Epic 14 State Weekend Roadtrip

On Sunday, November 4, a group of Ontario geocachers undertook a 25-hour geocaching adventure and found geocaches in 14 US states in a single day. The cachers were lulu_zulu, gr812nv, and myself, Norshley, from London, and bruce iroquoia from Hamilton.

The trip began early in the morning of Saturday, November 3, with an Ontario cache in Grimsby, followed by a few difficult ones in the Buffalo to Rochester area of New York. Then we visited the highlight of the day, GC39 The Spot, the oldest cache in New York. We continued on and found a few in Syracuse while stopping for lunch, then a quickie in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, and one more in each of Vermont and New Hampshire before settling in for the night. We had found caches in Ontario plus 4 states which covered all nine difficulty and terrain levels, in order to accomplish several challenges in the Hamilton and Detroit areas.

After a brief sleep in a Brattleboro, Vermont, we got up at midnight and commenced our trip. The first cache was GC3QXAC The Circle of Stealth, an easy one just west of the border to New Hampshire. We then travelled across the southern edge of New Hampshire to Nashua, stopping briefly along the way for a webcam cache. Our goal for the second state was GC9E NH #1 – Mines Follies, New Hampshire’s oldest cache, which the CO nashuan had recently serviced and re-enabled so that we could include it on our itinerary. While in New Hampshire, the clock turned back an hour, so it was now only 1:20 a.m.! We continued eastwards to the border of Maine, the third state, and found a great cache in Kittery, GC11D9 Fort McClary Cache, which had 73 favorite points. Then it was back on the highway towards Boston, and our goal was GC74 First Mass, in the Boston suburb of Woburn. We hiked up the small mountain here in the dark and after searching for a half hour finally found this tricky cache, Massachusetts’ oldest, at 4:50 a.m. to claim state number 4.

Southwards now past downtown Boston to Newport, Rhode Island, the dawn greeted us and we stopped for a breakfast break. Newport was a beautiful town, and the sunny skies were gorgeous overGCEC Brenton Point. After logging the oldest cache in state number 5, we paused for a group photo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and I dipped my finger in the cool water. We then crossed the bridge to rejoin the freeway in Connecticut, and headed towards GCE4 Another Brick in the Wall. We met a jogging nun in the woods and then found the oldest cache in Connecticut, state number 6.

Shortly after leaving Connecticut, we crossed into New York and were within about 10 miles from the Bronx. We detoured to the north to avoid the traffic-cluttered city, and crossed the Tappan Zee bridge towards Harriman State Park and GCBF Boston Cache, the third oldest in the state, the 7th of the day. Then we headed south into storm-ravaged New Jersey. Our goal cache was GCC8 gerbiL cacHe in the Ramapo Valley Reservation. Sadly, the park was closed due to flooding and the cache was inaccessible, and so we substituted an easy one nearby, GC1A31Z Deep Fried Rocky Mountain Oysters, for state number 8. We were noticing that even in this northwest corner of New Jersey, over 20 miles from the coast, there were power lines down and power outages, and most of the gas stations were closed or out of gas. We made a strategic decision to not chance running out of fuel in our route through Philadelphia, and took a detour to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to refuel, eat lunch, and find a local geocache. For our 9th state of the day we found GC3PA8H A view of the Stacks.

Next we stopped briefly for a very interesting cache in a southwest suburb of Philadelphia, GCZY69 Psycho Suburban Cache #1: Abandoned Springhouse, but even our 8 searching eyes couldn’t come up with it. So we noted our first DNF of the day. As we resumed our trip southwestwards, dusk made the skies dark, and we needed flashlights once again. We found GC3E76 Dela Where? in, obviously, Delaware, our 10th state of the day. An hour’s drive into Maryland and across the city of Baltimore found us at yet another oldest cache in the state, GC1FD Jusef’s Cache. A steep downhill hike on slippery leaves brought us to this cache, the 11th state accomplished.

