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 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 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

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.