Thursday, September 30, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 7 - September 20th-26th

Monday: Day 43 - Going back to correct a DNF. Success!!

Kris: A little bit of a swampy walk off the trail but nothing horrible. Surprised we didn't find it the first time, must have been shoved in a little too far last time we were here. Lots of those sticky bushes to dodge on the walk in and out and the mosquitos are bad!  Mark: Recently we DNF'd this cache while we were doing the Golden Valley History cache. Not one of my favorite types of caches to begin with.  The mosquitos were vicious and distracting all at the same time. We originally spent about 10-15 minutes looking for this one before calling it quits. This afternoon, we approached from the other side of the "bridge" and I had the cache in hand in under a minute. Sometime the environment can be distracting enough to cause a DNF.

Tuesday: Day 44 - 1st time we spent 30 minutes without finding it, 2nd time we found it in less than 5 minutes.

Kris: Another one I couldn't figure out how we didn't see it the first time.  Very busy stairwell with lots of metal so our minds both went to look for something magnetic.  Problem here is you can get to GZ and not know which level to look on.  Mark: Looks like we are starting the week by cleaning up a few DNF's. This cache was one of the puzzles originally included in the Cup of Joe puzzles edition where they provided the answers to about 40-50 puzzles. That CoJ event was over two years ago and to this day you will often hear cachers talking about it and asking if you have the solutions packet. I have held onto my packet knowing that eventually I would go back and grab all of the remaining available caches. This was our second attempt, the first time we spent more than 30 minutes looking and it was after dark, which may have been a factor, but this time in the daylight I walked right up and grabbed it almost immediately.

Wednesday: Day 45 - Grabbing a quick cache at lunchtime, trying to beat the dark clouds on the horizon

Kris: Fairly simple grab once we got positioned in the right parking lot.  Luckily there weren't too many people outside on their lunch break or it may have been a bit more challenging to get to the cache and not look suspicious.  Mark: Running errands and grabbing a cache has become a common occurrence since we started the 365 challenge. We know there was a forecast for a lot of rain this afternoon/evening (which turns out was an understatement, this was the day that all of the flooding rains fell on southern Minnesota) so we decided to get our cache find out of the way before it started raining.  But as you can see the clouds were on the horizon.

Thursday: Day 46 - A Red Herring! No. A Yellow Herring. No. A Yellow Duck???

Kris:  Love this one!  Not only did we fall for the cute trick left by the cache hider but the actual hide is one of my favorites so once I was re-directed I got it right away.  Pulled up to GZ and we had to choose between a couple medium sized trees and a lamppost.  Where would you look first?  Mark: Now this was fun and one of those occasion when finding a cache leads you to something completely unrelated but makes you smile. Pulled up to the cache coordinate and I quickly had a container in my hand, but to my surprise it was not that easy. The cache hider had placed a red herring in the OBVIOUS beacon and it simply stated "You didn't really think we'd place the cache in a lamp post did you? This is not the the cache, please try again, thanks for visiting..." I even took a picture of the note and container intending that to be our picture for the day but after finding the real cache, about 20 feet away we saw a much more appropriate picture.  Because our #Geocache365 is more about our experiences while finding a cache every day, who can resist a giant inflatable rubber duck?

Friday: Day 47 - One of these things is not like the other...

Kris: Ah, another one of my favorites.  An easy grab for me as this type of hide sticks out to me.  One of my first finds was of this type and I thought it was the most creative thing ever!  Beautiful little spot with the creek flowing through and not too much traffic driving by.  Mark: Our first attempt at a cache for today was a lot of fun but unfortunately the cache itself was missing so we had to fall back and find another cache nearby to go look for. We pulled up and were looking for about a minute when Kris said found it, and she was surprised that I had missed it, and so was I as this is one of my favorite types of caches and based on GZ I should have known to be looking for it. It is funny how much a cache like this stands out after you find it but if you don't know it is there you would never see it even though it is right out in the open.

Saturday: Day 48 - When worlds collide. Trail running meets geocaching. Birkie Trail Run 2010

Kris: A gorgeous place for geocaching!  A quick, quiet walk down the ski trail and a few feet off into the brush.   Pretty typical forest hide since this is an area where I don't think many people get off the trail. Mark: After finishing the Birkie Trail Half Marathon we drove back to the start line to find our cache for the day. How appropriate that our cache was right near the starting line and we actually ran within 30 feet of the cache when the race started. A beautiful day and the colors were amazing as you can see in the pic. 

