails were a nice variety of fields and wooded areas, as well as crossing a creek bed and some nice views of Lake Barkley.

Kyle relaxed pretty quickly and began to enjoy the ride and Chablis will take any opportunity to get her picture taken....

The 90 minute ride went by very quickly.  We decided that we'd all go back there and do it again some time. I highly recommend Wranglers Campground for horseback riding.  The folks who run it were extremely nice, the place was clean and well organized, the prices were good and the horses well cared for.  They get high 5's from me!

Afterwards we stopped and grabbed a couple more geocaches before heading back home....

This is the view from Eggner Ferry Bridge looking north on Kentucky Lake....

And here's a shot of the new section of the bridge.....

Tomorrow - water skiing!!

Kim is an Admin Author here at CacheCrazy.Com but she also runs her personal blog Snug Harbor Bay which is packed with adventure, check it out!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Seven Tubs Nature Area OR How I saved the I Double Dog Dare You Geocache

Hey guys, Bloodhounded here!

I was on a mission to save my I Double Dog Dare You geocache that I have placed in the Seven Tubs Nature Area, the location of several excellent caches including an Earth Geocache. The Seven Tubs were formed as a result of years and years of water wear that carved seven bowls or "tubs" of water from the cascading creek. The soft sandstone didn't stand a chance and it made a wonderful example of mother natures artwork. I am appreciative of the county offering this land as public access and open to geocache hiding and seeking without permission. Getting through the reviewer with this baby was tough enough, lol!

Today I brought two of my pups along for the hike and the goal was to do a field repair of the apparatus at the second stage of the cache. This is a monkey puzzle of sorts, with a locked chamber that contains the coords to the final. You have to figure out how to get the key out of the apparatus in order to proceed. at times this puzzle would build frustration in the hands of some less stable folks who have been known to smash it off the rocks that hide it from the public. I have been here before. Three time during the hiding, twice to repair it and another time to replace the puzzle altogether. Sometimes  it's simple, the key comes right out, other times no matter how hard you try, she ain't giving no stinking key!!!! But that's all part of the fun, right?

We hiked to the location that is about two miles from the parking area. The gorge where the creek runs was along our left for a good portion of the hike and provided great views of the tubs but then we had to head up the mountain. I still love it here and it's no wonder many folks love to hike these beautiful trails! It also reminded me once again, why I hid a geocache here to begin with. 

I found her right where expected however, the injuries where much deeper than first anticipated. I had to pack her up and bring it home for some extensive surgery. It wasn't something that could be done afield. So, we headed off to the final to check on the condition of that cache. I was happy with the way the last seeker left her. Nice and hidden well, just the way I did when I first hid it. The contents were dry, the log has lots of room and the swag level was to the top so all was well there. We looked over the logs, and swag, added a few things and hid the final.

The pups took the opportunity to do a little exploring which they always do so I joined in the search for crayfish, frogs or any other lucky living thing that we could catch, probe and then return to it's home. Lucky for them we found none. The water was still very cold and aside from a trout or two, nothing was present in the creek. No matter though, we still had fun, jumping from rock to rock, crossing the creek and daring each other to do things that would likely cause bodily injury if not done correctly. All in the theme of the Double Dog Dare, of course. But, don't tell their mother:)

Once we got home I started right away. There was little time before she would expire and hit the archive stage but, not on my watch. I worked quickly with the skilled hands of a surgeon. I've done this surgery before so I knew just what to do and in a short time, the cache was stable again, her vital signs were good and the prognosis looked excellent! I even took it to another level and gave her a makeover. New sticker, paint, new laminated coords to the final and a new and approved lead head key to assist it in it's internal
travels with the aid of weight and gravity. I completed the cache puzzle successfully several times and knew it was time to take this baby back to her hiding spot and enable this cache.

