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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Haughtily Fun First To Find

In Stem, NC on the way to work and standing on the fringe of a cemetery. An old one with some of the dates going back to the late 1700s.

The hide itself was placed very nicely into an old tree hole with well placed bark as cover. A very eerie yet peaceful FTF. Not sure why I am attracted to cemeteries but they are fascinating. Must be something with the history that has been and the time passed.

I currently have a very cool cemetery hide myself and have received nothing but nice comments to it's Uniqueness. Its GC1NK95 "At Peace and Not To Be Forgotten" if interested.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Finally Some FTF Respect

(RESPECT patio stone on top of regular sized geocache)

I had tried this easy and quite inventive geocache late last week and had to DNF it. Mainly because the cache wasn't hidden at time of publishing. Little details. For some magical reason it remained unfound all weekend so I swooped in this morning and snagged it.

If anything I have a great motivation to make a GeoSnippits video on guidelines for how NOT to hide a geocache.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Springtime Beauty in the Woods

We were soggy in the woods and among the browns and subtle greens was these blossoms.
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Doing The Walk in the Woods Series

Not having the best of Geocaching days today. After an inch of rain fell last night the trails were soaked and we ended up bush whacking to keep dry. There were five geocaches to the series and we ended up with three. The pond and dam areas were overflowing over the trails in spots but we kept on for the three mile hike.

We saw one huge turtle, frogs and minnows in pond. I had a blast but Miss Geoness was a bit fatigued.

Hope the rest of the afternoon goes better.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Taking The Kids To A Geocaching First To Find

This was an extremely rainy wet Saturday afternoon when my BlackBerry went off telling me a geocache just published. I quickly read over the description and found that it was only five miles away. After stopping myself from leaping into my car all by myself I asked my daughter Geoness if she wanted to go for her second FTF.

"Can Maria come?", she asked. This was her neighborhood friend of which they are usually joined at the hip doing "pre-teen" stuff.

"Sure no problem", says I but I warned that Maria needed to ask her parents for permission first.

After a few minutes we all jumped into the geocache-mobile and were off for the 1/1 find.

The cache site was interesting being in a small garden of a Church. It was even more interesting because a Saturday service was in process. I slowly drove to the back of the parking lot without a single muggle in sight. They apparently were all inside which gave us the opportunity to check out the geocache and possibly get the FTF.

Being a 1/1 it was a quick find and the girls quickly went through and traded swag before we put everything back in it's hidey hole. The First To Find was ours.

On the way back I asked if Maria liked her first taste of geocaching and her first words was to ask if we could do some more. That of course was when the gully washer rain started so we will have to postpone for another day.

Please don't forget to visit our GeoSnippits Geocaching Tutorial Videos Website at http://www.geosnippits.com

Tutorial Video on Loading Waypoints and POIs onto a Garmin 60CSx

HeadHardHat got himself a new toy and boy is it fun for Geocaching. I have in my hot little hands a brand spanking new Garmin 60CSx GPS. Some of you with the more up to date GPSs may just go "big deal", but I have done my research and pound for pound I have found that the 60CSx is the work horse's work horse. I know it has been on the market for several years now and there is a reason why it is still the most popular handheld GPS to date.

When discussing what Geocachers like about their 60CSx units the top three faves is accuracy, durability and ease of use. As of this post I have had mine for three weeks and I couldn't agree more.

The shear size of memory for maps and POIs with the addition of an SD card (I upgraded from the factory 256Meg to 2Gig) is quite useful. I currently have my standard 1000 Geocache waypoints and the addition of the 20,000 - yes 20,000 additional geocaches loaded as Points of Interest (POIs). The kicker is that has barely scratched the memory surface and there is tons of room for custom maps.

Okay I just know you are asking yourself why would I bother with keeping 20,000 geocaches on my GPS? Go ahead ask, I'm right here... The reason is it takes almost no time to load and maintain that many when you use an application like GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). GSAK stores all my .GPX files that I receive from geocaching.com which is also known as Pocket Queries. You simply drag and drop them onto GSAK and it loads them automatically. Then I run a filter to clean up the geocaches the way I want and download them to the Garmin. That's it, and I can do the whole thing in about 15 minutes. Now I can know the whereabouts of pretty much every geocache in my state. Tell me that's not helpful.

So speaking of geocache waypoints and POIs, interested in having multitudes on your GPS? Glad you asked so lets get to it.

GeoSnippits - Load POIs and Waypoints to Garmin 60CSx Part One
Part One shows you how to get the necessary .gpx files via geocaching.com's Pocket Queries. Then how to load them into GSAK which will then load the geocache waypoints onto your Garmin 60CSx GPS.

