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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

One Cache Found In Fuquay Varina, NC - Good Enough

I just had a day at work today and was in a mood that stated, "Must Get Out" or maybe it was my wife giving me a loving suggestion to go geocaching for an hour or so. It was late in the evening and I only had about an hour before the sun was completely gone. So with no particular place to go I decided to head over to Fuquay Varina, NC. As I approached a likely caching zone I remembered about a particular DNF I had from a few months ago. Why not, it was in a particularly wooded spot and with the sun fading fast I would have to look quickly. Boy what a difference that little amount of time makes. The area was now extremely overgrown and there was a ton of places for bad things to happen. A slightly steep but climbable downgrade, rusting metal, leg eating holes, spots for snakes to ambush and I personally saw four different types of spiders I had never seen before. Pity it was so dark out cuz I would have loved to have taken some nice closeup photos. Anyways, I finally made it down to what was left of the trail and looked at a very familiar spot. Shook my head and walked right up to ground zero and chose a likely spot. Sure enough there was the cache. Now in the photo I took out the actual cache for others who may recognize the background can enjoy the hunt as well. It is an area where an old mill once stood. Very peaceful with the sounds of the woods and water flowing over rocks which once powered a huge wheel.

It felt good being out in the fresh fall air and as I climbed out of the greenery my phone rang; it was Mrs. HeadHardHat wanting to go out for dinner. With the pangs of the day now subsided it just goes to show how geocaching can be such a stress relief. So the grand total of caches today was exactly one but that was more than good enough to help me find a little inner tranquility. Ahhhhhhh.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well At Least The Food Was Great

No matter how hard you try or how bad you want something there are times when things just don't go the way you want. I would love to say that I was able to get a cache in Boston but that would not be the case. Between the schedule of the Software Testing conference I was attending, my general health by fighting a flu/cold all week and that wondrous tropical low pulling rain from my home state of North Carolina up through Boston and the whole east coast it just was not to be. On the other hand, the food was great!

Between the sea food, clam chowder and the authentic Boston cream pie. Hokey Smokes Bullwinkle we had no problem figuring out what to eat. For starters we wanted to move into Legal Sea Foods which is a restaurant in Copley Place. I had an amazing sampler dish which started out with a bowl of clam chowder that tasted like it either came from heaven or if not the food stand just next to the pearly gates. Either way it was hearty, flavorful and made you wish you lived nearby. Then the main course came and included three different types of fish, grilled shrimp and scallops - oh nummy.

To top it off I was informed that the home made Boston Cream Pie had proceeds that went to a local children's charity. Hmmmm, Boston Cream Pie whilst in Boston, let me think..... Uh yeah!

It was amazing. Very creamy and rich so the portion was something that make you grateful that the size was just right. By the time the meal was finished and the shop talk wound down I still had major "mooooo" factor going on. The walk back to the hotel may not have been a completely welcomed one but definitely necessary.

So to sum up, I was not able to get that ever present smiley in Beantown but I had a great time at the conference, learned some valuable nuggets that I can apply to work and ate like a king for a few days. I am not too concerned for not having any finds in Massachusetts, some how I know that I will be going back there for some serious geocaching adventures.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Drive'n in Bah-stun in My Kah

Welcome from beantown... I flew in this afternoon and instantly realized how much traffic is going to be a factor here. Boston has an awful lot of it. I am definitely going to be doing some caching tomorrow but I do not think it will be as much as I first thought. The forecast is not looking too great for Thursday so it's tomorrow or nothing and I do not want to go home without at least one. I have it all picked out and everything. About a mile and a half from the hotel is a likely candidate and it was just found today so I know it's there. It is big enough to hold travel bugs and I brought a couple with me. Should be fun. So even though I do not have a smiley to show for, I wanted to at least show you the more interesting photos of the day. Let me know what you think.

