Trail of Terror? Haunted House Event? Mad Scientists?

31 10 2009

It must be Halloween!!

What a fun week of caching! It started out last Sunday with the 6th annual Trail of Terror at the Anza Narrows Park in Riverside. Yes, this is the sixth time that the “Late Dr. HazzMatt” has hosted the event and placed 30-odd caches along the adjacent bike trail with evil and devilish themes. I know that to most locals, this is a humdrum, paved, flat exercise course along the sandy, mostly dry riverbed, but for me… it’s the creepiest place around! I’ve only ever been along it to find these spooky caches, so all I have in mind as I walk here are the creepy cache pages and gory cache containers! I did this once the week after the event all by myself on a foggy day… now THAT was scary!

I was in good company this year: f0t0m0m, Team Perks, and the Ventura Kids. We were also surrounded by all of the other attendees, ahead, behind, on foot, on bikes, on broomsticks… well… no broomsticks.

Here’s more proof that the VKs DO (on occasion) HIKE:
vkshike

We discovered where Godzilla has been spending his time lately:
Godzilla Unleashed
godzilla

This cache was aptly named:
Lunatics in the Riverbed
lunatics
… and there they are out there looking for the cache!

Here are some of the broomsticks… er… bikes… and biking cachers who ghosted us along the way:
geobikes

The standard hanging ammo can had a rather macabre swing to it:
Aberrations

f0t0m0m did his standard cache retrieval technique for us:
Sticking your hand down a dark hole
jimhole

This was one of the more creative new hides this year… ew!
ant

DBRambling generously provided water and oranges for everyone at the midway point!
waterbreak

It was a lovely, if windy, day, for the event:

The residents didn’t seem to notice anything unusual today:
horses

There was plenty to eat and drink at the potluck lunch when we all got off the trail:
food

Here’s Hazzmatt, mysterious as always….

…. and yes, I did buy a T-shirt!

Whew! We all survived another Trail of Terror! On to the next events… and it was a triple threat yesterday evening:
HDGC Annual Dinner #3 @ The Cajon Pass Summit Inn!
A Very Tevis Haunted House Geo SCAREfest
Welcome to the Mad Scientist Laboratory!

First, the Summit Inn on historic Route 66 for classic truck stop cuisine:
summitinn
Um… I had a regular steak sandwich.

Then, to the Tevis Clan Haunted House! It was too dark to get any good photos, darn it. The Tevis family puts on an amazing experience, full of axes, body parts, ghouls jumping out at you, chain saws, evil torturers, black lights, thunder and lightning… wow. I had a blast getting the adrenaline pumping there with BWidget and Albackore!

Here are two cool photos I got at the Mad Scientist event. Esquimaux made a good subject for this lighting effect:
madscidennis

and here I am holding a florescent tube that’s lit up without being plugged in, but only from the ambient electricity in the air!
madscilight

Have a fun and safe Halloween! Hope it’s full of caches and candy!





A Peak Geocaching Experience

23 10 2009

A couple of days after my big birthday and the record run, I was recovered enough to summit my third 14er – that’s a mountain over 14,000 feet tall. The first was White Mountain back in ’07, and that was a 10-hour hike after two nights of sleeping at elevation. The second was Mt. Shasta last summer, a grueling, exhilarating 14-hour day after about a week of acclimation in the Eastern Sierras and on the mountain itself. This one took, um, about an hour.

Pike’s Peak has a road to the top!
uphill

It also has a lovely cog train that ascends from Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs:
PPcogtrain

This would be the end of the line!
stophere

As you can see, the view was pretty hazy that day, but my cousin says that on a clear day, you can see – not quite forever – but the whole Rocky Mountain range.

At the top, I ate donuts, did my Christmas shopping, and found two geocaches:
Pikes Peak Summit International
Pike Never Made It!