Go To Video on YouTube:

GeoSnippits - Load POIs and Waypoints to Garmin 60CSx Part Two
Part Two shows you how to load all those thousands of Points Of Interest (POI)s onto your SD card in the Garmin GPS. One complete you have the latest and greatest information for potentially thousands of geocaches. So what are you waiting for? Lets Get Started...

Go To Video on YouTube:

I hope you enjoy this tutorial and feel free to let me know your comments and suggestions. If fact 90% of all the GeoSnippits tutorials we make are from suggestions by geocachers and people like you.

Thanks in advance -HHH

Please don't forget to visit our GeoSnippits Geocaching Tutorial Videos Website at http://www.geosnippits.com/

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Early Morning 1/1 Geocaching Nightmare

In the geocaching world there is a rating for how difficult the terrain surrounding the cache site (or getting to it) is and another for how difficult it is actually hidden. The range for both is from one to five. So if you ever look at a geocache listing you will see references like D3.5/T2. The easiest of geocaches to find is a 1/1. Normally a cache of this ease is accessable by wheelchairs and usually is wide open or has obvious where-a-bouts like flashing neon arrows and the like.

So when I saw two 1.1's publish last night my first assumption was - cool, piece of cake. Ever see the comedian Benny Hill talk about the word ASSUME. The punch line is how assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME. Well hee-haw for me cuz that's what I felt like by the time I got home.

Geocache #1. Drove into the parking lot near ground zero and after reading the description I walked over to the geocache site and immediately noticed that the terrain was not correct and anybody with a wheelchair better have 4x4 mode to get there. Not completely terrible but definitely not a 1. That little .5 makes all the difference. Started looking around and was greeted by a host of dense bushes. Thought sure no problem and started looking for the small container, and looked and looked. Bush after bush with nada, zip, nothing. Expanded my search even though there was nothing else around and still found nothing but a good soaking from the well rained on bushes.

Well shoot. Checked out the hint that said "Under RESPECT" which made no sense. I figured a sign or some other clue to point me to this simple park and grab..... and bupkis. Okay fine, I wasn't pleased with myself but hey there was a second FTF prospect and so I would go check that out and come back for a second swing. Little did I know that my temporary grief was going to get worse.

Geocache #2. The second geocache was about ten miles away and even though the early morning traffic was increasing it was not all that bad as I pulled into the parking lot. The ground zero was about 140 feet from the parking lot across a grassy yard and pointed to a large tree. Now again the difference in terrain is only slight but would need to be adjusted in my humble opinion and no biggie.

Walked to large oak tree which had a nice crown in the center and nothing else. Looked around and found nothing. Looked in all the reachable places and nothing. This was another small hidden by the same hider as my first geocache today. A pattern was forming in my head. I looked around one last time and expanded to the fence that was about twenty feet from the tree. Nothing. Eventually I figured that maybe the geocaches were posted before the hider realized that they needed to be in place. Didn't know at that point and started walking back to my car. That's when I saw the blue lights and heard the quick "whoop!" that told me the law was behind me. I turned around and smiled while walking over to the car.

The officer was very nice and asked what I was doing there. I informed him about the geocache and that I was just leaving. He then pointed out the white No Tresspassing after hours sign that was on the outside of said wooden fence. I told him I didn't see it from where I came from and that I hoped the hider had permission from the business owner to hid it here. He said no problem and promptly left but it was just one other thing to have to deal with this disaster.

When I went home I wrote to the first time hider and explained a few things including what had happened. For me I am just going to put it behind me and if anything it once again makes for a good story. I do know though that in the not to distant future I am making a GeoSnippits tutorial on some tips for first time hiders. I am hearing more and more about geocachers who have almost no experience and then trying to do hides without knowing the proper procedures and etiquette's. All part of the fun of the game I guess. Then again I have a twisted idea of what fun is.

