Geocaching Idaho and Beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘geocaching

Ringing Rocks Earthcache and Death Cave Cache in Montana

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Had a great weekend with the family.  Ventured beyond Idaho into Montana.  Did an Earthcache called Ringing Rocks.  Jacob reading about Ringing Rocks in Montana Yet another cool place we discovered because of geocaching!Berr atop Ringing Rocks

Montana Earth Science is a site with great information about the Ringing Rocks formation which sits within the Boulder Batholith region in Montana (about 20 miles East of Butte.)  There are only 5 known sites like this in the world. 2 of these are in the United States.  Pennsylvania has the other U.S. site.

Atop Ringing Rocks We had a great weekend caching our way through the trip. Because we did not follow a set route and were often in areas without cell service I found it challenging to do paperless caching on the fly. Probably could have bagged more geocaches if I had covered a big radius and downloaded several pocket queries, but we bagged a half dozen caches and had only one DNF at Death Cave Cache (GC17Y5D).

In regards to the DNF.  Here is one gem of a tip that will save  iphone geocachers  from the pain of a DNF in remote and tough terrain. When you are looking up cache information, ALWAYS, ALWAYS save for offline use as soon as the information downloads. It was very frustrating to lose both cell service, thus access to the hint,  (which we later needed) and gps coords (satellites got knocked out because of the canyon walls.)

This was an amazing area and we had a great adventure in spite of not finding the cache. Considering our kids have NO experience with either free climbing or hiking on scree, they did well with their “by fire” intro to both. Within Death CaveScree trail out of Death Cave

We’ll go back and pick that cache up next time we are in the area!

Happy caching!

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Written by drgnflyz

September 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Geocaching In Pacific Mexico: An Amazing Adventure (and how to make the most of your time!)

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First the adventure!!

Cruising with Princess for spring break.  Made port in Mazatlan, Mexico for 9 hours.  Had a stack of potential geocaches.  The following is my log entry for our first cache-

Lambchop 4 (GC1761J)  Log entry March 25, 2009

Had such a great day BECAUSE of this cache!  Made port for a few hours from a cruise. Took a cab to the drop off area for bird island and deer island. (Shared cab fare with another couple headed the same general direction for about $10 bucks.)

(City bus goes to this area if you want to keep a few extra pesos in your pocket.)  Found a super nice guy on the beach that rents kayaks and has a catamaran.  Paid $15 each for him to sail us over to bird island.  Emigdio Vasquez Tovar (Milton) His business card says Kayaks, Diving, Sailing.  His phone numbers are (669)988-9751 and (669) 101-5263.  Milton noticed that we did not have water and packed us a big bottle!

We stayed on Bird island for 3 hours. Had a blast!  Took tons of pictures of frigate birds, vultures, pipers, pelicans…Not to mention the tide pool activity.  Hermit crabs, sea urchins, fish…  There are also rabbits on the island.

Previous geocachers raised the question of  the ‘ethics’ of visiting this bird sanctuary. I have some experience in wildlife rehabilitation and animal behavior; with a special interest in ornithology, so I am familiar with birds and bird behavior.  Here are a few thoughts for protecting them. Keep a respectful distance from the birds and an eye out for nesting activity.  Take a zoom lens camera for close up shots.  My experience was that the birds were not be threatened by our presence.  We hiked to the top of the island and explored both ends that were accessible by walking on the rocky shore.

Wish we had planned to stay longer, but Milton took care of us. While still on the island he showed us how he nets lobster, and he had fresh oysters and sea roaches waiting for us on our return to the mainland.  We were so hungry that we probably would have paid any price for freshly harvested oysters-but he charged us a fair price.  I am so glad we decide to make this trip.  It will always stand out as a grand adventure!

We were able to bag several more caches while making our way back to the ship.  This is an awesome city for geocaching!

Thanks for the cache-would not have known about this excursion had it not been for you!

This cache needs a larger heavy duty ziplock bag.  The container will need to be replaced at some point.  It is not water tight. Removed 2 small stuffed bears and a   from the cache as they were moldy.  Everything was pretty damp. Dried stuff out as much as possible and replaced plastic baggie. Left geopin and bottle opener.  Took stone.  Left tb’s and coins.

Making The Most of Your Time

We have geocached in Mexico before, and always find these caches  far more exciting than caching in our hometown.  For one thing it’s all new.  It can be challenging to find your way around a city, especially if you do not speak the language.  We try and pick up a few new key phrases each time we visit.  (Usually just enough to get us into trouble!  LOL)

Every city we have visited in Mexico has fantastic public transportation.  Very affordable and easy to navigate.  If we have limited time we sometimes opt to hire a cab for the day.  It is easy to find a driver who speaks english- and this is a good opportunity to pick up more Spanish!!  We have hired a driver for between $50 and $80 dollars.  They always know where good local food is, and are always amused when we explain geocaching.  Even though we speak a bit of spanish, we always travel with printed translations explaining geocaching.  I also take bilingual stash notes/logs for caching abroad.

