Caches, Waymarks, & Challenges (Oh My!)

Since logging my 100th find a few weeks ago I've found about a dozen more caches and yesterday I was able fit in a few more.

On my last post I said that I had found my largest cache container yet and possibly ever.  Well I was wrong.  Two weeks ago I had some time to kill before the appointment at the garage for my cars scheduled maintenance so I decided to grab a nearby cache that was on my to do list.  It wound up being a shed in someone's backyard (yes a shed!).  There is even a wooden trunk dedicated to travel bugs and signature items.  After a few minutes of letting me discover the bountiful cache one of the people who lived there came out and we talked for a bit before i had to leave.  I even got a container I plan to use for a new hide.  Saweeet!

Well a few days ago Geocaching.com sent out an email to members saying that they are discontinuing Challenges.  Challenges had been their answer to replacing virtual caches where instead of going somewhere to sign a logbook you are 'challenged' to go somewhere and DO something.  I had accepted a few challenges since signing up for geocaching.com but had never actually done one.

When I had to go to a nearby town for work yesterday I decided to leave a little bit early and do some caches over my lunch hour beforehand.  The cool part was that one the caches I had picked was also the site of a waymark AND challenge.  w00t w00t!  Now I can kill THREE birds with one stone.  Well, technically log three different finds with one smartphone and one location.  But who is splitting hairs? (you'll get that joke later on).

The cache is near the site of a mill 125 years ago.  The miller decided it was a shame to waste the energy of the water flowing out of the mills turbine.  So downstream he built a tower where water twisted the turbine under the tower, a series of gears and shafts spun a large sheave [shEEv] near the peaked roof. Like a giant laundry line with a cable looped around two wheels, water power was transferred from the small tower to the main mill.  What makes this site even MORE unique is that it's one of the only surviving examples of auxiliary water power still standing.  Now that's a cool waymark!

I think the creator of the challenge thought it was pronounced [shAve] instead of [shEEv] because the challenge read:

Stand in front of the Tower and take a picture of you cutting someone's hair with either clippers or scissors and then upload the picture.  No need to actually fully shave, but would be a bonus for sure!
Well I didn't have someone else or scissors with me.  So, not to split hairs (get it now?) I just took a picture of myself pretending to cut my hair with my fingers.

The cache itself was about 40 ft downstream.  I had a bit of a tumble on the way there due to frozen moss on the path (note to self... frozen moss is S-L-I-P-P-E-R-Y).  But it was well worth it for a find at this kind of location.  I dropped one of my signature items, signed the log, took some pictures of the tower for the logs and went on my way.

The rest of the day was a couple simple caches (an LPC) and a DNF on the final of a multi (the way to find the coords for the final was well done).  All in all it was a good day of caching.  I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the tower and a short (I mean SHORT) video of the water running under the bridge.


100th Find

Just over a week ago, for the first time in a long time, I spent the day Geocaching.  The wife was off scrapbooking with a friend and the little one was spending the day with my mom.  I had a HUGE list of caches I wanted to tackle but precious time to find them.  the day wound up being far from what I had planned but much more.

Biggest Container Yet (Ever?)

I had made a Pocket Query a few days beforehand.  So I loaded it into my iPhone and off I went.  However, I forgot to check on the recent logs of the caches.  Or else I would have known that many of the caches of the one series I was interested in were in somewhat disrepair.  Oh well, there are plenty of caches on my 'To Do' list.

So after dropping the little one off with Grammy I whipped out the iPhone, loaded up the GC.com app, and did a search for nearby caches.  Up came 'Sticking Around For The Beer'.  Yup, sounds like a good cache to start the day off.  It was a nice and easy walk into a suburban park and (aside from the familiar feeling of pine needles on my skin) was a nice start to the day.

Very Clever Hide

Next up were some caches in the Caching Migraine series.  You see (up-to-this-point) I logged my one and only FTF (First-To-Find) on #2 in the series.  So I've wanted to try some more and show that it wasn't just a fluke.  This is when I found out that many of the caches in the series are in need of some maintenance.  I'm not about to spend a rare day of caching hunting for hides that may not even be there.  The 2 caches I did find in the series were worthy of their name.  It was nice to check a couple of them off my list.

