Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Canada's Upcoming Sesquicentennial Celebration

Canada's 150th birthday is coming up July 1, 2017 and there's a petition to ask Geocaching.com for a special souvenir for anyone who finds a cache on the super celebratory long weekend June 30th, 2017 to July 5, 2017! 

Please sign, and SHARE to show your support! Thank you :)

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Today I noticed something that I have been hoping would happen for a while now...  Our blog's Facebook page has finally reached 100 likes.

I don't know what day and what time, but it finally happened and we could not be happier! So thank you everyone, seriously we could not have done it without you!!

If you haven't done so yet, just click on the Facebook link in the right side panel.  This is a great way to learn when new stories are published and to contribute in the conversations with our followers!


Monday, 17 August 2015

Sharkz Store Grand Opening

On the 17th of August Landsharkz hosted over 110 cachers at “Who Needs a Reason to Party?! - GC6011V” their Grand Opening event for Canada’s first brick and mortar geocaching store "The Sharkz Store".

Of course we were in attendance and we had a fantastic time meeting local cachers old and new, and hanging out with Martemous who is a Groundspeak Lackey and the Geocaching HQ Ecommerce Operations Manager. In fact I had a very interesting discussion with him about the different items Groundspeak has sold over the years, what worked and what didn't, and etc.

They had games with prizes for everyone in attendance in store and at the Fire Hall around back. Tieka the Canine Landshark was happy that a few GeoDogs came along and that so many cachers checked out her shiny new trackable Canine tag. They even took a moment to introduce the community to their team of hard working employees, and special thanks were given to out to Christie (The Geo-Travelers), Brett (The GO! Team) and Amy for helping make this event a success!  That's right I am now a part of the Landsharkz team, so expect to see me in store sometimes.  However I am more their new container camouflage painter, so a lot of my work is done behind the scenes.

Special mention goes to event volunteer cacher Finnegan’s Mama who is a long-time friend of Mrs. Landsharkz, and who surprised Mrs. Landsharkz by flying in from Red Deer for the event and helped out the entire day.

Thank you everyone for coming out and celebrating with all of us at the Sharkz Store, and thank you to the Esquimalt Fire Department, the Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses for their contributions as well!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Adventure That Almost Could! Which Resulted In....

In our last story we told you about AnnieMaroo's D5/T2 CITO event.  To get that exact same combo and souvenir we intended to find another cache all together.  The original plan was to get a mystery cache called "802.11 - GCZ4JN" a mystery cache by Big G.  We had solved this one several months ago, and in turn found out that our caching friends Tadrew and Nelta had done the same.  All parties were very eager to go and get this one, so a date and time was set.  We had also decided to include my father Postie Bear in this little adventure and so and invitation that was happily accepted was offered.

The day we chose quickly arrived, and everyone was excited to go.  But there were some small changes that needed to be dealt with first.  As you may remember in a past post from April "2015 CITO Weekend & One Busy Day" Tadrew, Postie Bear and I went for a 9 cache type day to qualify for a specific challenge cache here in Victoria BC.  Well since on the day of this adventure AnnieMaroo was hosting another CITO, Neltra wanted to exploit it and go for her 9 cache type day too.  So our timings had to change to accommodate this.
This was no biggie, since I could use the extra sleep in seeing that I did a 16 hour day at both my jobs the day before.  Mrs. GO Team and I headed out the door after having the sleep in, and rendezvoused with Tadrew, Neltra, and Sunnie (Tadrew's Geo-Pup) at the arranged spot to head to our objective.  Postie Bear was already in the city we needed to get to waiting for us, so we zoomed up as quickly as we could so he wouldn't need to wait that long.

When we arrived we didn't waste any time, Postie Bear jumped into the Jeep and away we went!  However, what we hoped wouldn't be the case was the start of our demise.  The fire gate to the area we needed to go was closed, so we could not drive to the cache.  Not wanting to give up we started the trek on foot, but none of us were truly prepared for the 12km round trip hike up and down hill nor the pouring rain that came soon after we started.  Defeated we all turned around and headed back to the vehicle.

Now some of you could be asking why are you sharing a defeat story.  Well that is because it needed to be shared, and because it lead to a decision and something else.

Turns out the very next day Neltra was hosting her very first geocaching event.  The decision was made that my dad would forgo going home to Comox that night, and instead come stay the night at our house so he could attend the event.  So back to Victoria we went.

That morning dad and I grabbed a bite to eat at A&W and headed to Langford Lake to meet up withGZ.  There we found a bunch of our geofriends hanging about having a great time chatting and discovering trackables all in the beauty of the scenic view the the lake provided.  I had a great time seeing and chatting with geocachers I have known for a long time now, as well I enjoyed meeting the few new faces that were in attendance too.
the rest of the crew.  When we arrived we noticed Pat of Pat&Rob sitting in her car knitting, we had a brief chat with her and headed down to event

After the event was done a small group planned to go after the caches on the islands in the lake.  They asked me to assist them in planning a good put in location for their dinghies and other flotation devices.  So with a little strategy they are armed with a plan and ready to go.
But before we all parted we grabbed a few caches that were nearby and parted ways.

