Sunday, August 31, 2008

Finally we go again! A new hide and a death hike

Hello took me geocaching yesterday! Yay! I had started threatening to go without her, and I knew she wouldn't stand for that. So off we went.

Hello had a cache in the car ready to hide, and an idea where to put it, so that's what we did first. It was a funny bushy parking lot, sort of odd and all alone. We looked over all of it. One corner kind of stunk, another was full of thorny blackberry bushes, a dog turd guarded a likely spot. At least I hope it was a dog turd. That was the best spot, though, so the turd wary will just have to deal with it.

We went to a historical part of the big park-like cemetary to grab a cache. We had explored this part before without coordinates, just because we were already there. Hiding a cache. Poor little cache. Anyway, Hello found it pretty fast and then we went to lunch.

I'm not real adventurous about food. I'll try almost anything once, though, and we decided on dim sum. I was warned that I might be offered a chicken foot, but that I didn't have to take it. You know, if I were really hungry, and that's what I had, I would eat the chicken foot. But the truth is I've got a few extra meals stored around my middle and I can get along really well without it. Chicken feet are totally unnecessary, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that. The GPS says the nearest dim sum place is 40 miles away. Awwwwwwwwwwww. We went to The Elephant Bar instead and had an awesome lunch. Later we were caching in the downtown area. We had to give up on one after the other because of events at the college and an art show and $20 parking fees. Kind of frustrating. Then we spotted a dim sum place. Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Too late, we're already full of sweet and sour and teriyaki chicken. Maybe next time.

The next few caches we found, no problemo. We started beating each other up a little bit though. I accidentaly got Hello with a stick, she accidentally got me with another, a bush took a bite out of her foot. I dropped a cache in between a chain link fence and a wooden fence. Things weren't going so well. I was wondering to myself if I could get over the chain link fence and stuff myself down there to retrieve the cache. Hello took the more sensible approach and was able to bring it up by reaching her fingers through the links. She's so clever. We parked near a very pretty small residential park and were accosted by a bossy smart mouthed teen holding an ugly little dog. I had just opened the door when she stalked up and informed us that we were not allowed to park there. It's their house and that's where her mother parks. I informed her that we were not on private property, she does not own the street in front of her house. I didn't get hot, but she had a snotty little attitude and I had a few extra hormones I had to hold on to, so I stopped after making my point. I was sorely tempted to tell her to call the cops to complain if she didn't like it and let them tell her a few things. After she finished and stalked off we just sat there wondering how long we should let her stew. I left the door sitting open. Nope, not moving. HA! Take that, snottty little shit. Hello had a few extra cranky hormones, too, so we sat there and let her fuss and fume a bit before moving to a better, closer spot a short ways up. I didn't want to move, but I didn't want the car to get damaged while we were searching out the cache. So we found a pretty pregnant momma cat and the cache, then we got our first little bit of nature.

The next cache was hidden above a little creek. We could hear it gurgling below the bush and tree we were searching. We could see little shadowy fishes and I was thinking about going down there, but it was a sheer drop of something like 20 feet and I had a cache to find. So I stayed put and looked for the stupid nut jar, for about three minutes, then I wandered off to look for a way down to the creek. I can't help it. I was surveying the only likely spot, wondering if it was too steep and too loose to risk a broken arm when Hello came to find me. She decided it was okay and went off down to the creek. I love Hello LOL. So I followed her down and looked all around while she cooled her tootsies in the creek and pointed things out to me. There were many little fishies, a cat in a tree, a rooster was crowing somewhere nearby (keep an eye on your feet dude!), cute little pot plants, old gross socks, a perfectly good garden hose nozzle. Some day I'll remember a trash bag and take the garbage out with me. We didn't get the cache, we wanted the creek more I guess. It was a cute one.

