Life as a Geocacher

Caching and Reviewing

This is made up of stories from my caching and my reviewing.  It is a collection of those along with comments and thoughts.  Photos, and maps of some adventures and lists of some of the oldest caches.

Volunteer Coins 2015

Last summer I had an idea.   Get a group of reviewers together and make a coin.   It had been many years since reviewers and volunteers had their own coin.  I tossed it out and we talked about it, and many thought it was a good idea.  Then life caught up with me and I had no time to follwo through.  Busy summer, daughter getting married, and many other things.

Happily other reviewers dove on without me and carried this through.    A number of designs were presented and reviewers voted on the different options. Eventually we settled on a design.  After many months, proofs, and waiting they were finally finished.  I bought some, yea. I would say who designed it, but withough their permission I think I should just leave it, in case they do not want others to know.

It was a happy day a few months ago when they arrived.  Unlike the earlier coins that were produced we bought the coins ourselves.  So your reviewer may have some, However I am betting that most of the reviewers did not buy any, or they just bought a couple for themselves.

There have been a few coins in the past available through the volunteers alone.  If you are interested, you might contact your reviewer, but don't get your hopes up.   I sold three and that was to pay for them, so then I could give a  few away at events.  I have even

The 2005 Volunteer coin

The 2005 Volunteer coin

The 2008 volunteer Coin

The 2008 volunteer Coin

Yes the above two were given to reviewers to give out.  Sadly there are so many reviewers that is not really much of an option anymore.  I think the costs would be way too high.   So now there are the three worldwide volunteer geocoins.

Meercat Caching

So I went caching with Meercat.  No not some long hariy weasel looking think from the Lion King.  But with the app.

Basically it is a streaming service.  Using it took a little planning to take caching.  Basically the app lets you stream a video from your phone.  People can send you messages and ask questions.  I decided I wanted to go caching.

Well the first thing was that I was not going to be able to use my phone to find caches.  Yep.  I was going to need to actually have another device. Problem solved, I have a tablet.  I loaded the local caches in offline mode, and off I went.

The tricks?  You need to stay in 4g coverage area.  I lost signal when I went into a little more remote of a location in the valley, so I had to head back.  However traveling around town was not bad.  I have a gps mount in my car.  It will also hold phones.  The camera on my phone is high enough I can stick it there and it shows a view out of my front window.  So I can see what is up, plus the people following me.

Another problem? Holding the phone.  As you are streaming you want to make sure that you show what you are doing.  Show the area you are hunting, under the trees, in the bushes.  Flashing around right to left, and showing the ground as you walk would most likely turn people off.  I had to hold my phone up. So I am sure I looked goofy.

Plus I was narrarating what I was doing. When I started to get watchers things got better.  They were asking questions.  Typical muggle stuff. "what are you doing?" "What are you looking for?" What is the best stuff you have found?"

I avoided questionable spots.  Though someone thought it was cool that there was a LPC. Most of what I found were micros in bushes.  However they were in the rural area and people were commenting that they thought utah looked like deserts, and Bryce canyon, not green fields.

I had three guys, one from Dallas, and another from somewhere in California that were going to run out and try it.  I pointed them to apps, and they were going to give it a shot.

Note: It is really tricky to hold a phone, open a cache container, take out the roll of paper, and sign it with one hand.  A friend might come in handy.  However the entire reason I did this is because I cache alone.  This gave me friends to talk with.

I think the others got more out of it than I did. It drained my battery pretty fast, about 45 minutes and it was done.  I was not charging it in any way.

It was fun. I will try it again sometime. I made a few new friends.  Right now it is just available on Android, it was pretty buggy, but it is getting much more stable.  It has been out a while on Iphones, so if you have one of those you are in luck.  A similar one is Periscope, but it is only on Iphone for a while.

Potter's Ponds Posts

For those not aware we have one of the oldest geocaches in the world here in Utah.  Potters Ponds GC3B 

It is a cool caches in the mountains.  Not little scrawny mountains, but high Utah mountains.  about 9000 feet.  That only really comes into play when the spring rolls around. This time of year there is a lot of snow, and even when there is not a lot of snow the Forest Service watches the road.   It is heavily used and in good shape.  So to avoid having to rework the road, they keep it closed for most of the spring.

