Archive for the 'Geocaching' Category

Mammoth Cave Violet Lantern

In which I can’t remember Violet City and keep wanting to call it Violent City, because apparently I have issues.

Forecast for today: rain, additional rain, possibly some thunderstorms, following by high levels of mugginess. Then more rain.

The Plan

Get a virtual cache

Hike a few miles

Grab lunch

Cave tour

How it shook out

Nice little half mile hike around a pond, gathering information from the signs to complete the virtual geocache.

Drive up to a different section of the park, near the horse trailer camping area and head out to do some hiking. To get there we had to take the Green River Ferry. Which could hold 3 cars at once. It was fun! 

Light sprinkles. Rain jackets on. Sweat. Rain jackets off.  We were under tree cover, so it wasn’t that bad as far as us getting wet from the sky, as opposed to use getting wet via sweat. And then RAIN JACKETS ON!!!!  We clocked in at probably around 5 miles. Someone hadn’t properly cleared her GPS tracklog, so it was an educated guess going on a trail map and the feeling of our legs.

Lunch. This included Chad having a heated discussed with our contractor about the wall project that was going on at home. It was not the most relaxing of lunches.

Violet City Lantern Tour. If you go to Mammoth Cave, do yourself an enormous favor and take this tour before you take any others. To see the cave by old school oil lantern light is such a distinct and different experience. As our guide said, this is the tour where you don’t so much learn about Mammoth Cave. You learn about what Mammoth Cave means to you, personally; how it affects each person differently. He was right. Seeing the Cave vaguely lit by the glow of the lanterns made the full reveal the next day far more impressive.

 

chris on May 29th 2018 in Geocaching, Travel

Geowoodstock Day 2 – wherein it is insanely hot still

Our plans for Sunday were simple. Obligatory early wake up, thanks to the transparency nature of our tent, grab a snack and head to our kayak put in of choice – labeled as a Public Access site on the map.  We’d drop Keith’s Jeep there and then head to the put in up river, saving ourselves the livery costs for the trip.

Except…while the Public Access spot did indeed lead to the river, it wasn’t exactly watercraft friendly. Not even for our kayaks!  Or to be more accurate, you could probably ride a kayak down the mud flume trail right into the river, but you’d be hard pressed to get yourself, let alone yourself and your kayak out!

Therefore, Plan A was a no go. On to Plan B.  Go back past the campground to a public access boat ramp on East Fork Lake in the WMA section of the park. Then take a long rambling drive to another boat ramp to put in. It was then 11:00 am and insanely hot & humid. Needless to say, by the time we finished paddling, we were hot, grubby, tired and hungry.  

 

It was a quiet afternoon in the campground. Mostly it involved sitting and sweating. So much sweating. And possibly falling asleep in chairs.

 

chris on May 27th 2018 in Blogroll, Geocaching, Travel

Geowoodstock 2018 Cincinnati, Ohio

The Day

Chad and I lit out for Cincinnati and the experience that is Geowoodstock after work on Friday. It was a slog of a trip after work, but even with a food stop, Chad managed to beat Google’s predicted time of arrive.  We rolled into the campground at 10:47 pm to find the greeting committee awaiting our arrive, and the tent and air mattress ready for a good night of sleep!

We were up bright and early since the birds and sun left us little choice. It worked out for the best, because instead of Geowoodstock starting at  10:00 am as originally planned, it was bumped up to 9:00 am. A fact we learned when all the phones started beeping amid the stunned pre-coffee silence.

Geowoodstock was HOT. Insanely hot, even at that early hour. The good news was Cooney Island had plenty of pavilions to provide shade. However, we felt compelled to walk around getting the Lab Caches. Which meant we were mostly covered in a layer of sunblock, then bug spray, then sweat, then whatever dirt had stuck to the sweat.

After a delicious BBQ lunch, our merry group split up – the Bumps seeking relief from the heat back at the campground, which Chad, Kris, Marlene, Keith & I decided to go caching, despite the ominous clouds heading our way. We picked what appeared to be a nice little park with a loop trail and a variety of caches and headed off. Before we even got to the trailhead, Kris had found a rather nice walking stick with a carved wooden raccoon head.

