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.  

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