We cached in front of geocacher's houses a bit. I think we've visited three or four of our compatriots. It still creeps me out to poke around in someone's yard, though. It's probably the only type of cache where I truly remember to be stealthy. We had a couple of other things to do, like finding some place to pee and getting into the Hallmark store before closing. So we took care of that and then it was six o'clock. We figured we had at least two hours of daylight left and headed off to see how many more caches we could pack in. Just one, it turned out, as it turned out to be the death hike. Don't get me wrong, I like the caches planted along a game trail on a high hill. I really do, for the sights and the exercise (I'm a little bit stiff today), and we always end up on a least one of these heart pounders. So, we got our death hike at the end of the day. On our way up we saw an old quicksilver mine, two bunnies, some joggers, a bear cave, sweated a lot, appreciated a stray seabreeze that managed to get over the coastal hills, wondered if we would ever remember to carry some water on a death hike. We got to the cache just as the sun went down. After walking about 100 yards way off trail and through a field of big rocks. Rocks that have been soaking up sunlight all day long. You know who likes warm rocks? Cold snakes. I reminded Hello to watch for snakes. We sat to paw through the ammo can (our favorite!), enjoyed the view as long as we dared and then started down while the sky still held some light. There were a few more joggers in the area so I was convinced we had enough light to get back down. Losing light. Is that a snake or a stick? The bear cave is coming up. Losing light. I've got a flashlight. Should we peek in that cave? Um, no. Hello says, if a bear eats her, I should go ahead and run away. Um, no. Did you know we have a serial killer on the loose? WHAT! Well, I don't know where he is but I saw a link this morning that says there is a serial killer in California. Losing light. Crickets singing from every leaf and golden blade of grass. The killer probably isn't up here, but I didn't open the link so I don't know that for sure. How can you not open a serial killer link? I was late for geocaching!

We're half way down and the light is pretty much gone. The sky is a really pretty deep and dark purple and the trail is still visible under it, so I don't bother with the flashlight. I don't want to draw the attention of a ranger who might give me hell for being in the park past sunset. Nor serial killers. Nor mountain lions or bears. It was completely fully inky dark before we got all the way down, and as we were coming down, a young guy was pushing his bicycle up. I thought, what a dork. If his car is on the other side, he should ride around the mountain, not over, in the dark, where there are animals that would like to eat him. Hello says, watch out now. He'll be coming back down really fast. He did. He was just playing, racing down mountain trails in the dark where he knows people are walking. What a dork. We survived the rest of the walk and we were completely used up and pretty dirty. That's how I know I had a good geocaching day, by the amount of dirt I wash off. Frankly, I was kind of dirty before lunch. Hello had to pull some leaves off me before we went in the restaurant, so it was a great geocaching day and our hide was approved and published. A couple of people ran off this morning to try to be the first. One of them was a little concerned about the turd, but went for it anyway. Because geocaching is awesome!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saz is real too lol

Here is a quick picture of Saz to prove she is real too. She is standing in front of the easy path of death mountain. Trust me that it is NOT as easy as it looks. About half way up your heart is pounding and you are seeing little spots in front of your eyes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our first hide!! SUCCESS Finally

After the 4th refusal of our hide Saz and I were a little frustrated. Actually Saz was turning into a cranky pants LMAO!

Yesterday after work Saz came back over and we drove to DEATH mountain again to move our cache AGAIN. Now I am Miss Cranky Pants and Saz is fine. We start tromping around the mountain to go do the retrieval. After we had the cache in hand we started walking back to the car when this random man in his backyard proceeds to tell us we are not walking on a path. Umm dude I totally am aware that I am not walking on a path. I think I must have given him the look of death or maybe he heard me call him a fuck head because he never said another word to us.

That did not stop me from pretty much demeaning his manhood for the rest of the walk to the car. At this point Saz is laughing at me…

Seems like when Saz is mad I laugh and when I am mad she laughs. That works!

We hopped back into the car and proceeded to drive to a second published cache on the other side of the mountain in the flat part of the park. We wanted to make 100% sure that we were NOT within .1 miles when we hid this one. Of course we couldn’t check on any mystery caches but we had a tiny glimmer of hope this time.

