The ABCs of Geocaching

April 26, 2011

The California ABC Challenge is located in Orange County, California.  When I noticed it, I had a fair start on the 26 required caches–A through Z–but picking up some of the less common letters did take some work.  Once I had all the caches, I tried to find the actual cache, but came up empty.  It was trickier to find than I thought.

It was several months before I was in the area of the cache again.  This time, I had a few extra hints about the location of the cache, so it was a fairly quick find.

I’m in Utah for the finalization of the adoption of our granddaughter, Emerson.  I noticed another ABC Challenge–An Alphabet Soup Challenge for Utah.  It has the same requirements–to find caches with initial letters in their names from A through Z.  There is a macro attached to help determine if the challenge is completed.  The macro only sorts Utah-based caches.  When I ran it, I learned that I was only missing an X-cache.  While any set of caches can be used, I was surprised that I almost qualified with Utah-only caches.

I picked up An Alphabet Soup Challenge for Utah on a very windy afternoon today.  The find was my 303rd find in Utah.  I’ll keep my eyes out for a Utah cache that begins with X so I’ll have a Utah-only ABC streak.


The Well-Travelled Cacher (bthomas) Challenge L.A. GC2KN8Z

April 23, 2011

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I’ve been geocaching for almost 10 years.  Geocaching has taken me to some very nice places, both near and far.  I think that is one of the things that I most enjoy about geocaching–going to places that I would otherwise never see.

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Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park

When The Well-Travelled Cacher (bthomas) Challenge L.A. GC2KN8Z was publishing in December, I was intrigued.  It requires you to find a cache is each 5-mile band from your home coordinates out to 500 miles.  I had 90 of the required 100 caches.  Today, I picked up the final 10 band while on a trip to Utah.

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The closest cache to my home is just a couple hundred feet from home.  The farthest cache that I have found is in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3093 miles away.  The northernmost find is outside Denali National Park and my southernmost find is on the end of a volcano in Costa Rica.  I’ve found caches in 3 countries–the US, Canada, and Costa Rica–and in 26 states.  While I’ve completed the necessary finds for this cache, I would certainly like to be a more well-traveled cacher.  I’d love to have a find in all 50 states and more countries.

Geocaching is a great adventure.