Thanks Neltra for the fun event, it was a great first event and we hope you host more.  

And thanks everyone for reading our stories!  Be sure to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages (links a the the top of the right side bar) to interact with us further.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

A CITO That Does Dual Duty

Hi everyone, wow I have to admit we have let time run by and have also let ourselves get behind on our stories as a result.  The Geocaching Road Trip '15 is still in full swing, and some adventures have taken place to result in us getting a few more of this summer's souvenirs!

First up was AnnieMaroo (Victoria's queen of CITOs and Earthcaches) CITO (Cache In Trash Out).  I have to admit when this one popped up in my notifications email I was puzzled.   The event "Invasive Removal: Broom and Blackberry Vines - GC5WQWD" was listed as a Difficulty 5 Terrain 2 event.  Personally I had never been to a CITO with a difficulty of 5, so curiously I read the listing and found that what she stated in the listing would technically allow for it to have that rating.  It stated:

1) You needed to use your brain and identify two different invasive plant types (Scotch BroomHimalayan Blackberry). So you had to use your brain and not kill the wrong plants.

2) You needed to know how to use specialty tools to properly extract the invasive plant.

3) And you needed to be able to devote 2 hours of labor to the job.

All good enough reasons for the rating.  But what we had in store for us when arrived is what really allowed it to be difficulty 5!

Now before I get started, this particular event was going to be giving us two of our Road Trip '15 souvenirs.   It would so score us the "High Five for the Earth" souvenir for attending a CITO or logging an Earthcache.  The second souvenir it would give us is the "Let's Get Extreme" souvenir for finding any difficulty 5 or terrain 5 geocache (or consequently in this case event).  Now I admit many would challenge the legitimacy of this event's rating, but I assure you it was deserved.

I Mr. GO Team arrived early that morning to the event location.  The morning sun was already hot, and was promising us that it would only get hotter.  When I pulled into the parking lot for the event location I saw our event's host walking down the trail pushing a wheel barrow full of tools to the actual GZ (ground zero) of the CITO.  I decided to hang out in the parking lot a bit waiting for others to arrive, but after 10min of waiting no one had showed up.  So with that I decided I would head over to meet up with Annie.

As I walked down the trail I looked upon familiar locations of various geocache hides that have scattered this trail in the past.  Filled with nostalgia I stopped to snap a few pictures with my phone, and then proceeded to find AnnieMaroo.

I arrived to find her sitting in the shade of a benched shelter overlooking the bird sanctuary in the distance.  We chatted for a
while, and soon we heard the sound of many feet walking down the trail.  This signified that the rest of the workers were on their way to us.  After a quick introduction by AnnieMaroo about what we were to do, what to focus on and what to avoid, we were ready to tackle the the job at hand.

Looking at the small hill we were to work on one could see that it was 2 Terrain, so this matched perfectly.  However what lurked
below the the tall grass as a maze of pot holes, and blackberry trip lines.  Everyone got to work snipping away at the blackberry vines and trying to not get snagged.  Avoiding getting snagged was something all together different, it is like these plants have a mind of their own.  No matter how hard I tried  I always found myself getting all caught up, and this resulted in numerous scratches even through my pants and shirt.  And for those that wore shorts and t-shirts, wow there was some blood loss!

 After 2 hours of tireless work in the blistering heat and tons of lacerations, the event end was called and we all headed back to the little shack.  The whole team had only made it halfway up the hill, but we did make a difference in how much Himalayan Blackberry still had a foothold on the hill.  However the Broom wins the day, as we never made it up to the top of the hill where it lived.

After getting back to the shack and sipping on some water and cooling down a bit, we gathered for a quick group photo and dispersed for the day.

Thank you AnnieMaroo for the CITO event and for the two souvenirs it unlocked for us.  To the attendees, it was nice to see you all again.  And to my readers, thanks for sticking around and giving the blog a read.  Without you this blog wouldn't exist, so I appreciate your readership!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Why? Because Souvenir, That's Why!

So on Friday July 3rd geocaching.com released their second souvenir in the Geocaching Road Trip '15 series. This time they called it "Meet Your Road Trip Crew" and you could earn it for attending any event from the release date up until September 2nd.

When this was officially announced in May I jumped on the band wagon and got an event lined up for the very next day after the launch date.  Our event was called "Why? Because Souvenir, That's Why! - GC5TP3T", and it's purpose was just to gather, talk, meet, discover trackables, have fun, and ultimately earn that souvenir.

So on July 4th we headed out to Queen's Park in Oak Bay (the site of the event) with my dad Postie Bear who came down from Comox (3 hrs North of Victoria) to get the party started.  Queen'a Park is a fantastic little green space with picknic tables, an old fashioned double swing (one of the last in town), tons of shade, and a great view of the Oak Bay Marina. We arrived just at islandfoxycouple arrived and headed to the best table in the park to set up.