Please don't forget to visit our GeoSnippits Geocaching Tutorial Videos Website at http://www.geosnippits.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bad Hide and No Luck With Number Three FTF

Well you can't win them all. I found ground zero which was a grate but I have a feeling the cache took the plunge. No sign of it after an extensive looking. The thing I am not all that keen is what is shown in the photo. I believe it is supposed to be the focal point of the cache with Who killed Kenny as the theme. This is an eight foot small coffin sized hole with a one foot skirt surrounding it. It's about 13 feet from ground zero and I didn't find the cache here either. I would be concerned with someone doing a night cache or kids. Another example of where Not to Hide.
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After Work FTF

Going after work back to Henderson, NC. This was a nice park and grab which makes two First To Finds today. The weather was cold with some sprinkles.
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Lunchtime FTF

I literally had time for one out of three First To Find grabs in Henderson, NC. Choose this one and back for a meeting.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

And A Good FTF Morning To You

A second new geocache popped up last night. I just had to make the attempt for the First To Find grab. Walking in da woods before the sun comes up is fun stuff. Signed the clean sheetz.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Bed Time FTF Snack With A Side Order of Cops

The owner of the Geocache that I went for tonight said to be careful because the police like to hang around the same area as the cache site. So when I hopped into my geocache-mobile at 10:30 at night I was not surprised to see two police squad cars sitting right where the geocache was supposedly hidden. Now I am not going to let the law slow me down from getting an FTF if I can help it.

I simply drove up next two the two cars with my dome light turned on and rolled down my window.
"Evening officers, sorry to disturb you but I am a geocacher and if it was okay with you I would like to look for a geocache that was just placed about 80 feet over there. Would that be okay?", blank stares return towards me as I start explaining what geocaching was.
"You are more than welcome to join me if you would like. Shouldn't take more than five minutes or so", I say as calmly as if asking for directions.

"Well I unfortunately have a run to go onto but he may be interested", stated the young officer.
"Sure I heard of geocaching but never tried it before", said the other.

So off we went after I showed him the printed off geocache page. I told him roughly what we were looking for which was a regular sized geocache and it was hanging in a tree. We walked down a slight slope and within a few minutes I spotted it and showed the geocache to the officer. He examined it and I showed the log book and other trinkets that were inside. After signing the log and putting everything back in place it was time to leave so I thanked him and went on my merry way. What fun this evening adventure was. Not only was it fun doing a night time FTF but having a police escort made it that much more exciting.

Hopefully I have added one more law enforcement to our ranks of geocachers. If anything it makes for a great story which is starting to become the norm for me.. Just loving it...

That's Not a Banana, That's My .....

I find all sorts of unusual trees and plants when walking in the woods of North Carolina. This interesting, specimen just seemed to want to say, err, hi.

California may have happy cows but NC has happy trees.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Miss Geoness Makes 250 Find Milestone

Miss Geoness made her 250 Find Milestone today. She will receive her milestone pin and Geocoin. Headhardhat is very proud of her dedication to Geocaching and her work with the GeoSnippits videos.
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Ran Into Sir Patrick in the Woods.

I love running into fellow geocachers. Here is Sir Patrick we found out in the middle of the woods looking for the same geocache.

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Signing Log book at Lake Crabtree

Having a ball bushwhacking half a mile to the ammo box and then back again. Gorgeous out!
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Daughter Geoness and Headhardhat in Cary, NC

We are having a great day Geocaching. Stopped for a quick lunch of homemade chicken salad sandwiches, apples and cookies. Mmmmm we love our picnics on the road.
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Beautiful Day For Geocaching

Miss Geoness and I are out in the Cary area Geocaching. Spring is in the air with the sounds of robins and Cardinals. Beautiful blue sky and nanos for the grabbing. This one was eight feet up on the back of a light pole.
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Daughter Geoness Finally Has First To Find in Hand

Before making her 250 find milestone attempt this Sunday. Miss Geoness finally was successful in getting her 1st First To Find. The cache popped up on my mobile email then it was off to the races.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

FTF Morning Breakfast

No time for coffee yet if I want to beat the FTF hounds. Signed the clean sheetz and off to work.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Altoid Geocaches - Love'm or Not So Much

Found this guy today. Not too many around here anymore and there is a reason.

If you have ever found an Altoids container that is a year old or so and you will immediately know why most people dislike finding them. Sure in theory they are this seemingly air tight container that easily can be converted into a nice small geocache. Heck it might even be considered recycling because you are re-using it. Sadly, what happens most of the time is you find a rusting, damp hunk of metal that is usually very difficult to open and immediately makes you feel like getting a tetanus shot after handling. They are not water tight no matter how much you paint the outside and they become a maintenance nightmare after a very short amount of time. So if you take advice from one who finds them - don't use them. There are alternatives that work a whole lot better and you don't have to worry about a child or adult for that matter getting cut on the rusty edges.

While we are at it lets discuss pill bottles. Great idea at the time - okay it's a bad idea. You heard it here first, bad, bad, bad and bad. They are screen doors in a submarine at best and unless you really like your log books extra soggy don't turn them loose on the geocaching world. We would really appreciate it.