This is the view from the first cache. That’s my cousin, Richard, over there.
viewfromcache

He got this photo of me finding the cache:
PPcache

Here’s one of the summit plaques:
summitphoto

I even got to play in some snow… in August!
augustsnow

This mountain was the inspiration for a certain familiar song, so I simply HAD to sing it up there:

My cousin and I both had trouble catching our breath and feeling a bit woozy from lack of oxygen, but I actually felt better when I was singing. Others should maybe try that… ha! On the way down we saw some interesting plants:
thistlyplant

redleaveswhiteflowers

We ate a pretty good beef stew at the lodge halfway down:
beefstewlunch

… and found a few more caches on the way:
Inukshuk 1
Bigfoot
Christmas Cache

… and managed to avoid meeting Big Foot, although he’s apparently a road hazard:
bigfootindeed

… then returned safely to base camp:
basecamp

Here’s to more caching high points and peak experiences!

A footnote for all you Marzipan fans – that’s the kitten I found back in May at a cache in Farmersville. She’s getting all big and healthy – and rides around on my shoulders. Here she is, and I’m wearing a T-shirt I got up on Pike’s Peak. It says “Got Oxygen?”
shouldercat





Fall Season Geocaching: In- and Outdoors

15 10 2009

It’s raining this week here in Southern California. I have gone caching in the rain, and it can be fun, but it is largely a disincentive to get out in the traffic and mud and wet bushes. Earlier this week I did have a couple of adventures I’ll discuss in a moment, but first I’d like to share a couple of links I stumbled upon while surfing the web (sort of indoor geocaching with no smilies?) yesterday on a site called EZine Articles. This site has thousands of short pieces on every subject imaginable written by experts on their respective subjects.

Most of the articles on geocaching are about the basics or which handheld to pick, but a couple of curious ones stood out:

All I Needed to Know About Web Design I Learned From Geocaching

Treasure Hunting Geocaches in Random Trite Events

The Art of Urban Caching

I’m considering submitting a few articles myself, such as “How to Find Over 400 Caches in a Day” and “A Guide to Geocaching in Southern California” and so on. Do any of you have any suggestions? I know many of my readers are more expert than the EZine contributors – feel free to write something, too! If you don’t feel like you can write it yourself, I’m happy to co-author as well.

I celebrated a big number with GeoCraig this week: his 5000th find. We took a hike up Chumash Trail north of Simi Valley with Gummyfrog, Capdude, Capsbug, and Don J. It was a perfect coolish fall day with fog followed by sunshine.

Watch for Bikes
Long Live Rock
Bush Island
Gonna Rock Forever
Rock & Roll Stew
Lighten Up!
Lucky the Cache Dog
Resistance is Futile This one had an unusual visitor a couple of days later!
The rock will never fall

craig5000

craiggroup

craigfog

If you haven’t subscribed to his blog yet, check it out! I do pretty good with my Canon SureShot, but Craig really takes some superlative photos. His latest entry features some of his best from his five thousand finds.

I also found a handful of caches in the Lake Balboa area with Team Perks. Well, I know I found these:
Camden County
B marks the cache

I’m not so sure about this one, though….
.

Huh? Is there a link there? YES. Click the dot. Have a laugh.
Here’s to the high entertainment value of geocaches AND geocachERs!





Geocaches Just Around the Corner

8 10 2009

I’ll get to the caches around the world later, meanwhile, I headed out earlier this week for an afternoon of caches near my house. I’ve had a goal for a long time to clear out a 10 mile radius, but I’ve never gotten that completely done. I do manage to keep about an 8 mile circle clear, though. This baker’s dozen had sprung up fairly recently, including some nicely designed ones by a newer cacher, Minifish.

I took notes and photos as I went, to give you an idea what a “normal” caching experience is like. (ha!)

Take the Cannoli
behind a honeysuckle bush near an indoor target practice range
found in about 2 minutes, 1:30pm, 79º
honeysuckle

Ramp
unusual and deserted place with an abandoned ramp where a loading dock used to be
found in about 3 minutes, 1:40pm, 79º
ramp

Skirting the issue.
quiet side street
found in about a minute, including one “wrong” guess, 1:50pm, 79º
heart

Deep Freeze
teeny ammo can stashed in a sign
cachehere

I met the cache owner at the next cache, as he’d noticed my logs. ( I was posting from my iPhone as I went; I love doing that, because then I have no “homework” when I get home.) He’d gotten a lot of flak about putting cache in a No Trespassing sign… (duh)… and it’s now archived… but because the sign itself disappeared! Go figure. I love these itty bitty ammo cans, though.
found in about 5 minutes, including a call to a life line to save myself the agony of the previous finders, 2:10pm, 77º

