Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thanks Dave

In the spring of 2000, President Clinton signed an executive order allowing for the removal of selective availability of GPS satellites.  The implications of this meant that hand held GPS receivers would be more accurate and navigation systems would start to become standard features in many cars.  Another result of the lifting of selective availability was the advent of several different kinds of GPS games like the Degree Confluence Project, GeoVexilla, GeoDashing, and of course, Geocaching.

On May 3, 2000 Dave Ulmer hid a black painted container in the state of Oregon and challenged an on-line community at sci.geo.satellite-nav to go and find it.  The first geocache was born, although at the time it was called the First GPS Stash.  Within days, that first stash had been found.  Contained within that five gallon bucket were a Delorme Topo USA and 2 CD Roms, a cassette recorder, a "George of the Jungle" VHS tape, a Ross Perot book, 4 $1 bills, a slingshot handle, and a can of beans.  The original cache is no longer there, but the spot can still be visited where there is a plaque placed commemorating the original stash.  The can of beans, heavily rusted but preserved, is now a travel bug.

This weekend, I traveled to the Devils Punchbowl to celebrate ten years of geocaching.  Events were held all over the world, but I found myself in a void, with the nearest event more than 30 miles away driving distance.  I decided to attend the event in the Antelope Valley mainly because it's a very scenic spot, plus there were going to be opportunities for some hiking after the event.  After all, when I started geocaching back in 2001, that's what it was all about.  The requirements for a 10 year event, as posted by were that the event needed to have a picture posted showing at least 10 people at the event plus a sign indicating the coordinates of the event in the picture.  Our event picture is here.

This was my 9th event in just over 9 years since starting this silly game.  I don't know why I don't attend many events.  I could probably go to at least one event a month if I so choose, I just don't and there's not really a reason why I don't.  This event, hosted by Kit Fox, was a lot of fun.  I met one of the hiders of the Groundspeak Series and Smiley Series, Bigdaddygrc.  I had a very pleasant conversation with him about geocaching and other things.  I also spent a good deal of time with a fairly new cacher, HD-MsTree.  I got to meet mcattk again, after bumping into him out at the Groundspeak Series a couple of months ago.  Time was also spent with Yosemite John and Debbie and Tevis Clan.  Several of us got a great review of Tevis Clan's new Lowrance GPSr.  My good friend, Chaosmanor and his wife also showed up at this event and we ended up going on a nice hike in the Punchbowl after the event.

While on the hike we ended up bumping into several other cachers that had been at the event.  W_bovine was walking down the trail from a multi-cache as we were heading up to it.  That's w_bovine holding the sign in the picture.  We had a pleasant conversation and I encouraged him to head over to my neck of the woods if he wanted to do some more hiking and caching.  There aren't many hikers in my area, so my caches don't get found very often, so any new finders is a bonus in my mind.  He said he would check it out.  While on the hike, Chaosmanor and I discussed the different rock strata of the rocks in the Punchbowl, while figuring out the requirements of an earthcache along the trail.  We also watched rock climbers playing their game.  I'd tried that once when I was in college and made the mistake of looking down about halfway up a pitch.  Never again.  But then again, I would suspect that those rock climbers might think the game we were playing a little too mundane for them.  To each his own.

At the end of the day, I counted my finds.  Including the event, I found 8 - an event, a multi-cache, a mystery cache, two earthcaches and three traditional caches.  It was a very modest day numbers-wise, but a very good geocaching day.  It's not about the numbers of caches you find, but about the experiences you have as you play the game.  I think I played the game well yesterday.  Thanks Dave.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
10 Years! Antelope Valley, California - by Kit Fox
Devil's Punchbowl - by Yosemite John and Debbie

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