Opera Box

23 06 2011

This is the 2nd cache on the list in my quest to maintain my puzzle caches, and I also plan to post pages here with help in solving the harder ones.

The Opera Box
The Opera Box puzzle is easy, though, as all the answers can be found with your favorite search engine and most are on the Metropolitan Opera website in their collection of synopses. There is one “trick” question, but it should not pose any significant obstacle.

The hike to the cache can be started at the posted coordinates for lovely hike up Cheesboro Canyon, or start at the north end of Las Virgenes for a shorter hike up the next canyon over. That’s the route I took this time.

The weather was perfect for hiking:

I found my cache in perfect condition right where it’s supposed to be:

It’s not far from the boundary between the Ahmanson open space and the area maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area:

The side canyons feature old signs marking gas pipes:

… and the trails are crowded with these guys:

… which is why Wile E. was here looking for lunch!

Here’s a closer look, thanks to my nifty zoom lens:

I don’t see these guys very often, but I know they see me ALL the time!

Off to a Running Start!

7 01 2010

I started my year off with a few local caches:
Sage Ranch Sunset
Steel Here
When The Levee Breaks

My first find of 2010:

It’s in Sage Ranch, and that day, there were crystal clear views for miles:

The next weekend, I headed up to the Santa Cruz area along with f0t0m0m, shell1fish, and geo202 to grab the final cache of the epic Fizzy Challenge!
Well Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge)

The trail up wound through towering redwoods, then up through more rocky, scrubby terrain:

We don’t see much moss in Southern California, so this stuff dripping off the manzanita was fascinating to me:

The cache is up on the wind-carved summit of Pine Mountain:

Here we are at last! The well rounded cachers:

My sister met up with us in Scotts Valley, and joined us for some of the local urbans at unusual places:
Giselles Cache is at a Fishing Park:

We didn’t see any fish in the creek that day, but for all you “Fish Wranglers” out there, Fish NOW!

Felton Covered Bridge was very familiar to f0t0m0m, who’d spent many summers here as a kid:

I couldn’t not patronize THIS establishment!

I can’t wait to get back to explore more of this part of California – it’s really gorgeous!

This may be the year of the challenge caches for me, as I also qualified for this one on the way up:
One Busy Day Icon Challenge
and still have the Delorme and a whole long string of various challenges in Sacramento to start working on! Then there’s the 24 record run thing. So…. after the hours and hours of planning and strategizing – especially on Steve’s part! – for our 24 hour run in Denver, it’s ironically humorous that the record would be broken by accident! I got the scoop from Picht, of DK08 in Denmark:

Here is the story of the 480 founds:

Elmbaek and I had decided to spend some time caching and wanted to do some of the new powertrail published some days before about 40 km. from where we live.

After about 7½ hours we had finished the whole trail, and thought it would be fun to see if we could increase our daily record (315 caches). And we knew there was another powertrail in Sweden.
Only problem was that none of us had the caches in the GPS, and we hadn’t brought the computer with us
Going home to fill the GPS’es would be driving in the wrong direction, so we went to a geocaching-friend who lived nearby and he let us use his computer go create a new PQ and load it into our GPS. (Thanks Kaskelot)

After that we went to Sweden (by ferry).
We went to eat and buy some water and energy-bars, that we suspected we would need.
Finally we started the powertrail in Sweden.
Upon completion we decided to drive back home (about 2 hours drive), because Elmbaek had to work and i had an appointment with some other geocaching-friends about doing some nightcaches the following night. (It was a great nightcaching-trip, even if i only got 3 hours of sleep)
That’s the reason for not using full 24 hours

As this 480 caches trip wasn’t planned we hadn’t the right clothing (no waterproof shoes, which was a problem with the snow in Sweden), nor did we bring any food nor computer/internet.

We signed each logbook with Picht and Elmbaek, and we were only at one cache a the time. Since both powertrails have good hints on almost each cache it was pretty easy to find most of the caches.
The person next to the cache got out of the car and if the cache wasn’t found in about 20 seconds the other got out to help searching. If the hiding spot wasn’t obvious, both got out from the start.

I have now had time to look at the GPS readings and here are some facts.

Time spent caching (total): 16 hours
Powertrail DK: 7½ hours
Powertrail SE: 8½ hour

Transport: 2½ hours
“Wasted” time (getting extra cache information, eating, waiting at the ferry): 1½ hours

So, this is the story of how a normal caching day evolved to a new record, without any planning.

I must admit that making the 315 record was more “real caching” than this powertrail-caching, and i don’t think this record will stand for long, since the potential is big if you have some powertrails and do a little planning.




Wow, what a fun example of caching craziness!

Finally, a footnote: Marzipan, the kitten I found at a cache last year, is now 8 months old! She’s a big kitty now:


Mew mew!

Supplemental: “805 Magazine” Article

31 12 2009

This is the nice article published recently in a local magazine featuring both me and GeoCraig:

805 Living_Pursuits Dec 09

It’s a .pdf file, so the link will open the document separately on your computer. It’s not large – only 3 pages – but let me know if you have any difficulty accessing it. Enjoy!

Oh, Hai! Geocaching: Weer doin it rite

3 12 2009

Lots of caches, empty dirt roads, spectacular views, fun friends.
North of Ojai – a jeep trail that only permits 10 vehicles per day to drive on it
Ventura Kids, the Devious Max Power, Terra Girl, f0t0m0m, me
95 finds
THIS is geocaching:

That’s pretty much what we “had” to look at all day. Those are the Channel Islands out there:

Most of the caches were really easy to find, even under these potentially daunting circumstances:

The next one is over there somewhere:

We never could figure out what this alien beacon was really for:

It might have something to do with the lovely little pond nearby:

Steve shows us how to really look for caches. He said he could see it from there, down where we were. Hm.

