Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Proximity issues

Last weekend, I hid a multi-cache in an area where I hide many of my caches.  I didn't figure I'd have too much problems getting this one approved since I seem to be the only one who hides caches up in that area for the most part.  I was kind of surprised when I got an reviewer notice stating that my cache was on hold until I cleared up some proximity issues.

Apparently, the second waypoint of my multi-cache was impinging upon a secret waypoint for a puzzle cache in the area.  The reviewer couldn't give me any more information than that, other than to give me the cache waypoint for the puzzle cache.  I was a little confused, since I wasn't aware of any new puzzle caches in the area, but when I looked at the waypoint number for the cache, I realized that it was my own puzzle cache, Cobol Canyon Trail.

I had neglected to take into account my own waypoint when laying out another cache.  I found a really nifty site that will take geographic coordinates and calculate the distance between the two points.  My two points are 447 feet away, about 80 less than what is expected as the minimum distance for cache waypoints set in the guidelines at

After some back and forth between the reviewer and me, I decided that I had a couple of options.  I could archive my puzzle cache and then there wouldn't be a problem with the multi-cache.  This would be the easiest option.  In fact, I could probably take the ammo can from the puzzle, move it 80 feet further away and I'd have two new caches.  I've decided against this one, mainly because I like that particular puzzle cache.  It gets good comments every time it's found.  As most cache hiders will probably attest, a good log on your cache page is worth its weight in photons.

My second option is to move the second waypoint of my multi-cache.  This is the more difficult of the two options, because I would have to make two hikes up to do this, one to get new coordinates and move the cache and the second hike to bring up the new coordinates for the first stage.  I keep the coordinates on laminated paper, so it won't disintegrate in any kind of wet weather.  It's not that this is a problem, because I like to hike, but I don't have the time to do this until sometime next week.  This weekend is already booked and I had hopes of getting this cache up and active sooner as opposed to later.  Unfortunately, I guess it will just have to be later.  That's the way it goes sometimes.

Pictures were taken at or near Cobol Canyon Trail - by Webfoot

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Road Trip

My friend Chaosmanor and I are planning a road trip for next month.  Veteran's Day is conveniently near the end of the week, creating a nice long weekend.  Our plan is to head up the 395 on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, then head over to Lake Tahoe and up to Interstate 80, before heading back down through the central valley of California.

Part of the reason for this roadtrip is to get those last couple of counties that I still need to fill up my state map.  I'm pretty sure we won't get all of them, but I think the two hardest, El Dorado County and Nevada County which are at the north and south end of Lake Tahoe can be had, especially if the weather holds out for us.  I'd also like to clear out a couple more of the DeLorme map pages.

For those of you unacquainted with the DeLorme map series, there are several challenges where you have to find a cache on each page of a DeLorme map.  There are actually three in California, one for the northern half of the state, one for the southern half and another for the entire state.  This past summer, when the Tadpole and I traveled up the 395, we got several of the pages off of the list, but I wasn't paying close enough attention at that time and missed a couple.  I know I can't get them all on this trip, but any serious dent will help.

There is also a challenge cache near Hanford that I'd like to get.  10 year event cache, Chaosmanor and I actually found five different kinds of caches that day, an event cache, a regular, a multi-cache, and earthcache and a mystery cache.  We've since had another day where we found six different kinds of caches.  That challenge cache is high on the list of "must finds" for this trip.

And to top it all off, near that challenge cache, there are two Wherigo caches.  Having never found a Wherigo cache before, these look intriguing.  I'm not really sure how to explain what they are, mainly because I really don't know what they are or how they work.  Chaosmanor has found one, just after he got his new GPSr a couple of months ago, so he's more of an expert. explains a Wherigo cache as the following:

>Wherigo is a toolset for creating and playing GPS-enabled adventures in the real world. By integrating a Wherigo experience, called a cartridge, with finding a cache, the geocaching hunt can be an even richer experience. Among other uses, Wherigo allows geocachers to interact with physical and virtual elements such as objects or characters while still finding a physical geocache container. A Wherigo-enabled GPS device is required to play a cartridge.
My particular GPSr is not a Wherigo enabled GPS, so I'll be relying on his GPS.  I'll obviously be writing more about this when we get back from our trip.  I'll expand on each of these in other posts over the next week or so.  Until then, Happy Trails.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scouting and Geocaching

I was once in the Boy Scouts.  We were Troop 7 affiliated with my local parish church in Santa Ana, CA.  I joined the Panther patrol, which evolved into the Hawk patrol the following year.  For awhile, we had a very active troop, mostly due to the active participation of several parents, including my dad, who eventually became assistant troopmaster.  The boys in the troop had a good time learning outdoor activities, and everything else that was part of scouting.

Our troop had a tradition of camping out at least once a month, rain or shine.  Traditionally, we'd camp out near the beach in San Clemente in June.  I can remember one year, President Nixon (yeah, I know that dates me) was going to be down at "La Casa Pacifica," the Western White House, the same weekend our troop was going to be camping at San Clemente State Beach.  I wrote to the White House and invited him to a cookout with our troop.  I got a nice response back from Hugh Sloan, one of his assistants.  In essence, it said Thanks, but the President would be too busy to attend.  I figured it would end like that and wasn't bothered by it in the least.  If I hadn't sent an invitation, it definitely would have been a no.

While in the Boy Scouts, I rose to the rank of 1st Class.  I enjoyed the camping, the regular scouting meetings every Tuesday night.  But, for whatever reason, I had no motivation or desire to attempt to move on to the ranks of Star, Life or Eagle.  The process of doing the requirements of the various merit badges held no interest for me.  I haven no idea why, because I've looked at my old Scouting book and have wondered why I didn't attempt some of the different badges.  Many looked interesting and fun to do.  Perhaps I was overwhelmed by the requirements and the number of badges needed for each rank.  Perhaps this is probably why only 2% of all scouts ever attain the rank of Eagle.

I bring this up mainly because the Boy Scouts have recently released the requirements for a Geocaching Merit Badge, which is pictured here.  Some of the highlights for the merit badge, as noted in their official blog are listed here and include:

Precautions necessary to have a safe time while searching for geocaches
Geocaching etiquette and how the principles of Leave No Trace apply
Geocaching terms
How GPS Technology works
Steps for finding and logging a cache
How to use, the official online home of geocaching
I must say, that it looks like it would be a fun merit badge to attempt.

I like the fact that Scouting has stayed true to its roots regarding most of their merit badges and that they still emphasize a well rounded young man.  21 merit badges are required to attain the rank of Eagle Scout and of these, there are 12 required badges.

Cycling or Hiking or Swimming
Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the World
Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
Environmental Science
Family Life
First Aid
Personal Fitness
Personal Management

When I first looked over the list, I was surprised to not see some kind of required orienteering badge.  I can remember being able to use a compass as one of the skills we learned early in our scouting career.  Perhaps it's my faulty mind, or the changing of the times.  With GPS technology, the need to use a compass might not seem like a necessary skill that it once was and so the requirements have changed.  Either way, it is definitely still a challenge to become an Eagle Scout.

Picture of the merit badge comes from the Cracker Barrel, the Official Blog of Scouting magazine.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Picture day.  I wonder where that cache is hidden? The beauty of geocaching is seeing some of the great and creative ways people hide caches. I found a cache once that was hidden on a sign and had become part of the sign because of the camouflage the cache hider had done on her cache. This one was similar, however it really did have a cache. Muggles wouldn't give this one a second glance, however, it really was fairly easy for a geocacher.

Pictures were taken near the following geocache:
San Bernardino County Geocache - by TrekNTerry

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life getting in the way

It's really interesting how life can sometimes get in the way of your goals.  That's all right, because a lot of time, it's really life giving you a wake up call, usually in the form of a large two by four in the middle of your forehead.  For most of the summer, I've had this goal of filling the calendar and it worked well until mid September, when I missed a day.  There was no way around filling this day, because life got in the way.

Since that mid September day, I've missed four other days which will have to be filled next year if I want to finish that goal.  Eventually, I'll finish it, perhaps next year, perhaps not however.  And that's OK, because it's just a game.  Real life is what's important.  In this particular case, that two by four was a good two by four.  It got me to appreciate what I have more than ever before.

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