Monday, September 27, 2010

Meets and Greets

Back in April, I wrote about a mini high school reunion that I attended.  At the time, I thought I might have recruited a couple of new geocachers.  I'm not sure whether that panned out or not, but it sort of whet my appetite to try and go to a couple of geocaching events, something that I have not done a lot of in the past.

I attended an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of geocaching back on May 1st.  That was a very enjoyable afternoon.  We ate, we talked geocaching, then many of us went on a hike through the Devils Punchbowl, picking up some caches we hadn't found on previous outings to the area.  All in all, it was a very good day.

This past Saturday, I attended another event hosted by BigDaddyGRC and ScrabbleDogs.  BigDaddyGRC is one of the hiders of the Groundspeak series that I've written about, plus the Smiley Series.  I'd met him at the 10th anniversary event and had enjoyed his company then, so when my friend Chaosmanor pointed this event out to me, I thought it might look interesting.

Unfortunately, the Tadpole also had a cross country meet that day, so I couldn't be in two places at the same time and family comes first.  However, he hadn't been feeling well with allergies all week, due mainly to the local county fair and didn't end up running on Saturday because of it.  That freed up my day once I got the lawn mowed.

I was able to get the lawn mowed early in the morning before it started to heat up and then took off.  I found a couple of caches on the way up the hill to the event, which was held at the Grassy Hollow area near Wrightwood, CA.  This area has a very nice visitors center and has a nice group campground designed for through hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.  I had been up here one other time back in November 2002 looking for a cache hidden right along the PCT.

The event was a potluck hamburger/hotdog barbeque and the day couldn't have been more perfect.  The people who came up were similar to me in that we were all beating the heat. The temperature at my house on Saturday was 99˚, while up in the mountains, it was probably in the low 80s - quite pleasant for a picnic and subsequent hike along the PCT.  BigDaddyGRC was a fine host, cooking the burgers to perfection and we had plenty of food for everyone.  In fact, if people went away hungry after this event, it was their own fault.

At any of these events, most of the cachers tend to know one another, either because they've met in the past, or they're familiar with them due to seeing their names in logs somewhere while out caching.  This event was no exception, but it's still nice to finally put cache names to faces.  I met three of the 4DirtyDogs that afternoon, as well as RedBaroness, Shell1Fish, NascarFamily.

We ended up talking for several hours about different things, including geocoins, old time caching back in the early days when you'd go for a hike of 2 miles and find one cache.  That was the case when I'd gone after that cache up here.  It was the only one there.  Now there's about 10 caches available to find within a two mile radius of the picnic area.  We were also treated to a nice geocoin collection by Steben6.

After the raffle of some prizes, which I think ended with everyone in attendance getting something related to geocaching, geocoins, we all headed our separate ways.  I ended up hiking with Chaosmanor and the 4DirtyDogs over to a cache.  Our group eventually ended up being 10 cachers strong and it was fun talking about stuff while hiking along the trail.  We eventually ended up over at the Grassy Hollow Cache which I'd found 8 years ago.  It was fun watching others find this old cache.

I related about how few and far between caches were back then and talked about the differences in caching between then and now.  Logging in the logbook was an art and people tended to write stories.  While the others signed the new log book, I was busily looking through the old logbook of this cache.  As I was looking, it dawned on me and I also voiced it out loud, that I was going to be pretty embarrassed if we encountered my name in the log book and there wasn't a story attached.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I found my entry and noticed that I had indeed written a short story about the experience.

The last cache the group ended up finding was a picture puzzle cache, one where cachers had to walk along a trail checking out the viewpoints until the view matched up with a set of pictures attached to the cache page.  Once the pictures lined up, supposedly you would be at the cache site.  A lot of debating went along with this one as we walked along, especially after we saw the lake down below which showed up in one of the pictures.  Eventually, we were able to get the "right" view and found the cache, a fitting end of the day cache find.

I looked on my profile page while writing this one and this was only the 10th event I've chosen to attend.  I'm averaging about 1 per year, but I know there have been several years where I haven't attended any events, while other years have a couple.  I'm already planning on attending another local event on the 10th of October.  I can't resist the numerology of 10/10/10.  I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy that one as much as I enjoyed this last event last Saturday.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
A Day in the Angeles Forest - Grassy Hollow - by HDGC (BigD'GRC and Scrab'Dogs)
Grassy Hollow - by John, Donna and Slipper

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1 comment:

George said...

Nicely put in writing. I think it went well. Thanks Paul for stopping by, enjoyed your company.