By now I was getting close to that triple digit number and I could almost taste it.  But I needed a couple more so I went for cache known to be rather large.  Judging from the maps I thought it was just on the outskirts of a sports field.  However, it proved to be quite the trek through bush with many trails going this way & that.  When I finally arrived at GZ I was slightly disappointed that part of cache that made it interesting (other than it's size) had been disabled :(  On the way back to my car I realized that I had parked about 10 metres from another cache.  And despite being out in the open it had me scratching my head for a few minutes.

Caching Down Memory Lane

With 97 finds I started to head towards my goal cache.  On the way I grabbed a cache beside one of my favourite burger joints and met another cacher while I was there.  I then grabbed a cache from my high school stomping grounds.  Then I headed off to the goal cache.

I had been here once before and had left only slightly stumped because I had forgotten the tools I had known I'd needed.  This time I didn't leave anything to chance.  But the cache was right behind a persons backyard, with a low fence, and a muggle relaxing on a lawn chair DOH!  This is going to take some stealth.

Armed with a multitool I made my way to cache in a semi crouch style walk.  I carefully released the cache from its resting place.  All the while watching the muggle to ensure I don't draw any attention.  Once in hand I dash back to the car.  A clever cache indeed!  I signed log and carefully put it back.  Not before taking some photos for personal reference.

I wound up grabbing one final cache before going to have dinner with the family.  A great ending to a great day!



I'm just testing my new IFTTT.com Recipe for sharing blog posts to Facebook and Twitter.

If this had been a real test I would have provided you with the answers.

1:18 pm 2012-10-29


If This Then That (Part 2)

So about 2 weeks ago I first posted (see post here) about this website called If This Then That (iftt.com).  I've now had some time to play with it and I have a few uses for it.  But it could be really useful for business professionals or artists.  Basically anyone connected to more than 1 social network could benefit from this.  Even just for the sake of archiving things.

The way the site works is by connecting your various accounts across the internet.  Then, using a simple If-Then statement (called a 'Recipe') you "put the internet to work for you" (the websites slogan).  By simple I mean SIMPLE:

Step 1:
Once you've created an account, click the Create button at the top.  To create the first part of your Recipe click the this in the ifthisthenthat logo.

Step 2:
Select from the list of channels you've activated (coloured) to create the trigger.  This is where you set the action that will trigger a recipe.  It can be that you published a new blog post, recieved a new type of email, have a new follower on twitter, etc

Step 3:
Now you need to click the that part of the logo and then the channel you want it to affect.  For example, I've selected my trigger to be when I publish a new post on my Blogger account.

Step 4:
This is the part where you tell the recipe what to do with the trigger.  Do you want to announce your new post on Twitter with a shortened url?  Do you want to post a link to it on Facebook?  Do you want to email it to a group of people?  Do you want to create a backup copy in Google Drive?

Step 5:
Write a description (so you know what it does) and then press Create Recipe.

I think the best use of this website is for people who use Twitter and Facebook.  There are even some work-arounds to connect your Google Plus account.  But it can be as simple as getting a text message before you leave for work to take your umbrella because it's supposed to rain.

iPod Touch Resurrection (In Progress)

Over the past few years I've come to appreciate the quality that comes with an Apple product.  Especially when my wife and I bought each other a 32 GB iPod Touch 3G for Christmas/Birthday a couple years ago.  In fact, when it came time to buy a new family cell phone 6 months later I decided to go with an iPhone because I knew it would one less new technology I would have to teach my wife.

Well a couple days ago my 15 month old daughter was walking around the house listening to her favourite music, The Gigglebellies, when followed my wife into the bathroom and threw my iPod in the toilet. AHHHHHHHHHH!

I was only a few steps behind her but not quick enough to keep my iPod from being fully submerged.  I scoop it out quickly, towel it dry, power it off, and shove it in a ziplock bag full of rice.  Everything said wait a full 24 hours but after 16 hrs I figured I was safe.  So I pulled out my iPod pressed the home button (nothing).  Pressed the power button (nothing).  pressed and held the power button (still nothing).  No!!!!!!!!!

Still hopeful, I plugged it into a USB charger and after a few minutes I heard the familar ping of an iPod coming back to life.  Woooohoooo!  But my celebration was short lived.  Because after 5 hours of charging it still only showed the smallest charge it could possibly have.

I finally began to accept that my iPod is no more.  That I'd be stuck with only 8 GB of music at a time with my old iPod Nano.  But the next day I decided to plug it in overnight to see what would happen.  low & behold it came back (kindof)!