It didn't take long for the attendees to start showing up.  And soon there was a steady stream of cachers walking up the event site and signing the logbook.  We had the usual event crew show up, and some people travelling from other areas of the island, a foreigner from Norway, and some long time cachers attending their very first event ever.  Many trackables we brought to be discovered and moved along, and cachers migrated from the event to the nearby cache that was only 20 meters away. It always puts a smile on my face to see a well attended event, and this was one of those.  There was 47 names in the log, with a count 55 total cachers (teams of more than one) in attendance.

Of course the event would not be complete without a group photo of the attendees, so after a quick announcement to get everyone in position a quick photo was taken.  Usually this marks the end and people start to trickle away, but not so today.  Many were still in deep conversation enjoying the cool sea breeze and the shade one hour after the event was officially over.

Thanks everyone for coming and making this a very successful event.  We am very happy to be the hosts of such awesome geocachers gathering in one spot.  Congrats on the souvenier and good luck on the next one that launches July 17th.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Saturday, 27 June 2015

G'day Mate, Welcome to Victoria!

Back in 2011 the GCGV (Geocaching Community of Greater Victoria) held the 1st and only GCGV Track Me Challenge. Everyone who wanted to participate brought a new trackable that we wanted to enter into a trackable race to an entry event, and all those trackables were sent to Australia where they would be picked up by geocachers over there at a starting event to begin the race. Similarly we did the same for our Australian friends back here in Canada.

Well back then Mrs. GO! Team entered her trackable "TB3QV2M - RED 3 Corner Pocket" (you can see the trackable page HERE). Well it came in dead last.. In fact it never even got started. It was received in Australia and put into the starting event, it was picked up by a cacher, and whoever picked it up didn't log they had it and placed it in a remote cache that no one visited in the entire year the race was on.
Finally after giving up on it and moving it to lost status on January 19, 2012, it was finally found in New South Wales and picked up by that cacher the very next day on January 20, 2012. However the Race was over and the trackable gained no points and therefore was in last place, and for that Mrs. GO! Team got a booby prize.  It was no prize to scoff at though, it was a signed copy of "The Joy of Geocaching" by Paul & Dana Gillin.  The trackable travelled a bit, but never did anything interesting.  All it did was travel from Melbourne to New Zealand over and over and over again.  Noticing this I decided that  I would put a note on it that I would like it come home.

It took a while for it to get in the right hands, and the right hands belonged to Australian cacher chrissy61. And the best part was that she was coming to Victoria BC on holiday! She contacted me and asked how to get it into my hands, and I told her I would hold an event in honor of her visiting our city and for returning that trackable to us!

A little bit of planning and some online event page writing later, we had an event set up and published!  I purchased a nice new Canada Fox Geocoin and got one of our wedding pathtags out to give to chrissy61, and had a nice thank you gift to give her. Now to just wait until the day!

The day of the event arrived and due to a shift swap that Mrs GO! Team made she was not be able to come with me, but really all that matters is the we have at the very least one of us there.  It would have been nice for her to receive her trackable herself, but again not entirely necessary.  For once I left home with tons of time to get to my venue, and arrived 30min early.  But my stomach got the better of me and I ended up going to a nearby Starbucks at the Robert Bateman Center.  This of course would be my downfall, as they were slow as molasses and caused me to be late to my own event... OK, OK, I caused myself to be late by going there, but you can't blame me for being a little bothered by it!  Once I had my coffee and treat in hand I busted my butt back across the street to find many of the attendees already there, but thankfully I had beat my guests of honor!
I took a little time introducing myself to everyone I didn't recognise, and it turned out we had more people from other locations joining us.  We had 2 cachers from California, and 3 visiting from the Mainland, so a big welcome to them!  Soon chrissy61 arrived and we finally met.  She ceremoniously returned our trackable, and gifted us with some Australian exclusives like Tim Tams.  I gave her the gifts that I mentioned earlier, and backed off so she could meet the others at the event and discover the various trackable that everyone brought with them.

After the event I was talking a bit more with chrissy61 and they asked about the Sharkz Store (Canada's first geocaching brick and mortar geocaching store).  Knowing how far from the event the store was I offered to be their chauffeur and take them there.  When we arrived chrissy61 was like a kid in a candy shop, flitting around the store checking out the various trackables, picking out a few things that she wanted to purchase to take home with her.  I was very happy to be the one to get her to the store so she could experience it for herself. 
Once she was all shopped out I took them to an one of my earthcaches nearby, and helped them verbally thought the questions so that they could log their vary first earthcache!

I had a great time hanging out with Chrissy and Bill, and we parted ways after going to Victoria's cache with the largest amount of favourite points "Sounds like Geocaching - GC10JDZ".  