Pachinko
studied the logs and the area to find this one similar to an AgouraCharger hide, done with a simple, yet deceptive mechanism
found in about 3 minutes, but then spent a few talking to the cache owner, Minifish, who pulled up just as I discovered the secret of the hide, 2:20pm, 79º
The cache is right behind him!
minifish

Caribbean Jerk
curious installation on a quiet side street
found in about 30 seconds, as it was the first thing I touched. Sometimes I’m good at this. 2:35pm, 79º
streetview

another quick fix
this was an awkward hunt in a mini-mall parking lot, and I needed a lifeline to get me to look in the right place with the coords all over the place… not such a quick fix for me…
found in about 7 minutes, 2:55pm, 79º
minimall

pi eta – iota epsilon – theta
needed another lifeline, although I should have spotted this dang nano. Sometimes I’m not so good at this! The parking lot itself is bleak, but the sunlight dappling the mountains to the north was spectacular
found in about 7 minutes, 3:20pm, 79º (but breezy and feels cooler now)
mountains

Very Opinionated
Ahh….. quick and easy magnetic altoids in front of Vons grocery store
found it in about 5 seconds, 3:25pm, 79º
pumpkins

Bad Boys!! Watch gonna do??
Love the flat caches, and it was a bit of a search before I went to that idea.
found it in about 10 minutes, while I fielded a lifeline from Spoondoggie on a cache I haven’t found yet, 3:40pm, 79º
I forgot to take a photo here.

UCKY Commute – Another Dead End
Another quiet side street, and someone has llamas in their yard nearby
found it instantly, 3:45pm, 81º (still feels cooler, as it’s shady and breezy)
Looking back from this cache toward the previous cache just down the street:
cacheview

UCKY Commute – By The Eucalyptus Tree
Wandered around for a long time under the trees. Eucalyptus are particularly bad for scattering the GPS signals. After finding someone’s stash of bad videos, I called for another lifeline, then found it rather handily.
this took about 20 minutes, including the short hike, 4:15pm, 77º
Urban horse trail:
urbanhorsetrail

A Moving Experience
A short walk up one of the canyons in Porter Ranch led me to a container with a funny pun on it, but I won’t give it away.
found instantly after a 5 minute walk, 4:30pm, 77º

time – 3 hours
mileage – 27 miles from my house and back to my house
lifelines – 4, all to Garagedude
DNFs – none, thanks to Garagedude

Have a great caching week!





It IS all About the Numbers (Sometimes)!

1 10 2009

One of the comments I got on my post about finding cache #20,000 was what some of my statistics look like. I ran an “all finds” pocket query, and asked f0t0m0m to run it through his GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) program. Some of the results are fun, some are just, er… boring… but here’s what 20,000 caches looks like all taken apart.

First of all, my yearly average, which I’ll compute myself:

I started at the end of May, 2003, for 6 years, 4 months of caching is 3,158 finds per annum. This is also about 263 per month and almost 61 per week. Now that’s not TOO crazy, is it? Ha…..

OK, as most of you know, the most I’ve found in a day with a team is 413. I also found 111 solo with no lifelines and 16 DNFs a couple of years ago in Escondido in about 16 hours. That was a “I’m glad there are so many light pole caches here” kind of day!

The furthest away I’ve been caching so far is in Sweden (the one listed below is an old armchair cache). The highest up is 14,252 feet on the summit of White Mountain in the Eastern Sierras.

Here are my milestone caches and the intervals between them:

Milestone

Date

Interval

Code

Cache Name

1

05/24/2003

GCG1MP

Old Saw Mill

1000

02/07/2004

259 days

GCHKQ8

Milestones

2000

06/07/2004

121 days

GCB38F

A Quick Score

3000

08/16/2004

70 days

GCJWTH

Road to Nowhere

4000

12/18/2004

124 days

GCM9XH

Voce Dorata

5000

04/18/2005

121 days

GCMKG9

VK’s Tax Payment #1

6000

07/11/2005

84 days

GCN6HM

UNR

7000

12/26/2005

168 days

GCPNWZ

Lily Pad

8000

05/18/2006

143 days

GCRDHP

Rainbow’s end

9000

07/19/2006

62 days

GCX7MR

101 View aka “EMC’s 9000th”

10000

09/09/2006

52 days

GCX3BW

SCG GeoFest 2006

11000

01/12/2007

125 days

GCWZKE

I Think You’re Tops

12000

04/15/2007

93 days

GC11EWX

Trinity

13000

07/06/2007

82 days

GCPQQB

Baker’s Dozen #5

14000

11/04/2007

121 days

GC12RR2

South Hills Park #2

15000

03/01/2008

118 days

GC19QHZ

Triple Crown Road

16000

06/10/2008

101 days

GC1CD17

City in Transition #03

17000

10/09/2008

121 days

GC1GCWF

OCTSOC

18000

01/19/2009

102 days

GC1J5XC

One Heck of a Gecko

19000

07/12/2009

174 days

GC1HWFQ

Posted

20000

09/19/2009

69 days

GC1RGH9

MAtM25 Skylarking Lars

76 Diff/Terr combinations found, out of 81
2051 (10.1%) finds were rated with Diff or Terr of 3 or greater

I like the following table in particular. The only way to find so many is if LOTS and LOTS are hidden! Many thanks to these and ALL of you cache hiders!

Number

Percent

1 – Wheeler Dealers

556

2.76 %

2 – f0t0m0m

251

1.24 %

3 – MightyDee

245

1.21 %

4 – UNCLEJON91 (JONEDI)

238

1.18 %

5 – agouracharger

225

1.11 %

6 – ventura_kids

181

0.89 %

7 – HaZzMaTt…

171

0.85 %

8 – Team Nohoch

165

0.82 %

9 – MaxGold

150

0.74 %

10 – fresgo

150

0.74 %

10 – ShowStop

129

0.64 %

12 – mondou2

128

0.63 %

13 – Yosemite John and …

127

0.63 %

14 – Joshua Tree Bonnie…

124

0.61 %

15 – imusttravel2000

122

0.60 %

16 – capdude

115

0.57 %

17 – Castle Man

113

0.56 %

18 – FishPOET

110

0.54 %

19 – Dooley Noted

106

0.52 %

20 – team 9-er

104

0.51 %

These didn’t make it to the top:

mamaloo (96)

TheDeviousMaxPower (96)

twopoms (96)

OLdweeb (95)

mshock (91)

Team Geo-Rangers (89)

chaosmanor (86)

Don_J (84)

Lyndy (82)

Sandbassking & Queen (82)

Team Perks (80)

PurpHaze (79)

GeoCraig (78)

campyc (77)

PackerTrekkers (76)

Terra Girl (75)

TRUROKR (73)

redwoodcanoe (72)

Thudpucker (72)

Firehouse16 (68)

EMC has also found caches placed by 3664 other people

More fun numbers:

Total cache-to-cache distance:

539441 km, Note: excludes locationless caches.
13.47Earth Circumnavigation,
1.403Distance to the Moon

Maximum distance in a day:

17953 km, on 05/24/2005Note: excludes locationless caches.

Nearest cache found:

What is the Name? GC14QKY

Furthest cache found:

9444.91 km, Go Trabi, go GCMFNK

Most Northerly cache found:

N 64° 50.741, Black & White & Red All Over GCKK54

Most Southerly cache found:

N 29° 01.458, The Postcard Cache GC9660

Most Easterly cache found:

E 13° 45.289, Go Trabi, go GCMFNK

Most Westerly cache found:

W 149° 56.537, Anchorage TB Drop GCNN27

Cache centroid:

N 35° 27.889 W 116° 46.623 MapNote: excludes locationless caches.

Youngest cache found:

09/26/2009, Frozen Flash Mob III GC1W880

Oldest cache found:

08/16/2000, Lake Lanier GC21

Caches found which are now archived:

8257 (41.0 %)

Log Length, words:

Average: 28, Longest: GCGX16561, Shortest: GC1N9741

I’m still missing 16 US states and about 1/3 of the Southern California Delorme challenge (GC18M1N), even though I have found a cache in every county in California. This alone means there are still more caches to find and still reasons to find them… and NOT just the numbers!

Here’s to the adventures that hide in these statistics! Where to next? Around the corner? Around the world?