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Friday, May 30, 2008

Daughter Geoness and HeadHardHat in Fuquay-Varina, NC

Well daughter Geoness and I took another swipe at Fuquay- Varina, NC for a couple of hours and pulled away with some nice nature trails and some Grab and Go's. Added ten caches to our ever growing list.

Seen to the left is her Geoness doing what she loves to do and that is finding ammo boxes. Sure she loves being first to find the micros. Mainly because the deal is who ever finds the cache first gets to sign first. But the ammo boxes is pure buried treasure.

I feel the same way too.. Shy of a half dozen ticks going for the ride we had a real great afternoon together.

I don't know who looks more forward to our time together but I know I am savoring mine while I can. She isn't going to stay 12 forever....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

That would be 500 feet of pure bushwack!

That would be 500 feet of pure bushwack! Cache Found! Falls Lake, NC.

So I say to myself.. Pure bushwack.. Hmmmm, It's only 500 feet. How bad could it be? Then as I trek through the woods it dawns on me that this is a NCTrecker cache. Greatttttt, I'll never find it.. But I must.
So as the mosquitos are dining on my flesh, the flys buzz my ears, hair and face. I look down and brush away the rather large orb spider from my pant leg, I press on.
The cache area is hidden well under the lush canopy of green. There are possible hiding places piled on top of possible hiding places and this is the master of cami - well great but I press on.
So at the 30 minute mark of playing "bouncy arrow" I just look and prod and look some more. Finally there as if it was a part of the host I find the cache. WooHoo!
Somehow the bushwack back to the car was not quite so "thick". Thanks NC for pushing me out of my comfort zone and into the thick woods.
P.S. Still haven't seen a snake yet - thank goodness.

And the Winner Is...

Okay I had to laugh when I found this particular cache on the way to work this morning. It was unexpected and quite creative and really set the tone for today.

What you are looking at is a Tivo remote controller and the log is placed where the batteries go. There are two magnets that hold it to it's host.

What a great idea.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Yes went caching in rain.

Yes soaked and smell of pine.

Yes in woods.

Two days without a cache. Going through withdrawals and can't help myself. Plus add $4.00 a gallon gas my pickings between work and home is getting pretty well picked. But sometimes ya just need a quick grab and go.

I'm not obsessed... Right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Congrats to Mobettamerf for FTF Finish of Entire GTLD Series

Getting The Lowe Down Mystery Series

Congratulations to our FTF cacher Mobettamerf for finding GTLD#5!!! Not an easy task by any means. Read below how this series came to be and what you have to do to complete it.

It started out as a simple TB Hotel and then transformed into a double secret decoder encrypted series. My 'Getting The Lowe Down' series was originally designed to have a nice place for people to trade trading bugs and geocoins in the 40/42 area of Garner, NC. The TB Hotel did so well I thought it would be a good starting point to a secret cache. So GTLD #2 and #3 were born.

Number three is a real treasure trove of which I check regularly and will most likely be changing into a huge ammo box. It currently is stuffed with one ups and other goodies that people have traded. The last log stated it was actually so packed with swag the cacher couldn't put the extra goodies they brought. Did I mention how much I love well stocked caches? Anyways I was getting so many nice comments on this series I decided to expand it but what would make it even more interesting? The answer was a decoder encrypted double secret cache hunt!

Recently a new geocoin was introduced which actually is a Pocket Decoder. This decoder allows the creation and decryption of incredibly secure messages. Now I actually bought one but the nice thing is there is a paper version anyone can print off for free. So you do not actually have to buy it to find these types of caches. Note- they are sweet though so you might want to consider getting one.

GTLD #4 and GTLD #5 were created for this new challenge. In GTLD #4 is a symbol used to decipher the secret message with instructions of where #5 is, what type of cache it is and a well rounded hint. The plan is simple. Find the symbol, decipher the message, get to the hidden mystery cache. Read below what you have to do to complete this series.

- Find GTLD #1 - Retrieve first half of coords to GTLD#3
- Find GTLD #2 - Retrieve second half of coords to GTLD#3
- Find GTLD #3 - Retrieve encrypted message to GTLD#5
- Find GTLD #4 - Retrieve decoder symbol and decrypt message
- Find GTLD #5 - Mission Accomplished

Do you have the right stuff to find Getting The Lowe Down #5? Time will tell who has the fortitude.