Thank you chrissy61 for contacting me to let me know you had our trackable and that you were coming to town.  And thanks everyone that showed up for the event!
Stay tuned right here for more stories to come soon!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

For Valour & Stairway to Nowhere: Geocaching Road Trip 15 Kick Off

The time has come, and the Geocaching Road Trip '15 has started.  The first of the souvenirs launched on Friday June 19th, and the mission theme was "Fun with Favorites"!  I actually really enjoy the different things that geocaching.com has planned as the goals to earn the various souvenirs that they are offering.  Last year's "7 Souvenirs of August" was a big step in the right direction after the the previous "31 day of August" by offering a smaller amount of souvenirs with one that is a special reward for completing the collection.
The Road Trip '15 plays on the same theme, however they only become available on specific dates throughout the summer but are collectible after that date right up until September 2nd. That in it's own is a huge improvement in that we have more time to get the reward instead of a single day like the past two years.

The dates and categories that are included in this challenge are as follows:

Jun 19 - Sept 02 - Find a geocache with 10+ favorite points
July 03 - Sept 02 - Attend a geocaching event

July 17 - Sept 02 - Find a D5 or T5 cache
July 31 - Sept 02 - Find an Earthcache or attend a CITO
Aug 14 - Sept 02 - Find a mystery cache
Aug 14 - Sept 02 - (Special Reward) Collect all other Souvenirs before Sept 2nd

As I said the first of them went live with "Fun with Favorites". And this particular souvenir gave me
an excellent reason to go after a particular mystery cache that I had solved 2 years ago. I know that there is the one in August for mystery caches, but I have a small surplus of solved mysteries that I can call upon for that one. But as I said this one gave me a reason as it had 10 favorite points to qualify for the reward.

We had what I would call an epic day going after this cache, and due to that I wrote a lengthy log already on geocaching.com!  I figure instead of writing it all out again I could just share the log here.
So here is my log for "For Valour - GC1N6J8":

"Well now, what an epic 2 years in the making.

I remember solving this in the spring of 2013 and getting my confirmation email from ikster in May of that same year (so technically still spring). Over the last two years I have planned to go for this with quite a few people, but nothing ever came of it ever. However this year (spring) I was talking with a few people and formed a tentative group with the A Team & G Force.
While planing a tentative date to go geocaching.com presented the Geocaching 15 Road Trip and announced that there would be a souvenir for finding a cache with 10 favorite points. Well this cache has 10 favs, so we planned to go the day after the souvenir went live and kick off this Geocaching 15 Road Trip with a bang! Getting closer to the date I found us another solver to join our merry band of cachers, and so Tadrew joined the team.

On the day of the trek we made the walk to the cache nice and easy, and armed with reading a lot of the previous finders logs we felt confident we knew what we were in for. Boy were we wrong!!
We spied what we thought might be the spot via images from the website, but we just were not sure so we relied on a PAF to our caching friends Stellalabella. She confirmed our worst fears, and so we gave it a valiant try. However the A team didn't quite feel comfortable with the location after making a very scary crossing. Tadrew who stayed behind with her dog Sunnie explored a bit back down the

trail, and exclaimed that she may have found a better prospect. So the A Team crossed back, while we all held our breaths.

When we all made it safely back to the trail Tadrew pointed out her proposed location, and sure enough all our GPSr's pointed in same direction. We had made a bad choice, and wait, what is that, OH MY LORD, the cache was visible from our vantage point!!! Mrs GO Team and I started to head over, but my knee started to misbehave (I have a diagnosed problem) and I had to back out. So Mrs GO Team, A Team, and G Force continued forward.

Well I tell ya, I have one brave little wife! She decided to give the attempt all on her own, and up and over she went with a little assistance from G Force. A Team decided to attempt the climb to the cache too, and that is when the scariest moment in my caching career happened.... A TEAM FELL!! A yelp of disbelief came from group, and him tumbling down played in our eyes in slow motion. And when his fall came to an end, he got back up and exclaimed he was ok!

Mrs GO Team quickly finished with the log signing and slowly made her way back down the cliff, and was safely assisted by A Team & G Force to steady ground. They slowly made their way back to the main trail, and when they returned my wife being the nurse she is gave A Team a look over. He really was ok, and only sustained a few scrapes. However I am sure he will have a bit of bruising and will be a bit sore tomorrow!

After a round of high-fives we started our return trek and grabbed a few more caches along the way!

Thanks ikster for the fun mystery and for the epic adventure!!!!

Find number: 5400



Our weekend didn't end there however.  There was another cache I had planned to do that was a rare 1D/4.5T rating.  While this one too was a cache with 10 favorite points, it was a back up in case the day before was a bust.  But since it wasn't a bust it was going to be another amazing adventure with even more people who were relying on a cool cache for the souvenir.

The cache planned was "Stairway to Nowhere - GC1ZP2F", and it is really only approachable by boat. So naturally it took a little extra planning.  Like the cache the day before I wrote a lengthy found it log on the cache page, so instead of writing it all out again I will just share it here:

"What a great adventure!
We found this with WestCoastNavigator (WCN), A Team, G Force, Tadrew, Neltra, Poarchlizard, and SoobaxM on this beautiful Father's Day!