Boston is history, plain and simple. It is also is in constant growth and the combination of the two is fascinating to see when observed at the same time. For example the photo to the left shows a sentinel on an old church and the John Hancock Tower which watches over it.

Here is another example of older architecture via Copley Square. Note the rounded corners of the building.

Talk about an unexpected find. This is a photograph I took of the actual Finish Line of the 112th Boston Marathon. Wonder what my time would have been... In days... Turns out that it was 2007 where over 20,000 runners finished here. What a cool thing to find wandering around this fascinating town.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Walking in the Woods of New Jersey

After spending a day in our Piscataway office I could not wait to go out and doing some caching. The only obstacle was the impending rain that decided to show up the same time I started out. But hey I was only going to be in New Jersey another day and then I was on my way to Boston. So I hoped for the best and took the rented cachemobile out for a little spin.

Geofortune smiled on me and I was able to find five nice hides before it became too dark to see. During that short amount of time I walked in two different parks, a hotel court yard, a parking lot and a baseball field. Added a couple more smileys to my belt and had a nice time in the fall like weather. What more can you ask for? Now on to Boston, Mass.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Your Country Is Very Beautiful Here In New Jersey...

Greetings from the Garden State. I just flew into Newark, NJ late this afternoon and had just enough time to drive to my hotel in Piscataway, check in and grab a few of my first caches in this neck of the world. My first choice was a nice small sized cache about a mile from my hotel. I was so excited to be able to add another state to my list that I just could not wait until tomorrow. So I pulled out my etrex and drove right over. It was quite nice except for the briers nearby. Nice to know that some things do not change no matter where you live. Within a few minutes I spotted a potential hiding spot and sure enough there was the very well labeled cache.

In special tribute I left in the cache a brand new travel bug of mine and a pathtag. Took a couple of photos and put it back in it's well cammied hidey hole.

Before hunger and the eventual night fall took over completely I managed to find two other caches. One was a nice small size cache similar to the one pictured above and one nano. Now the nano was nicely place in a sign and normally would have been a sweet park and grab. In this case though I can't take all the credit for the find. You see I had help, in the form of a very curious doe.

This was so cool. I got out of my car and pretty much knew where the cache was going to be. So as I closed my car door I stopped and heard a sound to my immediate right. There about fifty feet away stood this very cute doe. As usual when I meet wild life I said "hello there" and snapped a couple of fuzzy photos. The sun was already going down and she was just out of range for the flash to do any good. So after taking the photos I walked over to the caching host and started looking around. Sure enough I found a nice little nano. I then took the log book out of the cache and was preceding to sign the last remaining spot. As I did so out of the corner of my eye I could see the deer acting quite curious as to what I was doing and walked right up to me. Now I know deer are all cute and cuddley 'n such on the other hand I have seen videos of them stomping some poor hunter as well. Let's just say I played on the side of caution and did not try to take the opportunistic photo at this time. Instead I talked quite softly to the vexxed venison right up to the point her friend dashed by from out of nowhere. At this point she took one look at me then one look at her friend and they then scampered across the road and into the nearby woods. Quite a fun experience I must say.

Well that is it for today. I am hoping to get in atleast a couple more caches before I leave on Tuesday for Boston, will keep you informed to what I do find.

HeadHardHat signing off from Noo Joi See....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pathtags - An Alternative to Geocoins?

It is no secret that I love geocoins. They push my pirate button when I go geocaching. Not the plunder and pillaging part, but more of the "Oooo shiny objects" part. To me a really good geocoin has a weighted feel to it when you have it in your hand. It feels like it could be made of gold or silver even though we know it is more likely brass. It needs to have some significance to me. Something like an event I attended or a defined theme that is of interest.

The average geocoin is about two inches in diameter and costs anywhere from $8.00US and up with an average around $15.00. I feel for the most part you get what you pay for. Some geocoins I have purchased for less than $8.00 look and feel like an $8.00 coin. the weight is less and the appearance is more grade "B" rather than grade "A". Truly, it is in your best interest in doing some research on the coin making companies before you buy. You will be so much happier with your choices.