Again Way To Go Mobettamerf!!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Troubles in Smithfield. Cache Found!

Well some times you get days like today. Went out with daughter Geoness to take our first swipe at the Smithfield, NC area and I cannot stress enough how bad it was. I have never seen anything like it.

Granted this was the first time I just loaded my Garmin with about 100 caches for the area and did not load up my palm with the cache info and cache hints. Since we were going for numbers I was not hitting anything more than a two in difficulty. No biggie right? What I didn't see were all the other DNFs for each of the tries we went for. What a shame. Long story short we had only three finds for the first 13 attempts. Very frustrating but it was the first time we had hit such a string of a blatant lack of maintenance.

By the time we hit the tenth DNF we decided to leave and hit a richer cache area and had no problems there. Sorry folks but this was a waste of $4.00 a gallon gas. Won't be going back there till we see the caches being better taken care of.

Almost forgot bumped into USAFSP and the rest of Team P who also were hitting dry spots in the Smithfield area. In fact the cache we were both going for turned up to be a DNF for both of us. Usafsp was telling me how he had gone as far as found a muggled cache, actually replaced the cache, gave the owner the new information and coords then the owner did not even bother to redo the coords. Tacky.

Team P are all such a nice family and Geoness and I had a great time talking to them. I wish them the very best in their Geo pursuits. Hopefully we can meet up again at a local event.

Hope Smithfield can get the caches cleaned up. It's a nice little town but gas is just too expensive for such a hit and miss place.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sweet end to a quick round of caching.

Sweet end to a quick round of caching. Found nine this afternoon.

Lov'n Freshly Painted Ammo Boxes

Nothing says love'n like freshly painted cache ammo boxes. Note the subtle cami backgrounds, the textured stone finish, heavy sigh. Click the photo to really see the work done. Go ahead, I'll wait. You wouldn't believe what they looked like yesterday.

Shown here are two small caches (right and top right), one large night vision goggle box (center - thought I wasn't going to get them huh?), one larger but not quite trunk sized ammo box (left with two sided top) and a micro sized eclipse cache (bottom right).

Oh the plans that I have for these just makes me giddy. Can't give you all the specifics, hush-hush you know, but I can tell you one is going to be a mega Pocket Decoder mystery cache in the Garner/Clayton, NC area, one will be a nice sized cache for my BarnYard Fun series and another is upgrading one of my current TB hotels to include a deluxe suite (not the eclipse box).

Whew so much to do and the weekend fast approaching. I have to get busy...

L8tr, HHH

Thursday, May 22, 2008

First Mystery Cache Found. Oxford, NC.

My First Mystery Cache Found. Oxford, NC.

And you thought my other photos were blurry? Well this happened by accident but it is a good one. I didn't want to give away too much about this particular mystery cache even though the owner tells what you are looking for right in the description. I did however wanted to prove that I actually did it and of course there is always the log I signed. Either way I had a ball figuring this one out and this shows I found it.

How many unknown cache types have you found recently and where?

Three Caches Found Before Breakfast.

The sun was just starting to rise and already have Three Caches Found Before Breakfast. On the way to work and hitting a few areas around the east side of I-440 in Raleigh, NC. Found three quick grab and goes including this unexpected ammo box cache.

Pictured below is also a unique cache container. Simple idea but I have not seen before this. It is a basic small plastic bag covered with cami tape. Great idea.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quick Snapshot in Front of the Garner Police Department

Always looking for a photo opportunity while caching. Cache Found in Garner!

Yep that's daughter Geopants and I taking a quick snapshot in front of the Garner Police Department. The sun was going down so the shot is a bit blurry but hey ya have to have some fun while caching.

We picked up a quick five caches tonight including two beautiful areas by Lake Wheeler.

Just having too much fun and still keeping legal.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Holy Secret Decoder Ring Batman!

Okay it is no secret that I am a complete and utter geek. Know it, acknowledge it and embrace all the wonders of it. So when I found out that someone was coming out with a pocket decoder geocoin, my must have it button went off big time.

