Happy Thanksgiving!

26 11 2009

I’m thankful for SO many things.

Geocaching with my family:

…. and they even put up with me crawling under muddy bridges….
Dam Troll

Long hikes with good friends:

Matilija Canyon Adventure

Finding a bonus cache! I qualified for this one about a year ago, and only learned of it last week:
I-5 Interstate Highway Challenge

Beauty all around:


Plenty for everyone to eat:

Happy Thanksgiving!





Updated Fizzy Grid

23 11 2009

I fixed the input on the MyGeocachingProfile.com website and got the right output. Funny how that works.

May your Thanksgiving be full of turkey, pumpkin pie, and caches!





Finishing up the Fizzy Challenge

20 11 2009

Well Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge)
My grid for this challenge is now, at long last, complete:

Note: this was generated by http://www.mygeocachingprofile.com, which I only just discovered today. Well, hey! It looks like I didn’t need to do this last cache after all! Ha! I’m sure glad I made this oversight, though, as it was a spectacular day on Refugio Beach, and I otherwise might never have gotten out here! Wow.

So – what I thought was the final cache for me to find was a 1.5 difficulty, 5 terrain, and the only one active near where I live is just west of Santa Barbara.
Two (If) By Sea Kayak

As the title indicates, it’s designed to do with kayaks from a put-in point near the entrance to Refugio State Beach, but it’s accessible on foot at low tide. The day f0t0m0m, BWidget, and I went, the tide was at an extra low, so we had a fabulous wide beach to walk along. The weather was spectacular to boot: cool and sunny. We saw a number of different types of animals: a hawk, a seal, various terns and gulls, mussels, sea anenomes, starfish, and pretty big crab.

Even though I live fairly close to it, I don’t get to the beach very often, so I really savored the 2-mile round trip stroll. There are campsites on this beach, so I just might have to bring my tent out here someday.

Low Tide

The cache is up there:

Got it!

Mussels exposed:

Starfish on the rocks:

Beautiful green seaweed:

A crab shows us his stuff:

Beautiful winter sun angle:

Our bonus caches of the day was
In Your Face!
See if you can figure out where to find the coords, and I’m sure you’ll become a “fan” of this cache, too!





The Fizzy Challenge and the Enigmatic Otis Pug

12 11 2009

Before I get in to the main subjects this week, here are a couple of newsy items.

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Author and technology journalist Paul Gillen and his wife Dana are avid geocachers and are about to publish a book on the how to. It’s called “Joy of Geocaching,” and I have a link to the Amazon page already on the Geocaching Stuff to Buy tab here for your convenience. I’ll let y’all know when it’s out. Meanwhile, they did a super job interviewing Steve of the Ventura Kids about our record-setting 413 cache day!

Listen to the interview

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I got a very nice note requesting that I let you all know about this event coming up in January. This is not typically what my blog is about, and there are just too many events for me to promote them, but – hey – here’s the info:

“Hello,
My name is Jeff Price and I am the Interpreter at Ocotillo Wells SVRA.  We are trying to get the word out about our first ever off-road geocaching adventure and we were wondering if you would let your blog know about it.  It will be a fun-filled weekend, from Jan. 29th-31st, with demonstrations, a few vendors and of course a geocache scavenger hunt all topped off with a CITO on Sunday with lunch provided!  For more information please go to our event cache listing on geocaching.com: GC1Y5D2.”

I’m not sure if I’ll be there or not, but have it pencilled in.

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This week, I found two more caches for the Well-Rounded Cacher challenge cache,
Well Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge)
and I only have ONE more grid space left to fill to finally complete this rather monumental challenge. The trick for some of us is to find high-terrain/high-difficulty caches we can actually DO. Fortunately, there are some out there with high ratings that don’t involve spelunking, deep-sea diving, long-distance backpacking, or cliff climbing, and I can get the grid space in spite of my claustrophobia, aquaphobia, acrophobia, and agrizoophobia.

I hiked out to a 2.5/5 start cache up in the Lake Arrowhead area with f0t0m0m. It’s easily doable with a motorcycle or off-road quad, but otherwise, it’s either a .10 bushwhack down a very steep slope or a rather pleasant one-mile hike each way on the single track for the aforementioned vehicles. We opted for the latter!