Here is a list of the 100 bands, how many finds I have in each band, and a representative cache code for that band’s find:
Distance band Total Finds Example
0 – 5 620 GC2TA8Y
5 – 10 769 GC2QXBY
10 – 15 836 GC2QDTC
15 – 20 439 GC2J75G
20 – 25 986 GC2RGZH
25 – 30 681 GC2E0Z3
30 – 35 527 GC2PF98
35 – 40 235 GC2DCKE
40 – 45 150 GC270WW
45 – 50 61 GC1TNNB
50 – 55 36 GC2K3A9
55 – 60 61 GC2GJA1
60 – 65 18 GC23CQX
65 – 70 28 GC1ZK4R
70 – 75 3 GCZ0XP
75 – 80 15 GC19KB2
80 – 85 22 GC2GCGX
85 – 90 78 GC2D0BB
90 – 95 27 GC2D0B0
95 – 100 38 GC22Z0E
100 – 105 27 GC1NA53
105 – 110 28 GC2EQD0
110 – 115 14 GC27Q6V
115 – 120 22 GC23196
120 – 125 8 GC1QT5W
125 – 130 14 GC11VTM
130 – 135 21 GC1NHPK
135 – 140 21 GC2EKF9
140 – 145 34 GC292ZN
145 – 150 25 GC2C41V
150 – 155 18 GC13JXP
155 – 160 9 GC24P3Q
160 – 165 21 GC1N8YK
165 – 170 9 GC1N8YR
170 – 175 13 GC240JA
175 – 180 4 GC15RKH
180 – 185 14 GC24RFW
185 – 190 16 GC24RP6
190 – 195 1 GCPXFV
195 – 200 1 GCH97A
200 – 205 3 GCWNHR
205 – 210 1 GCQ4JH
210 – 215 3 GCRPC3
215 – 220 1 GCH500
220 – 225 1 GCD509
225 – 230 1 GCT693
230 – 235 5 GCXBJD
235 – 240 4 GC1M023
240 – 245 10 GCW39W
245 – 250 5 GC10KJA
250 – 255 4 GCWWMC
255 – 260 2 GC1NAMQ
260 – 265 2 GC8B48
265 – 270 1 GC1PXBY
270 – 275 4 GC12B96
275 – 280 3 GC1K3HW
280 – 285 4 GC1KXHP
285 – 290 6 GC1KR0G
290 – 295 30 GC1M50M
295 – 300 17 GCEB11
300 – 305 1 GCHYA9
305 – 310 6 GCN56N
310 – 315 22 GC1TEN7
315 – 320 17 GC1JVNV
320 – 325 17 GC1E83E
325 – 330 4 GCNBCC
330 – 335 4 GC1BBDR
335 – 340 2 GC185D8
340 – 345 5 GC1C8KH
345 – 350 7 GC212V7
350 – 355 2 GCTANZ
355 – 360 1 GCJY2V
360 – 365 2 GCZYT6
365 – 370 3 GC119QN
370 – 375 2 GC19238
375 – 380 6 GC1G8P6
380 – 385 1 GC188RN
385 – 390 1 GCHX5X
390 – 395 2 GCHVPG
395 – 400 1 GC17JQB
400 – 405 1 GC9680
405 – 410 1 GC6598
410 – 415 1 GC1PZBQ
415 – 420 2 GC186DN
420 – 425 1 GCQTP8
425 – 430 4 GC12JWT
430 – 435 5 GC1YFQM
435 – 440 1 GC18BDE
440 – 445 1 GC19PWR
445 – 450 2 GC18GWZ
450 – 455 1 GCB2F9
455 – 460 1 GC1GK7Z
460 – 465 1 GC1MV4W
465 – 470 1 GC1PMG9
470 – 475 2 GC1J7EE
475 – 480 1 GCX0MD
480 – 485 1 GC15FCD
485 – 490 1 GC19X2Y
490 – 495 1 GC2D899
495 – 500 3 GC1W08F


Rocky Johnson

April 16, 2011

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This morning, I joined 7 others on a trip up Johnson Motorway, then down Rocky Peak Road.  The temperatures were predicted to be in the 90’s, so I was a little apprehensive about spending the day walking through a bunch of overheated rocks.  However, the weather cooperated, at least for most of the trip, and we had a great hike.

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I did an out-and-back hike of the Johnson Motorway last month.  The story is here.  I DNFed a few caches, but today would be a different story–when you are hiking the people that placed the caches, it’s a “No DNF” guarrantee.  Bart and Mike also placed a few new caches along the way and I don’t have to go back now to find the new ones.

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We did see some critters along the way.  Here Mike is holding a friendly gopher snake.  We also found a couple of very small horned toads–about the size of a quarter.  As Larry and I were walking south on Rocky Peak Road, we heard a rattlesnake buzz, then saw a critter run across the road.  It had a body like a weasel and a face like a badger.  I’ll need to figure out what it was.

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We walked for a while, but we had no idea that we had arrived at Easter Island.  Don spotted this head among the rocks.  The trip up the hill was a bit different today than it was 3 weeks ago.  Almost all the water is now gone.  Trout, the geocaching dog, wouldn’t have anywhere to wade today.

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The photo above is of Rocky Peak.  Bart, Larry and Mike went all the way to the top.  I’ve been there, so I didn’t feel the need today to climb to the top in the noon heat.

The photo below is proof that the made it to the top.

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We stopped at GC217 Rocky Peak.  It was the second cache that I found–almost 10 years ago–the the original log book is still in the cache.  We were able to find my log.  It’s pretty cool that that cache still has the original log after all these years.  It was a great day of geocaching hiking.  While I enjoy the quiet of solo hiking, it’s also good to get out with some nice friends for a hike, too.P1020059

Total mileage for me was 7.56 miles; those who went to the top of Rocky Peak clocked close to 9 miles.  The hike took 6 hours; half of that was stopped time.  Total ascent and descent was 5350 feet.  There are currently 36 active caches along the route that we took today.