Several months ago while on Facebook I did a general question of who had a boat that could assist in me getting to this cache. It was on my personal Facebook and not the GCGV side, but thankfully I have cacher friends on that side and WestCoastNavigator (formerly of Moss Troopers) said she may be able to help out. There was some general discussion between her and I, as well as a few people tossing it out there that they would interested too. But nothing much came of that then, as it was still winter and a long way from a plannable time.

Time went on and WestCoastNavigator contacted me and said she had a boat lined up and asked if I had an idea of when I thought I would like to make this happen. I mentioned June, and she agreed and said the boat she had lined up could take up to 10 passengers. So concluding that end of the idea I proceeded to send invites to my good caching friends who I knew would appreciate the invite. Of course there were a ton of people I would have loved to invited, but there was only so many spaces... So I am sorry to anyone who may feel left out!

The morning of the trip Mrs GO Team and I got up nice and early and got our gear together, and were soon on the road to Brentwood Bay to meet up with our team. We arrived to find Porchlizard already on the scene who gave us some parking instructions for the area. As we began to search we saw A Team and G Force arrive, followed by the rest shortly after. Once we were all together we headed down to the docks and met our Captain and boarded his boat the "Knotty One".

When we started to leave the docks you could feel the excitement of the team buzzing in the air and it

only got stronger as we neared and saw the stairs for ourselves. Upon arrival we were lucky to find that there was a convenient mooring buoy just off the beach near the objective, so we tied the boat to it and started to off load ourselves 2 at a time in the row boat that WestCoastNavigator used to get us all to dry land.
Once we were all there it was a matter of figuring out the best way to approach the stairs, so we all climbed up a short embankment to a dirt road that seemed to head in the general direction of the cache. And then after a small little scurry down a hill we were all on the stairs.

The cache was in plain sight when we arrived, so that made short work of that. And of course when we were done signing we made sure to cover it up a bit better so that it wont be exposed to the wrong people in the future. Of course what kind of group outing would this have been if we didn't take a few group shots, and pictures of the surrounding area. But sadly too soon the time to leave came upon us, and we all made the trek back to the beach and again 2 at time were rowed back to the "Knotty One".

Thanks you to my entire team, I had a fantastic day with you all and enjoyed every moment of it. Thank you to WestCoastNavigator for arranging the transportation, and of course A SUPER HUGE THANK YOU to our Captain for taking a group of strangers onto your boat and giving us the means to make this all happen!!! Thank you Kiwibirdman for placing the cache, without your contribution the adventure would never have happened at all! Of course this gets a favorite point from us!!!

Find number: 5405


~The GO! Team~"

Thank you everyone that came along on all the adventures this past weekend.  We had such a blast hanging out with you and going to some pretty cool places for the first time!
And thank you to our readers, we appreciate that you take the time to visit and read about our many stories!

Saturday, 13 June 2015


This weekend (Saturday the 13th to be precise) was the 12th Annual World Wide Flash Mob.  This event happens every year around the May to June range, and the events that happen globally for this typically vary in activity.  Last year saw a whopping 27,188 geocachers attending WWFM events across the globe, and I personally am interested in seeing the numbers for this year.

Here in Victoria (as well as in other places) our WWFM Event was a Freeze Mob, so our job was to freeze in place at the appointed time and when the whistle blew.  And as usual the event was hosted by A Team & G Force.

Click images to enlarge
The day of the event Mrs GO Team and I had a late start... Well that isn't entirely true, as I had
woke up early but let time run away on me resulting in a late wake up for my wife.  That's right, I was her alarm clock!  Anyway we got ready as quickly as we could and headed out the door.  We arrived with just enough time to get into position and start wandering around the field in the park waiting for the whistle.  We could see many of our geocaching friends strewn about the field doing various activities, some we knew would be pretty funny when the muggles (non-geocaching folk) saw us freeze in place.  Soon the whistle blew, and all of us froze.  Frisbees fell to the ground, as did softballs, and all around people seemingly enjoying their day were frozen in time.  When the minuet was up we all resumed our activities as if nothing even happened, to which when looking around we could see a few very confused faces!!!!

A few of the local cachers went after a particular D5/T5 cache (a very difficult cache) in a tree at the grounds, and they replaced the very wet log with a rite-in-rain logbook and had a mass signing for all who wanted it!  Those that didn't need the cache like us (we were part of the FTF crew on it) headed over to sign the event log instead.
Once everyone was there and did the same they held the draw for the WWFM XII geocoin, and LookerNL was the winner of that cool piece of swag.  And of course what kind of event would complete without a group photo, so we quickly gathered together for that too.

Mrs GO Team and I hung out for quite a while chatting with Pat&Rob and our new geo-friends Team Geosaur, who by the way recently published their first cache GC5TV5T which is worth a visit and favorite point!

Thank you A Team and G Force for hosting this event.  And thank you to all who attended, while the number of attendees was smaller than in past years it didn't take any of the fun away!

