Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2008-07-20

Musings about Geocaching

Monday, July 21, 2008

Finally, I search for and find a nearby cache

Not far up the road from my house is a cache called, "Barber, No Haircut." It was placed in 2006 and found by my friend duganrm that summer. For some reason, I could never make the short half-mile walk to the cache. Either I was driving past on my way to my friend's house, or I was driving back home after a day of grocery shopping or caching.

Finally, today, after the disappointment of finding out someone picked up my stash of cans and bottles from last week's walk, I parked outside the gate and started walking. I didn't get very far before stopping to talk to a man working on the nearby property. We shared some "Jamul Stories" and then I continued down the trail. It was a beautiful day for this hike. The temperature was in the 80's and there was a nice breeze.

At the cache location, I wandered around quite a while looking for the cache. Since I had not read the description, I didn't know if there was a cache in place, or not, after the devastating Harris fire last October. As I got ready to leave, I decided to pick up some of the discarded bottles and cans in the area that is obviously visited by muggles on a regular basis. What looked like one of those insulating cuffs for a beer can turned out to be a container . . . and surprise, surprise, it was the cache! After signing the log, I rehid the container at where my GPSr said was GZ.

After that, I continued down the trail, hiking more than seven miles before driving back home. This is the Profile of the hike:

On the first part of the trail, the views are to the south down Honey Springs Road and towards Deerhorn Valley. Once I got around the corner, the view in front of me was breathtaking. The entire valley, with the Horsethief area in the foreground and mountain peaks all around, was there in front of me, unobscured.

In some places, the fire damage still looked fresh.

Off the road a ways was an outcrop of boulders and slickrock that offered an interesting view of the rocky knob of Lawson Peak.

Around every turn in the trail, different mountain peaks came into focus. Here, Gaskill Peak was framed by rocky outcrops near the road.

Near where I turned around, I saw this wind-carved hole in a large boulder.

Along the entire trail there is very little shade since the area burned last October. Whether it burned as a direct result of the Harris Fire, or a back-burn that got out of control, I'm not sure, but this fire prevented my friend from being able to get home that Friday of the week we were evacuated from our homes. The road to her place was closed just before we got there when this fire got much larger than expected . . .

There were a few islands of vegetation that had not burned, and this beautiful Manzanita offered a little bit of shade that was welcome to me as I walked back.

As I walked back, I stopped at different places where I thought I could place a small cache. At this location, there is a good view of Skyline Truck Trail with Sycuan Peak in the background.

Lately I haven't been excited about going caching by myself. I still love going with other cachers, but don't have much desire to look for hidden containers alone. However, once I saw the views from this road, the excitement of hiding some caches returned. I've always loved hiding caches — I don't get any DNFs when I do that — and don't mind doing that by myself. Now I had motivation to paint the containers I have at home and get them ready for new lives as Geocaches.

So . . . the "hiking cachers" in this area, all half dozen of them, will soon have some caches to find along a previously un-cached road.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time to revisit the "Ten Things" Forum thread

This has been one of the most fun, successful threads in quite a while. It is great to read a long-running thread that does not have a bit of angst or mean-spirited disagreement in it . . . Of course, threads like this one in the "Getting Started" Forums are not supposed to degenerate into disagreements. I wish that was the same for the "Geocaching Topics" Forum. YIKES! Some people can sure try to turn opinions into facts, and personal preferences into "stupid ideas" in that Forum . . .

I really try to stay out of those threads . . .

That is why I like this happy thread so much. I originally posted portions of it on March 26.

""Ten Things"
1. Only trust your GPS to get you to the ball park, then concentrate on the ball.
2. One mistake on the coordinates will put you off by one street, park, county, or state, depending on where the error is.
3. Much of the landscape that I thought was deserted is visited every day by somebody.
4. A lot of times people see what they EXPECT to see instead of what’s there.
5. Many containers that I thought were waterproof will get wet inside.
6. Even with frozen stiff fingers, I can now roll up a tiny strip of paper in a wind storm.
7. Geocachers know more about lampposts than 95 percent of the population.
8. If my area is any indication, for every park the locals know about there are three more that they didn’t know were there.
9. Sometimes you can see the micro before you park, and sometimes you can trip over the ammo can and still not see it.
10. If you aren’t having fun geocaching it’s your own fault.

Other people have chimed in with some wise knowledge and what they have learned. Some of these statements need to be put on sticky notes on my GPSr so I don't forget them . . .

