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Monday, March 31, 2008

Strange Places

Caches can be in some really strange spots. This is #4 today.

You found EU457

You found Bears Den ( Open during Daylight hours ONLY! )

You found Caches for Wolves - RRWR "Hungry Like a Wolf"

You found One of These Things ... Is Not Like the Others!

Blown Away By My First - First To Find Cache!!!









This particular cache has some very special meaning for me on several levels. To begin, this was my very first "FTF" or first to find. When you get one of these gives you some nice bragging rights in the Geocaching community. These caches can go on for years, have thousands of visitors but there is only one FTF! So when I saw the listing not to far from where I work and that no one has been there yet, I took an early lunch and drove over as fast as the rain would allow..


Finding the cache site was about as easy as you can get but that is the intention of the owner Bearkluttz. In fact as I was driving up, he was just leaving for somewhere. I called out if anyone has been here yet and he replied no that I was the first and to enjoy the cache. I thanked him and waved as he drove off. With the cache in sight I was ready to take the high honors. Unbeknownst to me the honor was more than I ever thought possible.










But first, time for those bragging rights. The cache site is very nicely done and is actually a cache in a cache. This provided some very nice extra protection for the cache itself and an ingenious way of keeping things extra dry. Again with the rain I can vouch for its effectiveness. I took the inside cache into my car so I would not damage anything with the rain. Once opened there was a slew of cool items, toys, log book and an unexpected surprise. One of the nicest FTF bags I think I will ever find. More on that in a moment.


I opened the logbook bag and stared at the blank pages.. Holy cow I thought, I really am the first. So I took out the handy dandy pen and printed in my HeadHardHat. Now how cool was that? I went into my backpack and stocked the new cache with one of my signature first aid kits, a screw driver set, usb cable, odometer and a Travel Bug. Once everything was put into place I made sure all was intact and closed up tight. Put the cache back into it's well place host and closed the lid for the next find.


Finally sitting in my car, this now gave me time to examine the real prize. The FTF Bag left by Bearkluttz. I was expecting maybe a couple of cute goodies, toys or other trinkets. What I received was something totally unexpected and down right amazing. I looked at the bag for a moment and examined it's contents. "These can't possibly be real", I thought to myself. "Can't be."

Inside the plastic Ziploc bag was a Congratulatory message from Bearkluttz and what I can only think are some very personal items from his Navy past. Not just any items but real Navy memorabilia. Also inside was a heartfelt letter explaining each of the items. For example, the Silver Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) breast insignia, which he earned in April of 2002. Then there was his Navy Achievement Medal that he earned from Operation Iraqi Freedom. I could not believe what I was seeing but there was more. He also include an American Flag patch which I love and two special items from his ship the USS Cape St. George. First was a UIM or Unit Identification Marker with the name of the Cape St. George sewn into a black arch. This is used for dress blues and working uniforms. The second is something I treasure the most, an actual USS Cape St. George ships coin. Holy cow it is amazing.





So I sat there looking at this actual historical treasure. Unable to think for a few minutes. What did come to mind is this needs to be preserved in a place of honor. I am not exactly sure how it is going to be displayed but whatever I come up with it will be done right.

Bearkluttz I can tell you this. These items which I would think have an incredible personal attachment will be "honored" in a very special way. There is a story behind them and I would love to learn more. So if you read this please email me, I want to thank you in person for this amazing gift.

HHH

Oh EU457, How You Taunt Me So...



Oxford is a sweet little sleepy town in the northern Piedmont of North Carolina. It may be sleepy but I tell you what, there are some extremely clever individuals here. I have now seen two micro caches here that literally made me say out loud "you have got to be kidd'n me!".