I don't want to sound like a commercial but this is one of those items that fits my personality. I always carry at least one geocoin in my pocket everywhere I go. It is an item that I can hold and flip from finger to finger while I am trying to think or when I get going on a subject of interest. Some people chew pencils, others twiddle their thumbs, I like to spin coins. Anyway this geocoin is actually the size and shape of an actual pocket watch which is perfect. The decoder is based off of several known coding processes and has interchangeable center wheels.
I love it because I can now make some rather creative new mystery caches. My brain is already hard at work devising some ways to really shake the routine cache finds. Including easy decodings with letter for letter swapping and the more secure Vigenere Cipher with using a keyword. I know this type of coding has been around forever but now it is always in my pocket when I need it.. My inner geek dances with joy.
Will keep you informed of my new mystery caches soon.. Stay tuned.
BTW you can check out the Pocket Decoder Geocoin at http://www.thecachingplace.com/pocketdecodermain.htm
Oqnf Twv! (Have Fun!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

200 Caches Found!

200 Caches Found!

I thought this was going to be a quick grab and go for my 200th cache. Then I noticed my GPS was off about 50ft. The cache site was actually my first thought because it is such a cool place. Looked around area and saw cache surrounded by thick spider webs. Never saw the beastie but used stick and some anxious moments snagging the cache.

With cache in hand I gleefully signed the log and put back in place... Love making milestones..

Morning Cache Found!

Morning Cache Found!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Only three until #200

Only three until #200.

We love benchmarks, it defines us and how we are doing in a particular point of interest.

In regards to Geocaching we count how many smilies we get or in other words how many caches we have found. I am just tickled pink to be hitting my 200th in the next day or so.

Shown above is #197 (Fuquay-Varina, NC) which means three more to go. Most likely will be tomorrow we will see but where or when ever it is I will post it here.

Swamp King Found! Fuquay -Varina, NC

Cache Found! Can we say SWAMP? Oh what fun and not a bad photo either. I was out by Fuquay-Varina, NC this afternoon. After getting all my chores done this morning and before the heavy rains came in I had some caching time by myself. One of my first tries was a little cache called The Swamp King. Now last year I am sure people had no problem walking right up to the cache due to the conditions of the drought. This year the drought is nothing but a memory and the swamp king was in his glory. Glad I had my calf high waders cuz I was gunna need them.

With my GPS in one hand and my walking pole in my other I did my little jaunt in the swamp. Black mud, skeeters, green vegetation everywhere. Was actually surprised that I did not bump into more wild life and/or snakes and other reptiles. Tons of birds but not a snake to be seen. Not even the usual hitchhikers. Though it definitely smelled and felt swampish.

Made short work of the very nicely hid cache, signed the log and traded one of my signature first aid kits for some poison ivy patches. Then off I go back whence I came.

The photo really tells it all. Lush green and a very eerie glow with the sun shining through the canopy. That was a very enjoyable trek.

Flower Hill FlashMob, Zebulon, NC

My first FlashMob event! What a great time had by all. Even daughter GeoPants had a great time hiking in da woods.

In case you have never heard or attended a FlashMob event before. In the GeoCaching world a flash mob is when a group of cachers basically invade an area. In this case Horsegeeks set up an event at the Johnston County area called Flower Hill. It is a 10-acre nature preserve owned and managed by Triangle Land Conservancy.

Their website states "For many generations, Johnston County residents have known about this place they called a “freak of nature,” where rhododendron and galax and other mountainous plants grow far from their nearest relatives."

It is amazing and even if we hit it past the rhododendron peak the scenery was gorgeous. Trails are well marked, up kept and all 20 of just had a ball. There were four caches in the park in which the first three were warm ups for the fourth and most challenging at a difficulty of 3.5 out of 5. Called Moccasin Creek slip and slide you had to go down an extremely steep grade trail made mostly of wet clay topped with wet leaves and pine needles. Basically it really was an over sized slip and slide as a couple of us can contest to. Thank goodness for the nearby trees or this could have been a disaster. The sides of the trails went almost straight down and for what looked like several hundred feet.

The start of Moccasin had a warning sign of which we completely ignored. We are cachers don't ya know. Besides several of us came earlier and made sure it was safe for all who dared to venture down. It was quite fun and since we took our time and was very cautious only a couple of "slips" happened.