I did a solo mission taking her back and honestly, it was just what the doctor ordered. Sometimes spending
time alone is the best therapy. Soon I reach the location, tucked her in with loving care and moved on to finish my hike as planned. I was excited to enable this cache again. I know it's near the top in quality and I'm happy to offer cachers the opportunity to have some fun at the Seven Tubs Nature Area. Sure I get frustrated and maintaining this cache has been a pain in the ass but, that one seeker, it could be you, that writes that great log saying how much fun it was, makes it a labor of love. And besides, it gives me a good reason to get outdoors and enjoy this area again and again!

Hope to see you on the trail sometime soon!
Cache safe and cache crazy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Confessions Of An FTF Hound

Back in September 2009 I was new to Geocaching. It had been less than two months since I logged my first cache, and I was learning the ropes, in regards to receiving mobile and e-mail notifications on things such as new caches, caches found, etc. I would read countless articles, on the Groundspeak forums, about cachers and their adventures. Some were claiming a milestone FTF (maybe 50, 100 or even more) while others had multiple FTF’s in one day. I didn’t think much of it. Big deal, you were first.

One Friday night, I received a text alert. The Enjoy, Enjoy Northeast Pennsylvania series had been published. For those unfamiliar with the series, NEPAG published a themed series of caches in honor of Manny Gordon, who recently passed away. There was to be a cache placed in each county as a tribute. It’s a great series, and I recommend checking it out. Anyways, I saw the Luzerne County cache was placed in the Nescopeck State Park, a 20 minute drive from home. I decided to head out the next morning and try for the FTF.

The hike to the cache was not unlike others I had made, but as I approached GZ, say in the last 1500 feet or so, a different sense of excitement started to kick in. Maybe the FTF Hounds on the Groundspeak forums are right. Maybe there is something to being first. I found the cache after a little bit of searching, as I was only using my HTC smart phone at the time- it wouldn’t be until shortly after I found this one that my Delorme PN-40 arrived. There was only one thing left after actually finding the cache. Had anyone logged the cache prior to me? To my delight, there it was, an empty logsheet! FTF success!

Photo by Stellascapes
Since then, I’ve logged twelve more FTF’s. Most I’ve acquired by luck. I’ve been in the right place at the right time. I’ve only had one or two where I said to myself “No one has found this one yet?” I can credit a lot of that luck to having a job which has liberal policies regarding work hours and lunchtime. I can also take several different routes to work, which allows me to cover more ground.

I primarily cache Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The NEPA FTF hounds and the Sussex County FTF Hounds each have their own redeeming qualities. A lot of the newly published caches in NEPA are found AND logged before one can even say “Honey, I have to run to the store quick.” The new caches in New Jersey can go either way. Some could sit for two to three days before being found. Others are found quickly, but logged a day, or even two, after the fact.

Photo by Stellarscapes
My favorite FTF, to date, is GC2BT8Y- I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU! This was a group FTF, and was quite the adventure.

In any event, I find an added excitement to the game, when hunting down an FTF. Not that I’ve done it before, but I would imagine it’s a similar feeling to powercaching. Not only are you trying to make the find, but you get that feeling your back is against the wall, that you’re trying to beat the clock.

"If you ain't first, you're last!"
All things considered, and almost two years later, here is my take on the FTF debate:                                

• Geocaching is what you make of it. There are many, many different aspects to it, and most, if not all, are very subjective. The FTF hunt is no different.

• There are caches out there with thousands of logs-but someone had to have the first one.

• Want to meet a fellow geocacher? Hunt down an FTF. On several of my FTF’s I met up with a fellow cacher, either going to or coming from the cache site, or stumbled upon him/her while on the hunt. (BTW, always offer to share in the FTF, especially if you’re about to make the find. The other guy will appreciate it. Remember, no one really keeps track of this stuff.)

• Wanting to claim every FTF is a major sign of being obsessed with Geocaching. Seek help immediately, or just go find the cache.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Garmin Nuvi Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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