After judging the distance we hopped out of the car and proceeded to walk around this part of the park trying to find a good location. We scoped out quite a few likely locations and decided on hiding it under this oak tree that is probably over 100 years old. After we placed it we both took steps back and eyeballed our hiding spots for any tell tell signs that we hid the cache. It looked good to go! We took the coordinates. Then turned off the gps and turned it back on and took the coordinates again. See.. we learned from our last time lol. We wrote them down and started walking back down to our car.

At this point we decided to take a few pictures of Saz in front of death mountain since we haven’t shown her yet. Of course after a few pictures the camera dies. When the pictures are downloaded I will add them to the blog.

We drove home and entered the new coordinates along with a OMG PLEASE POST THIS note. Ok it wasn’t as bad as that but it should have been lol. We waited for a while to see if it would be approved but it never happened so we decided to go eat and then come home and check to see if it had been reviewed and rejected YET again.

SUCCESS!!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!! Saz and I actually were so freaking happy we hugged each other. I think we might have actually squeaked out a tear lol.

Saz went home and about a hour later I get a text that says Woo Hoo. We were so freaking happy.

We have had two finds since it was posted. Both happened today. I am so happy that our journey with that cache is over!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our first hide part 3

Boy, we had a busy weekend! With a mixed bag of successes and failures.

You may remember what happened to our first hide (disgusting!). The second had to be moved because it was too close to a published cache. No problemo! We measured more carefully and moved the sucker further down the trail. Then it was too close to an unpublished secret cache. So (sigh) we hauled ourselves up the mountain trail again and moved it down the hillside and much further off the trail and crossed our fingers. Then it got rejected for being too close to the first cache we crowded. Actually, we were right on top of it. Oops! We gave the guy the coordinates to the micro we first crowded! LOL

Hello had a family event on Saturday in a community rose garden and I went along, then we went caching afterwards. We found one in a cute neighborhood park, at the far end where there were some christmassy looking pine trees and an awesome cat. We petted the cat and found the cache, petted the cat, petted the cat some more. Hello would have liked to take that cat home but he was collared and tagged and obviously well taken care of, just enjoying some "me" time in the park. We went back up the mountain to retake the coordinates of this stubborn second hide and to try to find another before dark, but had to quit on it for the night. Soon, Hello realized her cell phone was missing. Crap. Could be anywhere. A phone call to the family didn't pan out, we hurried back to the rose garden, no phone there. Now it was full dark and we had to call it an evening and get some food. Hoping for some good news, we checked on our hide. It was STILL too close to that secret puzzle cache. CRAP! It wasn't our best caching day. So, we decided that Sunday would be our day. We'd find the phone, move our cache to just the right spot, and a stubborn Hello baby would be born. His poor momma had been trying to evict him for two days. We were exhausted, so we vegged in front of Finding Nemo and then called it a day.

Sunday we raced off to undo all our failures. No one reported kidnapping Hello's phone from the rose garden. We checked the christmas tree/cat park, no luck. We went to retrieve our second hide and hopefully get far enough away from the secret one (seriously, is this guy hiding his allowance in there or what?). So we haul ourselves up there and retrieve our cache, and what do you suppose is lying right on top of a field of golden leaves, glinting silver in the sun? Hello's phone! I swear to God, it winked at me. Does it work? Yes! HA! Here we go now. Everything is going to be alright. We are going to walk far away from this crappy hillside and plant this cache just right. A woman helpfully let us know there was a five foot snake in the area earlier in the day. "Thank you", I call back. I'm thinking, there's 10,000 snakes in here. Thanks a whole frackin' lot. You've saved my life, seriously. A snake was on the mountain? Did you call SWAT? The National Guard? Hello, get your mace out! Oh yes, I'm getting testy, knock it off. It's going to be approved today and we can spend the last part of the day watching to see if the first to finders come a-runnin' and see if we hid it well enough for the old timers to look confuzzled once or twice. We hide it really well, simply setting it among the natural landscape and camo'd with natural materials. The old timers will be all over it but someone like me is going to curse a little (or a lot) before they end up hands and knees in the dirt and simply pull it out with a relieved grin lol. We send in the new coordinates and go caching. When we come in later to check, we have no approval but we do have a baby! YES! Everything is going to be alright. We go caching, come back to check and, we are still too close to the super secret puzzle cache. Mother........let's say I hit the end of my patience with this cache I have to stay away from but it's location is a secret. What the fudge? We were finally advised just to avoid that whole mountain. Thanks guys.