Summit to Summit

April 14, 2011

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After a dentist appointment in Santa Monica, I decided to come home to Simi Valley via PCH and Topanga Canyon.  It was a nice day for a hike so I decided somewhat at the last minute to go for a geocaching adventure along the Summit to Summit Motorway.  I’d never hiked this area, so that was an added bonus.

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011111 was the first stop of the morning.  It was a fairly quick find and set the pattern for most of the finds today.  #2 was Gone to the dogs.  After looking where it was supposed to be, I quickly found it where it doesn’t belong.  Catalina View Two and Catalina View were also quickly in the found column; however, no Catalina Island today.  Too much haze and fog.  You wouldn’t even know the ocean was out there today.

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Don’s Rock ‘n Roll is a simple, straight forward hide that took me too long to locate.  I was on the wrong side of a tree that was blocking my view of GZ.  Once I moved around a bit, it wasn’t a problem.  Ramble On and Side Tracked finished off the caches along the Motorway.  I noticed that there are several caches in the drainage to the east, so off I went.

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I didn’t quite understand the meaning of Don’s I’m Gonna Crawl until I got close to the cache.  I thought it might have something to do with crawling up a steep trail.  The title actually refers to the easily method to approach the cache through all the tree limbs.  As I neared the cache, I saw an empty match container, without a lid.  The log was nearby.  I’m claiming the FTF because the two that found it were clearly non geocachers.  Who knows what brought them to GZ.

After I’m Gonna Crawl, I bushwhacked my way back to the trail and took it down the hill to a creek crossing.  After that, I couldn’t locate anything that looked like a trail, so I went cross country to Beeware.  This cache hasn’t been visited successfully in over a year, so I didn’t have much hope on locating it.  After trying to make my way carefully around and through some very sharp thistles, I was lucky enough to stop right next to the cache.  It was a lucky find because it is an cammoed tube and was on the ground almost completely covered by oak leaves.

My next goal was to find the trail.  I headed up the slope toward the ridge line and found it without too much trouble.

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I walked right by Partridge Family because I was busy looking at the wildflowers and a hawk that was looking for his lunch.  Fortunately, I didn’t have to back track too far for the find.  I did find Bunny Hop in bad shape.  The lid was off and the cache was full of water.  I can’t understand why it is so hard for some people to make sure caches are secure before leaving them.

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It was a great morning hike.  No DNFs, too.  And a FTF to boot.   It took 2.5 hours to do the 2.9 mile hike–somewhat slower than my normal geocaching speed.  There was a little more than a 1000-ft elevation gain and loss.  Some of the “up” was a 45 degree slope.  I recommend this hike.  I had a good time.



Happy Birthday Caching

April 6, 2011

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I decided to celebrate my birthday with a short hike along a trail on the east side of Tapo Canyon.  Several months ago, a new trail head was opened and soon geocaches appeared along the trail.

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The wildflowers are starting to appear.  And the foxtails are also maturing.  It was a good time for the hike.  The foxtails are still soft and aren’t loading my socks and shoes yet.
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The caches along the road were, with one exception, all quick finds.  I couldn’t locate Groovin’ in the Grove.  It was replaced 3 days ago, but I still wasn’t able to locate it.
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As OLdweeb would say, “Now time for a rant.”  I wasn’t too fond of “Foo” are you?.  It’s placed on a steep hillside, with only a cross country route available for the approach.  While I don’t mind cross country hiking, I don’t like caches placed on steep hillsides.  When I place a cache, I assume that it will be visited 200 times.  With that assumption, I decide if the area I chose for the cache can handle the traffic.  “Foo” are you? doesn’t pass the test.  We need to be better about how we impact the environment with our cache placement.

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Today was a great day for the hike.  Cool, a little overcast–just right for hiking up the hill.

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I hiked in from Tapo Canyon.  It’s a great walk.  When I got to the top of the ridge, I realized that I’ve hiked here from the east.

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Below is the track of the hike.  For some reason, the final cache, Above the flat, doesn’t show on the map.  The out-and-back track was 3.16 miles and took me just short of 2 hours.  7 finds, 1 DNF.