Sunday, January 18, 2009

More Odds and Ends

Sometimes when I go geocaching, I encounter stuff that's out of the ordinary, some of it good and some of it bad and some of it just plain different. Maybe I think it's out of the ordinary because I wasn't expecting it. When I came down from Stockton at the beginning of the month, I met a friend of mine for lunch in Visalia. He used to teach at my school, but has moved on to community college where he enjoys teaching history. He was best man at my wedding over 21 years ago. It had been about three and a half years since I'd seen him last, on a return trip from Sequoia National Park with the Tadpole in tow. We had a good lunch, talked about the kids, our aches and pains, with a little political discussion thrown in there as well. We've been in touch via email, so it wasn't like we were catching up, more just continuing our conversation that we've had for the past 10 years electronically. It was good to see him and his wife again and it reminded me that good friendships are hard to come by.

After I left, I found a couple of caches on the western edge of Visalia near the airport. The airport is right by the 99 freeway which I use to drive up and back from Stockton. I can't tell you how many times I've driven past this airport, yet have never noticed the large propeller planes sitting at the side of the airport alongside the freeway. These planes are actually located just south and alongside Hwy 198 which leads into Visalia, but the airport is also just east of the 99 where it crosses the 198, so I'm pretty sure you can see them from the 99 as well, yet I don't recall ever noticing them before this past visit. Once again, I have to blame geocaching for getting me off the highway and taking the side streets, which in turn allowed me to get a better look at my surroundings.

At another cache that I found last weekend, we ended up finding coconuts. The cache was an ammo can hidden in the far reaches of a bush near the side of a road. It was located at a viewing spot for a dam in the area so there's quite a bit of level land, with grasses and other types of vegetation nearby, but definitely no coconut palm trees. They probably wouldn't survive the colder nights in the winter here. Needless to say, finding the coconuts was quite a surprise. It almost appeared to me to be like a makeshift memorial that someone had created there. There were four coconuts with some red carnations lying on the ground. We actually thought we might have some problems with the cache find because the coconuts were leaking and attracting a fair amount of bees. Fortunately, the cache was far enough away that they didn't present a problem. We chose not to disturb whatever it was, mainly because we didn't want to disturb the bees, but the mystery still persists why they were there in the first place.

On the same day, we'd also found several nice caches along a trail that we'd never hiked on before. One of the final caches was hidden in the roots of a tree. I didn't pay much notice to the type of tree. Once we got there, we pretty much forgot about the tree and just marveled at the root system of the tree, which was about seven feet high or so off of the trail and running down into the ground at the base of the trail. It was like a spider web on steroids with rocks interspersed within the web pretending like they were the spider's catch for the day. I kept thinking about what this particular hillside would look like if that tree hadn't been there to hold back everything. Somewhere in that picture is a small cache container that also ended up on my top 5% list because of the placement and the hike to get to it.

Lastly, I've been somewhat remiss in placing my next cache, so much so that I actually have enough cache "ingredients" to hide about four caches. I expect to probably hide four more caches, one ammo can, one cache that was sent to me for Christmas by the Cheeseheads and two decon containers, sometime by the end of the month. Usually, when I hide caches I have names for the caches in mind way in advance. This is partially the case with these as well. I've pretty much made up my mind that the ammo can is going to be my first letterbox hybrid type of cache. The hike to the cache will pass by several forks in the main trail, so I've decided to name this cache, Yogi Berra's Fork.

For one of the decon containers, I'm working on a puzzle cache that will have cachers using their GPSrs in more than one way. I found a cache once where I had to project a waypoint a distance away and then find the cache at the new coordinates. I thought I'd like to try something like that with this one and am planning on naming it, Exploring the Technology. The last two caches don't have names yet, but the one that Cheeseheads gave me, will probably have something in the title that will link it back to them.

With these four cache hides, I'll be up to 26 hides. Not all of those are active, but that's enough hides for me at the present time. I want to make sure that I can adequately maintain all of my cache hides for some time to come. I know my own limitations and know that I couldn't hide several hundred caches and be able to maintain them very well. I've found many caches that had degraded or had full log books and several cachers in the past had already alerted the cache owner of possible problems. I went to find a cache on Friday and looked at the logs posted beforehand. The last four logs were all DNFs dating back to August. It seems to me that the cache owner isn't doing his caches justice by not responding to these logs. I don't want that to happen to my caches, so I'll continue to limit my cache hides to 1 for every 100 finds that I have. It just makes more sense to me to hide quality over quantity.

Pictures were taken at or near the following caches:
ZOOM, ZOOM - by Evil Cow Pie
View of Morris Dam - by esquimaux

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