Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Long Road

As many of you may have noticed, recently we added a widget to the blog page that shows our cache find statistics on geocaching.com.  We also noted in a recent blog that we added this feature when we announced the launch of our new Facebook page.  You can read this story HERE.

So looking at it now you will notice we are finally getting close to 5000 geocaching finds.  A very long road that some reach very quickly, others moderately, and many more at a very leisurely pace.  While getting there in 4 years is decently quick, we have had help.
Finding the many caches on Vancouver Island accounts for nearly 3000 of those finds, but we couldn't have got here on Island caches alone.  We have cached through British Columbia, Alberta, Washington State, California, and Mexico.
We even cached in Nevada on the Las Vegas Strip and the famous E.T. Highway; which accounted to many of our finds, and lead to us being attacked by some former local cachers who believed that the process of doing the Highway is cheating.  This actually lead to a bout of  anxiety about sharing our stories, and almost lead to me shutting this blog down.  But thanks to the support of some awesome cacher and non-cacher friends I kept with the blog and sharing my stories.  But sadly I still feel like everything I am doing is being scrutinised in some way; it sucks to be damaged by it, but I get by!

Anyway back to the story at hand.  It has been a fun road to travel getting from there to here, and this past weekend was no exception.  What we did as travel up to the Comox area to visit with my parents, and for dad (Postie Bear on geocaching.com) and I to finish up the rest of the DBM cache series for him.  Personally I still have 001 ~ 110 left to do since we had already done 111 to 155 before, but my father is now fully complete.

The DBM or Duncan Bay Main is a logging road the stretches from Courtenay/Comox all the way to Campbell River.  Originally it only had a certain amount of caches on it, but was expanded by J05_T2_LCH the original CO (Cache Owner) to 155.  But then was expanded upon further by Team Jacobbi to be 216 caches long.

Dad only needed the last 61 and we had a great time doing the last caches on the trail.  We had to work hard, as we did not want to be working at it all day. So with very minimal breaks we drove this fairly well groomed logging road, working like a well oiled machine and cached our way to the end.
We met a few other cachers along the way who were caching the series in reverse.  I can't remember their names, but it was a pleasure to meet them.







But this wasn't the end of our weekend.  The following day dad and I headed out to Seal Bay Nature Park to grab a few more.  We had a fun time walking the trails and discovering some fun caches while in park.  I believe we did 7 more caches that day, making our weekend find total a very nice 68 finds.




Thanks dad for a fun caching weekend!  And thanks to you my readers for stopping by and reading the blog. 
Make sure you stay tuned for more geocaching stories here at The GO! Team Adventures.


Monday, 14 July 2014

4900th Cache and Anniversary Weekend (Part 2)

Now with the 4900th cache part of this story out of the way, we can move forward to the rest of our fantastic weekend.

After getting home and cleaning ourselves up (we had a thousand little burs and mud all over us), we packed up and headed out.  Our destination was Quadra Island, one of a series of small islands off of Campbell River 3.5 hours North of here.  This is not my favorite drive in the world, and the heat wave we were experiencing that weekend would not help the situation in a black car with no AC.
But we sucked it up and just kept the windows down the whole way, regardless that the air outside was still hot even at highway speeds.

With a few mandatory stops along the way (fuel, washrooms, food and beverage) we eventually made it to Campbell River by 7:15pm.  We only needed to wait a short while for the next vehicle ferry to shuttle us over to Quadra Island.  While the ferry cost for the 10 min ride is a bit steep, I have to admit I was impressed to learn that it is considered round trip.  Once you are over, there is no cost to come back to Campbell River.  The air was finally cooling off, and Mrs. GO! Team and I enjoyed the short time on deck cooling off in the cool ocean breeze!

When we docked, we head off into this beautiful island and made our way to our hotel April Point Resort & Spa.  When we arrived and saw the Resort and our Room, our breath was taken away.  The grounds were so beautiful, and the view from our patio was something to behold.  We unpacked and settled in, and enjoyed a beverage of choice (Rye & Spring Water for me) and watched the sun set behind the mountains in Campbell River before turning in for the night.










