Archive for July, 2009

Center Branch Sunday

Back in the early years of geocaching, Team Kuclick (purple monkey dishwasher, sidekick engineer, myself & sidekick little wooden boy) would get together for an annual event called “Team Kuclick Takes a Long Walk and Makes Poor Decisions“. After a few years of making poor decisions in the gamelands of Pennsylvania our tradition fell off.

Sunday, I decided it was high time this tradition was revived. And if it couldn’t be Team Kuclick, then a gaggle of MAGPI was going to have to do the job.  Originally it looked like we were going to have a rather huge assemble which would absolutely raise the level of poor decision making to an art form. But obligations get in the way of even important events such as this, so upon rendezvous there were five brave souls: pbump & mrs. pbump, Aquacache, sidekick Little Wooden Boy & me. Still plenty of people to start making some poor decisions [even though I had promised that i would exercise EXTREME CAUTION (for me) as a condition of being allowed to participate].

Our first target was In a Van, Down by the River which had prompted the cache owner to post “SSPG, be careful of the arm on the van cache. I don’t want to be responsible for you getting broken again. The other caches should be OK.” I see that my reputation preceeds me whether I want it to or not.

Our first decision on this trip was in fact a good one. Instead of plunging into the shrubs when the arrow swung 90 degrees (this is most likely because I was not allowed to lead this expedition) we walked a little further and found a slightly more navigable way to the Van. At which point we stopped and started and figured we were in for either a super speedy find or several hours of agravation. After some hesitant poking and proding, remembering of course that the van did not need to be disassembled to find the coordinates to stage one, we read the clue. And this is where sidekick stopped outside the box. He took that clue and RAN and RAN and RAN. Which is a problem when you start thinking too hard about clues and the cachers who place them. For all we knew that clue belonged to the final.  With sidekick shouting his thoughts about the clue, we circled the Van like a pack of animals trying to figure out the best way to take down our prey…until Aquacache started reading us numbers.

Stage one achieved we all plugged in the new coords and stood baffled for a moment, for they were not that far away.  Tenatively we fanned out in the general direction of the arrow and realized we had a bit of a problem. The terrain wasn’t exactly broken-pony-friendly.  pbump began talking of going back to the cars and around here and there. Meanwhile I, exercising EXTREME CAUTION (for me), surveyed our possible and most direct route to the final. Upon review I declared, “Uh, I’m going that way. I’ll be careful. I promise.” Which pretty much left everyone else little choice but to follow and remind me to be careful.

Gingerly and carefully picking my way down a partial, semi-wet mud flume of possibly danger I found myself on level ground. Ha! Take that! I can effectively exercise EXTREME CAUTION (for me).  From there we approached the mighty waterway and picked our way across it. Thankfully it was no Maxwell Run (I think I was the only cacher with extra shoes back in the car). Arriving at what appeared to be ground zero (+/- 40 feet) I realized how much it sucked to be broken. Because the wall of rocks confronting us was not something that made it easy to exercise EXTREME CAUTION (for me). So I stood there, trying not to whine, while everyone else fanned out. It took maybe 5 minute for me to run out of patience (and it helped that no one was looking at me too) before I began to slowly pick my way around the rocks, dropping my recently returned Garmin 60CSx in the process and scratching the screen.

While the rest of the gang called out (and possibly cursed) I did my own little pathetic searching and finally made the top of the rock pile in time to hear the tell tale sound of hiking stick on ammo can. And it was a darn good thing i did because the can must have been well hidden. So well hidden that what I heard was, “Great…I’m gonna have to climb in there….” said with much grousing. Ha! HA! Spotty Spotty Pony Girl to the rescue! My hiking stick had the basket-thing on it….perfect for hooking a stubborn can!

Ok. With that cache under our collective belts it was about time to start making some poor decisions. After all, the day wasn’t getting any younger. Fortunately for us we had a situation tailored for poor decisions. In our merry group were not only the FTF of X Marks the Spot, but the 2TF.  Clearly this should have meant that all 3 of them would be able to easily direct me to the easiest access to the cache location. You’d think….

First we overshot the “road”. Then there was some indecision about whether we were on the right road at all. So we turned back and went UP hoping to approach the cache from the same height. Which was pretty much a bad idea from the beginning since we couldn’t find any path or road or even pixie deer trail that seemed to go in the right direction (and I had my map on Track Up to lend to the confusion).

We ended up looking across a field that may or may not have been timbered. That may or may not lead to the cache area. That may or may not be passable. And that basically seemed like a really poor choice. LET’S GO! I even said to the rest of the group, after calling sidekick to go with me, that they could wait and meet us back at the cars if they liked.  Throwing caution to the wind, they decided to follow in our (rather stupid) footsteps. YAY for togetherness. After all, the more people we have, the better chance of making poor decisions!

