Then and Now

April 28, 2009

cascades

I had a few extra minutes on the way home today so I decided to give The Cascades another try.  When I was there in March, there was plenty of water coming down the cascades.  Today–nothing.  But in March, it was a DNF.  Today, a find.

dsc_65351

I continued on, looking for more caches in the area.  I just drove by a few–roadside caches without nearby legal parking–but did find enough others to make the short detour worth it.

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Phototagging

April 19, 2009

I’ve been playing around with different options what will encode my photos with the coordinates of the location of where they were taken.

So far, the program that I like best is COPIKS Photomapper.  The link to the free, Open Source program is here.

It is very straightforward and simple.  To start, it is best to make sure the GPS and the camera clocks are synchronized.  If they aren’t, the Photomapper program has the ability to coordinate the times later.  Once the clocks show the same time, just go about the business of taking photos, grabbing geocaches, and anything else to have on your to-do list.  When you are done, save your track on the GPS.

To phototag you pictures, you first import the track.  Once it is in the program, a satellite photo of the area is shown, with the track line displayed.  You then import the photos.  The Photomapper program matches the time the photo was taken with the time and location on the GPS track and inputs the coordinates for each photo taken.  You then have the option of writing the coordinates to the photos metafile information.  You can also upload the phototagged photos to Google Earth.

I’ve tried this a couple of time and it works like a charm.


A “Busy,” no, A Varied Day of Caching

April 16, 2009

Unknown CacheOne Busy Day Icon Challenge

The One Busy Day Icon Challenge requires you to find 6 different cache types in one day. By itself, this is a very good challenge. But if you have been geocaching for a while and have found a lot of caches, this challenge has some added difficulty–it’s harder to find 6 different cache types that you haven’t found in an area that you have already cached in. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing this for a while, but yesterday I decided that I should give it a try. Why put it off–it will just get harder.  So today was the day.

Virtual Cache
Martin Luther Chavez
This cache was placed here because it was in the middle of a large area without caches. It was a Virtual that only required a photo of the monument. It is the closest Virtual to my office that I haven’t found–11 miles.

Earthcache
Towsley Canyon Landslides
This was the closest Earthcache that I haven’t found.  It’s just a quick visit to the parking area, a photo, and some observations.

Multi-cache
Simi Valley Town Center Multi #1
A hometown cache that I just haven’t taken the time to do. To find this Multi, you need to visit 12 spots in the mall’s parking lot, collect numbers located on light poles, then plug them into a formula for the coords of the final location. My wife and I did the parking lot work last night and then I visited the final location today for the find.

Letterbox Hybrid
First First Coyote Rd.
The Letterbox cache has been on my Ignore List for a long time. I’m not sure why, but it got on the Ignore List so I haven’t even tried it. The initial GZ is a park with a couple of clues needed to find the final. The actual cache is above a park where I hid a Traditional cache a few years ago.

Unknown Cache
Viva la Cache
This cache required some Internet research to find the necessary info to determine the final location. The cache is hidden near a nice restaurant that we enjoy visiting from time to time.  We did the cache and then did dinner

Traditional Cache

Alameda corridorThis was a quick cache-and-dash that I visited on my way back to work after getting Martin Luther Chavez.
It wasn’t really a “busy” day of caching, but it was nice to get a good variety of caches all on the same day.  Now I just need to find the actual cache.  Hopefully, I will be able to do that tomorrow.

Thanks shell1fish for the interesting challenge.


A Little About Me

April 10, 2009

I found this questionnaire on another geocaching blog and thought it would be fun to complete.

1. What is your name? Craig

2. What is your GC name? GeoCraig

3. What kind of GPSr do you use? Magellan eXplorist 500 and a Triton 2000

4. What is your favorite feature on your GPSr? I’m not sure I have a favorite feature on the eXplorist.  The Triton can load topo maps from National Geographic’s TOPO and can also load self made maps/sat photos.