The highlight of the day was next, Washington, DC. We found a traditional cache GC3F0DM Stanton and Deliver on our way towards Capitol Hill. Then a brief tour of the Mall and a glimpse of the White House, and two virtuals, GCDE1 Capitol View, and GCEB2 The view of an “Honest Man”, the latter of which was DC’s oldest cache. We considered the District of Columbia a state-equivalent, and counted it our 12th of the day. A short hop over the Potomac River to Arlington, Virginia, brought us to state number 13 and GC29F4B M’s Memorial Day Cache. Then we took a wee spin northwards to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, a beautiful town overlooking the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Our goal cache was GC1H9T3 A house on a hill top, which had 103 favorite points, but we just couldn’t locate it, even with four bright flashlights. So we grabbed an easy one around the corner, GC1WNR6 Haunting Hides “Screamin Jenny” to claim our final cache of the day, and our 14th state, and ended the day at 11:40 p.m.

We stayed over at a cheap motel in Hagerstown, Maryland, and the next morning headed home. We did a bit more caching on the way back, finding a cache in each of WV, MD, and PA within 20 minutes, across the Cumberland gap where Maryland narrows to a few miles across. The Pennsylvania one, GC2BCKX Mason-Dixon Line Marker, was the site of our group photo for the day, posed across the Mason-Dixon Line with our left legs in Maryland and right legs in Pennsylvania. We cruised through Pittsburgh, stopped just inside Ohio for a cache there, GC17PGK Tiny Tots Freeway, and then two oldie western Pennsylvania caches, GCFF Stone Wall Stash and GC184 State Game Lands #109. We found one more quickie cache in New York and then a much-needed supper of chicken wings at the famous Anchor Bar in Buffalo, and a final quickie cache in Fort Erie, Ontario to make it 5 states plus Ontario for our final day.

Our trip was a wild and crazy long weekend, and we were able to find a few challenge caches and qualify for a few more, but the best part of it was that we had a blast! We’re already planning our next trip, 14 more states starting from Kentucky and looping around through the Virginias and the Carolinas, across Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, and ending in southern Indiana. Maybe this winter or spring….

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To be Virtuous or Sinful?

BFL Launch

Avernar hands out BFL Boot Camp launch kits. Photo by: Gregory Pleau

This past weekend saw another BFL Boot Camp, the seventh.  Over 200 geocachers enjoyed some night caching.   When it came time to explore a theme the organizers thought that perhaps the seven sins and seven virtues of geocaching might make for some interesting caches.   This year for the first time there were two series of caches each with their own final.   There were seven sin caches which were slightly harder than the seven virtue caches.   The sins and virtues in this case were all related to geocaching.  You might even say this BFL Boot Camp was educational.

In the event you are unfamiliar with the term BFL it stands for Big FlashLight.   As in previous years you need to bring more than a good flashlight to a BFL Boot Camp.  To start with you need to bring your wits.   The caches in this years’s Boot Camp forced the cacher to think about the cache listing.  Even though there was a cache called Read Thy Cache Listing it is still surprising to see so many logs from the evening that state “we had some trouble so we actually read the cache listing and were soon on our way” or words to that effect.  In addition to your problem solving skills at this year’s Boot Camp  you needed a head lamp of fire tacks, laser for hitting targets, UV for clues (and the Sin clues really popped if you had a 365nm UV light).  One cache incorporated fibre optics another included a home built lamp post and one even required you to use your hearing.   There was also a Wherigo based cache that incorporated many other technologies.

The best way to get a sense of evening is to read the logs from other cachers.  Here is a bookmark list of all the caches from this year’s BFL Boot Camp: Midnight in the Garden.

Participants in the evening’s activities received a bit of a surprise when the Midnight at the Oasis event was published, not surprisingly, at midnight and only lasted for one hour.  Even the event organizers were surprised when they found out about this event, it was not part of the regular planning that went in to the event.

As the launch time neared the cachers who had assembled at the pre-event dinner were getting restless.  The group had swollen slightly after the food was served as other cachers arrived in anticipation of the launch kit release.   In an attempt to distract the group prizes were draw from items donated by sponsors.  The lackey coins donated by Groundspeak were very popular.  The youngest attendees in the audience were lucky enough to leave with a Plush Signal.   The Australis version of the official BFL Boot Camp t-shirts donated by Cache At Night were also a hit.  GPS City donated some swag that added to the overall festivities.  Some of our friends at COG also made an appearance and brought along some coins and travel bugs that were also raffled off.