This was my third trip to this cache site, third. That means I drove to the site 3X looked, scoured and vexed over the obvious. There's nothing special with this site. No wooded area with dozens of hiding spots, no bushes or flowering plants, just a small 10 x 4 chunk of plotted grass and a puzzle demanding to be solved. "It just has to be here, I know it is, I can hear the darn thing taunting me...", screams the little voice in my head. But Where? Slightly disheartened after my second attempt of producing absolutely nada, I put a shout out to Ringer2410. This is his first cache and to me it was a doosey. He wrote to me and basically sent a well needed flaming neon arrow describing a rough where the cache was. Now after being hand held by Ringer I looked again at the same spot I had observed a dozen times before. I mean really, I actually touched it (the cache) and never knew it was there. Though this time was different and I finally found my prize. Then as I was signing the log I once again realized that experience really does play a big factor in this game when it comes to locating caches. The number one rule in GeoCaching is NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. You have to check the obvious, the non-obvious and then go back and check it again.

I can't wait to see what else people have come up with geocaching. You simply do not know what you are going to find. People can be devilishly clever and I would not have it any other way...

Thanks Ringer2410 for the great hunt.. Do more and let me know when you do!

HHH

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Open for Business: My First Cache Series



Well let's see, It has been one of the rainiest weekends that I can remember in Raleigh, NC within the last year. Rained both days, not a heavy one mind you but that dreary misty rain that saturates everything. It doesn't help that it dropped from 83 degrees on Friday to 45 for yesterday and today.. Yuck! So instead of sitting in front of the television all weekend, I decided to take the plunge and start my first cache..

Now if there is one word that can describe me (not a dirty word mind you) it would be excessive. If I am interested in doing anything I do it in spades. If I get bored with it after three or so months and move on fine but if I like it? Look out! So when it comes to starting my first cache I just could not put a simple micro somewhere and feel like I did something. Instead I set my sights a little higher and decided to do a series of caches.

Nothing overly crazy but I wanted it to be multi functional. First off I like Travel Bugs, those interesting little hitch hikers with the dog tags. I have one which is a mantis hanging from my windshield visor. Took the little guy through North Carolina to Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan taking pictures the whole way. Wanted to leave him there but couldn't put him in a cold ammo box somewhere in the frozen tundra so I brought him all the way back. Never thought I would get hooked on them. But I digress.....

Anyways, I wanted to start a Travel Bug Hotel. What they are usually is a slightly larger container like an ammo box. This cache specializes with the dropping off and picking up of travel bugs. You can find them usually near freeways or other busy sections of town. This was just what I wanted so cache #1 now called "Getting the Lowe Down #1 - TB Hotel" will be such a cache. It is a relatively easy find and just about anyone can keep TB's on the fast track by using it.

That sounded great and would have been a fine first cache but again I wanted more. "Why not make a SECRET CACHE?", I thought to myself. One that would be a true treasure chest find. Great, I would take one of my smaller ammo boxes for the hotel and hide it in a pretty obvious spot.. Then in that cache put half of the coords to the secret cache. Then put a smaller micro cache somewhere in walking distance that would give the second half of the coords. Sounded like a plan to me.. There would be a 3 for 3 set of finds if people wanted to do it.. If they just wanted to hit #1 the TB Hotel then great, then again a really good Secret Cache is enticing, especially if it is all within walking distance. So all day today that is what I put together.

If you look at yesterday's post you can see the reconditioning of the ammo boxes I bought Saturday. Once dry and properly labelled they were ready for stocking. I had already scoped out the area I wanted to hide the caches. It is a cool little park like area with a small pond and a woods surrounding it.

On one side I put #1 for an easy find. Inside the container was placed three different TB's and a geocoin, a 10 piece screwdriver, two screw driver set, two first aid kits, bungee cords, safety glasses and odometers. Not shabby at all I think. Also made a "First To Find" certificate ta boot. Nice log book and pen completed the ensemble. The other side I put #2 the micro in a rather cool spot if I do say so myself. It basically just included a mini logbook. Not much room in those but if someone finds it adds a smiley to their totals. #3 was placed somewhere else and hidden very well. I wanted the fun of the hunt for buried treasure with this, now that the cacher has the full set of coords they can continue with their quest. I won't go into the details of the larger container but it is pretty special and it is my hope that whoever finds it will enjoy the results.