So a few people have given it a shot. Here are the logs.

Wow! Where to start?... With the Lone Baker

I'm currently on a cross country road trip grabbing a bunch of old geocaches and cache across America caches. I had this one on my list as an absolute must get because of how few geocaches are left from this month. (four) However, it never occurred to me that roads might be closed as back home spring is in full bloom. So I'm driving over and I get within about 9 miles of the caches when I get to a closed road.

Now I really did want this cache but a 9 mile walk each way is a bit much. I really do not want to have to come back out here again though so I make a compromise with myself. I will drive to the nearby town of Orangeville and see if I can find a bike to borrow. If I do then I will go after this cache via bicycle since even though the road was closed to motorized vehicles I saw nothing that said I couldn't travel the road by foot/bicycle. Plus I've found people in small towns to be quite friendly and everyone tends to know everyone so all I really had to do was find one person and they might point me in the direction of a bicycle to borrow.

So I drive to the "city" and fate was with me! I reach the outskirts and see a man walking. I ask if he needs a ride into town and he says he is just out for a walk. But when I ask about a bicycle he says he actually has one I can use! So I give him a lift and he walks me over to this old dust covered bicycle that had not been used in years. But after wiping it down a little, putting air in the tires, and adjusting the seat, the bike was ready to go! However, the bike didn't fit in the car so we ended up using a cord to tie the trunk shut with the bike sticking out.

The man thought the road would be open though since apparently I had turned off too soon thanks to Google. So I make my way straight down the road to the reservoir and follow it around only to come to another closed road. Oh well. Once again I'm about 9 miles or so from the parking area for the geocache. So out comes the bike and I load up rations for my long trip. I also grabbed a jacket figuring it would be pretty cold when I got close. But that just proved to be an annoyance in the end.

Anyways, I start heading out. Or course it was almost entirely uphill and I did not have the stamina to bike a good chunk of the way. But I knew no matter how tired I got coming back would be nice and easy. So I ended up walking at least three quarters of the way. Now the road was perfectly fine until I reached about the half way point. I could not understand why the road was closed. But then there was a small fallen tree blocking my path. I then encountered a couple more as I went on. All were probably light enough that I could move them if I had been driving though. But I just carry the bicycle over them and continue. I'm only a few miles away now and getting exhausted. I consider giving up but then I would have wasted all this time for nothing. And again I knew I would have a pretty easy ride back.

It was also at this point that I encountered my first snow. Only small patches though here and there and again easily drivable had I been in a car. It wasn't until I was only a couple miles away that the road got a little bad. I reached about a mile away from parking and finally encountered road I wouldn't have driven. But I plundered on. About a half mile now and there's enough snow that it didn't make sense to bring the bike any further. So I set it among some trees off the road figuring not a soul would be out who could steal it. And I hike the rest of the way. At last! I reached the parking! I'm so excited at this point and I head in.

I'm still not too worried about the snow itself though since it didn't seem too bad and I could see the ground in plenty of areas. However the lake itself is completely frozen. I soon reach a stream I need to cross though (that wasn't frozen). Thankfully I saw a couple of downed trees I could use to reach the other side. They were hindered by a bunch of growth but after what I went through to get here I just pushed the growth aside as I walked and acquiring a minor scratch or two. I'm so close I can taste the victory now!

As I get closer though the snow seems to be getting worse but still not enough to really cause me alarm. It wasn't until I took a step and had my entire leg (literally) get submerged in deep snow that I started to get worried. But thankfully it was just that one spot and I could still see the ground in other areas by the trees where I figured the cache would be. I reach ground zero and after only a couple minutes I make the find! OMG!!! I am so happy I didn't come all this way for nothing! There was no snow where the cache itself was and I easily made the retrieval.

I signed the log and took a few photos for proof. I'll try and add them to my log when I get home from my trip in a couple weeks. I also rescued the one trackable I saw and will be moving it along. I saw something else with a tracking number as well but it looked like just a QR code so I left that there. Anyways, I replace the container and get ready to head down only to discover my phone is down to 1 percent battery. And I still needed to take pictures of the lake and what not. So I pretty much sprint down hoping my phone will last and stumble a few times and end up getting a minor cut on my knee. But I make it to the lake in time and get my photos. And then the phone proceeded to last a good 20 minutes more!