As I rinsed off a serious amount of dirt, muttering about how this is supposed to be a game and why be so serious and closed mouth about this cache I can't get away from that must contain state secrets or a Honus Wagner card or SOMETHING just too frackin' special to tell me about, I finally remembered to tell myself the same. It's a game. Don't like the rules? Don't play. You don't complain about not being able to find a cache because you like to be in the park anyway. Go get your cache off the mountain and try somewhere else. Enjoy the scenery, fill your shoes with foxtails, be happy.

Meatloaf says "two out of three ain't bad". That was okay for Sunday, but we are going to find the perfect spot tonight. I know it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The hide part 2

Saz and I were so excited about our first hides! I wish you could have seen us giggling as we hid both hides. We were so sure that we had to wait 72 hours before they published them and allowed people to look. The website says it can take up to 72 hours.

Imagine our surprise when in the morning we woke up, drove to work and found out that our cemetery cache had been published!! Not only had it been published but someone had already found it!! That started an email campaign back and forth.
“Did you see Rocket girl found it?”

We were thrilled. Refreshing over and over just to see if someone else had come. I told my coworker Tyler about how our cache was published. He has just started caching due to me lol. About 15 minutes after I told him I went looking for him to ask a question. He wasn’t there. I looked for his car and it was in the parking lot so he hadn’t left. I figured he was just in someone else’s office. I sat back at my desk and opened an email from him. The picture you see…That’s Tyler. He snuck out of work to go find our cache. LMAO!!

On and on it went all day. “Did you see!” “Yes!!” We felt like proud parents. I had to go to an offsite meeting and when I finally got home I sat down at my computer and started to read my emails. I was horrified. This is the email I got!
We went to your geocache at the cemetery today. When we got there someone was already signing the log so we drove on and parked a discreet distance away. We saw him signing, and saw him go over to the tree two times...once with the cache (we think). The second time he went to his camper and then returned to the tree. We couldn't see if he had anything in his hands. After he left we drove to the obvious nearest parking location. Before we could get out of the truck a maintenance guy in a white truck drove up behind us, up the curb, and across the graves to the tree. It looked like he has a GPS device. He walked right over to the tree, fumbled around in the large partially covered hole, and seem to hide something in his jacket as he went back to his truck. He drove off, but only far enough away to watch my family wander around looking at headstones. He actually moved his truck, every 5-10 minutes, but was always obviously watching us (not working or anything like that).
Eventually he left. My grandkids went over to the tree to look for the cache. My grandson pulled out a container, thinking it was the cache.
It was about a quart sized jar filled with liquid and brown solids.
It smelled really bad. He immediately put it back, came back to the truck, and we loaded up and left. I don't know if you need to check this one. I don't know if the maintenance guy was just waiting for us to leave so he could return the cache to the location. I have only bad ideas about the contents of the jar. Even if the cache is in the same hole as the jar of putrid smelling stuff I wouldn't dare to put my hands anywhere near it. I don't want to post a public log with this information. I would appreciate some feedback from you to know if we're being duped, or stupid, or not very savvy. I honestly hope the maintenance guy was just waiting for a chance to put the cache/log back in place and our presence stopped him. Wish he had just initiated some conversation so we could have figured it out while there.


So I had Tyler run and go check on it. I asked him to email me as soon as possible. Of course the Mr. came home and wanted to go to Walmart. So there I am fretting while in Walmart. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and called Tyler. He told me it was missing. CRAP! So I told the Mr. that I had to go to the cemetery. That I needed to see. Inside the tree was a “new” container filled with human waste. Someone took our cache and replaced it with human waste! What kind of person does that?