I had to do a full restore to factory settings on my wife's netbook (because the stupid wireless card in my desktop doesn't see any networks).  So I downloaded the latest iOS for my iPod (5.1.1), loaded up the apps my wife had on her laptop, hit sync, and went to bed.

When I woke up this morning it looked ready to go.  But not exactly:
  • The power button doesn't seem to work.  It won't turn it on or off.  I have to plug it into a computer to power the device on.
  • The headphones level indicator is superimposed over everything until I press the down volume button
  • I can't even send the eror messages to Apple because the wifi and bluetooth options are greyed out under settings
I've tried reseting the network settings.  I even selected to reset ALL the settings.  It comes back on but with the exact same issues.  I'm going to try another restore tonight.  Maybe even a backup from my desktop.  If all else fails I'm going to try a local shop that does iPod/iPhone repairs.


If This Then That

So in my trawling across the Internet I found this website that can be used as a powerful tool: ifttt.com

Using a simple if-then statement you can connect yourself across social media seamlessly, simplify your life, and many more things.

In fact, when I publish this blog post it will automatically create a Facebook status with a link to the post. It could just as easily post it on Twitter or backup a copy to your Google Drive.

Let's see if it works *crosses fingers*


Gambling For Cache

So if you check my finds lately you'll notice I've been working on a poker themed series of caches in a small town near where I work.  Well today I've finished the caches in the series and plan to do the final in under a week.

I've enjoyed this series for a couple reasons:

1. Minimal Bushwacking - this means I was able to work on it on my lunch (which has been most of my caching to date). Plus I'm traipsing burrs or anything else back into the office.

2. Size Small - as a mostly urban cacher I've learnt to endure the tiny bison tubes and itsy-bitsy-nanos. But I like the odd Tupperware container now and again. This whole series are small sized containers with a regular size for the final.

3. Butterflies - while finishing the last cache I needed for the series I wound up walking through a field of butterflies. It was awesome! I didn't take any pictures because all I had was my iPhone.

It's these type of experiences that i think are going to keep me geocaching for a while yet because, let's face it, I wouldn't have had this experience otherwise.


Some 'Dam Good' caching

About 2 weeks ago I got my new Magellan ToughCase in the mail.  I had been having issues with my dinosaur of a GPSr (Garmin eTrex Legend) and wanted something that would do the job but not cost me a fortune.  With the ToughCase I can now take my iPod Touch (or iPhone 3G) out geocaching!  It's a bit finicky they way it needs to be charged.  But they have taken care of the issues with working at walking speeds.  Not mention it has a tough and waterproof case.

I took it out for a lunch time cache run and it was AWESOME!  It was reading 7-10 meter accuracy and zeroing at GZ.  I did 2 cachers that lunch hour and a handful more with it since.  I even placed my first hide using it to get the coordinates.

No Dam Good

Today I went back to take some pictures of the second cache I did that day.  Because in all the excitement I forgot my camera at home.  Now my iPhone was in the car but it was COLD out!  I was lucky I even grabbed that 2nd cache.  I was on my way back to work when I pulled over because I remembered looking at the Geocaching.com map and that there was a cache near by.  I pulled out my iPod Touch app and sure enough 150 m away!

Despite being a stones throw away from a major highway the location is rather picturesque.  It was a nice easy stroll to GZ.  Once there I just had to duck a few branches.  When I grabbed the container I was surprised to pull out an ammo can!  I was surprised because ammo cans aren't very common in Canada (a small military means minimal amounts of army surplus.. besides Tupperware is cheaper!) and because the description had mentioned a first aid kit container.

The description also advised cachers to take the extra few steps and check out the now defunct dam.  I'm glad I did.  There were concrete walls diverting the water where the dam had been dismantled.  A few parts still remain.  When I went back today to take the pictures I forgot to take last time I discovered that someone has been working hard at restoring the dam.  Or rather, something.  As you can teel from these pictures it appears that there is a beaver in the area who is busy building a dam on it's own.  So what used to be 'No Dam Good' is now 'New Dam Good'.

Evidence of Beavers:

Beaver Lumber
New Dam, Good!


50 + 1


Today marks my 50th geocache find.  I know it's not a huge number considering the fact that I started 7 months ago.  But starting a new outdoor hobby at the same time as having a young baby and winter soon after that can slow one down.

