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

SL TFTC!!"


==========================================================

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

SL TFTC!!

~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

WWFM XII

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!


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Strollin on the Pi(e)


Saturday March 14, 2015.  A day that to me was a mystery, just like the very mathematical constant that this day celebrated which is Pi.  That's right it was Pi Day, something I didn't know people even celebrated until this year.  I guess while I do try to pay attention to the various things that go on around me in this world, some of them slip by.



But what exactly is Pi Day, and why is it celebrated?
Wiki explains it as: 

"Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. In 2009, the United States House of Representatives supported the designation of Pi Day."

It also goes on to explain:

"The earliest known official or large-scale celebration of Pi Day was organized by Larry Shaw in 1988 at the San Francisco Exploratorium, where Shaw worked as a physicist, with staff and public marching around one of its circular spaces, then consuming fruit pies. The Exploratorium continues to hold Pi Day celebrations. On March 12, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution (HRES 224), recognizing March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day."

Ok so now we know a bit about it's history.  But this year geocaching.com decided to jump on the celebration bandwagon, and the result was one of great fun and great reason to be with our friends.  What they did was create 2 new souvenirs that someone could get by simply attending any geocaching event on Pi Day, and by solving and finding a mystery cache.  


Please remember you can click on any image in my blogs to view larger versions at any time!  Additionally you can click on colored words which are links to relevant information. 

So enter Pi day and it's celebrations.  Worldwide there were many Pi Day geocaching events held, and the one that was held here was hosted by non other than Lumbo-Tire!  His event "Strollin on the Pi(e)" was held at the View Royal Serious Coffee  at 9:00am, with the official event page stating that "Come early, because at 9:26:53 am, everyone is to celebrate by yelling PI."  If you haven't put it together yet the first 10 digits of Pi is 3.141592653.

We The GO! Team arrived at the event just shortly before 9:00am.  We had both been up and getting ready so as to be there by quarter to nine, but somehow we totally lost track of time.  I knew that it was going to be a busy event, and had a feeling we would be walking in to a standing room only deal.  And after parking the car and walking in the door my feeling was confirmed, and we were seeing a very well attended event.

We felt sorry for the poor girl working the counter.  While Lumbo did inform the owner of the establishment and got permission, they only staffed the location with just her.  However she did eventually receive reinforcements, but not before it really was too late.

At just before appointed time Lumbo got everyone's attention said a few words, did a count down, and everyone yelled "Pi".  It was followed by a round of laughter, and everyone got back to visiting with friends and discovering trackables.  But Lumbo wasn't done yet.  You see he had walked through the place earlier giving everyone 50/50 tickets for a draw.  The prize, a few Pi(e)s to take home.  I think there were 3 lucky winners, and who they were has escaped me, but I am sure they enjoyed their Pi(e) for dessert that evening.  We enjoyed visiting everyone we could again!  You can imagine it is difficult to visit with everyone, and we do try so hard to do so.  But in the end in true The GO! Team fashion, we were the last to leave.

Moving along we headed out to do the second part of the day, finding a mystery cache.  Here at our home like many geocachers we use GSAK.. Ok, ok, I use GSAK!  So keeping databases of caches is a breeze.  One such database on my copy is a "Solved Puzzles" database.  Here is where I store all my solved mystery caches; cause lets face it, just because I solved it doesn't mean I will be rushing out the door to do it that day!  So in anticipation of today I chose a mystery I thought I had solved, and had a final that wasn't that far away without requiring a significant hike.

We proceeded to the solved coordinates (which seemed to match the description of what you would find), proceeded to do the projection (something I have done many many times before), and did the area match the description no... NOPE, it did not!  So this resulted in a very disappointing DNF.  This is also when I should mention that mystery cache owners should use some sort of checker on their cache page.  There are a couple geocheck and geochecker.  These are great since the person can check their solved answer and see if they would be wasting their time if they headed out.  Something this mystery didn't allow me to do!

By this point Mrs. GO! Team needed to get home to sleep for her night shift that night, so I got her there and I went straight to GSAK to see what else I had.  I quickly poured over the database, chose three prospects, and flew out the door.  Sadly they were epic fails too!  The first one was correct but had been disabled due to the cache being missing, which I didn't know until I looked it up on my phone after 20min of searching.  The second, well it had been archived about 3 months ago, while the third was so wrong it makes me think of THIS VIDEO of Dr. Cox from scrubs... So yeah, I wasn't too happy.  But I headed home one last time, checked my database once more, and after running the refresh so I could see what was disabled and archived found one last one that fit my criteria of no hike and close to home.  One last time I headed out there, and this time SUCCESS!!  And the final souvenir was mine!

Now since this is over now I don't feel bad sharing this, but embedded in the souvenirs was a secret.  That's right if you look closely in the images there is some letters and numbers a geocacher should recognise.