Click images to enlarge

Sunday, 31 May 2015

GPS Adventures Canada & Happy Birthday Mr. GO! Team

I remember several months ago I was logging some caches through geocaching.com instead of GSAK (probably because there was only one) and I noticed in the side ad banner an advertisement saying that the GPS Adventures Maze was at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton. It had been a dream of mine to get one of these logged on my account.  The chance to come across one just hadn't come my way at all, so intrigued I clicked on the add and got very excited. I know it had been at the "Best of the Bad" Mega but there was no way I could have gone to Alberta for that when I had to be there the following month for my cousins wedding.  And besides this was the furthest west I've ever seen it come ever since. So I concocted a plan to use this gift money that I had and purchased airline tickets for Mrs GO Team and I to come out and do this rare cache type for my birthday.

Click on any photo to enlarge
Fast forward a few months to early May.  We were in Vancouver seeing my second favourite band on the planet "Faith No More" (they would be #1, but U2 is just too awesome to beat out), making another of my bucket list wishes come true!  The day after the concert we got together with our good caching friend Magicman65 (check out his blog HERE) to grab a couple of caches in and around the PNE grounds. Just like on any geocaching adventure we got to talking and I learnt he would be in Edmonton at the same time, so I told him about what we had planned and invited him to join in the fun. And of course he gladly accepted!

The rest of the month quickly passed by, and the weekend of my birthday arrived. We arrived early at YYJ (Victoria International Airport) so we could check in for our flight, hopefully get the seats we want, and have a quick cup of coffee before heading in though security.  We soon boarded our plane, and in short order arrived at our destination.  We were met at the airport in Edmonton (YEG) by Mrs GO! Team's brother who then drove us out to our hotel.  We had originally planned to stay with him and his family, but he decided with all we had planned that it would logistically would be impossible.  So as kind as he is he gave us the gift of a hotel close to everything we wanted to do in the area.  So after checking in and getting settled we had nothing left to do, so we decided to head out and go caching.  But what kind of caching did we want to do?

I didn't bring my GPS along (I know, sacrilege right!?), but I never planned to based on what we had in store.  But I did have my GPS enabled cellphone, and using the geocaching.com app I looked at the surrounding area for traditional caches.  The area was pretty bare of those, but upon closer inspection I noticed 2 earthcaches not to far away.  And reading the descriptions of both they seemed very interesting to do.  So out we went, caught a cab and headed to the Royal Alberta Museum.  These were a great choice for us to do since we had never gotten a earthcache is Alberta before, so in doing one we actually became qualified for Platinum Earthcache Master.  The two CO's of these earthcaches (GC5QQERGC5QD5Q) should be very proud, as both were fantastic and highly educational!  And when these were done we hopped into another cab and went back to the famous West Edmonton Mall to wander around until it was time to head back to the hotel.

The next day was not geocaching related at all, so we will only limit it to a mention.  On this day we went back to West Edmonton Mall and did the World Waterpark followed by a round of mini-golf at Professor Wem's Adventure Golf.  And since neither of us had been to a Hooters before, we decided to give that a go for dinner.  Just to side note, the burgers were fantastic and the Fried Pickles were to die for!!!

May 31 finally arrived and I could barely hold my excitement.  I know not to get my expectations too
high on something, but that was not what my excitement was about.  I'd say the excitement was about getting to do and log something new, and that in itself is pretty cool!  We had breakfast at the hotel and got ready.  Too soon the time to leave came, so again we hopped into a cab and met with Magicman65 at the Science Center. We were also joined by my brother in law and his family who were interested in this event, and we all had a great time wandering the maze and finding the hidden geocaches to unlock our secret Canadian Treasure.

Let's talk about the maze for a bit.  The concept is simple, but the idea is eloquent in its style and execution.  You approach the maze entrance and pick up a card.  This is your game piece (it is randomized) and is needed to unlock your treasure.  You will find a station outside that you need to use to create a rubbing of Signal the Frog (geocaching.com's mascot).  This is just to teach you what to do when you find the 4 stations like it inside the maze.  Now you head inside!  Once inside, you choose which way to go and enjoy the maze.  Along the way you stop and read about cool geocache hides across Canada, learn about compass navigation, GPS navigation, and types of hides, all while finding mock geocaches in the maze.  Remember those 4 stations I mentioned, these mock caches are needed to find a little picture on them that correspond with the station you are at.  This would mean you do a rubbing in the square associated with the same picture on your card eventually netting you a 4 digit code.  Once out of the maze there will be a set of lockers with pictures of signal on it in various poses.  Just find the locker that matches the signal image in the top right of your card and enter the code in the digital number pad.  The locker will open and you can now see what your secret Canadian Treasure is.  Speaking of our secret location I got The Northern Lights, NU and Mrs GO Team got the Bay of Fundy, NB.

After the maze was done, the group of us enjoyed the rest of the museum, and soon Magicman65 had to depart.  The family and I went to a restaurant called Soda Jerks, and enjoyed an evening of fun, food and laughter. Of course there was the trip home the next day, but nothing eventful happened to warrant writing about it.