5. What is your best memory of geocaching? I don’t have a “best” memory, but I do have a lot of good memories of my geocaching adventures.

6. What is the furthest from your house you’ve ever found a cache? GCGCZG You Otter Be Here — 2740 miles.  I thought it would have been on my visit to Denali, but that was only 2404 miles

7. What is the hardest cache you ever found? GC1C4Y4 Spinal Tap It is a challenge cache that requires finding all the cache located along the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.  When the cache was published, I already had 57 of the required caches.  When I completed the challenge, I had 93 of the 96 caches along the trail.  The 3 that I didn’t have weren’t yet required because they were newly published.

8. What is the most amount of caches you’ve completed in one day? 68 on 9/13/2008

9. How did you get started in geocaching? I bought a GPS for my birthday, then Googled GPS and found www.geocaching.com.

10. What is the silliest mistake you’ve made while geocaching? Silliest–leaving the car without fresh batteries.

11. What memorable animals have you encountered on the trail? Several rattlesnakes, I guess

12. What is your favorite earthcache? I have found 30 Earthcaches.  Tufa Towers in Eastern California was a nice cache.  The last one that I found was Nojoqui Falls – Advancing Falls and included an interesting location and a nice walk.

13. When do you geocache most often? (Season? Time of day?) Year-round, lunchtimes, before and after work

14. Who do you usually geocache with? Usually alone.  Sometimes on adventures with my wife.  A few times with some geo-hiking buddies.

15. Have you ever logged a find on one of your own caches? If not, would you? Only one–GCZMBD Los Angeles County Quadrangle Challenge–a challenge cache requiring logging a cache in each of the 81 USGS 7.5 minute topographical map quadrangles that cover Los Angeles County.  Because of the nature of the challenge, I didn’t have a problem with logging this one.

16. What is the most consecutive days you’ve gone caching and had a find? 31–the entire month of December 2008.  I wanted to finish the year with a streak.

17. How do you feel about people who “collect” trackable items? It messes with the game.  And why let something that doesn’t belong to you.

18. Is it all about the numbers for you? I like seeing the number as a marker of my active, but that’s all.  If all the stats stopped, I would still geocache.

19. What have you learned since you started geocaching? I have learned a lot about the geography of southern California.

20. What is the most interesting travel bug or geocoin you have discovered? I found a Monarch butterfly TB that had been released by a girl in northern California and had traveled world.  I was able to return it to her on a visit to northern California by placing it in cache near her home.


Have You Been Getting This Lately?

April 9, 2009

service-unavailable2I wonder how many geocaching addicts are in withdrawal.


German Armchair Cachers

April 8, 2009

Yesterday I was introduced to the concept of German Armchair geocaching.  I have 4 active Virtual geocaches:  Avila Adobe, The Lummis Home, Strathearn Historical Park, and Step On Up, L. A. I’ve tried to have logging requirement that can’t be answered with an Internet search to cut down on false “finds,” but I haven’t been too worried about it.

That changed yesterday.  I got a notification that one of the caches had been “found” by a German geocacher.  I wrote him back, wishing him well and expressing my hope that he enjoyed his visit to southern California.  His response made it clear that he has never been to California.  I then checked his Virtual history and saw “finds” all over the globe on the same day.  I deleted his finds of my caches and notified him why.  He replied with a very nasty e-mail.

I must have been in a bad mood because I contacted the owners of his other virtual “finds.”  One of the other owners told me about the problem with armchair cachers.  He has had one of his caches “found” more than 100 times by non visitors.  He used to police it; now he has given up.

I guess I’m naive and lead a sheltered geocaching life.  I wouldn’t think of logging a find for  a cache that I didn’t actually find.  And I can’t understand why anyone would even bother to post false finds.  What’s the point in inflating numbers.  Why cheat?  Why sell your integrity for something like the number of finds?

I’m not sure how I will handle my future encounters with the armchair cachers.