At long last we stumbled upon a nice little road (of sorts) to the cache site. I was so exhausted it was all I could do to focus enough to try to find the cache. When I finally found it, I had to have sidekick retrieve it because my brokeness was getting in the way.  And then the final insult came because as we rolled down the nice right of way (and pbump found a turtle) we realized we were super close to where we’d originally started to look for the path….an eternity or so ago – before the poor decisions began. (although Aquacache will tell you he was voted down in regards to taking the “easy” way to the cache in the beginning.)

It was nearing on time for lunch but we had one more cache to get on this side of the WMA – The Lost Dozer. Everyone but Aquacache this time had already found this cache. So again, you’d think we could walk right up to it. You would be wrong. Dead freakin’ wrong.  The only good news was after seeing Aquacache, sidekick & I approaching a verticle mud-path of possible injury, the Bumps turned back to look for the proper path. We, of course, kept on going.  And predictably stumbled upon the Lost Dozer just where it had been before.

After that last bit of stupidity we went to lunch. Because we were tired. And sweaty. And hungry. Did I mention tired?

Center Branch, Round 2

Bellies full, we headed around to the other side of Center Branch WMA to try our hand at GeoDad56’s caches. From the parking coords they were (as the crow flies) pretty close. So in an attempt to perhaps make a half-informed decision, instead of a plain outright poor one, I pulled up Center Branch or Mt. Clare? on my Garmin & Aquacache keyed up Because It’s There, figuring we’d make our deicision about which cache to get first as we got closer. And when we were upon the spot that indicated a Turn Right to go to Because It’s Up There….we kept on walking toward Center Branch of Mt. Clare?  Why? Because we aren’t that stupid (or we weren’t that stupid YET to be more accurate).

After a narrow mishap where I considered sliding back down a small hill, running the risk of wiping out Aquacache in the process and causing sidekick to have a stroke, we arrived at Ground Zero where pbump had already made the find. After a short break, we headed down the hill and toward our date with Poor Decisions…..

[Heading to this appointment with senselessness we had a slight scare when there was a scary rattling noise coming from a dilapidated and collapsing shack as we walked nearby. True, it was on the other side of a copse of trees, but I had a sudden urge to shout ZOMBIE!!!” and start knocking down my fellow cachers in order to make a clean getaway. As it was sidekick & Aquacache convinced me that most likely it was “just a deer”. I was not convinced but I was fairly certain I could outrun anyone in our group.]

Back to the narrative at hand…So our wilted  soppy sweaty merry group, still on high alert due to possible zombie attacks, stared in disbelief in the general vicinity of where the arrow was pointing. For those of you who have cached with me, you may be vaguely aware that I have a tendency to blindly follow the arrow while those around me stare in abject horror.  Well today my friends, I looked at the arrow, looked up the hill and myself stared in abject horror. It was THAT bad. (However, if I ever need to train for the Rachel Carson Challenge again, I’m totally coming here.)

With little choice, other than to abandon any thoughts of the cache, we waded through the swamp, gingerly picked our way through the thistles – they are mean when they are taller than you – and started UP through high grass and very tall stinging nettle. Oh boy, my favorite. (I’d been smart enough to wear long pants for a change, thankfully.)

The super tragic disappointing unfair part of this particular hill of death is that it was so (*&^%#@ steep, that when you thought the top was sooo close and you began to rejoice, you hit the plateau and realized there was more UP, way…more…UP.  Sidekick led the way for the most part, stopping so the rest of the motley bedragged and cranky crew could have half a chance of  keeping up.   Somewhere around the half way point (before we reached the road that ran perpendicular to the hill mountain we were scaling), we lost pbump. 

I nearly had to bow out (before I gave any of my babysitters a stroke) when I slipped and went down on one knee.  I had my hiking pole in my right hand so I instinctively reached out with my left (broken) arm to steady myself. I had fingers touching the ground before I heard someone behind me growling at me and I pulled back. Disaster averted.  Sometime around here I took a look at the lovely little depiction of our climb on my Garmin. I really, really should not have done that…..

FINALLY the arrow swung 90 degrees and sidekick, Aquacache & I headed into the tree line to find this cache. I staggered to it and with much relief pulled out the log book. Thankfully the cache was near a nice comfortable log and I rested my weary bones on it while we caught our breath and tried not to think about how much it would suck if we rolled down the hill. Those stinging nettles – they sting. Alot.

The good news is while our descent was painful (knees, my knees) it was QUICK. Also, there was no falling – that’s a bonus! Safely back on the trail I noted to my fellow cachers that I’d just found my 900th cache. So sidekick took a photo to memorialize….well the fact that I’m insane I think.