Thanks to my family, Magicman65 and my AMAZING wife who helped make this day one of the best birthdays I have had in a very long time!

Also thanks to you my readers for taking the time to read my blogs!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

15 Years of Geocaching & Camp Thunderbird CITO

Hi everyone!  As of now while I type this blog it is May 3rd 2015, and the geocaching world this is a big deal.  May 2nd & 3rd holds special meaning to any geocacher, as this is the when geocaching was born 15 years ago.  On May 2nd, 2000 the US Government unscrambled the GPS Satellite system call the "selective availability" feature that was intentionally degrading the GPS signals for national security reasons. The move to do this made GPS signals up to 10 times more accurate for million current GPS users, and paved the way for a man Dave Ulmer to come up with an idea.  The very next day (May 3rd) Dave Ulmer (a computer consultant and GPS enthusist) wanted to test the accuracy of his GPS after hearing the news.  So he set out and hid a bucket full of trinkets and goodies in the woods near Beavercreek, Oregon, not too far from Portland.  He called his idea the "Great American GPS Stash Hunt" and posted it in an Internet GPS users' group. Within the first month it was found by Mike Teague, more were being created and submitted to Mike and posted on his personal home page, and 15 years later you come to today where there are over 2 million geocaches hidden worldwide with thousands of geocachers playing the game.  So happy 15th anniversary geocaching, and here is to many more to come!

Now let's fast forward to now, but not all the way.  May 2nd, 2015 will do just fine!
It is saturday morning, and I find myself getting out of bed at a awfully early hour.  I had worked the night before until midnight, and I never just go right to bed when I get home.  I always require a wind down period, which I am certain I am not alone in doing as a practise.  So why am I getting up so early if I had not gone to bed at a decent hour the night before?  Well for a very good reason, there was a CITO today.  A CITO is a geocaching event that has us the geocachers going out and doing something for the environment.  Usually we are picking up trash in local parks and along highways, however sometimes we are out also helping remove invasive plant species.  But today's event was nothing like them.  This time it was helping the users of trails at a local YMCA/YWCA camp called Camp Thunderbird enjoy their time on the trails by clearing the trails of blow down debris.

The event hosts were Grifung, very active cachers in our community who spend a lot of time out on these very trails with their good friends Islandfinders.  Grifung had us gathering at the parking lot near Glintz Lake.  After a brief gathering and talk about what we were to do we split into groups and headed out onto the trails to get our CITO on.

I joined Grifung and Islandfinders for my first real foray into the Sooke Hills.  We had a great hike moving debris off the trails and cutting small blown down trees and moving them out of the way.  Please note nothing living was hurt by any of us on this trek, everything was already broken or uprooted from the ground.  In the end many of the trails were cleared up for recreational use due to the efforts of the different groups heading off in multiple directions.

Thanks for a fun CITO and taking me under your wing Grifung, and thank you to everyone that came and participated in the event.  

Sunday, 26 April 2015

2015 CITO Weekend & One Busy Day

Hi everyone.  I am almost a week late getting started on this blog, but I think I am getting better at this now.  Lately I have been very late on writing about the various adventures we have, but that isn't always a bad thing.  I find that with having a pause one can reflect and think about the words they want to use.  But before I get too far off topic I should probably get on with it.

This past weekend was groundspeak's annual CITO weekend.  I have written many times about what a CITO is, but if you still need an explanation a CITO is:  "Cache In Trash Out is an ongoing environmental initiative supported by the worldwide geocaching community. Since 2002, geocachers around the world have been dedicated to improving parks and other cache-friendly places. Through these volunteer efforts, we help preserve the natural beauty of our outdoor resources!"

With that out of the way, we had three CITO events here in the South Island area.  Islandfinders and AnnieMaroo hosted one each on Saturday April 25, while we hosted our very first one in Victoria's Downtown Core.

Islandfinder's event provided us with a unique situation.
Because they like to also host a dinner event at a local restaurant after the clean up, this gave us to event types in one day.  As some of you will know, there is a challenge out there called the One Busy Day Challenge.  What this is about is that you are challenged to find as many cache types in one day.

So this got me thinking and planning, and soon I had a plan in place.  I initially invited my dad Postie Bear to be the only person on my team going for the planned caches, but this evolved to include tadrew (another local cacher) to participate as well.  The plan was to do a Wherigo, Vitual, Traditional, Multi, Earthcache, Mystery, Letterbox all in that order and finish up with the CITO and regular Event type for a total of nine cache types in one day.  I wont go too deep into the details of the day but we had a great time, albeit an exhausting one!

The way the day went we unfortunately had to miss AnnieMaroo's CITO at Beaver Lake.  And we hope it was a success, and that everyone in attendance had fun!

