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Thursday, June 26, 2008

WOOT! The Adventure to a First To Find Begins.

Boy, nobody was more surprised than me when I happened to notice a mystery cache smack dab in the middle of Raleigh had sat there for two days and no logged FTF. So taking a slightly altered route towards home I stopped by the area to take a chance of finding clean log sheets.

I was hoping for a relatively quick find but instead it quickly turned into a rather lengthy adventure. It started out simple enough by reading the description and attempting to find ground zero, in other words where we think the exact spot where the cache should be. I searched high, I searched low, I searched in between and all around. Could not find the little micro cache anywhere. Very frustrating and I think to myself, "I know it's here I can hear the darn thing breathing". I read the description again and validate my conclusions, I know it just has to be right here yet one little piece of the puzzle was missing, but what? This particular mystery cache was a series of directions all pointing from different directions towards the cache. Simple right? How hard could this actually be and yet 30 minutes vaporized already. I continue on through barbed wire and grape vine, grasping through Virginia Creeper and other questionable greenery, I am getting frustrated but I know this is a FTF and there is no way I am walking away from it.

Finally, after rereading the description for the gazillionth time it clicks. That one little fact which just didn't make sense at the time finally became clear and boom there was the cache. Right there all the time. Nothing can cause so much frustration and yet bring so much satisfaction at the same time. The worst thing you can do is give up. Keep on trying.

With hindsight I realized after finding this tricky cache there were some basic rules that I should keep in the back of my mind each time I go hunting for caches. See if this helps you.

Tips to the Wise,

- Read and understand the title of the cache. Not always easy - why? We usually interpret our first initial thought of a concept and stay with it. So if we read the title and come to a conclusion it usually takes some external factor to make us change our minds. If we make an inaccurate conclusion we will most likely be looking in the wrong place for a cache. In the case of this cache I did not fully understand what the title meant so the playing field was wide open. It wasn't until after I found the cache it made sense.

- Read and understand the description. In the case of this cache I looked for almost an hour and almost gave up twice before finding it. Again it wasn't until after I found the cache to fully understand one little invaluable piece of information in the description. In fact as I was rolling through the description the seventh or eighth time I kept saying to myself, "this doesn't make sense, why did they say that?". This is usually the point that gets overlooked the most and is usually the key to solving the puzzle. You just don't realize it at the time. So if you ever find yourself doubting your conclusions it is usually when you are the most correct. Find your doubts while problem solving and pursue them.

- Take Nothing For Granted. In Geocaching the obvious is your worst enemy. Because we tend to look for something that is "hidden" we forget to open our field of view to ALL that is around us. Some of the best compliments that I have received for my caches is by taking advantage of this very point. It also brings the greatest shock appeal when discovered. Nothing brings a bigger surprise than having a cache "appear" by always being right in front of you. This particular cache did just that for me. It gave me a preconceived notion of where it could be and then turned up right where I thought it should be but couldn't see it at the time.

- Use the Hint. Hints usually are the lifeline needed to give us that moment of change in our thought process. I have found it is better not to read the hint too early because if you use the hint initially you have nothing to fall back on. There is nothing left to help you change your thought process. If you do decide to use your hint be sure to try and understand it thoroughly. If you take the hint for granted it can trap you just as easily as the title or description.

Well I hope this cache log turned tutorial helps in some way. In the world of Geocaching every little bit helps.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cache Found! Cupcake cache in Raleigh,

Cache Found! Cupcake cache in Raleigh, NC.

I just had to find me a cache this morning and this one was fun. The past couple of weeks it has been hot down here. Like real hot, upper 90s / low 100s hot. I'm sorry, I love caching but when it is so hot your travel bug melts off of your rear view mirror.... it's hot out!

So today we are actually NOT going to be in the 90s but a comfortable mid 80s which is normal for this time of year. So the bug got to me and I hit a quick grab and go on the way to work. As seen in the photo it was a cute cache container and I really enjoyed the gold doubloon I found within. Great fun in da morning.

Fortunately the past weeks were not completely fruitless. I managed to put out a seven part multi-cache called Six Little Green Stages: Multi Decoder Challenge, put out a rather clever cache in Oxford called Frankly, I Think You're Screwed and am working on something new that I think everyone will enjoy called HHH's Puzzle Tubes. More information to come in the next day or two.

Until then...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Little Caching, A Little Rain, A Whole Lot of Friends

Had a really great day on Saturday. Spent the afternoon with my daughter Amanda (Geoness) caching in the Fuquay-Varina, NC area.

We started out by being able to get a handful of caches during the afternoon and even though we did not get huge numbers we did visit some real interesting places. For example, the photograph to the left shows the remains of an old mill off of Terrible Creek Pond. This was actually a DNF for us and with more search time I am sure we will eventually find the cache but that day we were tied to the clock and it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. There were just so many areas the micro sized cache could be. Micros in general tend to be frustrating for me and after a short while my eyes were wondering much more on the actual mill wheel, granite pilings and other ancient tid bits that were just way too cool not to explore. We will come back soon and take another swing at this fun cache but for that afternoon more caches were waiting for us.