A few years ago an alternative to geocoins became available and they are called pathtags. Now I do not believe they are a replacement to geocoins but rather a cool way of making personal coins affordable for trade. So what are pathtags? Pathtags are made similar to geocoins with a brass or other heavy metal base. Depending on the company you purchase them from they can be made with dozens of colors and in a very high detail. With an average diameter of 0.9 inches the cost of a pathtag is about $2.00US which makes it appealing to many.

There are some subtle differences when it comes to tracking. Currently on most geocoins they can be tracked on sites like geocaching.com which shows it's history of movement from one cache to another. Pathtags instead can be shown on a map where the holder of the pathtag lives and where they found or traded the tag itself. If you are interested in making your own pathtag for trade you can start by checking out pathtags.com.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Trip To The North East = New States To Cache!!!

I can't wait to go on my trip next week. Work is having me go to one of our main offices in Piscataway, NJ for Monday and Tuesday then I am off to a Software Testing conference in Boston for the rest of the week.

Normally that would be a pleasant break of the normal work week and a chance for some down time. Now this gives me a chance to do some caching in a couple of new states.. Woo hoo!

Already pulled down the .gpx files for both areas and I really don't expect a whole lot of time to cache but I have to get at least a few. My boss said he want to see what what it was like so I might take him along as well. Should be fun.

Will send updates from my phone and then some real better quality pix later when I return.
Oh and if you are interested in what the photo is. This is a new concept that I came up with which is similar to the pathtag geocoin. Instead of one pathtag this Pathtag Transport can hold six or seven pathtags which can be traded as it goes from cache to cache. A moving collection as it were. Will see how it goes. At worse I put in five tags that will be recorded when people find them. Write to you soon, keep a candle burning NC.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Introduction to the GeoSnippits Series

I received several really nice comments from people recently when I did my first You Tube video. It was more of a slide show really which gave some basic information about geocaching. From those comments were a couple of requests to make actual tutorial videos. "Sure, why not", I thought. So I am introducing a series of tutorials which I will feature on You Tube called HeadHardHat's GeoSnippits. They will be short three or four minute tutorials with focus on key points of interest that deal with geocaching.

My first geosnippit discusses bison tubes. I hope you enjoy this series and are able to pull out a few nuggets of information that you can use in your geocaching treks.

To find the tutorials just put headhardhat in the search field or go to

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Keeping It In The Family - Smith Brother's Geocaching

The family that caches together, stays together... Okay well maybe I'm 900 miles away but my spirit sure is with my two brothers who started geocaching recently. Scott and David both live in Michigan with the rest of my family whilst I reside in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Earlier in the year I had a great time taking Scott (shown left with a considerable amount less of grey hairs) caching around the east side of the Great Lake State. There is nothing that brings out the competitive side in us when it is one sibling against another, all in good fun of course. Can we say bragging rights?!? It really was a fun afternoon and he will be becoming a full blown member soon.

Then there is my youngest brother David. Not only did he just get a new GPS but started caching a few weeks back. He and his family are going out and about having a complete blast. David who goes by TurtleExpress liked my blog so much decided to start one up of his own. The title say it all: Geocaching with Turtleexpress. You can see the smiles on my nephew's faces as they proudly show off their finds. Makes me a bit home sick and then I remember that I did not have to shovel once last winter. Plus I can cache here all year round.. Oh well so much for sentament.. They can always come here for a week and play in the back woods and swamps...

Feel Free to check out TurtleExpress's blog here or in my list of blogs on the right side of the page. Click --> Geocaching With TurtleExpress.

Hopefully sometime next year we can all get together for a Geocache Weekend. That mini Flash Mob will be something to see. Hope where ever we go is ready for all three Smith Brother's in one spot. Lord knows other areas are still recovering from past get togethers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HeadHardHat's Geocaching Intro On You Tube

This is my first attempt of putting a tutorial for Geocaching on You Tube.