After reading many of the logs it would appear that this event continues to offer Ontario’s cachers something you don’t see anywhere else.

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More Cooperation Needed

The OGA executive continues to work with land managers on behalf of our members.  Shiloh Schmidt (Treknschmidt) presented to about 28 representatives from trail clubs all over Ontario. Some of the clubs were receptive to geocaching but many were not.   Some clubs do not want any geocaching on their trails at all.  Many of the club representatives asked questions about cachers going off trail and how to handle making a policy when the trail club does not necessarily own the land.   What was clear from this meeting is that geocachers must do a better job of seeking permission for their cache placements.  Respecting the needs of land managers is an important step in ensuring that we can continue to enjoy Ontario’s trails.

There was a general lack of knowledge about geocaching but some clubs had more experience.   One local club has enlisted   veteran cacher to help keep an eye on the trail they manage.  All attendees were made aware of the OGA and were encouraged to contact the executive if they had any questions.

It was learned that some sections of the Bruce trail want to remove all caches while others seemed to be okay with geocaching.  It is clear that the OGA has a great deal of work to do with the Bruce Trail clubs in order to build a more cooperative relationship.  Shiloh pointed out that all parties can work together to help identify problem caches and address those as they arise instead of when a complaint from a landowner comes in.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Nominations Still Open

The mission statement of the OGA is “providing fun, information, education and support to the Ontario geocaching community”. The current executive term is expiring and nominations are being accepted now until January 1st, 2013.

We are looking for individuals that can promote geocaching, educate new cachers and various other organizations about geocaching. If you are that person or you know of someone that would like to represent the OGA in one of the many regions, be sure to put your nomination in before January 1st, 2013. Remember that you must be an association member to be considered for an executive position.

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Webmaster
  • Executive At Large
  • Executive Officer – South Western
  • Executive Officer – Central
  • Executive Officer – Northern
  • Executive Officer – Golden Horseshoe
  • Executive Officer – Eastern

Submit nominations using this form.

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Three Years of Caching as a Group

Have you ever gone out geocaching in a group or do you mostly cache alone/with your family? Many people really enjoy the group atmosphere of finding caches. Group caching is not only fun, but also a great way to meet other geocachers, learn from them, make new friends and probably the most appealing would be the social aspect. Back in August 2009 the Golden Horseshoe Monthly Geocaching Club (GHMGC) was created as a way to bring like minded people together for a day of fun and adventure. Part of the inspiration came from seeing how much fun the Ottawa Geomob had each weekend, so why not do something similar in the Golden Horseshoe area stretching from Niagara to Durham region and beyond.

The first monthly group cache outing for the Golden Horseshoe Monthly Geocaching Club was in October 2009 in Guelph and saw 26 eager geocachers take part, some of which drove more than an hour to join in on the fun. Since that first group cache outing, the group hasn’t missed a month and we just celebrated our 3rd anniversary and already on our 38th consecutive month of group caching on December 1st in Oakville.

Over the past 3 years we have gone to many areas stretching as far west as London, north to Hanover and east to Napanee. In the 3 years, total attendance has been 1262 geocachers finding 1226 geocaches, with 273 different geocachers attending, ranging from 13 up to 60 geocachers coming out in a given month and much more during the group’s annual February sledding event that takes place in Halton Hills. In addition to these monthly group outings, we’ve also worked with Kortright Centre for Conservation to host an annual weekend long event which has reached an attendance of well over 200 people. Members of the group have also placed a series of 12 monthly challenge caches.

There have been many memorable moments over the years including some cache owners who have left welcome notes in their caches for us; thanks 2 Land rovers and KAREBearFamily. Also the many cache owners that have taken their time to ensure their caches were in great shape and also to meet up with us as we found their caches. Big thanks for contributing to the wonderful caching experiences that we have each month. Perhaps one of the most memorable group cache outings was back in December while in the Glen Major area when a group of four young adults who were fairly new to caching joined us later in the day. One could see the excitement in their eyes as they eagerly made trades, took pictures and got excited about each find as if it was their first. This just emphasized the enjoyment and happiness people get from caching and the good times we have as a group.