That's right, there was a secret GC number in the images, GC31415 which took you to this cache page HERE.  No geocache to find, but rather the cache page was a placeholder for info for a contest.  I do love geocoins, and having the one they were offering as a prize would have been great, but I decided I wasn't going to get involved.  But it was a cool add on to the Pi festivities!

I just want to thank Lumbo-Tire for the fun event, and to all the attendees for coming out.  Also thanks to geocaching.com for the neat souvenirs. And a SUPER HUGE THANKS to all my readers for popping by to read my blogs!!!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sooke Caching with SoobaxM

On the week of March 12th, I received a message from my good friend SoobaxM of the Cache-Keteers asking if I would like to hang out with her and do some caching.  She wanted to go out to the Sooke area and do the Eine Kleine HAGmusik or EKH cache series.  These were a set of caches published by skramble for this year's HAG XI "Music Music Music".  They were a fun set of mystery caches that you can find out in the Sooke Harbour, and they form a Treble Clef in what is known as geoart.  To be honest SoobaxM had done the mental work on the mysteries, and had asked if I wanted to join her on the adventure so that she at least had someone with her. And I was most happy to agree too go.  

We had a fantastic day visiting all the caches (32 total but 31 that need solving before going) collecting the data needed to solve the final. We had tons of great talks about how we feel about the evolution of the activity, about wishes and dreams about our own personal geocaching goals, and about adventures we already had.  We even took time to make a stop and do an earthcache in the area too.  


Thanks SoobaxM for the invite, and for sharing the adventure with me!  I really hope we get a chance to cache together again soon!!

 

 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Cachin' Jack Point Park

I'm pretty late getting this story out, but sometimes late is better than never.
On March 10th 2015 I joined my father and fellow geocacher Postie Bear, along with his friend CurlyQ42 for a fun day of caching at Jack Point & Biggs Park in Nanaimo BC.  It was a very foggy day so visibility was low looking out to the water, however we didn't let this particular thing set us back from having a fun day.

Just a reminder that any image can be clicked on to see a full sized version, and any colored text is a link to relevant info.

Jack Point happens to be the very same place I was introduced to geocaching at back in 2004.  Our friends and Nanaimo residents Sahara_Jeepers took us here and showed us this wonderful activity New Years Day 2004, and even though we thought it was cool it wasn't until 2010 that we actually started.  Mrs. GO! Team and I had been back here since to actually find the caches we did back then, and it was nice to see that most of them had been replaced to give me a whole new experience all over again on this particular trip.

I was the first to arrive at the parking lot near the tunnel to the park that runs under the highway.  I changed into my hiking boots, and decided to head off into the fog to make a quick find near by to kill time.  This didn't turn out to go how I expected, as my mind and eyes would not let me properly decipher the hint and make what I was hoping to be a quick find.  So without finding it I headed back to the parking lot to find that my companions for the day had just arrived.

We headed out into the dense fog and started our day, and despite
our first attempt at a find being a DNF (other than the one I mentioned already) we had a great time.  I was actually very shocked that in my previous runs to this place that I never noticed that the bedrock here was primarily sandstone.  But it really took doing the fantastic Earthcache here to actually put two and two together on this geological feature.

My companions learned a few new tricks about geocaching while out with me that day, and we had a blast caching our way along to the very tip where we stopped for lunch.  It was neat being here, as you can watch departing Ferries and look out to the water for sea life.  It was here that we got to see a small group of the largest Sea Lions I have ever seen this far north.  The last time I had see one this big was when I was in Cabo San Lucas Mexico!

By this point in our day the fog had lifted and were were able to see much more, and we hiked back to the vehicles and cached a bit more of the surrounding area (including finding that first one I DNF'ed before they arrived) on our way back out.

A big thanks to my dad Postie Bear and CurlyQ42
for a fun day of caching. 

And  thanks to all the cache owners for some fun quality hides!


Stay tuned right here for more blogs to come!


Saturday, 7 March 2015

HAG Wrap Up and Witching Hour Redux

So in our previous blog we touched base on this years HAG XI and the lead up, and a day of caching to go with it!  Well with that month of caching out of the way it is time for the HAG Wrap Up event at the 6 Mile Pub in View Royal

This event is held on the first Saturday of March and this is where the winners of the various trophies accept their prize.  Normally in the past I have been able to present with this blog a list of the winning cachers and the caches associated with them, but I could not find a published list anywhere.  However, if I can happen upon a list I will update this blog with them later! UPDATE:  Since publication I have found a list, you will find it at the end of this blog post.

As usual the this event was well attended, and everyone got to enjoy the fantastic food and drink that
they serve at the pub.  And with a little twist to go along with the theme of Music Music Music, this year we had wonderful live music to listen to.

