Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wandering Around the Village

Yesterday was supposed to be the big trip around Kensington Metroparks with TaGeez. However, he's suffering from a sty in his eye and had to stay home to recuperate. As much as I wanted him to rest & get better, I was still VERY disappointed that our adventure was postponed. It had been such a craptacular week and the only thing getting me through it was the planned trip to the park.

So, I had several options for yesterday. I couldn't go without him as caching in the woods alone is not brilliant. I really wanted to be near water (but we're saving Metro Beach for another day). I also needed a walk and something to test my brain. I elected to do the puzzles at Greenfield Village while the weather was nice.

WadeCaching22 created two puzzles in Dearborn: one involving Greenfield Village and another the Henry Ford Museum. Both involved walking both locations, grabbing answers to questions, and solving the final coordinates.

And, of course, you can't end a trip to the museum without a picture of the Weinermobile!

After rounding up all the clues, I did find both cache containers. Even those were hidden with great thought. Gave point puzzles a Favorite point. I came home sore, sunburnt, and satisfied.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Cemetery Visit: Downer Cemetery

One of the fabulous aspects of southeastern Michigan are the historic cemeteries – especially around Detroit.  Remember: Detroit had a Golden Age and there were people of means building mausoleums with sphinxes guarding the doors.  I am privileged to live near Woodlawn Cemetery at 8 Mile and Woodward.  I’ve spent many fascinating hours, wondering around the obelisks and stained glass and marble.  My family consists of several major history buffs so to see the great Detroit names or the names of the soldiers from the Spanish-American war or the zinc monuments…. Wonderful. 

Did you know that cemeteries were the foundation of the National Park system?  In Amerca’s earlier years, families would travel from cities out to the cemeteries to visit their beloved late relatives.  They would bring picnic lunches and stroll among the headstones along tree-lined rolling paths.  Because of the travel time, they would spend the entire day out there.

So, imagine my joy when I discovered that a majority of Michigan cemeteries contain caches.  Now, for those of you not in the know, don’t worry. There is nothing disrespectful about this.  We don’t hide caches on graves.  We don’t have bands of caching enthusiasts disrupting the solemn Sunday visits.  We only display respect.  In many instances, it’s our group that cleans the neglected cemeteries (CITO) or lift the stones upright.  Our caches tend to be in the wooded areas that line the perimeter.  And, quite often, they are puzzle-related so that you learn a little history or can photograph really neat stones.  In the more rural areas, we are the only visitors….

This is a typical note posted on most SQ (Spirit Quest) caches:

The "SQ" in the Cache Name denotes a Geocaching Spirit Quest. This designation is to distinguish Caches that are placed in Cemeteries or Memorial Gardens and have a more Spiritual Meaning than most Caches that are out in the rest of the World. These may be not be found after dark or by certain Times of Day as well as those hunting them must be more respectful of the surroundings due to the fact that these areas have residents that have passed-on and should be respected, as well as the Natural Landscape that is above Ground. The "SQ" caches were started by cachers in Northwest Ohio and has since spread to many other states as well as Canada.

Last night I was out with Team STD (scrapcat, TaGeez and Da Finns).  One of our stops was the Downer Cemetery, a little gem tucked away in Wayne.  I found the sign fascinating.

I didn’t get a chance to take too many photos as there’s no night caching in Michigan cemeteries, and it was getting late.  But here’s a few. 

Such a quiet oasis off a very busy freeway exit.


Metropark Adventure!

Every year the Huron Clinton Metroparks kick off an annual Michigan Geocaching Adventure. You visit 13 designated metroparks in southeastern Michigan for special geocaches.  Each cache is a sizable lock-n-lock right off maintained trails filled with swag and a special code.  Collect all 13 codes by the deadline to win a path tag and enter a drawing for a free Metropark pass.

I love this series – look forward to it every year because our Metroparks are stunning!  My family tries to visit a park a day so we can grab the MGA  cache plus any other caches nearby.  Each Metropark has some type of learning center for the kids.  One has a wave pool, one an eagle habitat, one with a hawk habitat, one has a beaver habitat, one has a rattlesnake habitat and allows you to walk under the pond!

As a result, we’ve seen some stunning areas we’ve never explored before.