Please feel free to post any feedback, I would love to hear your comments.

Monday, September 8, 2008

HeadHardHat's Ingenious Cache Inventor Blog Released

I really enjoy my "I'm NOT Obsessed" blog but I wanted another way of specializing one particular aspect of Geocaching. That would be a dedicated blog for the creation and discussion of making caches.
With this blog anyone can submit anything geocache "cache" related. Be it a how-to tutorial about camouflaging ammo boxes to the most ingenious caches you have ever found. We will take on all cachers.
The blog is called "HeadHardHat's Ingenious Cache Inventor" and you can go there by clicking here: http://ingenious-cache-inventor.blogspot.com/. I hope you enjoy sharing that little mad scientist in all of us.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

HHH's Banner Used For This Month's NCGO Website

Okay, nobody blows their own horn like me. Heck, that's what blogs are for and so I'm a blow'n.

Earlier this week I was on one of my favorite online stopping grounds, the North Carolina Geocaching Organization website. I started going through my usual routine of checking the events, news and the forums when something seemed a bit out of place yet familiar, it was the banner. Earlier in the year I submitted several entries that the good people at NCGO could use for the website. Apparently they must have like this one cuz here it is. You can't see it too clear here but in the bottom right it shows "photo by HeadHardHat". It doesn't take much to entertain me but hey it is always fun to be recognized for something.

You can visit North Carolina's #1 Geocaching website by clicking here http://www.ncgeocachers.org/ or clicking the logo at the bottom of this blog.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Impersonation is the Greatest Form of Complement

I have read that impersonation is the greatest form of complement. I never really had a good point of reference to that statement until I found a newly hid cache up near Oxford, North Carolina.

The owner of the cache is Ringer2410 who is a notorious "hide in plain site" kind of geocacher. For example his EU457 drove me nuts for several weeks and more attempts than I wish to acknowledge. Over the Labor Day Weekend he unleashed Tar River Migraine (GC1FM3M). The description pulls a very interesting collage of other caches that can be found in the Oxford, NC area. Including a couple by yours truly.

Here is a snippit from the description:

"This ain’t no D.N. Hix Micro in an Oxford Park. If you are 85 and over you might not want to Play on these Tracks because of What’s That Speeding By and you might be able to Reach out and Touch Someone in a car. If the Farmer Watches over me/you or the Taxman Cometh then you might want to head down to the Redneck Yacht Club (Tar River), take a seat, and Read a Book and Enjoy the scenery. On this one I’d have to say your odds are a little worse then a 50 – 50 Chance, but if you start to get the Folsom Prison Blues you might want to get Ol Red or seek a Hallowed Ground to pray for help. Geocaching is all Location, Location, Location. Have yourself some Barnyard Fun while thinking Where Art Thou? "...

Creative caches like this just shows how tight knit the geocaching community can be. Many times we get so involved in our own creative outlets we can forget the obvious around us. Once again it takes someone like Ringer2410 to show us something new in plain sight; ourselves.

I went out today and actually was able to claim the FTF! This cache is designated a Difficulty 3 and Terrain of 2.5. I found it to be a really great challenge and a completely satisfying find.

Thanks Ringer2410.

A Note by HeadHardHat: I wanted to show you an actual Travel Bug I ran into whilst looking for this cache. Near a large crack in a concrete wall I thought I found a large rubber wolf spider with a sinker holding it in place. It looked like one of those spiders you would find at the Natural Science Museum in Raleigh. So before picking up my prize I decided to take a photo of it showing how creepy it was and that it was also about five inches in diameter. I put my camera away and was just about to pick it up when I saw it slowly move back into it's hiding spot... It was real! This by far was the largest wolf spider I have ever seen. The sinker must have been the egg sack seen in the blurry photo to the left. All I can say is wow!