What do you do when you learn of a false find on your caches?


Santa Barbara County

April 4, 2009

A year ago this weekend, we drove the Figueroa Mountain Loop and discovered the beautiful wildflower blooms along the road.  Click here to see last year’s entry.  We decided to go back today and see how the flowers were doing.  And they were doing great.

It was a great day for an adventure–plenty of blue skies and sunshine.  Our first stop was Old Highway and it was a DNF.  Not the best way to start, but we did enjoy this old country road.  It is the original highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  At the next cache, we fared better.  Flyin’ High has a great view of the area.  You also need to reach high for the cache.

FromGC1MQD2 Flyin High, looking toward GC1MPDJ Old Highway

FromGC1MQD2 Flyin' High, looking toward GC1MPDJ Old Highway

The next stop was Nojoqui Falls.  It is a very pleasant walk from the parking lot to the falls–about one-half mile and not too much of an elevation climb.  Niagra’s Baby Brother is located in the parking lot.  I found it floating in its hiding place. Then it was on to the fall to claim the Earthcache Nojoqui Falls – Advancing Falls.

Along the trail to GCZ5TQ Nojoqui Falls - Advancing Falls

Along the trail to GCZ5TQ Nojoqui Falls - Advancing Falls

The trail is hard-packed dirt and is as wide as a road.  The trail is shaded the entire way by trees towering overhead and bordered by some of the healthiest looking poison oak I have seen in a long time.  It seemed that if it was green and near the ground, it was poison oak.

The Fall

The Fall

Nojoqui Fall is 100 feet high.  The interesting feature that makes this a unique Earthcache is that instead of eroding the cliff like most waterfalls, Nojoqui Fall is depositing rock on the face of the cliff.  Some of the dissolved minerals in the creek’s water stay behind when the water evaporates, much like how stalactites and stalagmites are created.  I would tell you more, but it would give away the Earthcache.  This cache is worth the stop.  We had a great time here.

After the Falls, it was more caching along Alisal Road.  We really love these back country roads.  Most of the trees were covered with lichen.  Country Road had not only lichen, but also poison oak near the cache.

GC1MPFR Country Road

GC1MPFR Country Road

I have yet to meet macgyverandflo, , but judging by some of these caches today, I think one of them much be 14 feet tall.  They have placed a bunch of very nice caches in some very nice areas.  We have fun finding them.

Mossy Trees was next stop.  It was a quick cache and dash.  It’s named for the lichen-covered trees in the area.  A little farther along the road, we DNFed The Alisal.  I found a great place to hide a cache, but it was empty.  We drove into Solvang, made a quick stop at the store for some batteries, and then headed up the mountain.  We pretty much cleared out the caches along this stretch of road last year, so it was mostly driving, not caches.  We DNFed The Troll last year and almost did again today.  After reading a few of the recent logs, I had an idea of where the cache was and made the fast grab.

The concentration of wildflowers is near Poppy’s and Lupin, but the views on the way up are nice, too.

Near the wildflower area, parking is at a premium.  You also need an Adventure Pass, but I didn’t see even one displayed.  Here are some photos of the area.

After a fun time on the mountain, we drove back to the flatlands and did a few more caches in the Los Olivos/Santa Ynez area: Wine/Whine # 48, Wells Fargo, Watusi View, Wine/Whine # 86, and Park and View.

Wells Fargo was a fun, well-crafted cache.  While looking for it, I poke my hand on some fence wire.  I may need a tetanus shot–an added bonus for that cache.  We DNFed Watusi View in September and were about to do it again today.  As I was walking away, I looked right at it and saw a tell-tale sign.  Eureka!  We did see the Watusi cattle.  They were in the adjacent field to the south.  Very strange looking beasts!

After Park and View, it was time to head for home.  We enjoyed the bright green spring greens and the great views of the wildflowers.  We enjoy caching in this area.  We will be back.