The next morning Mrs. GO! Team and I awoke and got ready to tackle our day.  We exchanged our gifts and had an amazing buffet breakfast at the lodge's restaurant.  Using the wifi here I was able to download a couple of caches to the offline list on the caching app on my phone (didn't plan ahead for this location).
When we were ready we hopped into the car and headed to what is called Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park.  While there were a couple of caches that could be done here, we decided to only do one that was located at the very tip of the park called "Rebecca's Jewel - HAG X - GC4XE3N".  The park has a really long driveway to the parking lot, but all along it are some great views and beach accesses.

Once we arrived at the parking lot we headed out onto the trail.  The walk was beautiful, we saw lots of American Bald Eagles and beaches that were amazing to see. The only thing that would be a negative draw to the area is that the beaches are primarily rock (except back by the parking lot), so one would not come here to bathe in the sun I would suppose.  Along the way we watched the clock for the time when Mrs. GO! Team would have been walking down the aisle signifying when were actually getting married last year, and when that time came we took an anniversary selfie to commemorate.


Soon we reached the tip of the park and began our search, and very quickly we found the caches hiding spot.  After signing the log we started our way back to the car, but Mrs. GO! Team noticed a little sandy spot where the tide had gone way out and decided to commemorate the day with a message in the sand.  Once that was done we continued the walk back, and snapped a few more pictures along the way and headed back to April Point.










Deciding that it was too hot out to continue doing anything else we headed back to the lodge and changed into our swimsuits and took the shuttle over to their sister resort where the pool was located.  This proved to be a great way to cool down, and when we had enough of swimming we headed back once again to get ready for Dinner.  Our dinner was amazing, and from our window we saw a Harbour Seal continuously coming by for a visit (and probably hoping for food).
We finished the day with another ride on the shuttle boat, and then sat once again enjoying the sunset with an ice cold beverage in hand.  And when it got completely dark we turned in one more time.



Our trip home was not without its share of caching too.  After checking out of the resort we drove to one that was located a little ways from the Ferry Terminal called "Ferry View - GC538DW" where we got a very quick easy find and the title does not lie, there was truly a fantastic view from that location.  Moving on from there we drove down to the terminal where our final cache for Quadra Island was located.  This cache called "Ferry Godmother: What's Up, Dock - GCH2TB" was a neat diversion before having to wait in line for the Ferry.  Though I would warn anyone with a fear of spiders may want to send someone a little braver to go fetch this one.










After we got those two caches we loaded onto the Ferry and started the trip home.  But home was not the next destination.  In fact we had to make a stop for a coffee and a cache with my father Postie Bear in Courtenay/Comox.

After a nice cool drink at the Starbucks in Courtenay dad took me to see a cache that he did recently that he really enjoyed called "B14: Medic 4077 - GC55KAG".  If you are in this area I highly recommend a visit to this cache, it was a very neat concept for a cache.  While the style was similar to others I have seen before, the way the CO (Cache Owner) executed and themed the cache was pretty cool!
But we had to move on, because this was not the cache he had intended for us to do together.  So off we went to the Visitor Centre where there was a cache that he very much wanted to share the experience of finding.

It turns out that my dad had tried to find this one before, but came up empty.  So we arrived at Visitor Centre where there is a retired Snowbird in their front yard.  The cache called "Snowbird Visit - GC4XDJD" starts off with you needing to make an observation at the Snowbird which is key to opening the cache, and then leads you over to where it was hidden.  I can see why my dad thought the cache was where he figured it to be, but an observation made by us lead us to a slightly different position which lead to the discovery of a very well stocked cache.  Just as above; I recommend making the stop for this cache while in the area, not only for the cache but also for the chance to stop in and visit the Centre and see the very neat attractions that they have inside.

