Well its the last day of 2011. Its been an interesting year, and my slowest to date geocaching wise. Honestly I have lost some of the "fire" that geocaching use to spark in
me. When I started you could find amazing places and cool caches. Today
it seems you just find micros along the road where there is no place to
park. I still like to cache in groups, events, finding a few on a road
trip, and hiking to find good caches. I just don't do it as often...
Overall 2011 was still a fun year. Thank you to everyone who hid the caches I found this year. Maybe some of that spark will return in the new year. Hope to see you all out on the trail in 2012 and I hope the world doesn't end.
Decided I needed a few more caches today so I could hit the 2222 find milestone. Sadly I guess I only needed 6 and now sit at 2223. I swear it said 2215 last night. Anyway it doesn't matter I'd have to pass it up someday.
Just to bring up old times 2223 caches ties me with the famous Rooster- for finds. Of course he quit caching a long time ago.
Its been rather cold around her for the last several weeks. Colder then usual I'd say, but dry and sunny for the most part. The sun might warm it up to the high 30's but that's about it. I have no problem with saying I am a fair weather geocacher.
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..."
Bull$#!^ the postal service can have it... all of that stops me from geocaching on most occasions :)
With that said I have not found anything but an event in several weeks. I'll find at least one cache on Christmas day to keep with tradition, but that might be the last for 2011. The event was the
I don't think I have done any geocaching since the last event. Even then I only went to the event (and I showed up late.) I'll admit to being a fair weather cacher. Maybe soon I'll get out for a dozen or so.
Until then I have been selling some things on eBay. I got rid of my old PDA. I wanted it so I could have cache pages and hints especially when I traveled. Plus it had built in Wi-Fi so I could surf the internet at any number of new hot spots that were popping up. I bought it March 23, 2005 and I don't remember what I spent but it was over $500. I sold it for $40. My new GPS keeps all the hints, pages and logs that I want for under $200.
Its funny all of the electronic gadgets I have had over the years. GPSs, phones, cameras, PDAs, computers, video cameras, web cams, CD players, MP3 players and a Kindle. All eventually replaced with something better and usually cheaper.
It was a fun walk around town. Also a good chance to test out the GPS with multiple waypoints of sorts.
Today I decided to try some newer caches along the Greenway from Rogue River to Valley of the Rogue state park. It was a great day for a bike ride and the path is now paved to just past the rest area. My finds for the day were
Today I got a new Garmin eTrex 20 GPS. I've been wanting one with paperless geocaching for a while. The new Garmin eTrex line offered paperless caching at a more affordable price. Plus it can track GLONASS satellites giving you even more accuracy... and it is fast to get its position. Tomorrow I'll try and find a cache with it.
5 years ago today SallyC and I completed the Oregon DeLorme Challenge. It still ranks as the top accomplishment of my geocaching career. Days of big numbers can't compare to those 77 caches.
I'm a big fan of challenge caches and feel they should have there own icon. Though personally I find it hard to compare say the ABC Challenge to those like the DeLorme or CCIO. I guess just like caches there is a challenge for everybody.
So I just read this story about the Japan Tourism Agency's plan to give away 10,000 round trip tickets to promote a return of tourists to Japan. The catch you ask? You have to publicize your trip on blogs and social media sites. I have no problem with that... I'll gladly go to Japan and play tourist. Maybe I could find some geocaches over there. Take pictures of all the monuments. Eat at interesting restaurants. I'd gladly blog about it, tweet about it and facebook about it.
Today I took a trip along HWY 138 between Diamond Lake and Roseburg. There are many waterfalls along there. It wasn't a great day for GPS though. Coords bounced on me all day I started at National Creek Falls. I didn't find the cache as I didn't have the hint, but it was a nice hike.
I went camping with the family this weekend. Took our usual trip to Waldo Lake. Found a few caches in the Union Creek area. Only looked for one at Waldo which I did not find. There are a lot around there, just not enough time to get them all. A couple of them are on small islands. Someday I'll come with a boat and time.
Then We went on a brief trip to Odell Lake and to Salt Creek Falls. Found a couple more caches and called it a trip
Its been almost 6 years since I hid my cache Haines Apple Tree. I hid it with SallyC just before Iseek's (once) annual Wilderville event.
