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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All Weather Cachers Take on the Fall Fling 2008

Sure the weather was a whole lot nicer early in the week. The mid eighties and sun gave way to upper fifties and rain but did that dampen the spirit of our finest North Carolina geocachers? Oh I say, "nay".




The Third Annual Fall Fling was held at Falls Lake State Park which is about 15 miles due north of Raleigh, NC. It is a very scenic park filled with trails, trees, wild critters and Falls Lake. The lake is completely different in appearance than from 12 months ago. Last year at this time Falls Lake was more like Falls two streams. You could walk in many spots from one island to the next. Now with a larger amount of rainfall and a tropical storm or two the lake is at capacity and in all it's splendor. Speaking of rainfall I personally wondered if the Fling was even going to happen this year. As I said before the week was picture perfect North Carlina weather with sun and the temps in the 80s. On Friday everything changed, the temps dropped and the rain came down in sheets. I drive past Falls Lake on my way home and I had a hard time seeing the road. I thought of stopping by but thought better of it based on what I was seeing. Once in my nice dry homestead I checked out our NCGO forums to see what was going on. I did not find much about the event except for an entry that someone else stopped by as well and the bonfire was in full swing. The tent camping cachers were having a blast even though the rain was turning out to be a bit "challenging". With that I headed to bed feeling fully geeked for Saturdays activities.

I awoke to thankfully no rain and found my long pointy stick to wake up Daughter Geoness from her slumbers. You have to be careful with pre-teens as they awaken, they bite. It only took a couple good prods to finally get her moving and also the promise of some breakfast helped. We packed the cachemobile and headed north to the event coordinates. It took me about 45 minutes to weave the winding roads to FF Central. I was a few minutes early for registration and already I could see Horsegeeks and Billwolf1 getting the grills ready. They were in charge of the food for the day and because of that I knew we were in for some serious eats. Personally I have a huge weak spot for Horsegeek's Shrimp 'n Grits but that is another story. As Daughter Geoness and I walked up to the park community center I was greeted by some of the cachers who survived last nights deluge. To my surprise only one tent camper had to sleep in the car but everyone else stayed dry and toasty as best they could. If the spirits were dampended you sure could not tell by the friendly smiles on all the early risers.

Anytime you come early to an event you are there to help setup. No one likes setup but when you get enough people together it is a lot less stressful. So chores like sign hanging, table placement, kitchen detail including the unloading of a ton of food and libations the morning started moving along. The weather was not terrible outside. There was some wind which was blowing inland off of the lake, a bit chilly. The sun was trying to peak from behind the clouds and actually did make some headway by the afternoon. I asked Daughter Geoness to do camera duty whilst I found out what mini events that would be going on today. There of course was the Carolina Cache 'N Dash where teams found well hidden caches that contained different interesting and sometimes scary tasks to complete to gain points. I don't want to get into details but lets just say there were more moons out than the one in the sky -=shudder=-. Then came the Geo-Olympics at the Beach, Daughter Geoness had fun as did a gaggle of other young cachers. I was helping setup the tshirt pickup spot and I could hear them laughing from here. I think one of the biggest kicks for the kids was the Ammo Box Painting. I wish I can find out who donated the boxes but there were a ton of them. The look on the little tykes faces was priceless and I have to be honest I wouldn't have minded picking up a half dozen myself, but I digress. Finishing the kids activities was of course the pinata; kids, candy, paper mache and a big stick, good times.

So what did Daughter Geoness and I do while all of this fun, friendship and well, fun going on? Glad you asked, we worked. I thought the other officers of the NCGO are always busting their butts doing things for our enjoyment, why not give them a break? I didn't even have to ask Miss Geoness, she was helping in the kitchen before I even knew it. She loves to help anyways and when you throw in Horsegeeks and Billwolf1 who she considers as extended grandpas you couldn't drag her away. For me, I had a blast handing out the t-shirts, geocoins and other NCGO stuff. "Isn't that kinda boring?", you might think. Not at all, I was able to meet just about everyone who attended the event one at a time. I had more fun swapping stories, saying hi to familiar faces and greeting others for the first time. To me something like that is worth the full price of admission. It is so easy for everyone to separate and go their own ways. My table was one of the focal points in the event and everyone eventually came over to say hi. I loved it.

For some the best part of a North Carolina Geocaching Event is the potential hunt, others is the fellowship, for this HeadHardHat it's the food. Horsegeeks, Billwolf1, Mrs. Billwolf, Geoness and a host of other people too numerous to mention. Worked all day for something known as Kenny and Celeste's Excellent Meal. Basically take a huge pile of NUM and multiply it by 100. I'm not kidding, good ole southern cooking is alive and well and I could not be more happy or was that hungry? I had to laugh because as the day wore on the smells from the kitchen were overwhelming. Every once and a while Horsegeeks would sneak out a plate of tasty tid bits to wet my appetite. Can we say BBQ? Truly nummy. Then at the designated time the feast began and everyone came a running. There was food everywhere including southern BBQ pork, Horsegeeks famous baked beans, homemade macaroni and cheese, sliced fruit, hamburgers, hot dogs and desserts by the truckload. There was more but I am getting hungry just typing this... be right back...

As the day started to push towards evening and everyone had more than enough to eat. It was time for the day's silent auction and awards ceremony to begin. This year we had about fifty items to bid on and the exchange was heated as usual. One person would put a bit on item 39 and then mosey over to something else of interest. Which gave the next auctioneer a chance to out bit on your item. When the time was up the auction ends and you pays your monies. It's all in good fun and everyone loves the challenge of getting the items they really want.



The final awards went to all the contestants from each of the main events. The most creative that I had seen was the gold painted ammo box medallions awarded to the Geo-Olympics winners. They were real ammo boxes painted gold with red, white and blue ribbons. All the rage in geocaching circles everywhere.

To sum up, I really look forward to every event I am privileged to attend. The people are outstanding and we all have such a good time sharing our experiences, stories and friendships. I bumped into several people who introduced themselves as being first time comers. They sometimes ask "what do we do?". I usually reply for them to relax and to know that they are welcome and they are among friends. You can see the realization in their faces of just that, they are with people who know how to have fun and before you know it the new comers are talking, laughing and having a great time right along side the rest of us. How special it is to be a part of the geocaching community.
Enjoy Our Fall Fling 2008 Slideshow


To View The Entire Album Go Here
http://picasaweb.google.com/headhardhat/NCGOFallFling2008

1 comment:

Sumajman said...

Wow! Thanks for the blow by blow account of this event. While sitting in my lodging in Lima, Peru tonight after a good afternoon of semi-urban geocaching along the coastal cliffs it is good to be able to read and imagine what fun it will be to be able to attend some of the NCGO events in 2009. Heading into the mountains tomorrow by bus. I'm hoping to get up to Lagito Churup (GCA637) on Sunday afternoon. Hey, do you know the dates for next year's fall fling? Again, thanks!