Here’s one thing I have learned about caching in unknown territory.  Build in extra time.  We have cut it close to missing the ship a couple of times.   The last thing I want is that kind of stress when I am on vacation.  Plan on things taking half again as long as you think they should.

When caching in tourist-y towns we learned to take a backpack with loads of “maintenance supplies.”  Baggies, logs, bilingual stash notes, magnets, duct tape, super glue, micro containers…  Most of the caches placed in tourist areas are left by tourists.  To maintain the integrity of these caches we have to be willing to pitch in help with upkeep.

Planning a Vacation Geocaching Excursion

View all potential caches in the area online well ahead of your trip and look at recent log entries.  This gives you an idea of what particular supplies you might need, and often, saves  you the disappointment of trying to find a cache that has been muggled.  Nothing sucks worse than hiking for a few hours on a time crunch and not being able to find a cache.  I also learned the hard way to take ALL information on the cache with me.  I may not read all the logs ahead of time, but when you are in the field in some far off land- trust me.  Do not go without the clues and logs available in case you need them.

Choose one general direction and plan a ‘route’ to follow.  Two words here.  Google Earth.  The geocaching overlay is fantastic! We always start with the cache that is the farthest away and work our way back (taking into account the timey-wimey bit above.)  In tourist areas most caches will be in tourist-y areas so the ‘route’ business is fairly easy to establish.  We have never had enough time to finish even half of the caches we plan.  That time factor always comes into play.

Will finish this post in a few days with links and pictures.  Hate to leave it unfinished… peace

Thoughts On Geocaching

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Geocaching.   I don’t remember specifically how I discovered geocaching, but it has taken our family by storm.  The sport allows us to keep physically and mentally active on so many levels. We have incorporated geocaching into many elements of our lives.  We are more physically fit for our involvement in geocaching.  On any given day we could spend less than an hour in our urban environment; discovering exciting places we, otherwise, might never have known about.

Saturday morning caching fur elise cache

Satur day morning caching

OR, we can and have, planned an entire vacation around geocaching.

Geocaching in Sayulita, Mexico

Geocaching in Sayulita, Mexico

We recently returned from a cruise through parts of Pacific Mexico, where we spent time exploring beaches, jungles mountains and cities. One day we had a particularly grand adventure- all because someone hid a Tupperware container in some rocks  on an uninhabited island in Mazatlan, Mexico. The only reason I found out about this non-tourist treasure is because I entered the location of our destination on geocaching.com, a free web site.

tidepool on Bird Islanddaronrehidescacheon-birdisland

Rehiding the cache on Bird island

We use computer skills to research caches we want to find, then log our efforts. I like to make my own log and stash notes for the caches that we hide- so I am joining the ranks of the computer literate.   The on line community of geocachers is very social.  I have met fellow cachers from near and far, and renewed relationships with people I have know since I was a kid when we discovered our mutual interest in this multifaceted sport.  In our technology obsessed world, when it is so easy to sit for hours on the computer- geocaching helps me find balance between being physically active and the ‘virtual world’.

Another aspect of geocaching that we did not expect to encounter, is helping our family reduce our footprint on the earth.   One of the hallmarks of geocaching is it’s ‘tread lightly‘ approach when out in the field.  They also advocate ‘Cache In-Trash Out’ as one solution to cleaning up the environment as we interact with it. We never go on a cache hunt without a garbage bag.  We leave each place we visit cleaner than we found it.

Since we have branched out from ‘seeking’ to ‘hiding’ caches, our family now looks at everyday objects and even the daily trash with a new and creative eye.  When we put together a box of materials for our geocaching trips, the kids had a great time going through gently used toys and picking out the best “trinkets” for our geocaching trades.  They are learning to reuse and recycle not only their toys, but other household items as well.

We save pill bottles, coffee cans, and other objects that might otherwise go in the trash and transform them into camouflaged containers for caches we hide. Stickers and samples that come in the mail now help stock our trade box.

Who would have thought that one family activity could touch so many facets of our lives.  From math skills to community pride, my kids are learning positive lessons through geocaching.  They can find their way through  back streets of unfamiliar cities,  and in remote wilderness. Geocaching has brought out the artist,  environmentalist, and athlete in all of us.

So how did geocaching start?  Here’s a great link that explains the history of the sport.  The History of Geocaching

Here is a copy of the ORIGINAL “GPS Stash Hunt” web page. Thanks to Kimbo for the link.

Here is a quick look at how another person incorporated geocaching into his life-

Hope you’ve enjoyed these thoughts- and that you may be inspired to create an adventure for yourself.  Hope your journey is as full of laughter and love as mine has been thus far.  Peace