When I first started geocaching this was the first place I wanted to hide a cache. My grandpa had shown me this location years ago and its the kind of out of the way historical item that makes geocaching so much fun at times. However at the time it was already the location of a virtual called They Didn't See it Coming. J-Freaks who hid that cache had quit the hobby by the time I started. I spent a lot of time looking for a few of their missing caches. One of these caches was called Over the River and Thru the Woods. It was a multi cache and after confirming the final was gone I collected the first two stages which were mint tins. I used one of these tins for this cache after the virtual was archived.
Despite a recent DNF it is still there pretty much in the same spot SallyC and I left it. The marker itself is a bit crooked and the site is as overgrown as ever. Without giving away the details the apple tree itself is generally considered the second oldest in Oregon being planted somewhere around 1852-54... and it still has apples...
Yesterday was the first Great Amazing Cache event. This has been in the planning for a long time. I don't remember when I first heard about it, but it was at least January. I have to admit that a very secret event put on by two very new geocachers didn't get me excited. Often new cachers have grand ideas that never come to pass.
Sunday I got a call from Biggieet_al asking if I'd like to join a team with Daveydude and Golden Ace for this event. I didn't see any reason not to try it.
FatNinjuh and HsSrvnt put on a great event. The event, as it turns out, was a competition to complete a new 15 stage multi. Fastest time as well as a "closest time" to a secret preset number. Normally a 15 stage multi would hit my ignore list. In a group environment at the event it turned out to be a lot of fun. They had lots of prizes and trophies.
A lot of newer geocachers were in attendance. I am really going to need to start learning some of these names. Those I did know I had fun talking to. I've been pretty slow at caching but maybe I'll come up with some reasons to grab a few.
Earlier this month I went with family on a trip to parts of Eastern Oregon. Are first stop was just for a night in Lakeview. In my quest for the State of Jefferson Counties Challenge we went a few miles out of the way south to grab a cache in Modoc County
Many of these were hidden by a local Southern Oregon cacher2trax. He had some more, but they were archived for being in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge even though they were right off the highway... one of them in a rest area. It would have been nice to have one in the rest area for sure. The refuge is nice. I saw a number of wild burros, horses and pronghorn but I can't see how a geocaching in the fenced rest area on the highway was a concern for the environment.
There is not much in Denio Junction. A store, gas station and small motel. The store had a cafe with pretty good food though. The hotel is commonly full from what I hear. There are many commercial opal mines in the area. Many of them let you pay to mine. I didn't try it Prices seemed to be $60-$150 depending on the mine and what you wanted to dig in.
Our destination was a bit further north to Fields, Oregon. Fields is about the same as Denio Junction. Just a store and gas station. There is a small motel and the Alvord Inn where we stayed. The store has world famous Hamburgers and Milkshakes. Our plan was just to look at wildlife and go to the several hot springs in the area. However they have had more water then anytime in the past 30 years. What is usually called the Alvord Desert was a lake. Many of the hot springs were unreachable due to the muddy road conditions. We still had fun and I found a recently hidden cache in town.
The next part of our trip was to Summer Lake Hot Springs. This hot spring is private and has a several cabins and camp spots. The spring itself is fed into a large pool in a bathhouse. The pool is very nice but you run into a lot of weird people. There was a cache at the entrance
Thank you to everyone who donated to the March of Babies this year, or have donated in the past. Despite a late start and the rough economy we managed to raise over $3000. The weather for walking was good and it was a fun time had by all. Many children were there that in the past probably wouldn't have survived so you can see the progress being made.
A while back I saw a blog about refurbishing an old Telephone bench. I liked the idea a lot as I enjoy old things, and I remember my grandparents having one. Today the idea of having a desk and chair devoted to your telephone seems very strange. I don't even have a home phone... just my cell.
So I was looking for something about the same style as my grandparents had and finally found one on craigslist... but it was in Corvallis. I had a friend of mine buy it, and used it as a good excuse to go visit.
Initially I sanded it and tried to stain it a bit darker. Because it was made of two different kinds of wood this looked very uneven. So I ended up painting it black and recovered the seat. Add in an old rotary phone and this is how it looks now
Once again this year I will be participating in the annual March for Babies on April 30th. This is year 4 and its still my charity of choice because it has a big positive impact on young lives. These babies may be screwed up by their parents or society later, but at least we can give them a positive and healthy beginning. To the right ----> is a link to my page. Anything you can donate would be appreciated.