The geocaching community at large.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hello World - Send Me Your Geocaching Videos

Calling All Geocachers!!! Tell us what your community gets out of bed to go geocaching for?

I created a section of the GeoSnippits Website and dedicated it to how geocaching is done all around the world and I need your help to do it. I know for a fact that geocaching communities have their differences from Country to Country, State to State and heck, city to city, town to town, etc.

Some areas go nuts over ammo boxes, others can't stand them and like the micros. I want to compile and make an ever growing list of who does what and how in Geocaching and that means the whole planet. For example, I have been told in Germany that micros in the woods is considered a crime and puzzle and multis are the big rage for wide open wooded areas... I know in my area ammo boxes are a big deal and micros get the nasty thumbs down.

What about you? What are the big hits and big frowns in your city, state, country? What do you do differently than the rest of us when geocaching?

Also if you send me your Geocaching YouTube videos you may get featured on the GeoSnippits Website and placed on The Great Geocaching Wall of Fame! Doesn't matter where you are or what language you speak. If we like it you're in so make them worthy of the Great Geocaching Wall. Who can make the best video to represent their community, State or Country? Spread the word.

Send all your You Tube entry links to headhardhat@gmail.com and be sure to put Great Geocaching Wall of Fame in the subject line. Spread the word to all the geocachers and your geocaching groups and friends you know. Show off your geocaching know how, talents and geocaching videos.

Here is a great example to show you. It's a video entitled Geocaching Germany from our GeoSnippits viewer Sokratekk from Germany.

Check it out! Oh I almost forgot. Thanks again to Sokratekk for starting us out right with your fantastic video. Here's Geocaching Germany....

You can also see it on you tube here:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hid My 100th and 101st Geocaching Hide Today

I was so geeked today because in celebration of all the summer like weather we were having I wanted to get my geocache hides finally up to 100. It was a combination of adopting about 30 of them from Hippopottamamma and my long commute from south Garner all the way up to Oxford, North Carolina (about 65 miles as the crow flies).

I had a ball experimenting and trying to come up with new and creative ideas plus kicking the dirt off of some old favorites. I hope the effort has been noticed. So here is my 100 hides geocoin that I can take out and show at my next event. There is a matching pin that came along with it so that is now added to my growing collection on my backpack. What fun and I only hope my future endeavours will be even more of a challenge to the geocaching community.

So not only did I put out # 100 which is a cute cuddly sandwich container and a 1.5 / 1.5.

The #101 is a green 35mm evil hide hidden in the middle of hundreds of pine trees which are so thick that I made it a 3 / 3.

Muhahahahaha! So much for mushy sentiment.. Lets Go Geocaching!

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CO-FTF on an Early Morning Night Time Cache Hunt

When you know that there are several very competitive FTF hounds in your area the urge to be first can be very compelling. For me, depending on where I am during the day and where the newly published geocache actually is will tell me who I am up against and how drastic of measures I need to take to achieve "clean sheetz".

For example, the posting to a particular geocache went live at 9:30 last night. It was about ten miles away and so I actually debated whether I just go out and get it or wait until morning after I drop my daughter off for school. After contemplating the effort that would need to be taken to tell my wife I was going out geocaching - again - or getting a good nights sleep in an actual bed. I decided morning would be best.

After booting my child out of the car and speeding into the night..., err, after waiting for the school bus to arrive and pick up my child from the bus stop I carefully and safely merged into traffic on my way to the geocache site.

Upon arrival I realized that it was still pitch black out and this would be a night hunt. Fortunately the area did not have anyone around so I was free to search undisturbed, or at least that was what I thought at the time. After taking my flashlight and blackberry with me I stumbled in the dark hoping for a quick grab and go. Unfortunately this was not the case and the geocache was well hidden in an area of multiple hiding spots. About ten minutes of searching and I see a car pull up and park behind mine. I was pretty sure it was not the police and I suspected a high probability that it would be my FTF nemesis Ikraynak.

"Ian, is that you", I called into the darkness. The return snickering told me that my suspicions were correct.

We combined forces and began searching the rather large, target rich geocache site. Another five or so minutes go by and I spot the geocache.

"Found it", says I.

Ian retrieved the small geocache and we looked to see if our efforts were in vain or not. We were not disappointed this time and the FTF was ours.

After a short chit-chat it was time for both of us to head off for work. Funny how we both get so much enjoyment trying to beat each other out in being first. That I personally had even more fun looking together with a common goal. Well okay I technically DID find it first anyways but that is not the point... TeeHEE... Until the next time.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are You Practicing Safe Geocaching?