So in closing I’d like to leave you with this….

chris on July 29th 2009 in Geocaching

the 4th Great MEAT-n-Greet @ Cooper’s Rock

For the fourth year running, the gang over at MAGPI pulled out all the stops and put on one heck of a geocaching event at Cooper’s Rock. 

Since I was the unoffical co-host this year (that means I got to be the one standing on the table shouting directions)  I told wvhunter I’d meet him at Pavilion #3 by 9 a.m. Of course I knew that meant I’d be there somewhere between 9 and 9:30 and he’d be there by 8:15.  So imagine my surprise when I rolled up to Pavilion #3 and no one was in sight. Hmmm. I checked my phone, yep it was well after 9 a.m. In fact it was 9:22. Odd. We don’t call wvhunter Captain OCD for nothing. Since his vehicle was no where in sight I figured that either he was late (which seemed extremely unlikely) or that an ax murdered had killed him and stolen his vehicle. I shrugged, well someone had to get ready for all the cachers that were showing up in a few hours. No time to worry about ax murderers this fine morning.

He turned up eventually, which was good since he had stuff we needed and we soon we had people pouring in to help set up. Heck, we were in full swing before I even knew it. The food was unbelievable – especially Mamma Moo’s delicious platter of chocolate coated, chocolate bombs. I’m surprised Mooman56 even made it to the pavilion carrying that much sought after tray of goodies.

This year the grill arrived safe and sound without incident. Pbump had volunteered to be master of the grill, going so far as to order a special apron for the day. There was a small explosion during the lighting of the grill (why do our grills never have working ignition switches?) in which no pbumps were harmed. Other than that, the food was flying off the grill slightly slower than the (apparently) starving horde of cachers could eat it. But that was OK because we had plenty of other goodies to choose from.

Ammo Can Toss

 Keeping with the tradition of last year, I went with a 30 cal. ammo can [we’d experimented with a 50 cal at the sMAGPI event and it was a bit much].  However, I did take heed of ScoutingWV’s suggestion that I duct tape it shut since we’d had a minor explosion last year. It was a darn good thing I did because our contestants from the Fayette Cong really beat the daylights out of the can this year. It hit rocks, it had near misses with picnic benches & lovely assistants. That can was flying! Mother Nature even threw in her two cents with a short burst of rain that sent some of the cachers scuttling for cover under the pine trees.  In the end it was the Fayette Cong crew who blew the socks off everyone else –  Mooman56  winged that can 65.1 feet. His lovely prize? The very same can. Hope it still shuts!



Find the X

The area behind the pavilion was littered with red flags stuck seemingly willy nilly all around. One was in a tree, some were over there, a few up close to the pavilion (one of those was mine, BAD GPSr! BAD!).

 It’s always fun to watch other cachers place their flags. Did they use the March Until Zero method or the Drunken Bee Stagger? Perhaps the Mill About Aimlessly approach. Whatever method was in vogue, it failed. Failed I say because the winner was Zoraman’s daughter and she placed her flag with no GPSr whatever! I think I see a lucrative career in her future!



Let’s Make A Deal!

Loyal sidekick Little Wooden Boy made winners of all the lucky contestants of Let’s Make A Deal! From Rock_Rat’s fabulous geo-keychain to DOUBLEDOGHUNTER’s balloon no one walked away empty handed.  Upon review sidekick noted that since everyone traded for the unknown contents of the containers he was gonna need a prize wheel to spin next year (CLCombat….you’re on that, right?)



Famous Couples

Because I like to force people to mingle we had a little game called Famous Couples this year. Everyone’s nametag had the name of 1/2 of a famous couple. [for example… June and Ward] The goal was to find your other half and then enter into a drawing.  So first you gotta figure out who the other half of your couple would be and thankfully I had a cheat sheet available. Then you had to find them.  Which was probably a little easier said than done at first.  Our winning famous couple was John & Yoko AKA thebuddhaman & Mooman56. And what a lovely couple they were.

Much thanks to everyone that brought stuff, helped out, ran games, cleaned up, ate food (less for me to take home) and most importantly –  had fun! See you all next year!

chris on July 27th 2009 in Geocaching

Inspection Day Times 2

Tuesday, July 14 was inspection day for both the Toy and my arm. For me it had been 6 weeks since the incident of the horse hoof to my ulna. For the Toy it had been 14 months since obtaining her previous inspection sticker.

With great amounts of trepidation I dropped my car off at the local inspection station and with a sinking feeling in my gut headed to the office. There were various reasons that I was nervous, but I’d poured a decent amount of time and effort (and blood, sweat, tears & anger) into her this past year and hoped for the best.

When my phone rang around 9:15 am I was shocked thrilled to hear the voice on the other end say, “Your car’s ready.” Stunned (I’ve always been stunned in this particular situation) I made some non-committal “Uh…um…er…ok. I’ll get her on my way home”  proclamation, figuring that blurting out, “Seriously? She passed?” was not good form.