A few weeks ago I decided it was time to complete another challenge cache. I had lots of fun with the Oregon DeLorme Challenge and even the ABC Challenge. The one I picked has been on my list for a while. State of Jefferson Counties Challenge
The State of Jefferson being a proposed state made up of parts of Oregon and California. 19 counties total to find caches in. No problem except gas is nearing $4 a gallon and there is a lot of ground to cover.
All caches have to be found since the challenge was created. So I figured I could take my time. I quickly marked off Josephine, Jackson and Curry counties as those are the nearest to me. Over the course of the 2010 I found the remaining counties in Oregon (Douglas, Coos, Klamath, and Lake) but I still had none of the 12 I needed in California. I just don't get to California very often.
When a chance came up to visit a friend down around the bay area I decided to make this challenge an extra reason just to get up and go.
I took vacation days on Thursday and Friday and took off late the morning of the 17th. My goal was a simple 3 caches in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. Trinity county being a good 80 miles out of the way round trip. Despite a lot of rain I managed these three
After spending a day with non-geocaching friends I took off for I-5. I found caches in Glenn and Butte Counties in heavy rain. It let up a bit for my find in Tehama County. Then the rain really drenched me in Shasta County. I decided to head for home that night and try searching for a Siskiyou County cache in the dark. Then I hit heavy snow. Going 20MPH with a white knuckled grip on my steering wheel made me forget about caches. I stopped in Yreka not ready to face the possibility of more snow over Siskiyou Pass. The next morning was cold and just a bit of rain. The nearest cache to my hotel had several DNFs so I decided that I'd find one later. So these were my last finds of the trip
Now I have Siskiyou, Modoc, Lassen and Plumas counties to complete. In June I have a planned trip to Eastern Oregon. A side trip to Modoc County could happen. The last 3 I could take out in a day trip or weekend trip to Reno. We'll see...
I'm a little slow on my news these days I guess. Only today did I hear that Frank Buckles, the last US Veteran of World War I had died.
He lied about his age and enlisted at 16 serving as a ambulance driver. During World War II as a civilian working in the shipping business he was captured by the Japanese and helpd in a prison camp for nearly 4 years. Yet to all this he lived to the age of 110 and dedicated his last years to creating a national memorial for those who served in "the Great War" A memorial he never got to see built.
Born when William McKinley was president, his life spanned nearly the whole 20th Century. Its hard to imagine the world as it had changed to him. Everything we take for granted today such as cars, airplanes, computers, cell phones and GPS all invented in his lifetime.
When I was young I remember WWI veterans in the Memorial Day parade riding in a truck. Each year their numbers got smaller... and then one year there were none. Now that is true for all time, Frank was the last one. Thanks to an exception to the normal rules he will be burried at Arlington National Cemetery. Sadly, a bill to allow him to lay in state at the Capital was denied.
Today would have been George Harrison's 68th birthday. To celebrate all day they are streaming the Concert for George free. You can hear Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, Ringo Star, Paul McCartney and others sing some of George's songs. A good mix of what he did with the Beatles and solo. It starts with an Indian music section just to make you feel worldly. Makes for great office listening on this cold, but sunny, Friday.
Had a major system conversion at work this weekend. I can finally breath easy for a bit. Worked a lot of extra hours and a holiday. Seems to be going well. Getting this final step out of the way should mean more free time for geocaching.
Besides the Roseburg event in my last blog the annual Coos Bay event is coming up
They give you a passport and you visit spots around town. It sounds like lots of fun and unless I-5 is closed by snow I'll try to attend.
They had something a lot like this in Salt Lake City for Geocoinfest (which I thought about attending but ended up in Las Vegas instead.) They hid caches along the light rail line and you had a passport to complete.
Last year I planned to do something a lot like this. I bought a bunch of rubber stamps to prepare a "Southern Oregon Passport" series. I think the main reason I didn't complete it was because I was torn between making the caches difficult (nothing I hide is very hard, but I'm talking "hiking required") or making the caches easy so that more people would find it. I still have the stamps and containers so maybe this will still happen.