I am sure that this particular photo is going to be used down the road for something more humorous but for today lets discuss what is appropriate for what to put into a geocache.

Now we all know that geocaching is very much a family oriented activity and just down below and right out of the geocacahing.com rules page here is what should not be placed in a geocache:
What should not be placed in a cache?
People of all ages hide and seek caches, so think carefully before placing an item into a cache. Explosives, ammunition, knives, drugs and alcohol should not be placed in a cache. Respect the local laws.

Food items are always a bad idea. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items in a cache.
Please do not put food in a cache.
Great common sense advice.. Speaking of common sense lets just for fun remember that children frequently find geocaches and the idea of "Daddy, what's this for?", just isn't the adventure I personally would be hoping for while geocaching. As it was my daughter age 12 started giggling when she showed me this prize which instantly started the "How da heck do you know what this is?" form of questioning.

"Mom, who else", she snickers.

I of course still picture my daughter at the permanent age of six where daddy can fix everything and is just shy of a god. Needless to say I would suggest leaving the "protection" to other gaming places and leave the swag to more family type items - hokay?

Am I being over protective? I think not but what are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Farewell To Winter - Hello To Spring Geocaching Event

It was a gloriously beautiful Spring day. The kind of day that made you easily forget that just a few days earlier we had three to five inches of snow on the ground. No this was more like what North Carolina can bring in early March. Sunshine filled and the highs around 80 degrees. You just couldn't have picked a better day for a Spring themed geocaching event.

The name of the event was called Farewell To Winter - Hello To Spring hosted by our own Hi Tech Rednecks (Tatortott and Harley Hound) and was held in Princeton, NC. The event itself was on Tatortott's farm land which seemed to stretch out forever.
One of the more interesting features was a bamboo garden which consisted of hundreds of live bamboo trees close together and cut paths that ran through them. Apparently the land was so thick with bamboo that a lot of it had to be bulldozed to make room for their house. The garden path ends at a beautiful gazebo and all surrounded by lush green trees. Breathtaking to say the least.

The event officially was to start around 10 a.m. and to have an afternoon of geocaching based classes given by a bevy of local geocaching instructors. Around 5 p.m. would begin the feast that is known in the south as a Pig Pick'n. Think of it as a huge party with some of the most amazing food on the planet. Lessee if I can explain a couple of quick terminologies so you know what I am talking about and please keep in mind that terminology is regional and so allow some differences.

To the eastern half of the state of North Carolina the word BBQ is something completely different than pretty much everywhere else. For you the term BBQ and grilling usually means the same thing. It refers to the device you are cooking on - a BBQ grill. This also means most of the items that are grilled are covered with a sweet hickory molasses like sauce.

BBQ in North Carolina means only one thing - pig. This particular BBQ is pork served in a certain way. Take your large steel drum and cut it in half top to bottom. Turn it sideways and support it with legs. Hing the sides together so you have a top and a bottom. Put a grating over the bottom half and fill with you favorite wood/coal combination. Insert one whole large prepared porker and cook for hours (we are talking skin and all). The end result is some of THE most succulent pig you will ever taste. Then take a large portion of the meat, chop and add a special southern vinegar based sauce. Serve and enjoy. If you are used to the molasses based sauce it does take a bit of getting used to but who-boy is it delicious.

Now why do they call it a pig pick'n? When the pig is being cooked it is split down the middle with the skin side down against the grill. There is a reason for this and I will explain in a minute. When it is done and ready to be prepared most of the meat is taken away and chopped as explained above. The rest of the pig including some of the best parts stay on the grill and everyone comes up and picks pieces of meat right off the remainder of the pig. Think of it as southern appetizers before the main course. The really great part is something called Cracklin. Ever hear of pork rinds? Cracklin is the original pork rind and is actually the caramelized skin of the pig. You break off a piece which is very brittle but not burnt. Peel off the pork meat and then eat the cracklin which is crispy like home made jerky. You have to try it to believe it and for all you health conscience people out there I am not even going to try explain this. All you have to know is it's some kind of yummy and once tried you will be hooked. Guess I veered off a tad on the food, typical for me.

To sum up the day, Miss Geoness and I was able to do some geocaching in the Princeton area and picked up about twenty geocaches. That was a good thing because she is now just shy of her 250 finds mark and I have a special geocoin and pin waiting for her when she does get there. We had a blast driving around in the very micro enriched town.

The rest of the day we spent at the event itself either attending classes about GSAK, creative geocaches, planning high number geocaching trips, etc. or talking with about fifty fellow geocachers. Some I know and some were new faces as well. Before we knew it the dinner bell rang we feasted on pork, potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, venison stew and a host of other delights. Tatortott really pulled out all the stops on this and to enjoy this in the beginning of March, pure heaven.