After we made that find and took a break to see inside the Centre, Mrs. GO! Team and I bid farewell to Postie Bear and headed home.  But we decided to make just one more stop along the way.
There was this cache that I had visited before without my wife, and when I told her about it she said someday she would like to see it for herself.  So this presented us with chance to visit the largest ammo-can in British Columbia (and possibly all of Canada) called "Made In Canada, eh! - GC2Y8Q8".

When we pulled up Mrs. GO! Team was astonished, she didn't take me seriously on how big this ammo-can was.  She quickly went over, unlocked it and started to look at all the cool items inside.
After a few pictures and purchasing some water at the shop located at the cache, we loaded ourselves back into the car and drove home.  This marking the end of a very fun, productive and adventurous weekend.


Thank you everyone for taking the time to read this story.  And thank you to all the cache hiders for placing the caches we found on this adventure.  Stay tuned for more stories to come!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

4900th Cache and Anniversary Weekend (Part 1)

Well, another year has been and gone in the lives of The GO! Team.  It really only seemed like yesterday that we got married, but like they say "Time flies when you are having fun".  Many of you readers may remember that on the day we got married, Mrs. GO! Team and I held a photo flash mob geocaching event.  That was a total blast, and if you have not hear that story you can find it HERE.

This year we didn't do anything like that.  In fact we kept the weekend to ourselves!  But what we did do was have an adventure.  The week before our anniversary I noticed we were getting very close to our 4900th cache find, and so I felt we should do something special.  This lead us to decide to try and complete a cache we had failed miserably on a couple of years ago.

Please remember you can click on any image to view a larger version or on any blue text to visit related webpages.

A couple of years ago we attempted a 4 difficulty/4 terrain cache called "Plantman_Geocache#10 - GC7C1A" which was adopted by our local geocache experts and shop owners Landsharkz.  This cache can be reached by boat; but if you find yourself without one, you can still reach it but it is very tide dependent.  In the case of when we attempted before, the tide was just not out enough and lead to our failure.  This meant we had to really do our homework before attempting again.
So we looked at the local tide charts, and to our surprise a super low tide was occurring on Saturday July 12th (the start of our anniversary weekend).  So now all we had to do was get ourselves in position to be at 4899 caches before that day, and for that week before we worked like crazy to make it happen.

I have to tell you, we were pretty nervous about doing this one.  Reading past logs of success and failure put bit of fear into our hearts, also knowing we would only have 1 hour to get over, find the cache and return safely also played heavily on our minds.  This is when we decided to contact Gunner Mac and Cache Crop for a few small tips to make it easier.  And when the day came we were as prepared as we could ever be.




So when we arrived at around 9:20am Saturday July 12th we headed straight out to the entry point, and quickly realised the tide was already very much out.  So we quickened our pace and headed right down the first rock face.  Here a little beach is exposed and you can walk over to the first island, and then climb up.  Here is where we had to stop last time due to the tide not being low enough, but this time once we arrived on the other side and could see just how much lower the tide was due to the super moon.  We walked down to the waters edge, and safely lowered ourselves in.
We found ourselves in waist deep water, and waded over to the second island that only appears in the very low tide.  Up we went onto it, and from here we had a small slippery land-bridge over to the island the cache is hidden on.








With the first hurdles out of the way, all we had to do was climb up the steep rocky side of the main island.  Up and up we went, and soon we were on top.  With the hints we were armed with we  navigated over to where the hide was supposed to be and started the hunt.  Well we searched and searched but nothing was working, and we were now running out of time.  So I had to resort to a PAF (Phone A Friend) and called Gunner Mac.
Armed now with a slightly better (but not dead give away) hint, we were able to shorten our search area.  And within 10 minutes more of searching, we had the cache in hand.  Actually it was me who found it, and I literally was ginning from ear to ear when I called out "Found it"!  Mrs. GO! Team wandered over to see the hiding spot, and gave me a high five for finding it.  We signed the log, grabbed our stuff and headed back to the cliff to climb back down.