We’re now in our 4th year of group caching, and each month we look forward to new adventure with the group, making new friends and connecting with old. To find out more and take part in our monthly caching adventures, visit the group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/122400489709. We have a great community of over 330 members.

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Beare Road Park Public Meeting

The City of Toronto is hosting a public meeting where you can learn more about the Beare Road Park Master Plan project, and provide your input on its new Master Plan.  The City of Toronto is inviting you to join them at this second public meeting.

Date:  Thursday, December 6, 2012
Time:  6:30pm  – 8:30pm
Location:  Malvern Community Recreation Centre, Community Room, 30 Sewells Road.

An RSVP is appreciated but not required. If you are able to attend please RSVP by email to Teresa Bosco at tbosco@toronto.ca

For additional details, please see the invitation.

The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please request any additional accommodations necessary when you RSVP.

The City of Toronto is specifically reaching out to geocachers.  Now is a great time to give your input.

This is the official invite for RSVP purposes – Beare Road Park Public Meeting 2 – Invite

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Midnight in the Garden

BFL Boot Camp WalkingWhat two things happen in November that will affect your geocaching experience? The move back to Standard time and BFL Boot Camp 7: Midnight in the Garden.

If you have never heard about BFL Boot Camp it is all night geocaching adventure that goes from 2100h to 0400h. There is a command centre dishing out hot chocolate through the evening. What would an evening of geocching be without caches, 16 caches will be published at the same time as the event.

Before heading out to the BFL Boot Camp you might want to make sure you have a good flashlight and a good headlamp.

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Election for Executive

Nominations open November 1, 2012  for the next Executive Committee of the Ontario Geocaching Assocation.  Nominations will be accepted until January 1, 2013 for the following positions.  Only association members are eligible for nomination. The executives term is two years.

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Webmaster
  • Executive At Large
  • Executive Officer – South Western
  • Executive Officer – Central
  • Executive Officer – Northern
  • Executive Officer – Golden Horseshoe
  • Executive Officer – Eastern

Submit nominations using this form.

 

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Cachers Paying It Forward

With a little effort and a little planning, a regular cache can become a special cache, even if just for one night.   Cacher geob.o.b. was tasked with finding a suitable geocache for a group of Beavers.  She had recently found Return of the Dark Knight by Keck321 and thought this would make a great cache for her group.   The cache is located in a suburban park with easy parking and trail access.

Here is what geob.o.b. wrote in the log:

To Keck321… The 3rd Streetsville Beavers would like to thank you for an amazing evening. 14 Beavers with (I think) many more numbers of parents and scout leaders met at the trailhead as recommended. We all had our flashlights ready, listened to the safety rules, and found our first tack with hollers of “I found it” in no time. Well, then anything that glistened in the rain became a tack after that, which meant our heads were going in many directions. Going through the woods was much better than the trail for all of us – lots of logs to walk over and branches to duck – just like a real bushwhacking experience. And finally we found the end of the tacks. We spent a lot of time looking for the “X” on the ground for the treasure chest, until someone who is smarter than a [fifth grader] decided to look for it higher up. The eyeballs and marbles were the hit of the evening! We all signed your log book and left a scout patch and stickers in the cache. Thank you for our geocache night hike – it was a success.

What made this evening special was the temporary container that Keck321 put out just for the Beavers.  He knew they were coming to visit his cache so he temporarily replaced the container with something larger and filled it with goodies that the Beavers were sure to enjoy.   This small thoughtful change ensured the Beavers were able get the full treasure hunting experience.

 

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Safety Lighting

The longer days of fall are upon us.  Nights will only be getting longer with the introduction of standard time on November 4th.   The upside is that you won’t have to stay up late if you want to try a night cache.  The downside is that you and your furry four legged friends will be harder to see at night.

Illuminated Dog CollarReflective clothing is a great way to increase your visibility at night but it only works if you shine a light on the clothing.  Illuminated safety lights are a great way to prevent your dog from scaring someone on the trails because they didn’t see the dog approach.   An illuminated dog collar is a great safety addition for you, other cachers and your dog.

Another great addition to your visibility arsenal is the ZipLit which will help you keep track of your GPSr or camera at night.   Attach one of these little lights to your gear and you’ll be able to find it if you set it down somewhere.

This has been a sponsored post by Cache At Night.

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