So now comes the return trip. I walk down and retrieve my and there were a few areas I had to walk uphill on the trip back but for the most part it was downhill or flat and I made good time. The only thing I hadn't counted on was the bone jarring shaking I would experience thanks to all the little bumps. But I made it back to my car easily enough and then returned the bike. And even better they let me inside their house to take a much needed shower!

I'm not sure how long the whole trip took but it was probably around 3 hours or so. And about 20 miles round trip. Thanks for placing this cache!

And who next? Pearbro

What can one say? Just because you could doesn't mean you should. Started the quest from Nephi, even though the Garmin in the car said go north 40 miles and then south. The dirt road climbing towards the pass said road closed during winter months. Heck, it's May. That is not a winter month in California. Garmin said 15 miles to go via crow fly. Continued to climb and climb, dodging boulders on the road, but not too bad. Got to about 9600' elevation and hit the snow field. Cache only about 9 miles away! Still needed to climb another 1000' to clear the pass. Backed up the 1/4 mile until I could turn around. Down the hill and then north. Beautiful road and area. Aspen were just starting to leaf out and the vistas were beautiful. Gate across Miller road at the the top of the pass, but didn't look too bad. Still 20 miles away from this end. Continue to Orangeville and then to Joe's Reservoir. Found the locked gate. Parked and got out my mountain bike, loaded my pack with survival gear and hiking stick and set off on the climb. I didn't realize the climb was going to be 2500' in 8.7 miles. A whole lot of walking going on during this "bike ride". A word to the wise-wait for the road to open! You can park 1/4 mile from cache site. That is great in hindsight. 2 hours later got to the end of the bike-able portion. Only .25 miles to go. Just one problem. A swift flowing stream and logs to cross. I don't do logs! I told my wife I would not do anything dangerous, and the thought of falling into cold swift snow melt appeared to be dangerous, so even thought about aborting at this point. Plus, it would be at least a day before I was even noted to be missing. Went up stream past a confluence and saw that the two streams were only about 2 feet deep each and cross-able with the aid of my hiking stick. Now still only .25 to go. Headed up slope toward site over fallen logs and patches of snow. Broke through the crust at one point and hit a log with my shin on the way through. Broke the skin but not the shin. Got attacked by a "stick snake" and bled a little on the back of my calf from that wound. Continued the quest. Normally my mind and body are on the same page. A veteran of 80 plus marathons and ultra-marathons, I am always able to keep it that way. Not today. Body was saying "You are a fool." The mind was saying "Oh, it's not that bad". Then they switched roles, each saying "You're not listening to me!!" Finally, the cache was in hand. Woo Hoo. Nice ride down approx 40 minutes. 2 hours up-40 minutes search. Total of about 4 hours. Exhausted but elated. A little bit scarey as to what could have happened, but that is what the adventure was about. At almost 66 years old, the mind of a thirty year old in this body can be not be good thing. Now to find a May 2015 when I get home and complete the Jasmer. WAIT FOR THE ROAD TO OPEN!!

Hardcore Earthcacher

Welcome all.   I saw this and wanted to share.

A few thoughts......

Kevin ( at the start) has an awesome background.  Is that a Japanese movie poster and an Big Boy restaurant statue behind him?

Moun10bikers (30 seconds in) has a  hero that is  the spindoctors.  A quick lookup shows a team from Australia.  His favorite food is moss.  Aaaah a natural food person.  Do they make shakes in that flavor?  Perhaps in Seattle.  I end with his favorite quote, "Never tell me the odds" by Han Solo.  My respect for this man soared when I read this.  It made me cry with joy. I will sleep happy now.   Oh I am pretty sure he is wearing a real deal hat.

Heather, (35 seconds in)  in all her glory has mad gardening skills apparently.  That could be useful going to the center of the earth.  She has the stone cold look down, and uses it a lot. The tool of the trade is the blowtorch.  Hmmm, that could be bad in a fight with her, not sure how it will help them get to there.

