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!