As night came many of us sat around a very nice fire and just chit-chatted. The only difference between a star filled sky this day or one in June was the complete lack of bugs. Again just a magical time to sit back relax and enjoy yourself.

The time unfortunately came to say our goodbyes but not before once again thanking our hostess . Tatortott explained straight out that this was her way of thanking the geocaching community for being the kind spirited people they are and for all the really great hides we do. What a fantastic ending for a wondrous day..

Friday, March 6, 2009

Really on the Fence With This One

Fence post hides are like a box chocolates. No not full of ooey gooey confection filled goodness but they can have some sweet hides. Also yes you never know what you're gunna git.

This early morning find was a 35mm container Velcro'd to the inside of a 4x4 plastic post cap.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

FTF - What The Heck Was I Thinking?

(note above my shoe bottom left and the ice just above it -HHH)

I am typing this rather interesting little story to you in wet and sandy socks. My work shoes are drying next to my desk and though quite damp, no longer dirty from my geocaching escapades of yesterday. The reason they are no longer dirty, yet moist and a bit sandy is due to my obsession with geocaching FTFs or First To Finds. If you read my blog on a regular basis you will see many postings of a happy smiling me showing clean log sheets of some cache with either my name on top or soon to be signed. Today was a smidge different than my normal routine thus the wet shoes, socks and my right pant leg.

Let me tell you of my adventure. It started out innocent enough. I received an email last night telling me of a new geocache that posted in the Creedmoor, NC area. 1208Zuni a geocaching friend of mine was the owner. Zuni is known for some downright crazy geocache hides and I prepared myself for the possibility that this would be a tougher find.

It’s 6:45 am and I pull up to the cache site. It is on a fairly busy road looking over a stream which goes under the road itself. The base of the stream is a good twelve feet down with a steep snow covered slope. We had just received several inches of rare March snow that still had not melted and it was only about 27 degrees out. I figured out a way to get down but it would take a bit of a walk around to accomplish, no problem. About half way down was when the police showed up. I waved, he waved, I thought to myself, “well – shyte!”.

“That your car”, the officer asked from his rolled down car window.

“yessir”, says I.

“Whatcha doing down there”, says he.

“Why Geocaching Sir, there is a new one that was just placed here and I’m trying to find it. Is that a problem”, says I hoping this will end quickly yet without being arrested.

“No problem, just wanted to make sure it wasn’t an abandoned vehicle. Have fun”, with that he rolled up his window and drove away.

“Well that was interesting”, I thought to myself. No big schpeel about what geocaching was and I still had time to find it before heading off to work. Cool!

With the threat of incarceration behind me and after a bit of bushwhacking I reached the small stream and though there was a lot of vegetation there were two areas to cross if I was careful. Checking my BlackBerry and Geocache Navigator I realized that the cache was indeed on the other side of the bubbling waters. After making sure that my phone would not end in the drink I made a leap that did not end in tragedy. Being in work shoes that is always a good thing. Actually I was pleased that I had not already broken my neck after walking downhill on the snow covered weeds.

The cache site was a concrete spill drain that controlled the stream itself. There were several hiding areas for a micro which required me to stand on some ice covered rocks while straddling the hillside. This was not a very comfortable way to be for a rather girth prone person such as I am. As I poked and prodded with my now frozen fingers I held a wonderful cataclysmic thought in my head of landing straight on my butt into the icy cold water behind me. I could feel my legs ache from the cold and precarious position while trying to keep my balance. Minutes seemed to slip away as my frustration level increased. Maybe it was in the stump that was six feet up and out of reach, maybe in one of the drain holes that I could not see far enough into? Drat, where could it be? As usual just before I give up I look and see the well camouflaged geocache.

SUCCESS! I quickly but carefully take out my Blackberry and snap some photos all the while remembering that I was standing over water. I sign the clean sheets and put everything back where it was. That was when I heard something rustling about 30 feet above me and to my left. I look up and there was Zuni smiling ear to ear.

“Did you find it”, he asked.

Now any other time I would think that a 300+ fat man straddling the side of a hill and standing on frozen rocks over a flowing stream may have caused a slightly different reaction from anyone else. Except Zuni knows me and he knows what I have done in the past for a FTF so this was pretty much business as usual in the geocaching world.

“Yup all signed and put back, oh, and you suck Zuni”, I said with a grin. He laughed.