Sunday: Day 49 - Shameless Plug :) "Skol Vikings, Let's win this game"

Kris:  Figured a good downtown cache would be good for us today.  Picked one quite a ways out from the stadium so muggle traffic wasn't too heavy.  GPS wasn't locking us in to one spot but knowing the size of the container it narrowed us down to just a couple of obvious beacons. Mark: Yes, I know that was a shameless plug, but they did win (Kris: barely!). Kris and I have been parking in her work parking lot and then walking about 1 1/2 miles to the dome for the game, which of course gives us an opportunity to look for a cache on our way. We had to spend quite a bit of time looking for this one as there was not many places to hide a cache at GZ and it eventually required a hand search of every nook and cranny and then I ran my fingers over it and it popped of out it hiding spot and fell to the ground. When I put it back I was shocked that I did not see it at all before finding it. Off to the game!! Go Vikes!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 6 - September 13th-19th

Mark: This past week was highlighted by Geocoinfest 2010 Mega Event on Sunday and the other events associated with during the weekend.  Kris: I won't lie, I spent the whole week looking forward to Geocoinfest! (Nerd stamp for me :-P)

Monday: Day 36 - Our Journey to find the cache
Mark: Another Monday evening driving out to Waconia, this time bringing Journey with us. We saw this cache along the river and drove a little bit out of the way but still got to the Chiropractor on time.  Kris:  Just into the trees on a muggle-filled trail.  One we like to run on actually.  Not a hard find, just had to dodge the mosquitos and help Journey down the slope.  Then it was a brisk walk back to the car and some quick driving to get to my appointment on time!

Tuesday: Day 37 - Tuesday Night Lights

Mark: Drove to Dred Scott field in Bloomington to watch Kris' niece's football game.  Kris:  We figured we would have to wait until the game ended in order to grab the cache.  The game was over (Lily played awesome!) and most of the parking lot cleared out so we wandered back to this little building and took a seat on the bench.  Made the find without looking too suspicious.  Gotta love the "shoe tying" trick ;)

Wednesday: Day 38 - Sometimes you have to find them in between the rain drops and still run into another cacher

Mark: As we were debating about what cache to find for the day a new cache was published not to far away while it was raining and getting dark. Kris:  We can't resist a good dash to try for a FTF.  Fortunately it wasn't raining too hard when we parked.  Unfortunately we were parked on the wrong side of the pond so we had to leap the creek and saw a bright yellow jacket wandering in the woods.  Sparkfry was already at GZ.  It was getting dark but luckily Mark made the find but blindly sticking his hands into crevaces in the trees (not really my thing in the dark).  We ended up STF with Sparkyfry as someone else already signed FTF.  Gotta be quick around here!

Thursday: Day 39 - Not your typical cache and certainly not Tupperware in a Log

Mark: We had an errand to run down in Bloomington during lunch time and along the way I found this unusual cache for us to find.  Kris:  Wow now this is one where you are kind of uncomfortable no matter how many times you check "yes it really does say placed with permission!"  This one almost bordered on a multi or puzzle cache since it actually took figuring out a bit of trivia and then going to two locations in the building to find.  After doing the trivia, you end up with a 5 digit number and when you go to the Suite that is listed, the "cache" is pretty obvious.  Very fun and clever.  Might be a bit weird though when the office at that suite is actually open for business!  But I'm sure they all know what's going on and get a good kick out of it :)

Friday: Day 40 - Potluck, S'Mores and a random TB Frog

Mark: The GCF S'Mores event was in Crosby Park and we took the opportunity to get in our run before attending. The event was not our planned 365 cache for the day but due to really poor quality pictures taken in the dark at a cache we resorted back to a picture we took earlier in the evening at the event.  Kris:  Days are getting much too short on us in terms of daylight!   This ended up being a huge event with over 250 people in attendance and some super cool travel items to discover.   This big dude was my favorite and cool enough to be today's 365 picture.

Saturday: Day 41 - Trolley? What Trolley? Oh, I get it now. It helps if I actually read the entire description

Mark: Part of the GCF Minneapolis cache run, this cache was in a fairly remote part of Edina, we never new this was back here.   Kris:  I can't even begin to tell you how much I wish I had my running shoes on.  What a fantastic trail that we never would have discovered had it not been for geocaching!!  And this tree at GZ was beyond huge.  Wonder how old it actually is?

