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.

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