I know that other geocachers tend to pick a memorable cache to do for their milestones.  Mine?  It was just a step up from a park and grab near a carpool parking lot (GCPD8T).  I chose this cache because it was hidden by a cacher in Ontario with the 2nd most finds:

I figured what better way to mark s small numbers milestone than by finding a cache hidden by someone lits TONS of them.  Who knows, maybe some of the geocaching skills will transfer on to me.  I know I know! But a man can dream!


On my way to making my 50th find I placed my first hide.  I just filled out the submission form.  So check back and I'll update this post when it's approved.  It's nothing fancy.  Just a quick P&G (park & grab).  But I thought the location was interesting.

In the next few months I plan to place many more caches.  As a matter of fact, I'm currently planning a series of caches.  So stay tuned to my blog posts with the geocaching label.


My first hide has now been published.  It's called 'Telemarketing' because there is a phone booth (a rarity these days) with all sorts of advertising stickers all over the doors.  Sadly it only has 1 find so far.  Around here once the FTF frenzy has cooled off people take their time to grab a new hide.  I think the D1/T1 rating puts people off too.  I might bump the difficulty up to a 1.5.


How To Convert A Muggle

Those who follow me know that I started caching by following the posts my buddy Dave made about caching with his family.

As I've been getting more and more into the game, sport and obsession known as Geocaching (shout out to HeadHardHat) I've been telling all my co-workers about it.

Bit by bit one of my coworkers has been asking more and more questions about it. He was thinking his boys would like it.

Last week we popped out on lunch to grab a cache. Despite coming up with a DNF he was hooked. In fact, he went back later that night with his son and DID find it. Despite being sick, after signing the log he turned to his dad and dripping with anticipation asked "Are there any more?"


In fact, even his wife was saying "Pick me up after work so we can grab the one just around the corner". I even had him signing up for a Premium Membership the same day he logged his 2nd find.

So far we've gone on a second lunch time cache run. But the scary part for me is that I think very soon he's going to surpass me in finds.

I can hardly wait until my daughter gets older and we will be caching all the time.


PUNK'D - Work Edition

So today my unit had to go to another work site for a meeting about a specific file. Afterwards, we had a second informal meeting with the local unit, who belong to the same department as my unit.

Part way through the meeting someone popped into the room to let us know about some brownies & ice cream cake in the lunch room that were free for the taking. Myself and couple others heeded the invitation and each grabbed a couple brownies and a slice of cake.  After the meeting broke we then went to Boston Pizza because it was now lunch time and after lunch we all went back to our respective locations.

When I got back to the office I went to hang up my coat. But I decided to check the pockets first to make sure I didn’t forget anything later. When I reached into my right pocket I felt something a little heavy and wrapped in paper towel.

“Weird” I thought, “ I don’t remember putting any paper into my pocket”. I pull it out to look at it and I see that something is wrapped inside. I unroll it to find what at first glimpse looks like a piece of turd!  But I quickly realized it’s just a bunch of brownies (note the chunks of walnut) mushed together and molded into that shape of one.

After a few minutes of whodunnit discussions, a couple accusations and insane laughter I finally found out who the pranksters were and gave them a well deserved kudos on a prank well played.


The Urban Cache

So far I've been doing mostly urban caches, which means mostly micros & nanos.  There are the usual suspects: light pole skirts and traffic sign magnetics.  I like the ones that are a little more inventive.

I also recently signed up for a premium membership.  The idea was to make planning caches along a roadtrip easier.  But I also get to sign up for email notifications of newly hid caches.  Mainly because I'm eager to get a FTF (First To Find) under my belt.

I was online this morning making a bookmark list for an upcoming day trip when I noticed this cache. "Hmm" I thought, "I don't remember seeing a cache in that parking lot before".

But it wasn't until I was on a completely fruitless cache run on my lunch break that I saw the email notification of a new cache. Woo hoo, I can get my first FTF. So I open the Geocaching.com app on my iPhone and load the cache. DOH! It's already been found.

But I had some banking to do after work so I swung by and figured I'd give it a shot. I got out of my car and saw a guy walking around patting everywhere and holding a GPSr in his hand. Wooohoo, my first bump in with a fellow geocacher in the wild.

We fumbled around for a few minutes before Big Zee made the find but was kind enough to offer me first to sign. We traded stories for a lil while before we each made our way home after an afterwork cache.