Sunday: Day 42 - MEGA Event!! Geocoinfest 2010 - Volunteering, Geocoin Poker, Pathtags and Geocoins! So Much Fun!!

Mark: The Mega Event was at the Holiday Inn near the airport and there was so much to do through out the day. What a great event!  Kris: Today was go, go, go!  We had to start the day with a 12 mile run and then off to the Geocoinfest event for all day fun!  First we volunteered at the Silent Auction table which was a blast since we got to chat with so many cachers as they browsed the table.   We scanned the vendors that were there and spent the afternoon chatting and pathtag trading.   We ended the day by playing in the Geocoin Texas Hold'em tournament.  I had no idea what I was doing but we both hung in there about half way through.  We stuck around to see the winner and made our way home, exhausted from a long, exciting weekend :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Geocoinfest 2010

Kris: This past weekend was go, go, go, go, go!  The Twin Cities had their very own super awesome nerd fest at Geocoinfest 2010.  There were events to attend Friday night through Sunday night.  So here's how it went for us....

Friday night - "Let's Make S'Mores!" event

We needed to get in a 3 mile run today so we decided to head to the event and run along the river trail through the woods in St. Paul.  Unfortunately we didn't remember to bring the GPS along on that run because our turn around point was within feet of one of the cache run caches.  We got back and filled our faces with potluck type food and a 20oz bottle of Mt. Dew.  Mark: After our run we were a bit warm and was still in our running gear during dinner. Afterwards we changed into some warm clothing so we could go caching. It was funny later in the evening when MnMizzou saw us and commented that we had put some clothes on. Kris: We had some time before the door prize drawings so we took off and meet up with our cacher friends Sharknose Bunnies and Trista74.  Of course it got super dark and with about 10 minutes to get back to the picnic area we all decide to trudge up a terrain 3 to pick up one more cache.  With like 2 minutes to get back, we made the find and started the trek back. 

Sharknose signing the log in the dark
Hope I didn't seem totally unsocial as I was power walking to make it back.  Never fails if I'm not there....I'll miss winning something!  (Which I didn't by the way but they had a ton of great prizes!).  We hung around to chat for a while longer, made a few s'mores and event traded a few pathtags before we headed out for the night. Mark: During the S'mores event another cache apporced us and asked if we had any of our Coffee Love pathtags with us, it turned out to be Mayberryman, who we ran into at a cache in Iowa back in April on our way to MOGA. It was really cool to talk with him and trade pathtags.

Saturday...Cup of Joe, Cache Runs and the Meet and Greet.
It was early up on Saturday to get to the Caribou at the MOA for the Cup of Joe.  There were so many cachers here and we got to chat with some folks from Iowa and Nebraska.   Also again got to trade a few pathtags :) Mark: At the event we finally got to meet Tank Hounds, who we have have found her pathtags in cache when we have been traveling on a couple of our longer outstate road trips. We also both one something during the prize drawings at the end of the event. Kris got a Cup of Joe geocoin and I won a trackable Patch.
Cup of Joe Mall of America - Saturday AM

At 10am we all took off to pick up caches for the cache runs.  We had to get a minimum of 4 caches from the cache sets designed for the LRT, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

We opted for the Light Rail first.   It was a bit crowded as there were a lot of people heading down town for the Twins Game (yawn!!!) but we got about half the caches on the route.  Due to time constraints we decided to get the rest of the LRT caches a different day. Mark: Which will make for a another fun afternoon, we can start at the new Twin Stadium (yawn!!!) and pick up the remainin LRT caches from the north.

 No idea what these are but they were at the 2nd stop along the light rail.  Made for cool pictures.

Next up we went for the Minneapolis caches and picked up some Jamba Juice for lunch.   I was so starving I was getting faint!!  We managed to find two really great trails that we want to investigate for trail running while picking up caches in Edina.  The one back to this one REALLY made me wish I had my run shoes with me!  We got back to the cache to find this enormous old tree! Mark: During the Minneapolis cache run we picked up 4 pathtags in the caches taht we found. Kris was hungry before our first Minneapolis cache and I kept promising that we were on our way to Jamba but out route took us litterly right by two caches, within 50 feet of one cache so WE HAD TO STOP, it would have been silly not too.

Mark showing his climbing skilz at Trolley?"