We climbed down, travelled back across the slippery land-bridge, lowered ourselves back into the water (which was now belly high), waded back to the first island, climbed back up and down that, and was safely back on dry land.  And with pride in our hearts we walked our way back to the car, triumphant with a particularly hard geocache found.





Join us in part 2 for the rest of our caching adventures on our anniversary weekend!

A big thanks to Plantman for originally hiding this cache, and a super huge thanks to Landsharkz for adopting and maintaining this epic cache!






Thursday, 10 July 2014

7 New Souvenirs in August

Well I can't believe it has almost been a year since geocaching.com announced that they were launching the "31 Days of Caching" Campaign.  Last August (the month that International Geocaching Day is held) geocaching.com challenged us to cache every day in August, and we the cachers of the world received a digital souvenir on our profile page for each day we found a cache or attended an event.  This was received with mixed reviews from the caching community.  Many loved it, while many absolutely hated it.  The forums over at geocaching.com were filled with comments of praise, opposition, and some with helpful suggestions. 

We The GO! Team did all 31 days last August, and quite frankly we loved every moment of it.  When planning out our 31 days we decided that it would be best to focus on a cache type that we had neglected; so it was decided that we would do a Multi-stage cache on each day, or to attend an event if one was available. To learn a little more on the types of caches out there click HERE.  Also to help people out and to give them a boost and to help them keep a physical cache open for another day, we hosted an event every Saturday that month.  It was a blast getting out there and find streaking for 31 days.


Well this year it seems geocaching.com has come up with something new!  And while we loved doing their challenge last year we, we are glad that it is something different this time around.
This year geocaching.com has announced 7 new souvenirs only, 6 to collect and one special final 7th that unlocks when you do collect the 6.
I think this may be received better by the caching community at large.  Why??  Well because it seems that they listened to the cachers on the forums.  One of the most common complaint I saw was that the 31 days flooded their souvenir section of their profiles with unwanted digital clutter.  And with that complaint I saw many suggest less souvenirs with a reward for completion.  So in my opinion, this is a resolution to the problem that was presented last year.

Sadly like in any digital forum there will still be haters, and like the saying goes "Haters gonna hate"!  So I am sure if I was to jump over to the forums right now, I would find many people complaining yet again about geocaching.com's new idea.  So with that said, I think I will avoid looking and just enjoy the challenge presented to us from the company that brings adventure and excitement into our lives.



To read about geocaching.com's new challenge head over to their blog "Latitude 47" by clicking HERE.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Introducing The GO! Team's Stat Widget and the The GO! Team Adventures Geocaching Blog Facebook Page

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write a quick update to bring your attention to two new features to our geocaching adventures blog.

The first is The GO! Team's geocaching stat widget featured right here on the bog page.  You will notice the widget below the list of followers in the top right corner of the blog page.  Here you can see our find count go up as we find caches, and see how close we are to all our milestones.

 
We also like to introduce The GO! Team Adventures Geocaching Blog Facebook Page (wow that is a mouthful)!  In the past for friends and family I have posted links to the individual blogs via my personal Facebook Timeline.  But now we will be sharing our links on the Facebook Page!
If you are on Facebook and would like to show your support by liking our page, just head one over by clicking on this link HERE and hit the "Like" button to show your support and to receive notifications of new blogs and related posts.


We are looking forward to seeing you all over at Facebook!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Trackables & Geocoins Everywhere!

I noticed it has been a while since I wrote a story just for the heck of it.  The last time I did was on June 27 2012, and it was about logging caches and adding photos.  You can read the story HERE.
That story was inspired by a photograph that was added to someones "Found it" log on one of my cache hides.

Please note that you can at any time click on any of the images in the blog to view a larger version!

Today's story is inspired from a discovery I made on June 18th, 2014.  When I logged into geocaching.com that day and headed over to my profile, I discovered that we The GO! Team had discovered/moved our 1000th geocaching trackable.  Not an amazing feat, but one that should not be taken lightly.  You see geocaching trackables play just as important role in geocaching as the caches themselves.