We had a great time getting to see many of our good geocaching friends, while we also got a chance to meet a few new and not so new but new to the area cachers.

As the night was winding down I was approached by tadrew who was thinking of heading out to find the particularly notorious night cache "The Witching Hour - GCZ6PR".
Those of you that have been with us for a while now will know that we did this cache back in October 2010 with alyseluvsmike, meleakett and pracademics.  And we had a blast!  If you haven't read that blog entry you can find it HERE.

Well the people that were going had heard that the reflective tacks that lead the way were in quite a state of disrepair, so they were asking for any hint or tricks to help ease the treck.  I suggested what we did to them, which was to use glow stick bracelets as bread crumbs to follow the way out.  You see even with the if the tacks were in good repair, you can't use them to find your way back out.
Oh sure you could use the tracks feature on your GPSr; but when your bushwhacking in the dark on some very uneven terrain, looking at your GPS screen to make sure you are staying on track is the last thing you want to be doing!

I also volunteered to assist the group in making their way to the cache, as I figured having a veteran set of eyes looking for the tacks would be helpful.  When I returned to my table and told my wife and geo-friends sdkonkle what I was going to do, sdkonkle volunteered his eyes as well.  So the two of us arranged with the team of adventurers to meet them at the starting point, and we headed to our homes to get changed into appropriate gear.

When we arrived at the starting point to meet the team, we learned that they had been successful in finding a party supply store that was still open to get the glow bracelets as I had suggested. We had a brief talk about what they would encounter in the bush (heavy bushwhacking).  And we headed out into the deep dark.

Well we were pleasantly surprised; as contradictory to what we had heard about the state of the tacks, they happened to be in excellent shape.  Our flashlights were catching them easily, and they led us right in.  With a good 30 min of trudging through the near head high salal and uneven terrain we made our way to the the final set of tacks (a double set of red), sdkonkle and I held back as the group headed in to make the find.  Jubilant they signed the log, rummaged though all the goodies inside, posed for a picture.  And when that was done we headed out following the glow bracelets and CITOing them on the way out.  And after a couple more finds in the area we headed to Tim Horton's for a a hot beverage and a treat.

Thanks everyone for the fun evening at the pub, and a big congratulations to all the trophy winners!

Congrats to the the intrepid team of cachers that did the Witching Hour!  I had a blast helping you all out, and getting to participate in your adventure!!

 

Left to Right: Neltra, Dutch Chocolate, Ernietr, Benicha, Pat&Rob (Rob), tadrew

EDIT:
While getting ready to publish this blog post I ran across a list of trophy winners.
The winners are as follows:

Intrepid Cacher Trophy - Sheesh695
Best Camo Trophy - Vicmorda for Cocoon
Most HAG finds - Landchatch & Jessimica02 with 368 finds
Best logBIRDSEECER – Beatles song lyrics for "In My Life SSI"
Out-Standing-In-The-Field trophy - Mike&Lily
Evil Trophy - JuRuu for Frank Zappa
Best Multi - raakea for "Key Notes"
Faves Trophy - HAILHOLL for "Human Circuit"
Most FTFs - Jessimica02 and landchatch with 91 FTFs
Best puzzleislandfinders for their The Beatles series of 26 puzzles!
Best Hiking or Biking Trail - TAK2 & Kamikazegirl1 - 8 musically themed caches along the Puntledge river in Courtney.
EarthcacheAnnieMaroo for Viaduct flats/Quick's Bottom and Ross Bay Cemetery Seawall.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The HAG Begins & Strollin on the Phalanx

Every year here on Vancouver Island a couple of the local cachers put on a geocaching extravaganza of sorts.  This extravaganza is called the HAG (Hide and GO), and this year marks the 11th year that it is held.  In the past starting in January we had a month to hide any caches we plan to release for the HAG along with reviewer note not to publish until the first Saturday in February.  Typically the HAG had a theme, and those caches are encouraged to follow with that theme.  And when the caches went live on that first Saturday of February, well  the hunt began!  And after a month of hunting the first Saturday in March is reserved for a wrap up event, where trophies and honourable mentions are given to those that played along.

This year however the reviewers tossed us a curve ball that worked in our favour.  They wanted more time added to the hiding so they could weed out any potential problem caches, like those with proximity issues.  This was great for us, as it allowed us to really scope out awesome spots and come up with neat theme related ideas.

Well this years HAG theme was "Music, Music, Music", and that allowed some great ideas!

So in hiding we came up with two ideas for caches.  First we created a Mystery cache where you solve a puzzle to find the final coordinates, This was called "The Donut Shop" - HAG XI and it involves a little ditty I came across one day.  It is a cute one, kinda like the kind you hear kids singing at camp or on a school bus. 