Then it was back up to the house to feed the kitties and let the pups out 2 P before we rounded out the day by picking up the St. Paul caches.   We were running late to get to the Meet and Greet so we found 3 along the river trail.

Cache in the rocks in St. Paul

(And by the way, not sure if you can tell from this pic but we are wearing our new trackable visors.  We had the idea to have custom visors made with the travel bug symbol on the front and a trackable number with our geocaching handles on the side.  Every one thought they were a really cool idea :)

Our last St. Paul hide was by this group of Snoopy character statues.  I couldn't help myself in this pic.  C'mon...he's holding a GPS!! Mark: And the cache was not even hidden at the statue with the GPS, it was hidden on one of the other charaters.

Me and Charlie GPSin' in St. Paul

The evening finished with dinner and door prizes at the Holiday Inn. Mark: Kris is forgetting to mention that she also one something at this event as well. They were drawing names in one of the conferance rooms and called Kris', she was in the Bar at the time and I ran to go get her as they were counting down from 20 if your were not ther to claim your prize. Kris slowly got up and I had to yell for her to run as quickly as she could. She got to the room as they were chanting 3, 2.... Close one. She won a pathtag.

Sunday - Geocoinfest!
Our morning needed to start with a 12 mile run so it was up early again.  We got in our run with the group MN Running Wild which worked out great and we met a few new running friends.   Then it was a quick stop at the Lifetime Fitness to shower and off to the main event!   Mark and I volunteered working the Silent Auction which was a ton of fun.   We got to small chat with so many cachers from all over the US. Mark: While we were working at the silent auction, I learned which coins were Mystery coins. For those who might not know, there are cachers who have geocoins made up so they can leave them anonymously in caches and events, even mailing them secretly to other cachers/coin collectors. All weekend long cachers were finding geocoins that had been left in various places during all the events. Unfortunalty we did not find any, but several of our friends did find coins. Kris did get a couple of geocoins that I secretly bid on for her during the auction.

There were a number of major geocaching vendors there selling some really cool shiny objects :)  And unfortunately we didn't win any door prizes but we got to do a mass trade of trackables that I currently had in my possession and again trade a few more pathtags.

The evening we decided to buy in to the Texas Hold'em game where the winner got a full set of non-trackable poker chip geocoins and got to split the pot of 144 unactivated geocoins with 2nd and 3rd place.  I held my own for about the first hour or so. I wasn't the first man down but didn't make it real long. Mark: Buy in was 3 unactivated coins per person, I had to buy a grab bag of coins from a cacher who was willing to save me the cost of shipping and brought them with them to Geocoinfest. During poker I was doing fairly well to start out and I did last a bit longer then Kris. We started with 6 tables and I made it to the final 3 tables. I went all in and Anne the Geocaching lacky decided to call my bluff. Thats was OK, becuase earier in the afternoon when Kris and I meet her gave us one of the 2010 Lacky coins.

This is what I look like when I have NO clue what I'm doing.

The evening ended with watching the final rounds of the Texas Hold'em game right around 8pm.   I was SO tired but it was such an exciting weekend of being a total nerd.  Just like I like it ;) Mark: Kris was gettting tired, a little bored and she was really hungry but I wanted to make sure that we stuck around to the end becuase traditionally that winner gives each player one of the poker chip geocoins that were used to play with at the final table. So we each walked away from the Poker event with two poker geocoins, one from our swag bag for just playing and one from the winner. We also got another pathtag in the swag bag so not  a bad evening!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 5 - September 6th-12th

Mark: This week saw two milestone caches, one for each of us, a few last minute cache finds in the dark and  and a day trip to Manakto for a very fun event.

Monday: Day 29 - Kris' 500th Cache!!

Kris: We were losing daylight since we decided to wait until after my niece's birthday party.  The GPS had us wandering in the woods.  It was pointing deep into the brush between two paved paths in a park.  Mark: Milestones, weather it is you 100th, 1000th or even 5000th cache you always try to make it something unique. We knew that another milestone cache was coming up for Kris and we thought about trying to make Geocoinfest her 500th find but after counting the the number of days until the event and the fact that we still have to find at least one cache day we realized that was not going to work out. So after spending the after noon celebrating Lilly's birthday we found a nearby cache that looked like it might have a coin in it and hopefully that would do for a milestone cache. Unfortunately no coin, we will make sure Kris's next major milestone is something cool.