One Down, One to Go

One inspection taken care of I waited impatiently for my 2:45 pm check up. You would think by this time I’d be brilliant not stupid smart enough to schedule my own inspection early in the day.  Clearly lacking the foresight to do so, I spent the rest of the afternoon in a state of semi-barfiness.

I arrived at the doctor’s office at promptly 2:30 which was just absolutely brilliant….the waiting room was hopping and it was clear that earliness was not going to do me any good on this day. After signing in I sat down with my knitting and waited and tried not to barf. After an eternity I was thrilled to hear my name called for x-rays! Yay! My happiness was soon quashed when, upon exiting the x-ray room I was informed that I’d be waiting back in the lobby since all the exam rooms were full up. So much for a speedy inspection for me.

After more waiting where I manged to entertain myself by both knitting and sending emails, although not at the same time, I was called again. It was as if I’d won the powerball. I could tell the fellow lobby-waiters were totally jealous that I’d been chosen to move on to the next round. Sweet! (After all, I had a newly inspected car to pick up and the sun was shining.) Making a bee line for the exam room and nearly running over a few lallygaggers in my way I hopped up on the exam table, pulled out my knitting and waited. It was a good thing I had a lot of knitting to do.

Eventually a doctor came in to see me. At long last I could ask my questions. I was so excited I was probably vibrating. But first there was the issue of soreness around my tricep near the elbow. I bent my arm at a 90 degree angle so the good doctor could take a look. He was gently prodding the muscle when I said, “You can poke at it all day long, it doesn’t hurt. It only hurts when I use it.”  AHA! Apparently that was all he needed to hear because he then said something like, “hmmm….it appears you have tendonitis. But we can work with that. You’ll be just fine.”  Seriously?  I played tennis for years and never had tennis elbow or any other form of tendonitis in my arm. And now, after 6 weeks of more or less muscle atrophy I get tendonitis?

THE QUESTION

But whatever, at this point I was more concerned about the pressing issues at hand. Such as what was I now, after 6  of weeks of really good behavior, allowed to do. So when the doctor asked, “Do you have any questions?” I blurted out, “CAN I RIDE MY HORSE?” (ok, I didn’t really shout it, but that took a lot of restraint on my part) I could tell by the look on his face that he thought I was clearly crazy (particularly since this entire stupid situation was caused by a horse to begin with).  And that answer was a resounding NO. Not that I was surprised, but you know, a girl can dream can’t she?

So four more weeks of physical therapy although now I am allowed to start some resistance training and do some load bearing stuff. No riding my boy. No doing anything that would cause my arm to be jerked hard and no putting serious weight into the joint (like riding my mountain bike).

Sigh…it’s been a long summer full of supervision. This is getting old. Fast.

chris on July 16th 2009 in Family, Vehicles

DeLorme East

In the world of geocaching,  there’s this little thing called a DeLorme Challenge. The idea is to get yourself a paper DeLorme atlas [yes PAPER] for your state, which in my case is West Virginia. Then you go out and find at least one actual, honest to goodness geocache on each page [no virtuals or events folks].  Sounds easy, right?  You try to get from A to B in West Virginia in an expedient manner. Your reward along the way is seeing some unusual places.

I was down to about 14 pages and it became pretty obvious that there was no way I was going to be able to sit still long enough to come up with a plan. As it turns out, pbump is one heck of a planner.

Our little group (pbump, mrs. pbump, Knight Who Says Ni & me) rendezvoused in Morgantown Friday evening and headed out towards Charles Town, WV, where we anchored for the evening.  From there we set out to try and exact some vengeance for a fellow cacher on a wicked micro. With 5 sets of eyes we beat the bush (literally) for near on an hour to no avail. Itchy, bloody, muddy and rather annoyed we called time. Sigh.

With that nice dose of hubris, we headed out and hoped for better luck. We took in quite a few signs – both of the historic variety and of place markers.  Experience has proven that if you show up with a camera (and possibly a stuffed penguin) near a sign of any sort, people generally ignore you. The bigger the camera, the more invisible you become. Let’s just say I was prepared.

We did find a few cleverly placed nanos – one in fact tried to eat mrs. pbump’s Sharpie, which then had to be extracted with a knife (we’re prepared us geocachers, very prepared). After a sort search around we found a suitable nano-extracting-device. Having extracted the nano and then the log I got to show off my mad nano-log-rolling skills. Hey, if I can do this when it’s 25 degrees and with wind gusts up to 35 mph, early July is nothing!

Our merriment wound down around midnight when we made land in Morgantown. It had been a long, long and fruitful day of caching.  And so for your enjoyment….a few shots of our adventure!

chris on July 14th 2009 in Geocaching