One of the most fun and most painful was a rather sharp edged adventure called The Heart of Fuquay which put us in a nice wood surrounded by wild raspberries and briers. It did not help that we were in shorts because of the heat but we managed to make it through and I just loved seeing Amanda's eyes get wide when we found the ammo box filled with goodies.

We traded a small tea set for Amanda with one of my signature first aid kits and the satisfaction of another smiley waiting for us when we log in at home.

Of course the icing on the cake for the day was attending the Our Friends the Wolves 5K Celebration Event. Here our good friend Horsegeeks a.k.a. Kenny and his wife hosted a fantastic get together at his home. The event was to celebrate the 5000th cache found by team Billwolf1 which is utterly amazing. About 30 of us invaded Horsegeeks Ranch where we had great food, fantastic conversation and a whole mob of fun people. Even though we did get a brief thunder boomer that came through it was not enough to even slow us down. What a fantastic time was had by all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Missed FTF's, Night Vision Goggles, Mutants and Fellow Cachers

Missed FTF's - Well that's it then.. I am selling the house for a new pair of night vision goggles!

My phone went off last night around 11 p.m. telling me a new cache was posted. Jumped online and saw the cache named "The Lion Sleeps Tonight 3" was right on my way to work.

"Perfect", I thought. First thing in the morning I will drop off my daughter at the bus stop and boogie right over for a quick First To Find.

All the way over to the cache site I was really hoping to beat TimMcGrawlookalike to the punch, especially since the post came out so late last night. Would I make it in time? Would nice clean log sheets be waiting for me? My hopes were high as I opened the cache to see my prize, but nooooooooo. Not only did Mr. TMLookalike hit it last night but another relentless cacher mobettamerf who I do not think actually sleeps beat me too . Heavy sigh, better luck next time. Congrats to all and I will be out there next time.. Me and my night vision goggles .

MUTANTS! - If you have been reading my blogs you will see every once in a while a Mantis Sighting. Photos of this interesting TB have been taken by me in five states from North Carolina to Michigan and back (twice). With the permission of the owner I have been hanging onto the little guy for several months now and even though he seems to enjoy hanging from my rear view mirror very much I think it is time to let him go back into the wild.

There is a problem though. I too enjoy having a travel bug hanging from my rear view mirror but what could possibly replace my well travelled friend? Meet my new little friend - Mutant Mantis!

This guy reminds me so much of the old great B movie mantis monsters. Seen at left teasing my daughter Brianna. Mutant Mantis is going to be travelling where ever I go and will be photographed doing what movie monsters do, wreaking havoc upon the world! So look often to see what MM has been up to. Last I heard he was heading for down town Raleigh, NC. This should be fun!

Fellow Cachers- You just never know who you are going to bump into in the morning whilst caching. Was pulling up to my Taxman Cometh cache to verify it's coords and who do I see with a GPS in his hand but my friend Ringer2410. I scooted by not wanting to disturb his hunt but he must have seen my car and pulled up next to me after he was done. He apparently must have liked the hunt cuz he used cool descriptions like "very clever and devious". Just love making geocaching fun. We gabbed a good ten minutes or so before having to head off for work. This brought a smile to my face because it is always a treat getting some time to actually talk face to face with fellow cachers.
Special Note - Received a really nice email from Team P and USAFSP. They came by the Oxford, NC area this last weekend and hit everything. Since I have about twenty caches there myself including two series (Barnyard Fun and Playing On The Train Tracks). They had me on standby incase needed. No need necessary because they hit 43 for the day! So congrats to team P for doing a fine job of caching and in 100+ degree heat ta boot!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Upcoming HeadHardHat Caches Coming Your Way!

(Left - Note the all seeing eye of this cache gaurdian. What is it's secret? Click photo for a better look)

Sometimes it is a real flip of the coin whether I enjoy more the finding of caches or placing them. This week was the latter and it opens up some new territory for me.

First is a real zinger in the Oxford, NC area. It's called "HHH's The Taxman Cometh" (GC1CXX1). Fun for the whole family to find and a fairly quick grab for some and maybe not so much for others. Either way have fun, I know I did putting it there.

The second in the Clayton, NC area is what I would refer to as a newbie to intermediate level series entitled:

"Little Green Cache: Decoder Series Challenge" (GC1CVWY). It's a decryption puzzle cache series where you start with a quick grab and go smiley which leads you through a series of other decryption caches and then ultimately to a rather bizarrely hidden final cache. Should be a rather scenic and down right fun afternoon for all.

These should all be active by this weekend. It is supposed to be a real scorcher but the unactivated FTF coin which lies in wait should be a really good incentive.

Have fun folks!