Tuesday: Day  30 - Sometimes you have to find and sign them in the dark.

Kris: Days are getting shorter and we seem to be night caching more than I would like.  Definitely adds an element of difficulty!  Luckily this one pointed us to what I'd call an obvious beacon on a fence by the running/biking trail.  Mark: So this evening we were interview by our videoographers for our wedding video and it was at the Caribou Coffee where Kris and I met and it was a fun evening causing quite the disruption at Caribou. Unfortunately by the time we were done it was dark, oh and by the way, when did it start getting dark so early again? Anyways, we quickly checked our iPhones looking for a quick cache that might not be to difficult to find in the dark. We lucked out, there was one not to far away and it was common fence post cap style of cache that we managed to find after about 30 seconds at GZ. This cache does make me wonder what it is going to be like this winter when it is dark when you go to work and dark when you come home.

Wednesday: Day 31 - This is how this evening went; Flash, Dash & Cache.

Kris: Again...a cache after dark!  But considering the GPS was pointing us right to a spot with three pine trees, we knew what to look for.  Loved the container on this one!  Didn't love feeling like a deer in the headlights while signing the log :-P Mark: "Flash", so we were notified that a local running store was asking for members of our running club to participate in a photo shoot in the store, pretending to be customers. It turned out to be kinda of fun, but our real hope was that we would win the $100 gift card that were giving out as incentive and as a way to say Thank you for helping. "Dash" was our 4 mile run with some of our ALARC club membesr right after the photo shoot. And then "Cache" was finding our 365 cache for the day, again in the dark. Another standard cache type but it was very easy, practclly a park and Grab, the picture was taken from the drives seat of the car. Headlight really make finding a cache in the dark much easier.

Thursday: Day 32 - The things you find while Geocaching and this cache is a Letterbox.

Kris:  This one was a letterbox, placed where a traditional cache was recently archived.  Learned something new about archiving caches.  I guess if you archive a cache, you can reserve the location to potentially place another one so someone else doesn't "steal" your spot.  Mark: This was fun. We actually missed the publication and a possible FTF of a brand new letterbox less then a mile fromour house because we did not have our notifications set for the Letterbox types of cache, that was quickly remedied. We did decide that it would make a good 365 since we are trying to include all types of caches. This is actually the third cache that has been on this old abandoned car. Over time a cache my go missing or for some other reason the cache owner may decide to archive instead of replacing and then a new cache can be placed in the same location. According to another one of our caching friends, there have been 4 caches total at this car.

Friday: Day 33 - Special equipment needed? Nope! Then definitely not a Terrain 5.

Kris: I was intrigued by this one since it was marked a terrain of 5 but looking at the satellite map, it was just a ditch area with some trees.   Terrain 5 is supposed to mean "special equipment needed".  when we got there, I realized what they must have meant by the high rating.  Mark: We saw this one pop up on our notification of newly published caches and it got our attention because it was listed as a Terrain 5, which by Geocacing definitions, requires special equipment to retrieve the cache. After looking at the map and satellite image we were stumped as to why it rated a Terrain 5, so we decided to go investigate. When we got to GZ, we ran into TJ of TJ&JJ, he had been looking for a few minutes and quickly pointed why this was named Futon. After a minute or so of looking around a tree at GZ Kris spotted the cache and quickly climbed the tree. Defiantly not a Terrain 5, more like a 3.5.

Saturday: Day 34 - I found my 1200th cache today during the OTAK 2010 event. Thanks Mankato!

Kris:  We LOVE cache run events.   A great opportunity to go caching in a new area and meet new people :)  Mark: We spent the day in Mankato as part of the OTAK 2010 event and had a great time. For a first time event they did really well. Kris and I found all of the available 29 event caches both the temps and permanents. This cache turned out to be our 4th permanent find (12th total) of the day and at the end of the day we figured out it was also my 1200th find.

Sunday: Day 35 - Hard to tell in this picture but there are tons of muggles in the park on a beautiful day.