Once we made it down the trail we were treated to the nearby creek and some fantastic scenery. The cache was made quick work of and signed as FlashMob for all of us. Then the fun and realization came to yours truly. We had to climb back up the trail. Oh Goody!

In truth I and everyone made it up with hardly a heavy puff between us. Of course in my case I actually had to start breathing to get to puffing but hey I am getting back in shape.. Well round is a shape after all..

Spent a couple fantastic hours with some new friends and I cannot wait for our next invasion. Caching by yourself or with a buddy is a great way to invest in our hobby but when you get a bunch of us together. Look out. It brings out the best in all of us.

Again I want to thank Horsegeeks for taking us to such a wonderful place. I also encourage you to come out and explore this lush and rare oasis of mountain greenness. Also a thank you to daughter GeoPants for taking so many great photos of the journey.

Here is their website if interested.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Argh, not one of the most focused photos of myself but it was darkish out, raining and I had about 2 hours sleep last night. Guess I really was out of focus and to top it off with only one cup of java in me too.

Cache Found! This was number two of three for this morning on the way to work. Note the magnetically held silver bison tube under lamp skirt.

Number three was definately more interesting to behold. Check out this soup can protector of the cache.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Doing my Tuesday night cache runs after work. Took daughter Amanda who now wants to be called GeoPants. Not to say she is getting hooked on caching but I find less time of me holding the GPS then before I started taking her along for the fun. We were going for a quick grab and in a parking lot. She asked if she could try using the GPS and I said sure just follow the arrow and watch the distance. Next thing you know she walks up to the cache site and has it in hand. They grow so fast - sigh. So I guess we are going to be Team Hard Hat Brotherhood from now on..

Picked up an additional six caches for our efforts and on our very last cache bumped into Farb and Teenykins. Funny to me was GeoPants and I were wrapping up with the sun already down and Farb was just starting. Have to get me a pair of night vision goggles on my next trip to the ammo box store.

Caches! Found! Raleigh, NC

Ahhh, two caches this morning. Great start.

There is nothing like finding a cache on the way to work. Why? I think it is that border-line action that makes you momentarily feel naughty. You know, that "If I dude it I get a whip'n.... I dude it!", kind of thing.

I know I should be going to work like every other soul on the road. I should be a model employee and/or drone and just get in my car and go directly to the place of my employment. I know I should, but there they are, caches. Waiting for me to find them and to help get my little extra thrill for the day. Heck for me they are better than a cup of coffee sometimes. So for now, I indulge in the quick micro here, small lock box there and find every shortcut I can to make it to the cubical on time.

How about you?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

4th Annual Airborne Event

What a great day Amanda and I had today. Attended our first official event which happened to be the 4th Annual Airborne Event in Fayetteville, NC.

Started off with a nice meet and greet at 9am. Followed by some serious caching until 2pm. Amanda and I managed to get 13 caches up to that point. One in particular was down right evil.

The main event was fantastic and hosted by FBNCGEO and The Airborne Chapter of MAGC. The main hostess and host was bluecherry and DForce.

We had about one hundred people or so and included amazing food, door prizes, auctions and some great company. One family drove up from Georgia and another couple was from Texas.

By the time the day was through we had 18 caches under our belt. Also two very cool geocoins from the auction, I purchased a couple of event coins and Amanda won a couple as well.

What a fun way to spend the afternoon!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Barnyard Fun #5: Baby Bo Busts a Moof

Well if you have tried the Barnyard Fun Series you know the story about how Farmer Bob's animals got out of the farm and all over Highway 96 between Raleigh and Oxford, NC. Helpful cachers found cows, chickens and even Farmer Bob but no one has found little Baby Bo.

How things have changed. Apparently Baby Bo was responsible for letting the other barnyard animals loose and has created her own geocoin sized cache.

In fact the rumor mill has suggest that a rather large cache is being put together by the bitty bovine as we speak. More news to come. Stay tuned or look up the Barnyard Fun series yourself.

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men

You can't escape the reality of caching. You start out making plans to do some specific cache hunts and sometimes stuff just happens.

Wanted to do some caching on my home from work today. You see I go one way to work in the morning and another way at night, mainly due to the volume of traffic at those times. So that means there are bunches of caches available on my going to work route that I never have much time to find. So yesterday I thought I would put up with the extra traffic and have some fun caching in the mean time. Well.....

