Extra! Extra!

27 07 2008

I was featured in an article in the local Daily News today!

The website doesn’t show the photo that was also included:

the article is no longer available except in the archives, so I’m reprinting it here…. um… without permission (!) – shhhh….. (!!)

Daily News of Los Angeles

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)

July 27, 2008
Author: Mark Kellam
Edition: Valley
Section: News
Page: A4
Estimated printed pages: 2
Article Text:
They are all around us, but most of us don’t know it.
They’re called caches and they are part of an international sport called geocaching, where players use personal GPS systems to track down “finds” and record them.
The No. 3 player in the world is Elin Carlson of Northridge, who has found more than 16,000 caches over the past five years.
There are more than 200,000 caches hidden worldwide.
“You can call it a game or a sport or an obsession,” Carlson said.
Players download a cache’s coordinates from the Web site http://www.geocaching.com, but sometimes it’s not all black and white.
“Sometimes you have to decode the instructions,” said Carlson, adding that those kinds of finds can be the most satisfying.
When cracked, the number puzzles give the cache’s longitude and latitude. Sometimes players are given multiple places they must go to before reaching the final cache.
If you’ve gone to the summer concerts in Warner Center Park, you’ve been near a cache. One is hidden in the monument honoring Fernando Award winners.
There’s also a cache hidden near a waterfall on the north end of DeSoto Avenue and several are up the hill on the south end of Reseda Boulevard, along a trail that leads to Topanga State Park.
Carlson said geocaching has brought her some moments of serendipity.
When she went to find the cache along the Topanga State Park trail, for example, she was surprised how bright the stars were at a higher elevation.
She has also stumbled upon some historic places she didn’t even know existed.
“There’s a historic park and landmark just east of the corner of Balboa and Ventura. It was (an early) settlement in the San Fernando Valley,” Carlson said, referring to Los Encinos Park. “You don’t really notice it when you drive by it.”
Through geocaching, she’s also made a lot of friends and participated in activities she never would otherwise have tried.
Because many caches are hidden in parks and along trails, she got to try — and enjoy — hiking.
That led to her decision to climb 14,000-foot Mount Shasta in Northern California recently, an experience she described as “excruciating” but personally rewarding.
The most difficult part was that there was no snow on the mountain. “It was like walking up a vertical beach all the way up,” she said.
While there were no caches on Mount Shasta, Carlson said she hopes to change that one day.
“I’m in process of getting one up there,” Carlson said. “Maybe two.”
Northridge resident Elin Carlson recently climbed Mount Shasta. Though there was no geocache on the mountain, she hopes to hide one — or maybe two — there in the future.photo
Mark Kellam is editor of valleynews.com. He posted this story Friday to The Valley hub on valleynews.com.
Copyright (c) 2008 Daily News of Los Angeles
Record Number: 0807290003

Geocaching around Los Angeles

27 07 2008

I love the diversity that comes with geocaching, from clever urban hides to looks at landmarks to hikes with views, and I can get all of these all around where I live!

Team Dakiba placed a cache near and with a view of Capitol Records, where I’ve had the honor of doing recording projects:
Rock Capitol

Dooley, a professional comedian by the way, put one out requesting cat and dog jokes:
It’s Reigning Cats and Dogs

OLdweeb did a nice hide at a civic center where I go square dancing. The fitting title and the instructions tell you to bring a nut on a string to retrieve it. (I guess my string had a nut on both ends!)
Vanalden Park Piscator

Finally, Capdude put a couple more up in the Castle Peak area, so I hiked up to the one with the view, finding one I’d DNFd before along the way:
The Easy Way
Lavender Fields (Sage Actually)

It was a hazy day, but I always love a bird’s eye view of the San Fernando Valley!
Cache on!

Phoenix: not for power caching, darn it

16 07 2008

Well, our attempt at setting a record for 24 hours of caching didn’t even come close! We struggled for 15 hours just to get 100, far short of the 315 needed, and even much slower than our test run in Palm Springs, where we weren’t even trying for real speed!


We still had a great time in the desert and the city.

Cachepal and foon look for cache #100 – but they are actually about 30′ off!

f0t0m0m really likes the big bunny, though.

On the way, he and I saw some funny signs at a rest area: “Pet Area – 257 ft” “Pet Area – 157 ft”, then we saw these two signs at the appropriate distances apart:

Someone somewhere has a fun sense of humor:

The best caches of the weekend were:
The Doors – at large outdoor artwork with a wild audio component
MUGGLE FREE SINCE 1975 – nicely done container and access process
Arizona Falls – at a unique and lovely water processing station
Mine’s Still Bigger! – ginormous, well-organized container on a front porch
Li Ting – marvelously designed multi-cache/puzzle involving deduction and Chinese characters, also in a lovely setting.

Finally, here’s some desert flora:

The next steps to Mt. Shasta: Black Butte

10 07 2008

Black Butte is a striking volcano that sits right next to Mt. Shasta, and I’ve always wanted to climb it, too… so I did! I was up visiting my parents and the 5-mile RT hike up this steep, rocky, old volcano seemed the perfect thing to do break in my boots more.


The trail is really challenging in its rocky parts, and there’s some boulder scrambling to get to the old lookout, which I’m really nervous about. There were several people at the summit, though, so I had lots of help… and finally got the cache that’s up there!

Black Butte-y

On the way back, my feet starting hurting again… once again real tear-jerking agony… and I knew my boots needed more than breaking in! OW. I went straight to the Fifth Season, where I’d purchased them specifically for the Shasta adventure (I need crampon compatible footwear) to see what, if anything, could be done.

The local boot expert, Jacques, kept them over night to stretch them out. I picked them up the next day, hoping that would do it… or it might require more fussing with to get my feet to tolerate them… and might I be able to do that in time?

I’ll keep you in suspense, but here are my photos from the hike. The views were stellar – all the way to the horizon!

Above: do you see the chipmunk?
Below: I found these at the Shell station in Yreka. They still work!

OK, I won’t keep you in suspense. I took the boots on another test hike of about 5 miles, and they seem to be fine now!

The Road to Phoenix… begins in Palm Springs!

2 07 2008


Oh yes… I’m reprising a crazy day of caching with Cachepal (Bill)! We headed up to Porterville last summer with Team Perks to see how many we could do in a 24-hour period. After 20 hours, we’d found over 250… and ran out! We’re attempting this again on July 5, and Phoenix is the only place nearby where no one on the team has been. Team Perks is not available, so this time we have f0t0m0m (Jim) and foon (Alan).

We headed out to Palm Springs to hone our teamwork and practice in the heat. We had a lot of fun finding easy ones and wonderful placements mostly by the Wheeler Dealers and PS Arrow, ending up with about 70 for the day.

Fossil Fuel They’re putting in a whole new dinosaur park in Cabazon!
Long Gone The cache looked like old wires stuck in a fence post… marvelous.
This is the Ritz? A big Ritz cracker… at a cheap motel!
4 u PS Arrow The cache looked like part of a metal support… very nice.
2 Red Evil hide in a bougainvillea… but I spotted it! Nice container, actually, and not what you’d think.
Socially Acceptable We almost missed this one as it blended in with the gate hardware… awesome!

Here’s the gang: