HeadHardHat's Award Winning Geocaching Blog is a geocache treasure trove of geocaching information. Years of searchable geocaching insights await you here. HeadHardHat's GeoSnippits Geocaching Videos series can be seen on You Tube. You can also find him on his new GeoSnippits Reboot Podcast series and the Geocaching Podcast. Geocaching the outdoor treasure-hunting game which the participants use a GPS receiver to hide and seek containers called "geocaches" or "caches" anywhere in the world
I opened up a rather interesting topic recently in the Geocaching.com forums. Fall has finally come to North Carolina and even though many other states are way past peak autumn colors. It is just now becoming bright and wondrous. Also with the leaf show comes the cooler temps and even though we are mostly in the low 70s right now the nights are crisp. After having to close my bedroom window the cold breeze made me start to wonder about the upcoming winter geocaching. So with the thought of all the Northern States I asked the question about how to winterize a geocache and is it necessary at all.
The responses I received were well rounded which is exactly what I was looking for and after reading the advice given I was able to come to some hopefully helpful conclusions.
To keep a level playing field here lets assume we are talking about geocaching areas where you receive extended periods of snow and below freezing temps. The states like North Carolina (not including the mountains) we normally get a day of snowfall on the ground before it melts. The small ponds MAY get a slushy layer of ice in the coldest week of our winter but that is about it.
Things to consider
If you have ever watched my GeoSnippits geocaching video: What NOT to Hide as a Geocache you will see that cold can be a definite factor when hiding a geocache. One of the key points that was brought up in the discussion is that you have to plan the worst weather conditions for your geocaching hide. In other words it might be sunny and 80 degrees out right now but does your geocaching site get 144 inches of snow in the winter? Is your hide on the ground and potentially can be trapped and/or crushed in ice? In the more spring temps can it be floating in water or washed away in flood? These are very important things to consider when placing your hide.
Cold can do strange things to plastic. I lived most of my life in Michigan so I know all about harsh cold. One of the things my brothers and I did during winter was to take plastic army men and place them in a battle scene on a make shift snow mountain. Then we would take our BB guns and shoot from a distance. In the summer you could shoot the plastic warriors a bunch of times with minimal damage. In the winter they would shatter as if made from glass. Why? The cold made the plastic hard and brittle. Now imagine what happens with your plastic geocache when somebody jabs it with their walking pole. Yep, the lid shatters as if it was shot by a bullet.
So my suggestion for people who live in the colder climates. Forget about using cheap plastic containers for one. They are not waterproof to begin with and the winters will leave you a pile of busted goo by spring time. The more heavy duty and waterproof the geocache the better. I would also suggest putting your geocaches up higher if possible. People are less likely to stick them with a walking pole or to get crushed by the ice.
Some things that you may want to consider about your geocaches during winter. Several geocachers mentioned that they change out pens during the winter months to pencils. Why? Apparently the ink can actually freeze breaking the pen. When spring comes you have a nice inky mess in your geocache when it finally melts.
If you hide your geocache during spring and summer months, remember the foliage that so nicely hid your geocache may now be completely gone leaving your hide wide open. You may want to check your geocaches around this time of the year for not only this scenario but for regular maintenance as well.
So depending on your geocaching hide conditions you may want to now consider doing a quick fly by to check on them. Making sure that they survive a winter full of geocaching goodness can save you a bunch of grief and other geocachers finding a cache full of waterlogged goo.
Was just checking on my daughter's Travel Bug 'Wolfgang Von PitterPat" and found out he has some new tags added and some great new pics as it had travelled with the Leave No Trace Travelling Trainers.
I first found Wolfgang with the Leave No Trace crew completely by chance as I was wondering the Internet one day. You can read that article here: Geocaching 101…We Need Your Help
Now there is a Part Deux which furthers the adventures of Wolfgang as he says good-bye and is placed in a new cache within the southwest. Find out what and where with all the information and photos here: Geocaching 101: Part Deux.
I want to thank the Leave No Trace crew for taking such great care of Wolfgang it was greatly appreciated by both myself and my daughter.
On Friday, 10-22-2009, the eve before the big NCGO Fall Fling. There was a very fun Halloween Bash event.
It had everything a geocacher could want, great food,
fantastic company and some down right creative costumes. Yeah, sure there were earth caches nearby and if you were in town the traditional caches were a plenty to be found. Yet we geocachers love to get together almost as much as we love finding geocaches and boy did we have a blast at Morrow Mountain State Park that night.
The air was crisp like autumn should be and the skies opened up to a fine moon. In the center of everything was a good sized campfire which helped to keep any chills at bay. The sun slowly fell behind the wooded peaks that surrounded us
and the darkened atmosphere of a Halloween Bash was here.
Little goblins danced around as the strange and unusual became the norm. Ketchup bottles chased hot dogs, playing cards were enjoying frosted cupcakes andwe even had a visit from death himself though he was only there for the dinner buffet. A very good time was had by all.
So the next time you are in the woods around Halloween time and the night air is suddenly filled with laughter and the smells of amazing treats. You didn't stumble upon an ancient witches gathering. Chances are you are among friends and the extended family of fellow geocachers having one heck of a time at a geocaching event. Come join us won't you?
It was another really beautiful fall day in North Carolina. The sun was shining and the temps in the upper 70s. Miss Geoness and I wanted to see how many geocaches we could get during today's bright afternoon hours. So off we drove off into geocaching goodness.
Our streak of finds was spot on and we quickly wrote off 22 finds before heading back home. As I added the smileys into our profiles I realized that we both hit milestones today. For Miss Geoness who now has reached 500+ geocaches. As for me I am now over 900 and working on my goal of one thousand. I really wanted to hit it before our Fall Fling event but it just is not to be. At the very least I should get my mark before the end of the year...
Oh this is just way too cool. A few days ago I was paroozing around the Internet looking at geocaching articles within blogs. I just happened to run across The Travelling Trainers - Leave No Trace Blogand what instantly caught my eye was the photo of a travel bug. It was of a penguin that looked exactly like my daughter Miss Geoness'sWolfgang Von PitterPat.
So I end up writing to the authors and asked if this was indeed Wolfgang. I just received the following email from them:
"Hey HeadHardHat! Yes, the TB in our picture and until this morning in our Subaru is none other than Wolfgang Von PitterPat! Very exciting, tell your daughter that he is doing great and check back soon for more pictures and another blog about Von Pitterpat's adventure with the Subaru/Leave No Trace traveling trainers! "
What a small world.
Now the shot itself is gorgeous and you will have to go to the link below to see their article:
Have you ever considered how serendipitous life can be sometimes? I mean really, the odds one must face when doing things in life at just the right time or the right place. It boggles the mind how you can just randomly meet.
For example, I took my daughter Miss GeoNess with me today as we went geocaching. That in itself is no big deal but this time I actually planned to go to the Durant Nature Park in northeast Raleigh, NC. There was about twelve geocaches in the area and I really wanted to get them off our list. The weather was definitely on the cool fall side and it looked like it was actually going to rain but we drove out anyways. Just after we found a nice parking spot inside the park I hear those fabled words.
"Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom", my daughter states with a wince.
"We couldn't have mentioned it the past three fast food places we just passed?", I asked with a slight frown.
I knew there was no arguing about the situation. The park didn't have any facilities we could see so I packed everything back up and found a place she could do what she needed to do.
Admittedly I was a little miffed for the time we lost but what are you gunna do? So we went back to the trail head and started hitting the trails in search of geocaches. We found the first ammo box without a hitch and was doing some bushwhacking to the next one to save some time and as we approached I heard in the distance.
"You can put away your GPS its orange", came the voice up ahead. I couldn't make out exactly who it was because of the thickness of the woods we were in at the time but I figured it was a fellow geocacher.
Again I hear, "Lessee, GPS, funny hat, daughter who's carrying film equipment and is on a syndicated TV show. Who could that be"?
I knew we had been made.
As we came closer I recognized my fellow geocaching friend Wimseyguy. The geocaching experience was about to get a bunch more fun. It always is when you meet up with other geocachers and decide to tackle the area together. Long story short we had a great afternoon finding micros in bridges, ammo boxes in large rocks and even Miss Geoness did a balancing act across a huge log to find a Lock 'n Lock box nestled above a creek bed. Real geocaching goodness in my book.
My point to all of this? If Miss Geoness had not caused us to delay our plans we may never have met up with Wimseyguy at all. Funny how those things work out. Just another great example of serendipity in action. Love it.
It is almost overwhelming to me sometimes how fast our GeoSnippits video show has grown in just a little over a year. Now in season two we have 40 some odd videos on YouTube seen literally all around the world. Beyond that we also have made weekly exclusive episodes for Michigan Magazine TV(RFD-TV Network). We are featured on websites for corporate products and the geocaching based film FIND ME. In fact, GeoSnippits will be featured on the up coming Special Edition DVD for FIND ME coming soon.
Over the past year I have been asked multiple times if I was going to make GeoSnippits DVDs. I have been so busy with everything else I really haven't had time to even consider what I would make for the first DVD let alone make it. A opportunity came up that changed my mind of making one. Our NCGO (North Carolina Geocaching Organization) is having our largest yearly event known as the Fall Fling coming up this Saturday, October 24th. I was asked by our NCGO president if I could make a GeoSnippits DVD to donate to the silent auction. How could I refuse?
Above is the end result, our first official GeoSnippits DVD - How To Make Your Own Geocaches. It contains eight videos encompassing geocaches from the normal to the evil. All sorts of geocaching goodness.
Here is a list of the videos on the DVD.
GeoSnippits Make Your Own PVC Pipe GeoCache Part One
GeoSnippits Make Your Own PVC Pipe GeoCache Part Two
GeoSnippits Painting Geocaching Ammo Boxes
GeoSnippits Make Your Own Geocache 35mm Container - Tutorial
GeoSnippits Making Your Own Geocache Size Small
GeoSnippits Make Your Own PVC Hydrant Geocache
GeoSnippits HowTo Make Your Own PVC Water Main Geocache
GeoSnippits Howto Make Your Own Evil Ant Hill Geocache
I will be interested to see the reaction from the geocachers at the Fall Fling. Will let you know what I find out.
What are your thoughts about who would best want to purchase GeoSnippits DVDs and why?
I was contacted today by Joe Jestus who happens to be the Director of Marketing & Brand Development for Trost Moving Pictures. These are the very cool people who have created the award winning geocaching based film FIND ME.
Joe asked if I would be interested in having my GeoSnippits Introduction to Geocaching videos on their up coming Special Edition DVD. They are currently featured on the website for FIND ME in their Geocaching 101 section.
Hmmm, let me think about this......... that would be a YES Joe!
I am so geeked. Apparently there is a whole lot of extra goodness coming to the Special Edition DVD and to be a part of such an award winning filming production is just too awesome for words. More details are coming and I will let you know the second I find out. In the mean time they are constantly having new contests and other cool things going on all the time. Be sure to check their website out at:
On Saturday October 17th, 2009 our very own GeoSnippits Videos are going to be part of a very special Geocaching Event. It is known as The Art of Geocaching (GX1X98A)That would be in West Midlands, United Kingdom. Just north of Worcester, UK.
Hosted by Tavisman the geocachingwebpage states:
This is a 'meet-and-greet' event is a slight twist. This is the 'Art of Geocaching' event, showcasing the creative and artistic talents used in Geocaching. The exhibits created for Geocaching by Geocachers young and old, from around the world.
I recently discussed how GeoSnippits was to be shown there and Tavisman told me that he has most of the GeoSnippits videos in hand and they will most likely be shown on a 32" monitor. Tavisman also said that they will get several photos and some video with people at the event and will send them to me. I of course will get them up on the blog.
First and foremost I have to give credit to one of our GeoSnippits viewers TheWhiteCroe, who took me down this EVIL path by giving me the suggestion to see if a fake rock could be made out of bondo. I will be sending him an Official GeoSnippits pathtag for the suggestion.
It all came out of trying to prototype the geocache in the first place. I started out very similar to how it is described in the video. I simply made some bondo and poured it out on top of the 35mm container. I observed how quickly the bondo started to harden so I started piling it up on top of itself. Before I knew it I had that same shape you see out of the Close Encounters movie. It certainly didn't look like a rock. In fact it looked more like a dog turd but I wanted to see how the textured spray paint was going to look so I painted it anyways. After it dried I looked at it again and the light stone paint looked a lot more like sand than anything. Then it popped in my brain, "well that looks a whole lot like an ant hill..."
So after trying a couple of different stone colors I was really pleased with the results. The rest is now history and my EVIL Ant Hill made from bondo is out in the world. The video wasn't out more than a couple of minutes before the comments started pouring in. One suggestion was to use a nano instead of a 35mm container to make it even smaller. I just love how the main template of an idea comes out and people use their own ideas to make it better. All I can say is go for it.
I had a blast making this video and inventing the Ant Hill Geocache, now back to making that geocache look like a rock. Where did I put that bondo?
If the viewer above does not display click the link below to see the video:
I have been a really happy customer of the Geocoin Club for well over a year now. Boasting to be the oldest, largest and best monthly coin club around the GCC is not your average every day enamel geocoin maker.
For the month of September 2009 the Geocoin Club has released "The Cache Eagle" and it is absolutely gorgeous.
With the size and weight of the old style silver dollar it is mirror polished, gold in color and even has the ||||||||||| edge like the silver dollar.
The front shows a magnificent tree with an ammo box at the base. A large set of mountains are seen in the background.
The back view of the geocoin has a very patriotic feel to it. With the title Cache Eagle on the top, a banner which should be stating E PluribusUnum actually holds the geocoin id number and an inspiring eagle carrying a huge ammo box completes the scene.
This is one shiny gold geocoin which comes this month in its own plastic case to keep it smudge proof.
When I woke up this morning I did not expect to have a geocaching FTF (First To Find) waiting for me. First to Finds for me is pure bragging rights and there are several other geocachers in the area that are just as passionate as me so if I wanted it I had to move fast.
The waypoint had it about 10 miles away which is on the long side of me getting there first. What drove me was that if I was able to pull this off I could turn it into a really neat GeoSnippits segment for Michigan Magazine TV. I thought to myself how many people who are new to geocaching or never been out geocaching have ever seen a real FTF? So in one fell swoop I grabbed my video gear, jumped into my geocachemobile and RACED (at the limit of posted speeds) towards my goal.
Within a few minutes I had neared the parking are for the geocache. I was so glad that I brought my video camera along because this particular cache was located in the wooded area of a neighborhood park. Complete with beautiful trails and scenic pond but before I could get all that wonderful filler footage I had to find the geocache and sign, hopefully, the clean sheetz.
Armed with my trusty pouch, walking stick and cameras I was off. My Black Berry was fully charged and I used my geocaching application Geocache Navigatorto find the correct route along the trails. The beauty of having an app like that on my phone is I did not have to take the time to download the information about the new geocache. It is pulled directly from the phone connection via the Internet and wha-la instant information.
After walking about .20 of a mile I reached ground zero and began looking around. Within a couple of minutes I had the geocache in hand and much to my glee the sheetz were clean. I had found my FTF for the day. The coolest about the whole thing was I captured it all on video and now it is going to be made into a GeoSnippits segment for Michigan Magazine TV.
Now normally I have my right hand girl and daughter Miss Geoness with me. She is my camera girl and keeper of me making a complete fool out of my self when I am in front of the lens. Today though she was at school and I was by myself. This makes filming a bit difficult. One of the tools that I have recently added to my collection is pictured above. It is a flexible tripod like base that can wrap around anything. In this case there was a bent tree that worked quite well. It allows me to set up shots without the use of a full blown tripod and is small enough to keep in my geocaching pouch. It is great as a third hand for a regular camera and as you can see also works well with light video cameras. You can find these in pretty much any camera store or like me a local department store and they will run you about $20.00. Just a helpful tip from me to you.
Well I have to get back to editing this episode for GeoSnippits and Michigan Magazine TV. GeoSnippits is shown in all 50 states on MMTV which can be seen on Direct TV, Dish Network, Sky Angel and Comcast. Michigan Magazine TV is featured on the RFD-TV Network.