My route takes me from Oxford, NC down Hwy 96 to Hwy 1 (Capital Blvd.). This normally takes me about 30 minutes or so and the only caches available are the Barnyard Fun Series I set up a month or so ago. So not much joy in the caching department there. Eventually though I come down to Hwy 1 and the joy, or so I thought, begins. Started out okay finding the one cache in the area with TBs available. Traded up the last of my current stash and started what I thought would be a fruitful adventure.

That was when my phone rang.. Spent 20 minutes talking some family chit-chat. Normally would not mind at all but when I have the caching bug going I have a one track mind. C'mon, taking too long, (fuzzy static, sorry losing you, fuzzy static, will call you later, bye.) okay I know the blow in the phone/talk partial words trick is stale but hey I'm burning sunlight here.

Found a cache, quick micro bison tube in a tree, two for today but want more.

Phone rings again, it's the wife. First thought that flows through my mind is, "What did I do now?", turns out everyone wants to go out to eat and they are all are hungry. Hint - Hint. My eyes roll up and I know that I have another 45 minute drive ahead of me. Sigh. Okay I may stop for one more as a chaser and then drudge home.

I watch the sun on it's march for the horizon and know that my caching day is done. Heavy sigh. Three for the day. Hardly the effort for putting up with the extra traffic. I now remember why I go home the other route. I can feel myself get a little angry. You can't cache if you are playing beat the clock. You end up frustrated and give up on caches you don't find instantly. I decide enough is enough and that there will be another day. Doesn't make it any easier though when you make plans and they get blown apart. I know this makes me look selfish. I know I have responsibilities. I also know I have X amount of time in a day and when I designate it as my caching day there better be smoke, blood and lots of it to be interrupted. Not always the case though. Sigh. I'm Not obsessed... Right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

POTTT Series Gets Added On To.

Just published Playing On The Train Tracks # 7, #9 and #10.

# 7 has my first micro logbook geocoin. Very Cool and out there for you to find. Enjoy!

Cache on a Rope

I have had several people ask me about the photo of myself and a cache on a rope.

Shown here is me in my most observant best. I took out my Etrex and did the basic dog chasing his tail circular moment for about five minutes looking for where this darn cache could be.
Then when I realized that I looked everywhere except up, I looked. Now in my defence the cache was actual another 15 feet higher then pictured but it did give me that real "Doh" feeling when I realized the location.
I can imagine it must really be hidden well when the trees are all leafed out.
Name of the cache is "End of the line " and it is in Ohio off of I-77 south of Canton. For some reason this particular cache does not seem to get many hits and I left a very cool Blue Dragon TB in it hoping it would get discovered. So if you are in the neighborhood.....

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Good day, Found 8 caches today with the majority in White Deer Park.

Walked all over today and I know it cuz me dogs are barking. Had a great afternoon with me daughter and found out that there are tons of little parks all around the Garner, North Carolina area that have some really nice trails. Did see and hear some nearby wildlive and Amanda even swatted off a couple of hitch hikers that decided to come along for the ride. This was amazing to me cuz me daughter can't stand bugs.

I highly recommend stopping by the Garner area and spend a few hours taking in the spring/summer air. Good Times!

Check out the quick video to see a sample of White Deer Park.

Caching with Amanda.

Caching with Amanda. My daughter is getting over a pretty big fear of buggies. So I was very proud of her when she said she wanted to go with me into the woods GeoCaching. Seen here she found one of her first caches by having to stick her hands in an a tree to get the prize. She was hesitant at first but over came it and found the cache.

Way to go Amanda!

Cache Found!

Cache Found! White Deer Park,NC

Having a great afternoon with my daughter walking the trails of White Deer Park near Garner, NC. Found six caches in this area and logged about four miles of hiking.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Cache Found! Seven for 90 minutes play.

Daughter Headhardhat and I was able to hit the Garner / Clayton, NC area for about an hour and a half this evening. Had a great time together and met some nice people along the way.

Post From HeadHardHat's Phone

Cache Found!

Cache Found! With Amanda

Cache Found! With Amanda and her first find by herself. I of course dressed to conceal my true nature and blend in with the environment.