A Devious Hide?

Snow! We did get out and play in it… sort of…

A little video view:

I look forward to more fun days with these guys!

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:





Cache Name




Old Saw Mill



259 days





121 days


A Quick Score



70 days


Road to Nowhere



124 days


Voce Dorata



121 days


VK’s Tax Payment #1



84 days





168 days


Lily Pad



143 days


Rainbow’s end



62 days


101 View aka “EMC’s 9000th”



52 days


SCG GeoFest 2006



125 days


I Think You’re Tops



93 days





82 days


Baker’s Dozen #5



121 days


South Hills Park #2



118 days


Triple Crown Road



101 days


City in Transition #03



121 days





102 days


One Heck of a Gecko



174 days





69 days


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!



1 – Wheeler Dealers


2.76 %

2 – f0t0m0m


1.24 %

3 – MightyDee


1.21 %



1.18 %

5 – agouracharger


1.11 %

6 – ventura_kids


0.89 %

7 – HaZzMaTt…


0.85 %

8 – Team Nohoch


0.82 %

9 – MaxGold


0.74 %

10 – fresgo


0.74 %

10 – ShowStop


0.64 %

12 – mondou2


0.63 %

13 – Yosemite John and …


0.63 %

14 – Joshua Tree Bonnie…


0.61 %

15 – imusttravel2000


0.60 %

16 – capdude


0.57 %

17 – Castle Man


0.56 %

18 – FishPOET


0.54 %

19 – Dooley Noted


0.52 %

20 – team 9-er


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)


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?

413 Geocaches in 24 Hours?? YES! We did it…

3 09 2009

50 years ago (or as the card my sister gave me expressed it “A Long, Long, Long Time Ago”), on August 29, I breathed my first taste of Terran air. What better way to celebrate than with a crazy, exhausting, record-setting day of geocaching??

For those of you who have never attempted real power caching like this and wonder how on earth it can be done, here are the most essential things for achieving light speed:

1) density – there must be a LOT of caches in a concentrated area

2) ease of transition – no traffic lights or muggles, but an open country grid of roads

3) complete pre-planning – all puzzles solves and the entire route is mapped out for maximum efficiency

***I have to give Steve of the Ventura Kids great credit for handling this part!***

4) ease of finding and logging – not too many nanos, no tricky hides, no vegetation hides, no multis

5) high level of maintenance – lots of folks finding them recently, no DNFs in the history

6) excessive good humor – it’s a LONG time to be driving around… if it ain’t going to be fun, don’t bother!

7) tenacity – especially as the sun is going down again and your hourly cache count with it, you need to know you and your team will stick with it to the end

There’s your basic recipe for a wild and woolly ride through a cosmos’ worth of logbooks.

Here’s a peek into how our day went. Well, first of all, I was picked up at the airport the day before:

We found 15 caches that afternoon, then we all ate dinner and rested up for the coming marathon. At 11:15pm, we regrouped in the hotel lobby. Steve fortified himself with coffee:

We loaded up the trunk with food for the day:

and we were off! We did 5 “warmup” caches before midnight, at which time the other three sang “Happy Birthday” to me!

Here’s our first official find of the 24-hour period of August 29:
’34 Gold Wing

Cache find 100 was around 5:30am! It was still dark.
Mondo’s Silver Bullet LV

Here’s Jim signing a log on the other side of a ditch while Steve sets his GPSr for the next one. Efficiency is the name of the game, for sure.

Many of the caches were in the late summer’s overgrowth of weeds:

and we got to experience the truly vicious variety of stickers that grow all over this place:

Speaking of stickers – we used a single group one:

I tried to reserve my energy whenever possible:

There were some interesting views at cache #200
Colorado Eastern Railroad

We could see the airport from there and pretty much everywhere all day:

and these wildflowers were all over:

They’re a smaller version of these guys:

Cache find #300 was around 4:30pm
Shadow and Sandy

Sandy of the VKs wants to call Jim “Shadow” now:

Steve observes the log signing ritual behind me. Why did he park so far from the cache??

Somewhere along the way, we stopped for gas, and f0t0m0m presented me with cupcakes! They did not light the candles since we were at a gas station – whew!

The sunset looked similar to the sunrise, just in a different part of the big, broad sky:

Find #400, at just before 11pm.
Cachonomic Stimulus Plan #2

We were a little worried earlier in the evening that we might not pull this off, but now we knew we were in the clear! We found the record-breaking #407 at 11:30pm and continued to midnight to nab 413!
Douglas #12 Hungate

Oh, and here’s a short video that shows you basically what driving up to each and every cache was like:

Here are our per hour stats (listed from the beginning of each hour):
midnight = 15 
1 am = 11 
2 am = 23 
3 am = 20 
4 am = 24 
5 am = 21 
6 am = 19 
7 am = 17 
8 am = 17 
9 am = 15 
10 am = 20 
11 am = 27 
noon = 18 
1 pm = 17 
2 pm = 13 
3 pm = 14 
4 pm = 16 
5 pm = 20 
6 pm = 14 
7 pm = 16 
8 pm = 12 
9 pm = 15 
10 pm = 17 
11 pm = 11 

We also had 24 DNFs!

We don’t know how long we’ll hold this record, but we hope it will stand through the winter. Come the longer days next year, though… who will go for it??


P.S. The Daily Reviewer has me on the list of top geocaching blogs! Here’s the *LINK*. I’m honored!

p.p.s. here’s a jpg of our route! (Steve lost his track, darn it…)
World Record Speed run Aug 29th 2009 2