Secondly I made something I have been wanting to do for ages.  And after a lot of study and learning, I had figured out how to create a simple Wherigo cache.  This was titled "Walk On" The Park - HAG XI, and the title is inspired by the song "Walk On" by my favourite band U2 from Dublin Ireland.  This simple Wherigo acts like a tour guide of sorts as you walk though a local park, and makes you answer simple questions to proceed through the zones.

Both were published without incident, and many have commented on how fun and simple the Wherigo is and how neat the Mystery cache is for being so devilishly simple!

Fast forward to February 7th, and just after midnight the caches started to be published.  I was already ready for bed watching Family Guy on Netflix, and all of a sudden my tablet started chiming the arrival of new emails.  Really, what else could they be but new HAG caches.. So I got up off the couch, grabbed my phone and garage clicker, and headed out for a few First to Finds (FTF).  

The first one was a cute little cache called "Music to My Ears" by totemtabou, which in the dark could be for some a real pain in the butt to find.  But thankfully I was on my game, and as the GPS on my phone settled I made a relatively quick and easy FTF!  By this point many more emails had come in about more new HAG caches, and this time it was a small series at Swan Lake by Cache Crop.  Ironically they were all titled after characters from the ballet Swan Lake.  This allowed me to get 3 more FTFs, making my total come to 4.  Cold and a little wet from mist water I headed home, but just as I got there 3 more Swan Lake caches came out.  I decided to not go for them and leave them for someone else, and headed to bed.

After I woke up and for the rest of the day I didn't do anymore HAG caches.  That day my parents rolled into town (something they do a lot these days and makes me think they should just move back).  Dad (Postie Bear) and I hung out talking geocaching and planned for the next day, which was to be Lumbo-Tire's "Strollin on the Phalanx" event.  I loaded dads GPS with local caches just in case, and just chilled out.

Well Sunday February 8th came along fast enough, and after a nice breakfast dad and I got ready to head into downtown Victoria.  Mrs. GO! Team wasn't going to come because she was still trying to flip back to days after working her night shifts, so we left without her.

Lumbo-Tire's event was to be held at Centennial Square, and we wanted to make a quick stop at a Strabucks before hand.  The nice part of a Sunday event downtown is there is generally lots of parking, and the city doesn't charge on the meters on that day!

We arrived at the site after a nice cup of joe, and found that Lumbo had already been and marked the spot.  That is when I heard a voice from above (no not that voice) and looked to the top of a nearby parkaide.  Up on the topmost floor was the event host along with Paconlecellars and his wife.  We went up to have a pre-event chat, and we were quickly joined by G-Force and A-Team.  As we gazed out upon the square from above, we started to see familiar people start to collect down below.  So the small group of us made our way down to join our friends.

Ok so the idea for this event was for all of us to congregate in the square rain or shine with umbrellas in hand.  When we heard Lumbo-Tire blow his whistle we were to move to where "X" marks the spot.  Once there we were to deploy our umbrellas and form a Phalanx, which in this case would make us a muli-colourd turtle.  Some of you may ask what a Phalanx is?  Well the Phalanx was a strategy used by the Greeks where they would form as a marching group and deploy their shields above and around the group to essentially make an ancient armoured car.  This would allow them to march into a battle field and be protected from arrows raining down from above.  You can learn a bit more about Phalanx by clicking HERE.  So when the whistle sounded this is exactly what we did. We as a group moved to the "X", deployed our umbrellas and formed our Phalanx.

Mrs. GO! Team ended up waking up early and decided to come after all, and called me while on route.  The event being a flash-mob had already ended, but I waited for here to come and snapped a shot of her forming her solo Phalanx.

After Mrs. GO! Team arrived and I took the shot. I turned to my dad who had formed with a small team of people wanting to go grab a few caches, and headed out.  We did a couple down by the inner harbour, and when we were done there they asked if dad and I wanted to do the ones at Swan Lake.  I told them that I had already had half of them, but I would be happy to come and get the remainders.  So we all marched back to our vehicles.  Mrs. GO! Team decided to head off and do a few things that she wanted to do that day, so she parted ways with us there.

The group of us (tadrew, Neltra, CurleyQ42, Posite Bear, and myself)  arrived at Swan Lake and began our trek.  It was fun to assist them in finding the the caches I had FTF'ed the night before, and we had a nice walk thought the park getting the ones that got published after I had retired that night too.

Once we were done we stood around and talked about trackables, GSAK, and future adventures and milestone plans.  And when we dicided it was time to call it quits, we parted ways looking forward to the next little or big adventures.

Thanks to Lumbo-Tire for the fun event!
And a super huge thanks to all of my readers for hanging with me waiting for me to get my stories out there.