So yes, today I wanted to talk about geocaching trackables!  For those of you that don't know, geocaching trackables are another aspect to the game.  They act as our proxys, traveling the world while being fueled by us the geocachers.  They come in two forms, Travel Bugs or aka TBs, and Geocoins.

An example of a Travel Bug is piece of metal like a military dog tag usually sporting some sort of graphic art, the most common piece of graphic art is the bar code scarab.  Inscribed on the dog tag is a code or tracking number, and is the most important part of the TB as it is what is used to log the trackable on geocaching.com.  The unique feature of the TB is that it can be attached to any object we want (within reason of course).  This object is what we call a traveler.  Many use some cool piece of SWAG or something that the owner of the TB thinks would be neat to attach.

The second type as mentioned above is the Geocoin.  These can be hands down the most beautiful and coveted of the geocaching trackables.  Quite frankly these are traveling works of art, which makes them very desirable to some.  The Geocoin is just that, a coin.  They can be in many different shapes and sizes, for example I have one that is meant to look like a iPhone.  What sets the Geocoin apart is the art on them.  The art can be personal art so that the coin is a signature item, or the art can be something that just makes the coin pop and set a theme.  Possibilities are really endless!   A quick Google Image Search of the word "Geocoins" will net you a huge amount of images of various types of Geocoins out there.  And just like the Travel Bug, the coin also has a tracking number on it.

So when someone purchases a Geocoin or TB and activates it, they have an intention in mind and set a goal on the trackables specific page.  This goal is to set the trakable free and have it travel the world cache to cache, or for it to make its way to a specific location or cache, or maybe they keep it with them and take it to events just for people to discover.  But let's not focus on the ones that stay with their owners, but rather on the ones that are out there traveling the world.  It is us the geocaching communities of the world that give these trackables the ability to do what they were designed to do.. And that is to make them travel!

Should you find one of these in a cache it is up to us to pick up and move it, or to just leave it where it lies and just discover it.  It is all a matter of choice; however should you decide to pick it up, you are bound to a set of guidelines and etiquette.

First, if you pick it up you absolutely need to make the time to log that you have it on geocaching.com!
This is what that tracking number on the trackable is for, you need to navigate to the "Find Trackables" page on the website. For in depth information on how to do this you can read the instructions provided by Groundspeak (geocaching.com's parent company) at this link HERE.  They also cover the "Discover" option, which is used when you leave a trackable where it is but want to say that you saw it.
Also if you plan to keep the trackable with you for a while and only want to dip the trackable (what we call visit), you will also find info for that in the link I provided.


Another thing you should take into consideration here is that you should not hold onto that trackable for more than a week.  Trackable owners what to see that their trackable is moving, and that many people are getting a chance to enjoy helping the TB or Geocoin along.  But lets say you will be able to help the trackable meet some of it's goals, but that thing you are going to do to help is a month away.  Well what you can do is write about it in your pick up log on the trackables page, or just shoot the owner a message to let them know your intentions.

For example, I retrieved a TB at a recent event.  The TB's goals is to travel and visit all the states in the Continental United States.  I know I will be going to Oregon in just over a months time, so I logged that I will be keeping the trackable for an extended time.  This informs the owner that I have all intentions of moving the trackable, and that I will be helping it get one step closer to reaching it's goals.  This is considered proper etiquette, and gives the owner a chance to message you if they disapprove.


Oh and one last thing.  If you have someone else's trackable in your inventory, please don't quit geocaching before dropping it off.  It is very discouraging to a trackable owner to have to hit the "Report As Missing" button.  They didn't create the trackable for it to just disappear, so always take the time to unsure that you place it in a cache.  Trust me I have had several of mine disappear, which has made me turn everyone I make now a "Discovery Only" item

A big thank you to all the responsible trackable movers in the community/world for taking the time to ensure this side quest in geocaching is done correctly.  And a thank you to all who have read this and the provided links to learn how to be a responsible trackable movers of the future!