Saz and I were horrified. We also laughed. A lot. I think it was either laugh or cry. .. OR get angry. We decided to be horrified. We also decided that was NOT going to stop us from hiding our next cache.

Did I mention that we were 138 feet to close to a micro to place our giant ammo can? Did I mention that we have to haul ourselves back up a huge mountain to move it a little over 138 feet? UGH.

BUT… we can’t wait to see what happens with our next one. We are excited still. If something does happen to this one though we will turn all the rest of our caches into members only!

Our First Hides!! part one

After lots of careful planning we were ready to plant some caches. How exciting! I couldn't wait to get one out there so I could watch the seeker's logs. I'll tell you about the hide. Hello will tell you about the "logs". :|

We've been shopping for and planning out our Lost themed caches almost since we started geocaching. We wanted to rack up some experience first so we would have fun and exciting finds for our fellow cachers to enjoy. We finally had all we needed, chose two good spots and got two boxes ready to go, each packed with a travel bug (sending John Locke on his Walkabout was first), an unactivated geocoin for the first to find, lots of cute little toys and games and colorful trinkets. We couldn't wait for the weekend so we ran out after work to hide them.

The first one we placed in a cemetary that Hello visits almost daily for her afternoon walk. We each went back and forth about whether it was okay to plant one there or not, but not for long. It's a really big place, full of huge old trees, beautiful statuary sprinkled throughout, memorials for all faiths, a memorial for the victims of 9-11. You might not expect it to be so, but it really is a nice place to spend some time. Very peaceful, pretty, and park like. There is an older section that is seldom visited. The grave markers from that time period can be ornately carved or serenely simple. I looked them all over, but what's really special about this part of the cemetary is a huge old old tree with a huge hole in it. A really big hole, so big you could climb through it and sit inside that tree if you wanted to. That's where we planned to leave our hide and, after dismissing any misgivings we decided to go ahead with it. We both really like finding ammo cans and we have those ready for our Lost "hatches", but that didn't suit this hide, too heavy, so we packed a tupperware with goodies instead and hung it inside the tree. We also got the coordinates of a spot with a spectacular view and those of the 9-11 memorial to add to our hide announcement and we were very excited about it. Any cachers who weren't turned off by a cemetary hide would enjoy visiting this one.

Then we had a gross Jamba juice. It was advertised as an orange delight, or something similar, but tasted like bananas, which neither of us like. Yucky.

The next hatch was going on a hiking trail we went hunting on a couple of weeks ago. At the time, we both remarked how pretty the area was and how nice the trail was to walk on, so we wanted to plant a hide there. It turns out there are only a few caches here and plenty of room, and there was a micro already hidden near the entrance. When we were here before, we weren't up to hunting micros yet. We've gotten a few now, so we were going to find that little sucker on our way out. We entered the trail lugging our ammo can hatch, hoped the muggles wouldn't call in the bomb squad due to the can, picked a trail and walked off to find the perfect spot. After hauling ourselves up a very steep path, we found the perfect spot just off the path. There were muggles offroading on the other side of the trail but they weren't paying us any attention. So we planted the can, stuffed with Desmond's travel bug (he's searching for Penny), an unactivated geocoin for the first to find, lots of toys, games, colorful trinkets, and pennies. This is another type of hide that I really enjoy, being in little wild spots just steps from civilization. So we left the park very pleased with the placement. We spent maybe half a minute looking for the micro before Hello just walked up and plucked it out of a hinge on the fence. Sometimes I could kick her. Just kidding!

Then we headed back to Hello's house to activate the caches and settled into impatient waiting. We didn't have to wait long. The cemetary cache was approved that night, but the hatch on the trail needs to be moved. It's too close to the micro, so we'll go move it this evening and hope it's approved for the weekend cachers.

And that is the tale of our first hide.