Zuni came back over to make sure everything was in place for whoever was fool hardy enough to try and find this particular geocache after all the rain and snow. We chatted a bit and he told me that another geocache will be opening in the area soon. First thought, cool. Second thought, getting my keester off of these rocks and onto solid ground before something bad happens.

Zuni had to take off himself so we said our good-byes and I tried to figure out the best way to get back to my car. The route Zuni originally took to get down here was way too snow covered and steep for me to try in my work shoes. So I decided to go back the way I came. Unfortunately on my attempt going back I slipped and landed on a sand bar like ground which looked at the time rather firm. It wasn’t and my foot sunk down to above my ankle in thick quicksand muck. The cold was intense and as I jumped from right foot to left the second foot placement was not much better. It too found a soggy spot though not as deep but deep enough to soak that foot as well. It is amazing how your mind just disengages when you realize that you screwed up big time. All I could think of as I trotted up the now even slipperier path to my car was how the water washed away the red North Carolina dirt off my shoes from yesterday. Needless to say I could not wait to get into work and at my desk where I can hide till everything dries.

All of this for a First To Find. I wonder if Zuni’s other geocache has published yet? Hmmmmm.

But I’m NOT Obsessed…. Right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Double Has Been Found And He's In The UK!!!

I have no problem telling people that I love TWITTER. For those who know and use this micro-blogging wonder can tell you how it brings the entire world right to you and opens communications never dreamed of.

Today I received a "Tweet" from a fellow twitter friend Magpie_Guy from Leeds, UK who informed me that my twin double has been found and he is a well known British Actor.

Meet Ricky Tomlinson who is definitely a handsome guy, what do you think?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Little Chilly To Be Lifting a Skirt

There were two new geocaches placed in Oxford, NC this weekend and I wasn't about to let a little rare winter snow slow me down. Did I mention it is supposed to be near 80 degrees this weekend? By the way if you are wondering what the title means with all of this that is a light pole behind me and where there are light poles there are skirt hides...

When You Gotta Go...

Rare snow geocaching in North Carolina. Interesting specimen of a geocache choice. Where's my hand sanitizer? Yeah I know the owner of this little guy and if you notice he didn't bother to even take off the label... Yuckie... At least it didn't have a name etched on it and yes I know the rule about eating yellow snow...

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's Your Geocaching Must Have Thing-A-Ma-Bob?

I love talking "shop" with fellow geocachers especially when it comes to tips and tricks they have aquired along their adventures. In every one of these discussions it was not the big expensive gizmos that grabbed my attention most but the home-made ingenuity to solve common problems or situations geocachers face.

I'll never forget going to my first event and while mingling around I ran into just one of the nicest geocaching couples you ever want to meet. The were elderly though you couldn't tell it by the sparkle in their eyes or the pep in their conversation. We talked about everything geocaching and for me at the time I had less than one hundred finds and you could just tell they were in the tens of thousands. He must have known how fascinated I was and without missing a beat he pulled out a plastic for from the virtual toolchest in his breast pocket.

"Know what this is for?", he asked with a big grin. "This little gizmo is the best for getting those sharp burs out of your clothes without getting poked."

"What a great idea", said I. I know in Maryland there is a very sharp bur that grows all over the place, planting into your shoes, socks and pants. If you even try to gently pull them out you immediately get pierced with sharp needles. What a simple yet effective answer to a problem I had delt quite painfully with for a while. How many other home made what-cha-ma-callits were out there that could be shared?

To find out I asked two of my favorite geocaching forums that very question.
"What tip, trick or homemade gizmo do you use that is an absolute must while geocaching?"
The response has been quite informative if not extremely inventive. Below is a compilation of those responses I hope you find value from it and share with others.

fishingdude720 - I usually carry a pocket knife to use as a prod stick for places I don't want to stick my hand into, and to cut down branches to use as a geo-pile.

Kit Fox - I've got a whole backpack of special "thingies." One item I carry for Joshua tree, Cholla, and Beavertail, spines is a set of sliver tweezers. http://www.rei.com/product/407072

sbell111 - a pen.

DarkZen and Beautiful - Two ideas:-I keep my batteries in a http://batterychargerz.com/shop/article_MHS-BH4AA/AA-AAA-Battery-Carry-Case.html. It protects them and it helps keep up with whether they are good or not - positive ends matching=bad, positive ends opposite=good.

Y2KOTA - I carry a red LED flashlight to help with nightcaching.