3W11 "Metate"
trailto5star

It was a lovely day, too:
altitude

I also got my 4.5/5 grid space with this cache:
Fort Orange

A quick slog up a cactus-filled hill in Orange County with Albackore brought us to this rocky outcropping and the goal of our quest.
5starview
albackoresummits

On the way back, I got a wonderful bonus by accident. I could (and probably will eventually) do an entire blog on Otis Pug, one of our local pioneers in creative camos and challenging puzzle caches. A secretive and mysterious character, his little dog was the only visible evidence of his existence, and one day – suddenly and to everyone’s chagrin – he left the game, archiving all of his celebrated hides. He left the containers in place, though, so all of us around here decided to keep finding his caches and logging them nevertheless! Hey… they ARE there… I have a short list of the ones that are still findable.

Anyway, as we wandered around on the top of the hill after locating the target cache, I noticed an obvious geopile. I thought there might be a letterbox in there, but it was another geocache – lo, and behold! – an old Otis Pug!
Otis Pug Goes Airborne
otispughide

Have a great week of caching surprises!





A Geocaching Trifecta, Of Sorts

5 11 2009

As I write this, I’m riding back with f0t0m0m somewhere on the west side of the Salton Sea after a long day of caching with three goals on our list: one more high terrain cache for the Well-Rounded Cacher challenge cache,
Well Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge)
10 pages of the Delorme Map challenge cache,
California DeLorme Challenge (Southern & Central)
and a token find in Mexico. We accomplished it all!

The day began at 6am at my house in Northridge, and our first errand was a bit unusual. My 6-month-old kitten had just gone into heat for the first time, and I needed to take the little girl in to have her necessary surgery. We dropped the poor, uncomfortable little thing off, and headed for the 405 freeway southbound.

We’d hoped we were early enough to avoid traffic, but it was a bit sticky already over the Sepulveda pass. After that, it was clear and fast all the way to around Oceanside, where an earlier incident of some sort had a couple of lanes blocked.

slow405

We got to the first cache of the day by about 8am.
JENNY AND PETER AT SQUIRREL POINT

It’s one of the very few on the teeny part of Delorme p. 112 on this side of the state, and is at a view point with a broad vista, but not much remarkable actual scenery. We could see Dana Point to the north and barely make out Catalina Island to the east.
danapoint

The locals would seem to be well-fed. This guy was enjoying a banana peel:
bananabunny

Next was p. 122 just east of San Diego:
Olde Highway 80

..followed by p.123, which included the high-terrain cache as well:
OFF-ROAD FUN : )

We encountered a locked gate, and decided to hoof it out to the cache. It turned out to be a 5 mile hike, but it was a lovely day for it, and I really needed the exercise anyway. We found 5 additional caches as we walked by them:
Bear Valley Loop- Lunch Stop
Rangers n’ Rattlers
Dooley’s Cache
Bear Valley Loop-Beware!
Bear Valley Loop-View of the Tracking Station

… and had a brief chat with a border patrol guy making his rounds.

This put us about 2 hours behind our projected schedule, but the rest of the list was all drive-ups and went pretty quickly. We just did one cache per Delorme page, working our way basically east.

Jail House Rock
Whoa Nellie!
"101-9004-B28
GO WESTMORLAND
On the corner
NOT QUITE "THE CENTER OF THE WORLD"
Journey to the Center of the World

Most of the scenery was your basic desert:
desert

phonepoles

As we drove along I-8, we could see the border fence and Mexico beyond it:
borderfence

The cache at the Center of the World
centeroftheworld

…has a section of stairs from the original Eiffel Tower:
eiffelstairs

At the southeast corner of California, you can park at the border and walk across to the little town of Algodones. There is a cache just 40 feet past the crossing in a little restaurant. It was supposed to be open.. but… alas.. it was not!
Pueblo Viejo

cachedenied

Fortunately, we had an alternate just a tenth of a mile further in to town, so we walked quickly to it. The coords bounced us around the street:
bleakstree

… but we finally got it!
Estacion De Policia Los Algodones
mexicache

There was no control over entering Mexico,
mexicanborder

…but we did need our passports to return about 10 minutes later (ha!). Whew!
usborder

Until next week – happy challenges!