So there it is and the name of this soon to be published series is called "Getting the Lowe Down". Coming to a cache listing near you. It was a bit soggy today walking around in that misty rain. Digging up pine needles and busted twigs to help hide the camouflaged caches but to me it was all worth it. My wife thinks I've gone over the deep end but she knows this is keeping me out of the bars and it is helping my health with all the walking around. Heck she went with me yesterday to pick up the four contenders we are going to use to make our own travel bugs. Once made and registered I can guarantee their first stop will be the TB Hotel and then who knows where they will end up...?

I'm not obsessed..... right?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rainy Day - Setup Some New Caches


Well the weatherman says this weekend is going to be a rainy one. Part of me is bummed because this is cutting into my weekend caching time. On the other hand this is Raleigh, NC and we are currently in a 100 year drought. So any rain at all is welcome...
Since all my normal husbandly duties are done for the day, okay I still have to spray the bugs in our trees but it is raining ya know.. I decided to start getting together my very first caches. I was out yesterday and scoped out a fantastic place about 2 miles from my current house and it will be just perfect for a small ammo box cache site.
Step one, go to nearby military supply store and pick up a couple of nice ammo boxes. Step two, clean up and spray paint some camoflague, allow to dry..
So now I am litterally waiting for paint to dry... Will send some new photos in a few hours. Can't wait to set this up!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Find Number Three Was a Walk in the Woods


This small-mid sized cache was found in a mini woods in Garner, NC. One of the things that I love to do is stock a cache up with helpful goodies like the bungie cord and the first aid kit. I feel for the people that go for the bigger caches tend to get scraped up and deserve better treasure to find. So I make it a mission to stock up good caches. There have been times that I have put in gift cards for up to $20.00 for some or for the smaller caches a gold $1.00 coin is a pretty great find. Heck at a recent find I found a $20.00 bill now that is some nice buried treasure.

#2 today.

Make that two!

A cache in the morning is like ...

Like a cup O joe in da morning... Is that a cop?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quick Lunch Hour Grab for the Smiley...


This was a quick lunch time grab on way from Oxford, NC towards Henderson..
Remember, there are dozens of places a micro can hide. Either under a niche here, behind a niche there, basically anywhere a qeocacher can think of there can be one. Sometimes they can be down right evil with their hiding spots. This one is one of my favorites.. Do you see where it could hide? Send a post with your email and I will let you know if you are correct.
By the way. A smiley is a symbol given to a cacher who successfully finds a cache. Check out my front blog page and click on the link that shows my successes and failures.. You can't win them all.

One of the Coolest Micro Caches I Have Seen

Now you see it or do you? I have seen some extremly sneaky cache spots but this one is one of my favorites.. Can't you see it? Right there - see?

Do you see the cache?

Micro Definition Video

video

Okay not the most flattering of shots but the video shows you information.

This Micro Cache was shot from my phone live at the site. Of course shot dead would not have been such a good thing... Great video, but not a good thing... But I digress.

Found three caches so far today:
You found Something else to do... (Traditional Cache)
You found "Folsom Prison Blues" (Traditional Cache)
You found Undercover (Traditional Cache)

This is a Nice example of a Micro Cache but there are smaller.

Micros are tiny!

Diving into the Darkness...


Under the heading of "what the heck were you thinking"...

So I'm going to work in the early morning hours minding my own business when I notice on my Garmin a cache marker coming up in a mile or so. Now I have wanted to go to this particular cache for a while but it was still dark out. "Wait for a couple of weeks and then the sun will be up", I think to myself. Then that same voice goes, "then again it wouldn't hurt to go see where it is at least".

Now I had read about this particular cache (GC192JK) and on one side there is a steep hill that is about 10 to 12 feet high. A mall entrance road is on the other side. Most people when they find this cache climb up the hill and if they don't die in the process eventually make it to the right spot. I see another way. Looking to the left and then to the right I notice no cars; it's early after all. What the heck, do a quick grab and go and I will be on my way in a few minutes. What could happen?