On Sunday April 25th it was our turn to host our very first CITO.  I had done a bit of homework checking out local parks and public spaces trying to find a place that would be suitable for hosting a CITO.  Most of the parks were very well maintained by the municipality or by the CRD (Capital Regional District).  But then I had an epiphany and remembered the term groundspeak used in their Official Blog Latitude 47 "keeping our game board (i.e. the entire planet) in great shape".  While our friends typically host events in natural habitats to pick up trash, remove invasive plant species, etc, why not host a CITO in the other game board, the urban game board of Victoria's Downtown Core!

The City of Victoria does fantastic job keeping the core nice and clean.  As a tourism hub we have to have it clean for the many thousands of guests we have every year.  But sometimes the locals are not as nice to the core as they should be, especially the inebriated weekend party warriors!  So this became my plan.

The day of the CITO we arrived early at Centennial Square to set up and be ready for our attendees.  We spoke to the Commissionaires that were working on site to let them know our intention, and they were happy to let us know that the City workers will love us for it.  Soon the cachers that were able to attend started to arrive, and once we had a good number together I gave a little talk on what we are going to do, what to avoid, and what PPE (Person Protection Equipment) we had on hand (ie. Nitrile Gloves).  The cachers then headed out into the the streets with their gloves and a bags to pick up trash and beautify the city.  I personally think a lot of the attendees didn't believe they would find much, and many returned to the square with very full to moderately full bags of trash.  They told me that they were shocked they could get as much as they did.  Other stories included muggles (non-cachers) stopping to pick up trash and put it in their bags, and of others just taking the time to thank us for the effort.  Back at the square a truck with two City Workers (I didn't know they worked on Sundays) stopped in and thanked Mrs GO Team who was busy picking up cigarette butts and other miscellaneous trash.

In the end I think this CITO in the core was a success.  And as promised in the event cache listing I rewarded everyone with Coffee and Cookies!

Thank you everyone who participated in CITO events locally and globally.  Even the smallest effort is a big effort for the planet we call home!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Safety in the Woods

I remember this particular day while I was on Facebook in the GCGV Facebook Page (closed group) when my friend cameracowgirl posed an interesting question.  "Is anyone interested with the know how, interested in hosting an event about safety in the woods?".. Ok that probably wasn't exactly like she said it, and surfing back months for posts to find out isn't my idea of fun.  However, I am sure it was a little similar or at the very least along those lines!  I do remember that it caused quite a reaction, a very good reaction.  The local and not so local cachers were very interested in this.  And what it lead to was cameracowgirl herself arranging and hosting the event herself.

April 11 2015 the day of the event, my father Postie Bear came down from Comox and we spent the morning caching in behind Mt. Work and the trails around Durrance Lake.  We had a great time going for nice easy caches (the backside of the mountain and that lake are easy) so that we would not be too tuckered out when it came to event time.
Anyone coming to Victoria for a visit and looking for a great mountain to do some serious geocaching on, I would totally suggest Mt. Work, as it has a variety of easy to rough terrain choices!  And for those looking for a small lake to hike around on decent trails Durrance Lake along with a few others are prime locations to go!

After getting our cache fix for the morning we headed out for a quick lunch and cleaned up for the event!

For cameracowgirl's "Safety in the Woods - GC5M27Y" Lumbo-Tire was able to offer up the Mess at the LT. General Ashton Armoury.  It is the same location that he hosts his annual "Strollin On" New Years event.  It is a fantastic location with a no host bar and allows for a large number of people to gather without an issue!  So to Lumbo-Tire a big THANK YOU is in order for arranging the use of your facility!

When we arrived we walked into an already very well attended event.  A lot of local cachers we know well had already congregated in the mess and were in the midst of fun geo-chatter.  But another glance around the room also revealed a bunch of our not so local cachers had made the trip to the south island to attend this event.  It was nice to see so many people of the Vancouver Island caching community as a whole wanting to take part in this event.

Cameracowgirl wrangled up a few knowledgeable people to come and talk to us on a variety of topics.  She had arranged for a SARs person to come in, but sadly they were not able to when the time came.  But Lumbo-Tire (a Sergeant with 11 (Victoria) Field Ambulance) took the stage and gave us a few lessons what to do if you get lost,  how to stay warm, how to use a compass when your GPS batteries die, and  how to use an analog watch to figure out where north is.
After Lumbo did his presentation and a short intermission our next guest speaker was an officer from the BC Conservation Service.  He did a very informative presentation of the various types of wildlife we could encounter while geocaching, how to avoid wildlife conflicts, and how to protect ourselves if they get territorial and attack.  Our final speaker was bcrockcrawler (a very friendly cacher with an amazing geocoin collection from Nanaimo) who gave a brief talk on Personal Location Beacons and their practical applications.

Too soon the 3 hours were up and it was time for everyone to scoot out for home.  I have to say this was a fantastic event.  It had great attendance, great helpful info, and brought us all together in one of my favorite event venues.  Congratulations to cameracowgirl for putting on a a very successful first caching event!

Thanks everyone for coming and being a part of this event, and thank you too all my readers.  As usual this blog wouldn't be what it is without you!