So….the trails on Google Maps did not exactly match up with reality. And the Garmin maps showed no trails. Which left us flailing at certain points and finally, on the final push to finish up and get the hell out of the park before the impending storm hit, off on some game trail that was leading back to one of the trails we’d started on. While that was great to get to the cars, it was not so good for the caches that ended up eluding us.

The Night

There were three night caches to tackle within miles (but not within minutes) of our campsite. There were two traditionals, with half the coordinates to a third in each. So we headed out to the parking – located by an RC field, where we impatiently waited for the flyers to finish up. After all, the sign stated that the field closed at dusk. Which was now, right? Like 8:30? Clearly it had to be dusk already. 

Headlights bobbled down the road, as our debate about the definition of dusk was heating up. We had still not come to a satisfying conclusion about the time of dusk, since there were so many types. (Astronomical Dusk will be the name of my band, fyi.) We were soon joined by three cachers from Puerto Rico who’d had the same caches in their sights. When you’re a cacher, it’s not that insane to trundle off in the dark into the woods with complete strangers.

Off we marched through the sloppy wooded terrain, the start of the trail being immediately up, slightly dicey bit of footing. Then once on top, cross a ditch that mostly required going INTO the ditch, before scrambling up and hoping you weren’t covered in mud when you emerged. The fire tacks were well placed and easy to track. The terrain? Ah yes. Downed trees, poison ivy, mud, hills, pointy things. The usual. And on we went, crossing ditches, going up only to come back down. Rinse and repeat.

At long last we hit the last set of fire tacks and then had to do the hocus pocus magic of projecting a waypoint to the final location. So picture it, eight people searching in the dark by flashlights, trampling through the woods, tripping over tree debris, looking for….we did not know! Until finally, “GOT IT!”  One down.

Now from there, it was a matter of going down the hill, back across the flying field, and up a different hill. Of course. We could see flashlights bobbing around in the woods, as we approached the start of the cache. Clearly we weren’t the only ones who thought tonight was a great night for night caching!

Cache #2 was more of the same, but worse. More mud, more slipping, more up and down on trails that were dicey, at best. So basically, fun. At the super weird tree, we ran into the cachers we’d been following. They seemed somewhat flummoxed. Eventually they headed out. We waited until they were well on their way, before projecting a waypoint and trying to figure out what in the hell we were supposed to do.

As we made the final push up the hill to what should be the final, the aforementioned cachers passed us on their way back, saying, “Thank you for letting us have this experience.” Ok, then. We weren’t actively trying to be that nice. We were just trying to not overwhelm them with our group of eight.

It was not easy to find the final. Not. Easy. The deal was we found a smilie face made from fire tacks and the instructions said the cache was within 30 feet of this tree. In the dark. In a forest. It was not a quick search. Fortunately Aquacache came up with the final, to the entire group’s great relief.

Log signed, we trooped back down the hill to the cars, taking the most direct route. Because that is what you do when you’ve been hiking through the woods in the dark for hours.   

After a brief discussion – “What? It’s 11 already?” – we decided that the final was best left for the next night. Which of course we never managed to pull off!  

chris on May 26th 2018 in Geocaching, Travel

4,000 caches

I found my 4,000th cache today.  Being recently returned from Colorado, which had turned into an unexpectedly prolific caching trip, I found myself sitting at 3,995 caches found.  A quick few grabs had me perched at 3,999 and ready to take on a milestone worthy cache.

I try to go for old,  epic,  noteworthy, caches when it is milestone time.  This weekend it also had to be relatively close to home because Sidekick and I were still recuperating from vacation. And so I picked Paths of the Dead (Boots) GCMWGM, which was placed February 26, 2005, which coincidentally is the day Purple Monkey Dishwasher & I started caching.  Talk about symmetry.

It was an 8 mile round trip and while the trail was not taxing,  having been away from the muggy heat fest that is home, it took a little more out of us than it usually would have.

chris on July 16th 2016 in Geocaching