Kris: Playgrounds and city parks always pose a problem in the months of nice weather as there tend to be many muggles about.  Luckily this one lead us to the far corner of the park and away from the action.  Mark: Not every day can be a caching adventure like our trip to Mankato, some days you have to stay home and get a few things done around the house. The #Geocache365 project still does give us an excuse to get out of the house and still find at least one cache on what turned out to be a beautiful day. This was actually our second attempt after running to Target to pick up a few things for the house, the first park had muggles right on top of where the cache was so we switched to plan B. It is really hard to tell in this picture but this park is crawling with muggles, either playing softball, having a group get together picnic. Fortunately for us, this corner of the park was relatively muggle free and we were able to grab the cache with out attracting any attention.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Otak 2010 GeoFest - Bike, Hike, & Crawl

Kris: Yesterday we drove down to Mankato for a geocaching event that sounded interesting. "Otak 2010 GeoFest - Bike, Hike, & Crawl - GC2A15F" With the words "bike and hike" in the get our attention!  We had to get up at 6am to make it down there in time so after a big mug of coffee we pulled into Mankato. 

It was a beautiful day and we brought along the mountain bikes and our run shoes, not really knowing what was in store for the cache run portion of the day.  Once we got the coordinates for the 30 cache run caches (15 new perm / 15 temp) we were on our way through town at 9am. 

After the first few finds, we realized that the diff/terr ratings weren't exactly what we were expecting.  Quite a few were rated higher in terrain than they should have been.  Most were no worse than a 2 / 2.5 although I'll give the one up in the tree a 3-ish and the climb down into the rocks along the river a 3 as well.

Mark: There were actually two very impressive well done caches. "The Doctor" and "You can park here" Kris made a great find with "The Doctor" and we might have been stumped had we not gotten a clue from the cache hidder of "You can park here" As soon as I got to ground zero the clue made perfect sense and I walked right up to it. This one was also a very cute cache but I never understood the name "Foul Ball"

The middle set of caches were all along the river trail so we took down the mountain bikes and that saved us a LOT of time.  It was a lot of fun getting to stretch the bike legs a bit while caching (well....except for the one cache that had incorrect coordinates and us along with another cacher ended up inside private property at the water treatment facility.  Seriously!  Strike 2 for us in two weeks when it comes to tresspassing!) Mark: The wind was also a bit of an issue going south on the trail along the river, but it was not to bad. During our ride along the river I found my 1200th cache.

We also got to ride past the Gay Pride Festival that was going on at a river park.   Saw a seriously funny bumper sticker...

Mark: Here are few other pictures we took at the varius caches we found.

Can you see the cache container in the last picture? The Star behind the Liberty Place marble sign.

The cache run was from 9am-3pm and luckily we finished up around 2:00 so we had time to get in our daily run before meeting up for dinner and door prizes at 4:30pm.   Luckily along our run up the river we went past one cache location where we got a chance to help out one cacher with his two boys that made the same mistake we did in making the find. Mark: During the run we passed 5 of the cache locations and saw cachers at about 3 of them. It was fun to be the "muggle" and watch how the geocacher reacted.  We also picked up a few other caches in a nearby park. After our run but before dinner.

At dinner, we both won some cool door prizes.  Between the two of us we got two unactivated TB tags, a $5 Panera Gift Card, a travel mug with cache swag in it and some custom caching labels. Mark: We ended up being the only ones that found all of the event caches so one of the TB tags was the prize for find the most caches. We also learned that (and I say this with no disrespect) Mankato area is very new to the geocaching scene.  Most everyone at the event has been caching for a year or less and out of everyone there, Mark had the most total cache finds by at least 300.  Mark: I am never the cacher with the most finds at an event. Here in the cities there are so many people that have 1000, 3000, a few even with 5000!   AND (get this Twin Cities cachers.....) if a cache gets published after dark, FTF usually is around 6am the next morning.   I wish we had that kind of time to get FTF!!!!  For those of you outside the twin cities area, I don't care if the cache is published at 2am, you have about 20 minutes to get there or you will not be FTF.   Hounds are crazy fast around here.   But I will say that sometimes does make the chase for FTF kinda fun :)

I mean no hard feelings to Mankato.  It's actually the opposite.  It's quite exciting to see a new area really embracing the geocaching community and I really do hope they hold this event again next year and I also hope we see some of the Mankato cachers up for GeoCoin Fest and/or other large events.

PS - and if you are wondering what "OTAK" is for in the event name as I's a local thing.  Take "ManKATO" and make Kato backwards.  "Otak" I think they said is the name of the Mankato High School yearbook I guess.

Mark: On the way home we could not help being distracted by shiny objects and we stopped at 3 more caches hoping to find a few geocoins, and we got lucky at 2 of the 3 with each picking up a coin. The second stop was this wayside rest outside of Jordon but the cache took us back in the woods to the edge of a beautiful creek. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera or phone so no picture.