Annika (40 seconds in) is happy to be there and is a master of the fishermans knot.  I am sure that will be handy on the long decent into the Earth. My daughter (practicing to be a crazy cat lady) will be most impressed with her geocaching power.  That could come in handy somewhere when I am caching.  I am not sure where, but I am sure it will be somewhere.  I debated the "Bassoon: yes" comment as she is a bassoon, or she plays one. Happily it will come in handy later.

Alex (45 seconds in) has severe problems with blowing hair.  Apparently all the lackeys blowing fans on here caused some problems, and the budget required them to move on before fixing the hair. Her favorite obsure composer is Beethoven.  I was not aware that the dog Beethoven composed music. My parents had one of those dogs when I was in college, it was huge and scary.  It drooled a lot.  Her hidden skill is puns.  How hidden? does she use them? or just locked in a room alone at home?  Fear: she eats for breakfast.  I was not certain what this meant.  I fear spiders, my wife fears snakes.  So we decided that she eats spiders and snakes for breakfast.  Not my thing, but to each their own.

Ok at 47-49 seconds in we are told they are going to the center of the earth to collect a temperature reading.  Notice she is waving a thermometer.  It appears to be a medical thermometer.  Would that be oral thermometer? or the other one (shudder)?

At 54 seconds they are exercising. Heather is yapping, she must be cold.  She is wearing a big puffy coat. Annika is collapsing with exhaustion, and Alex put her hair back so that it would not attack her like in the earlier scene.  I noticed that Jon, was not too exited, and eventually got a publish notice, or decided to abandon the team to attempt an FTF on his own.  Nice one Jon.  Distract them with that pesky exercise and abandon them too tired to complete their mission.

Then at 1:00 in we hear from Bethany, the 100% real geologist. She tries to tell them how stupid they are, but is obviously a looser as she has no idea what geocaching is. I mean, I have seen tons of movies about journeying to the center of the Earth, Like the book, Journey to the Center of the Earth, or the 1959 classic Journey to the Center of the Earth, or the 2008 marvel Journey to the Center of the Earth.  So a quack geologist.  Not a duck, but a fake geologist.  I thought I should make that clear.

Then they dramatically get ready.  Annika has her shovel.  She must be shy as she is hiding behind the shovel. She has her rope for the fishermans knots.  Heather has a blow torch, it scares me a lot.  Jon apparently is channeling the Shoveler from the Mystery Men.  As a person who has a geocaching persona from that show, I appreciate his homage.

Yes I know that video had nothing to do with The Shoveler or Jon, but I love that scene and this is my blog, so go away.

At about 1:22 Jon is snacking on moss, and spits it out.  Apparently it is his favorite food.  He worked hard with his wee shovel. The others are sleeping, eating and holding the bassoon. Oh, and heather eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

At 1:40 all work stops while the bassoon concert is going on. Jon is busting a wicked dance move.  Watch close or you will miss it. Also, you will note that a bike helmet is an approved caving helmet.

Then they are all wearing nice shoes, carrying suitcases, and heading for the depths of the earth. Alex is undergoing another hair attack. Jon is not wearing approved headgear, and has a bandage around his head.  Our bassoonist also is sporting an injury on her cheek.  How sad.  Heather is really really cold now, she is wearing big puffy coat, and another jacket.

At 2:04 they are looking at their computer.  DNF Pride.  Go DNF pride.  Oh that reminds me of the nice group on facebook.  I Suck at Geocaching I am a member of.  Yes, that is me wandering off on a tangent again.  I wonder if Jon dragged a network cable, or the core must have really really good wifi.  I looked for a restaurant called "the core" near Seattle, with no luck.

Then Janelle our local Earthcache reviewer sees the cache, and another laptop is destroyed by the spray from surprise while drinking.  On the bright side, it is a tiny computer.

The question I had for Janelle is... "Where they heck did you get the red button?!!"  That would be so handy.

And now I end with the BlueRajah, the Shoveller, and some other guy I don't care about.

lackey tags

I added some more coins lately to my list.  There are more to go, but here is the start.

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