11. You`ll NEVER come home as clean as you have gone before.
12. The hiding place is never ever marked with an X
13. Sometimes a 4/4 is easier to find than a 1/1
14. 5 plastic bags takes a Cache not cleaner than one good Box.
15. Never tell your wife you will be back "in under 20 minutes" - when the cache is .2 miles away. Double or triple the estimate.
16. My employer tolerates semi-muddy shoes after lunch better than I would have thought.
17. There are more roads out there than I used to see.
18. You may think you know the area inside and out, but you don't
19. Micros will prove to you that your eyes are not as good as you think
20. That stranger you are passing in the park, may have more in common with you then you realize.
21. Some caches can be found without a gps, some caches can't be found even with a gps
22. When you think it's time to bushwhack go down the trail a little ways first. You might find a better way in.
23. Some days you get the cache, some days the cache gets you.
24. always carry a pen
25. nothing is waterproof in Florida
26. don't let the search obscure the view
27. Thorn bearing shrubbery has a longer reach than I do.
28. As the crow flies only works for crows.
29. The creek is ALWAYS one inch deeper than your boots are tall.
30. Insects have the "Strength in numbers" thing down pat.
31. Check for ticks, regardless of the time of year.
32. Group caching is a blast.
33. Search primarily with your eyes to minimize impact on landscape around GZ.
34. There is a waterfall in my town!
35. I'm always on the wrong side of the canal.
36. My wife is now used to long stories about minute events.
37. Not all who wander are lost.
38. Most cache owners are very nice people. But some are evil, some are nasty and some are just imcompetent. So, it's up to you to make your own fun.
39. The easy path up the hill is only visible from the top.
40. persistance pays
41. use the "go-to"
42. record travel bug i.d.'s before passing along
43. carry a small trash bag in urban settings
44. if going solo to remote area, let some one else know
45. trust the description over the coords if there's much disagreement
46. In the winter, use a pencil.
47. If you forgot your tweezers, you will NOT be able to get the log out of the container. If you forgot gloves, you will have needed them. Ouch.
48. Machinists often make the best caches
49. Tie a spare car key to your GPS (yes, you have figured out the rest of the story!)
50. There is a hidden waterfall about 50 metres from State Highway 1.
51. There are more monuments to both important and obscure events in our area that I realised.
52. There are no walking tracks in our town without a cache or three on them.
53. My math is useless.
54. Reviewers have the patience of saints
55. Your average person is less observant that I thought
56. NEVER stick your hand in a strange, dark hole in the ground while searching for a cache in the woods!
57. Any cache can be made into a 5/5.
58. That stream may look shallow, but......
59. If there is mud, I will find it.
60. the way back from a cache, is usually easier than the way to it
61. Not all terrain ratings are created equal, read the logs if you have difficulty with rougher terrain.
62. Muggles just don't understand why you would drive to a neighboring state to move a TB (well and shop for fireworks )
63. The fun of the search is worth the pain.
64. Geocaching is a great way to spend a day with the ones you love.
65. I've learned that 300 feet is a very long ways when you are on the wrong side of the river!
66. The quality of the online logs is proportional to the difficulty of the cache.
67. There are not enough daylight hours in a day.
68. Even if you publish parking coordinates next to a flat trail to the cache, people will still park as close as possible to the cache and bushwack up a hill.
69. 9 times out of 10 there will always be an easy way to and from the cache.
70. stay on the trail!
71. You not only get to smell the roses, you get to dig around in the roots, too.
72. check and double check the coords you entered.
73. Transposing numbers when hand-entering coordinates can make it much harder to find the cache
74. Forgetting to enter the real coordinates to a puzzle cache that you've solved can make it much harder to find the cache
75. Some hard caches are easy to find without coordinates or a GPS.
76. Some easy caches are hard to find with coordinates and a GPS.
77. I learned that those nifty little GPSrs that you can buy for cars are virtually useless for finding caches O_o The thing got me to the park, but that's about it.
And I already knew where the park was . . .
78. The terrain rating is seldom the same on the way back.
79. Wearing flipflops and a mini skirt turns a "quick grab" 1/1 on the side of a hill into a 5/5 with a bonus peep show.
80. Juniper bushes are NOT hypoallergenic.
81. When stealth is required, take along a couple of kids and a dog - you can get away with almost anything.
82. Keep an open mind. Once you utter the words "it just has to be RIGHT HERE!" you are on your way to a DNF.

There are several along these lines . . .

83. Trying to squeeze in a cache on a time limit (like a lunchbreak from work) ups the adrenaline but also ups the chance of a DNF that will make you slap your head and say "Duh!" when you go back and find it.
84. An hour long conference lunch break is a half hour too short to grab that cache you've been hoping to get to.
85. Caching during lunchbreak is awesome. Sitting back down at your desk wearing a dress shirt that's soaked through with sweat is not awesome.
86. If you go for that cache on the way to dinner, you will be late.

And, I really liked this one added by a person who was making their very first post in the Forums!

If you think it's junk, it is, and don't leave it in the cache. Trade UP!

What things have you learned in your caching history?


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