So the cache count for the day is 35 caches (20 regular caches and 15 Temporary event caches). I scanned our copy of the log sheet from the OTAK event.

Next Up is Geocoinfest 2010 this coming weekend. Activities all weekend long.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Southeastern MN caching day trip

Kris: Last Sunday was what we dedicated as our FREE day as we haven't had an entire day to do whatever we wanted to in a long time.  So of course....we slept in and took off driving south to go geocaching all day.  Our intention was to drive STRAIGHT (Mark: Straight if I would have taken 52 and not 35W, adding at least 45 minutes to our drive time) down to the two state parks we wanted to pick up for the day and then spend the rest of the day caching our way home.  But about 3/4 of the way down there we spotted this really cute little road with an old bridge and stream running through it.  (shiny object!!) So we turned around and spent a few minutes exploring and taking pictures.

The first park we got to was John A Latsch and it's a super small park.  We got the Safari multi in probably less than 2 minutes and then we were after the other cache in the park that supposedly had a coin in it.  But walking past this sign, I was wondering what we were in for.....

591 old wooden stairs later, we were at the top of this climb with very tired legs but had a great view over the river.  Another couple came up and took our picture for us.   She said "kiss him!" I did ;)

The cache was a short hike past the viewing spot but easy to find as it was called "Timberrrr!" and was a regular.   Not sure how great a muggle would feel accidentally stumbling across this ammo can in the woods.
Explosive is maybe a bit scary......

Once we finished up here we got a few quick caches and got distracted by a few that hadn't been found in a long time.   The first one was a multi that took Mark's poor Ford Focus onto roads built for a Jeep.   

When picking up the final stage way up in this remote area, sure enough a muggle comes by on a 4-wheeler.  There we are probably looking all suspicous and he asks "you two seen any other people around up in here?  We've had troubles with people setting fires"   Then (it gets better...)  The guy mentions some cool caves just up the road.  Not really pointing at the road on the left or the right, we decide to see if they are up the road on the left (wrong!!!)  As the road narrows and becomes increasingly hard to navigate much less turn around I notice we pass a "Private Property, No Trespassing" sign.   Having no where to turn around we keep going up (and I keep waiting to hear a shotgun) find a place to turn around by this house and make our way back down.   Sure enough, we meet up with this old truck with two older gentlemen and a dog.   We stop as we were passing each other and he gives an interesting grin...."Whatcha doin' up here?"  Sigh....I figured geocaching was a bad answer so we went with playing dumb, didn't see the sign, someone said something about caves and we couldn't find a place for our little city car to turn around.  Great!!  I'm waiting to be summoned to court for either starting forest fires or trespassing.

Once that fun was over, we noticed another cache with a relatively high difficulty rating that also hadn't been found in awhile and had a coin in it. Mark: We had juts gotten done finding a graveyard cache, one of Kris' favoties when we noticed this other high difficulty cache and were debating about trying to grab it or not when Kris mentioned that most likely the coin was still in the cache so I turned the car around and we headed to where the description talked about parking, As we drove to the parking spot we got to within .1 miles of the cache, remember that as I continue to tell this story. So we park and head up the trail, which turned out to be a ATV trail, kind of rough in a few places but plenty wide. (The picture below gives you an idea of what the trail was like) So we started our hike and it was not to long before we were passed by a family out on their ATV's, we let them go by and continued on our way. We walked for quite a ways and during that time I kept asking how far, .25 miles, then it was .3 miles and everytime I asked, Kris kept telling me I don't want to know. As we were approcing a final bend, hopefully back twords the cache we were passed by a second group on ATV's this time there was about 8 or so, OK this is their trail after all. So we get to the bend in the trail and finally we start heading towards the cache, as it turns out we ended more then a half mile from the cache before we actulley started getting closer. Eventually we got to GZ and made the find VERY quickly, not to hard considering it was an ammo can leaned up aginst a tree trunk. We still had to be stealthy as the ATV'ers were still up here at the lookout at the end of the trail. Unfortunally as we opend the cache and investigated we saw that the coin was missing, the coin sleeve (with the tracking #) was still in the cache and there was a entry in the log dated with todays date, "found while peeing, this is my first geocache." One of the ATV'ers found the cache stole the coin and signed the log. Sigh..... All that way and the coin was gone, that was the main reason why we decided to try for this cache, and it had not been found for months prior to this day. We were so close, remeber me mentioning being .1 miles from the cache. Since then I have checked on and no one else had logged a find or logged the coin, so even though they signed the cache and replaced it, it was muggled.

