Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All shapes and sizes

While up in Santa Cruz, I attempted to find the cache, Benchmark 941 3745 TIDAL 4. Obviously, a benchmark is located near where the cache was hidden. I could find neither and the cache isn't a micro. Sometimes the geosenses work and sometimes they're on the fritz. The cache, in my opinion is in an awkward spot, where you have to stand on a corner where three streets come together, with one street being blind, so it's not the most ideal spot for a cache, but it is an interesting place for a benchmark.

Looking at the picture of the benchmark on the cache page, I'm very surprised that I didn't find it. It seems to be a typical/standard USGS benchmark disk. And yet, not all benchmarks are that kind of standard disk, nor are they all obvious. This one was hidden by leaves, but it must be there, since it has been found at least twice since I visited the area 10 days ago.

After finding the Neary Lagoon virtual on the same walk as the attempt on the benchmark cache, I headed back to the motel and discovered there were two more benchmarks along the Boardwalk. When my son and I went to ride the Giant Dipper later that evening, I didn't take my camera with me, so I figured that I would log them in the morning before we left. Both were easy to find, one being the standard disk located on a piling for a railroad bridge that is near the eastern edge of the boardwalk. There was a walking trail right next to it, so I really wasn't putting myself in any kind of danger by going over and taking a picture or two of the benchmark.

The other benchmark was at the other end of the boardwalk. It was the dome and cupola of the former Casino on the boardwalk. Usually, when I think about benchmarks, I usually think about the round disks that I would discover in many of the national parks that we visited when I was younger. Those were the first encounters I would get with benchmarks and the images stayed with me. Now, here I was looking at a structure and recording it as a benchmark. They do come in all shapes and sizes. Looking over the list of benchmarks that I've recorded, there is a microwave tower, a church steeple, a lighthouse and a statue on top of a courthouse that were all benchmarks.

What this means, I guess, is if I want to log benchmarks, then I need to be prepared, because they seem to be all around, in some surprising locations and in some interesting shapes. They also aren't always where you think they might be. As I was thinking about the write up for this blog, I realized that I'd taken a picture of a lighthouse while logging an earthcache in Santa Cruz. Since the lighthouse down at Point Loma in San Diego was a benchmark, it stood to reason that this one might be a benchmark too. A quick scan of the local benchmarks revealed a lighthouse, but not of the one I took a picture. There's another lighthouse just to the southwest of that one and it's the benchmark. I didn't get over there to see that one, or take a picture of it, so it wasn't logged.

As in the past, my primary focus is on geocaching. I happened upon the two benchmarks, mainly because I had wireless connection in the motel room, so I was able to do a quick search for them. Most of the others that I've come across, have just been happenstance. But I think I need to at least scout out locations where I know I'm going, just in case an interesting one might show up.

That same weekend, while we were driving by my daughter's school, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, that looked suspiciously like a benchmark. It was a pipe that was crooked and out of place, but I didn't have time to stop and adequately check it out. Upon getting home, I did a search and discovered that this was indeed a benchmark. I missed it that time, but I'm going to be going up to Stockton many more times over the next couple of years, so I'll probably be logging that one some time in the future.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches and benchmarks:
Seabright Beach Building - by TerryDad2 dedicated to 50sumtin

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