Star*Hopper - I've already posted a couple pix of my 'one indispensible & ever-present' cross-lock tweezers. A mini-Leatherman's always in my pocket, even when not caching; as is my 2" 'Bullet' Fisher Space Pen in the watch-pocket.....& while not indispensible, another couple of very handy items include the break-down 20' "reaching pole" I fashioned from 1.25" conduit (3x 7' sections velcro-banded together in the back of the Blazer) & these 2, which get considerable usage:~30" telescoping magnet.........& 2" 'snake' mirror (so-named for more'n 1 reason!!)

Too Tall John - a Pickle/Olive Grabber.

StarBrand - A Red Uniball Powertank pressurized pen - for signing logs.
Ball of string and a few paperclips.
Swiss Army kife with tweezers and toothpick.
Backup GPS unit.
Duck Tape.

Vater_Araignee - Because it would take a screwdriver and a 20 some odd dollar battery to change my battery if it dies, I made a 12v (8 AA) battery pack that I can plug my car charger into. It is inefficient but simple.

AZcachemeister - A turbo-torch with a tank of MAPP gas.

HH242 - Sample subpoenas. They give me a reason for skulking around places that are not ordinarily skulked around. I can explain that I am looking for so-and-so. After that, people generally leave me alone ... and when they don't I ask their name as I look through my stack of subpoenas.

aka Momster - 2 -$1 Bandanas. One for use as a cover-up to hide the GPSr or cache container from muggle eyes, makeshift water bottle carrier, cache location/trail marker, container and swag dryer, dirt remover, and many, many other uses one doesn't know until you need it. The second, hopefully clean, to stem the flow of blood. Stuff happens.

Snoogans - You know those extension pole grabbers you use to hang Christmas lights??? You're gonna need one to get some of my newest cache creations. I just love 5-Star difficulty. (Idea shamelessly stolen from GPSaxophone.)

power69 - 6 foot length of string with neodymium magnet on end for those rare occasions where a magnetic cache has fallen to earth and isnt retrievable bare handed.

WatchDog2020 - CellSensor EMF Detection Meter - made to detect cell phone radiation and electromagnetic fields but can be used to locate those tiny little magnetic nanos. Shhhhh don't tell.

Suburban Hillbillies - I have a small battery powered blacklight. I still haven't used it to actucally find a cache, but who knows.

geos of the jungle - During peak tick season I always have a roll of cellophane tape (e.g. Scotch). The tape works great for grabbing the ticks off my clothes, and I can count how many I nabbed at the end of the hike.

fox-and-the-hound - A pair of buckskin gloves. I always carry gloves (usually fleece) in winter, but these I carry all year long for when you have to climb that tree or reach into some sketchy-lookin' hole, etc. Very, very soft, feel like a second skin actually and have saved my hands again and again from bites, scrapes, tree sap, etc.

Isn't the internet wonderful!?
Woodstramp - When I first started folks mentioned carrying a clipboard to "look official" so as to ward off muggle attention. That sounded good but I use something a little smaller and more convenient. It's a small spiral bound pocket notebook. You can flip it open and lay the GPS over or under it if need be. It cammos the GPS hand well.
Team O-Zone - I have in my bag a telescoping mirror & telescoping magnet, among other things but I also carry a package of diaper wipes. It's great when you get plant sap on your hands, as well as when you're on a hike and you kid "needs to go now!" if you know what I mean!

DiamondDaveG - QUOTE(Woodstramp)
When I first started folks mentioned carrying a clipboard to "look official" so as to ward off muggle attention. That sounded good but I use something a little smaller and more convenient. It's a small spiral bound pocket notebook. You can flip it open and lay the GPS over or under it if need be. It cammos the GPS hand well.I have used this one many times. I always have a mini-composition book in the van for notes while driving too. Now that I came across one really cheap, I have started to carry an orange vest and a hard hat just in case I need to look even more 'official' than just the clipboard.

rastus76 - I have a bag that always goes with me. it has: a small led flash light, cammo duck tape, extra blank logs, my travel log book, empty cache containers, spool of green flower arrangement wire, band-aids, leather man tool camera, batteries, and i took an old solar light and stripped it down to just the battery housing and the solar panels. (i can leave it on the dash or take it with me. i used it during a week long hike thru yosimite and only took 6 rechargeable batteries. it keep my cam and gps going the whole time i was there.) there is also some baby wipes for cleaning muddy sappy or what ever hands and cleaning wounds.


JustJohn - I like to wear the Mechanix brand gloves when reaching into nooks and crannies, and when climbing (coral outcroppings are sharp).

Nobody mentioned it, and it may be a no-brainer, but I carry plenty of ziplock bags, and used plastic grocery bags for trash and such.

If you have any to add to our ever growing list, please email headhardhat@gmail.com and they will be included. -HHH