The cache turns out to be a real kicker. First I had to bury myself inside a huge cyprus tree, you know the ones, usually full of hornets and spiders. I take my flashlight with me and start looking. Sure enough there is the cache right by the trunk (about 5 feet in - big tree). I think to myself, use the handy dandy grabber tool and this will be a piece of cake - wrong.. Tried several times and for some reason the container would bump into something and I couldn't twist it the right way to come out. Did I mention I was on all fours at this time?

Plan B - had to walk over to the steep edge of the hill, hold onto branches of the tree so I don't roll down the hill to the rocks below (being dramatic) or at minimum not break my neck. Climb to the point closest to the cache, on my knees and once again find myself swallowed by the giant cacher eating plant. Found out why the container only went so far. It's literally tied to the tree by a piece of rope but that is not stopping me now. I manage to get the lid off and look inside. Found a cute panda travel bug, stuffed it in my pocket and signed the log. Closed everything up and put back in place. Said a few swear words as I grab braches and swing back to the top of the hill. Go back to my car and make a quick get away before the security car made it to me to see what I was doing - phew!

After all this I realized how much fun that was. The element of danger, almost getting caught by security and doing this all at night. Took several minutes for my heart to quit pounding but what a rush!

Chalk this one up to "guess what I did today" and log it on the geocache.com website for another find. Just glad I won't have to do that one again. On to the next one...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Greetings From The HeadHardHat






Hello... My name is Andy a.k.a. HeadHardHat... and I'm a Geocacher.


Hi HeadHardHat!

It has been 94 minutes since my last successful cache.


I have been caching for over a month now and have at this time about 30 finds (smilies) with the bulk of them over the past two weeks. I am constantly thinking about it.. If I go a day without looking I start to get the heebie-jeebies and have to go on a hunt. There have been several occasions when I debated if it was raining too hard or not for a quick grab (not if it was raining or not, just if it was raining too hard). There have been times when I have been a mile or so in the deep woods of North Carolina scouring under logs, in trees, under bushes, etc. I originally came from Michigan where the worst thing you can get bit from is a Pygmy rattler and I have never seen one in the wild. North Carolina on the other hand is another story. Venomous snakes, nasty spiders, creepy ticks (been bit once already), etc. can be around every turn but that no longer phases me.. Sure I am as cautious as possible but the fear factor is no longer in play. I am not sure what has gotten into me.

I go everywhere now with my trusty blue backpack filled with trinkets I have found, Dollar Store goodies I can swap as swag in the bigger caches, Travel Bugs and Geocoins... Not to mention boots, gloves, a foldable "grabber", Palm TX, Garmin GPS and my handy dandy notebook. Speaking of travel bugs I absolutely love them. Have a Mantis TB hanging from my windshield visor as we speak. I have plans where some go south, some go north and some are just waiting to be dropped off at the next cache... They literally travel the planet. I have one now that has seen 12 different countries and a good chunk of the United States. I brought him back from Michigan and will find a good spot somewhere here in North Carolina. That's how it all works. Find stuff, take stuff, leave stuff, move on to the next one, oh, and don't forget to sign the logs.

But I'm not obsessed, right? My wife has come on a couple of my adventures and found the caches much quicker than me. Dang it! But she did seem to have some fun. Though I haven't spent much time with her lately, cough, and she is letting me know it. Cold dinners on the table, laundry piled in the corner with the cat sleeping on it, talking on the phone with a guy named Paul.... The usual...

GeoCaching is fun. Real adult (kids can play but there are limits) treasure hunting. You never know where the next one will be or what will be in it. There are literally hundreds of thousands of caches everywhere in the US and around the world and never had a clue they were there. I fully intend to find as absolutely many as I can without physically getting killed. It requires a good gps to get you close and some serious deductive reasoning to find the caches. I find the thrill of the chase adicting as all get out. You would too if you give it a try...

If interested in going Caching with me, send me an email. There are events all year round down here where hundreds come to tell stories, trade items and most of all go find more caches.

But I'm not obsessed... Right?

If you have a caching obsession or want to share with the world about your Geocaching adventures. Please post here! Would love to hear from fellow cachers..
HHH