Weird you can't really tell from this picture if we are looking up or down hill :)
We were definitely getting tired by this point but had to pick up Frontenac State Park so we scooted over there pretty quickly, got our passport stamp, safari cache and then headed out for a nice quick 2.5ish mile trail run to pick up the Hiking Club word.   Very pretty park with some steep terrain on the trails

Kris heading up a long a-- hill
All in all we ended up getting a little TOO distracted by caches that took a long time so we didn't get a high number of finds this day but it was quite the adventure.  3 multis, 4 traditionals, 2 earthcaches and 1 virtual.

Next adventure (tomorrow) we are heading down to Otak 2010 GeoFest - Bike, Hike, & Crawl in Mankato.  Bringing the mountain bikes along for the caching part and then hopefully will have time for a nice run as well. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

#Geocache365: Week 4 - August 30th - September 5th

Mark: Week 4 found us still working on finding the stages of Golden Valley History and then on Sunday we headed out for a 1 day geocaching road trip to grab a couple more State Park Safari caches.  Kris:  It ended up more of a hiking adventure than a road trip :)

Monday: Day 22 - Mosquitos were so bad they almost carried off Truffle.

Mark: Out in Waconia again, this time with Truffle and before Kris' chiro appointment we decided to grab our cache of the day.  Kris:  Yikes the mosquitos were vicious!  It was a short walk into the woods followed by a quick signature and carrying little Truffle briskly back OUT of the woods.

Tuesday: Day 23 - Woof, Woof, Woof.

Mark: This was a quick grab on our way out to a Fajita cruise on Lake Minnetonka.  Kris: Cute little park with this pretty walk through area.  The cache had a super cute name and very fitting for the item it was stuck to :)

Wednesday: Day 24 - Shhhhhhh.... People sleeping.

Mark: This cache was a direct result of one of visiting one of the stages for Golden Valley History cache. Great example of a quick fun multi-cache.  Kris:  Bleh!! I never do like cemetery caches but luckily this multi didn't actually make you go in the cemetery.  You had to use information from within the cemetery but could stay on the outside of the fence.

Thursday: Day 25 - Coffee and a Cache, and yes Kris is throwing her gangster signs for 25.

Mark: After stopping for coffee in the morning we decided to get our cache of the day out of the way early.  Kris:  OK walking closer to GZ it was obvious that it had to somehow be ON this bridge but the GPS was jumping all over the place within 20ft of either end of the bridge.  By reading some of the prior logs, we were able to narrow our search to a particular feature on the bridge to make the find.  One muggle did come by as Mark was under the bridge so he sat like a silent troll while I politely said "good morning" and made it look like I was just hanging out enjoying my morning coffee ;)  Oh, and this was our Day 25 find, hence the gangsta signs.

Friday: Day 26 - Found it as the light was fading fast.

Mark: This was supposed to be a quick find on the way to the store, but by the picture you can see we were running out of light. Can you see Kris in the pic?  Kris:  This is a little less accessible in the summer since there is a lot of tall brush and potentially hidden poison ivy (I'm a little paranoid...) but we found a sort of path in to near the cache location.  There were a few muggles on the trail so I tried to hide as best I could ;)

Saturday: Day 27 - 13 Stages later we found "someones" stash.

Mark: After almost two weeks of visiting the various stages and figuring out the final location we finally made the find.  A very long multi but also very fun!  Kris: This was a fun multi for history buffs since it made you find a lot of historical places around Golden Valley that you would otherwise drive right by.  The final stage was obviously "found" by a critter who packed the cache location full of their winter stash.  Yes folks, we did put it all back before we left.

Sunday: Day 28 - 591 steps, good grief! At least we made the find!

Mark: One of our stops during our Labor Day weekend State Park Safari challenge road trip. The trip to and from the cache is what made it our cache of the day.  Kris:  Holy flip that was one hell of a climb!  I suppose when the sign at the bottom says "difficult, one hour, 450 elevation" we should have had a pretty good idea of what we were getting into.  Cache we were after is called "Timberrr!" so we knew what we were looking for.  A long climb and short hike brought us right to the big beacon lining the path.

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