This year we’re a little behind as our schedules didn’t quite coordinate.  On Sunday, late into the afternoon, we visitited Kensington, Huron Meadows and Dexter. 

This year we had an addition to our caching crew – Fiona the Wonder Geopup!

I’m really, really looking forward to next Saturday as we’re exploring the eastern Metroparks.

Happy caching!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Michigan Geocaching Adventure 2013

Team Free Range Lobsters spent the evening working on the MGA caches. We stopped at Kensington, Huron Meadows and Dexter this evening.

This is Kensington, our first stop.

And THIS Is Why We Geocache

Clouds over Kensington

Friday, September 20, 2013

NFC Enabled(-ish!)

DougPeterson published a wonderful new technology cache called NFC POC (GC4MF1Y). It's kind of a multi-cache, with each stage using the NFC technology. Many of us do not have (Android-based) NFC-enabled phones so TheGrundalows offered to do the cache with us, using their phones.

Cool! We met as a group last night and had fun at OCC-Farmington.

Some people may complain that it's not fair to use a technology that's not readily available to everyone, but I think of it like I do Wherigos, Chirps, QR codes and kayak caches... it's a really good excuse to befriend someone who has it! Just another excuse for a flash mob!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm Famous! (OK, not really....)

I was listening to the latest GeoGearHeads Cache-A-Maniacs podcast (GGH 089: Tips from the 2013 Race), and one of the tips mentioned was mine!  Woot!

Do not use silicone adhesives or Krazy Glue to attach magnets in a cache container.  Instead, use Amazing Goop.

Goop remains flexible in any weather (extreme hot or extreme cold) so the magnet doesn't pop out.  We've used it successfully in our Small World figurines (upper left) - they've been out for a year now!  We have also used it with great success in our PBN's (lower left).

My recommendation is to add a dab into the bottom of the cache container, press the magnet or figurine into the glue, and let it set overnight.

Happy caching!


Traverse City Adventure: Winding Down

After the peninsula, there was not much geocaching excitement for the day.  My sister and I each made a grab, had dinner at the Mackinaw Brewing Company, ice cream at Moomers, and then attended a family bonfire.

We awoke the next day to rain and gray skies.  I had hoped to grab a bunch of Virtuals in the area, but my sister and her husband were anxious to get back home. 

Outside our motel

We did make it to Manitou Meanderings 1 (GCJPZN) up in “Fishtown” (Leland, MI).  The funniest part was the auto GPSr kept trying to direct us to “load onto the ferry”, but the virtual was sitting right next to the landing.  We snapped a few pics and headed home.

On the way home it was too rainy and dreary out to cache so I spent the drive bookmarking caches for our next trip up to Traverse City the next year.  It’s our goal to grab Power Island (GC35) – Michigan’s oldest active cache!

Happy caching!


Traverse City Adventure: Old Mission Peninsula

Upon arrival to Traverse City, we realized our room wasn’t available yet.  We decided it was the perfect time to explore Old Mission Peninsula (it was sunny & blue out – weather predictions on Sunday was gray with rain).  I was SO excited as my sister has seen so very little of this Peninsula.

We drove up the coast, past the haunted Bowers Inn (now called The Jolly Pumpkin).  I wrote about the interesting tale for  Further up the coast was the Bohemian Cemetery – fascinating & unique headstones surrounded by rows of trees and overlooking the harbor.  It has quite the atmosphere.  There’s a cache there called the Zombie Cache (GC2DCG3)!

We continued up the coast until we reached the Old Mission Lighthouse.  To my delight, I discovered that this was my sister’s first trip!  So beautiful!

After exploring the lighthouse, we moseyed down the steps and across the sandbar.  As we were walking out to a little sandy jutty, I checked my GPSr for the closes geocache.  What?  200 feet?  Not possible!  Is it?  I vaguely recall there were 2 caches nearby but according to the maps, they were in water.  Surely they were kayak caches, right?

We wondered out on this little stretch of sand to find the very darling I Am the Walrus cache (GC4BCET).  What a fitting environment!  The walrus soaking up the sun on top of the cache container was tucked up against a warm rock on a sandy outcropping!

After celebrating that victory, I checked for the next closest.  528 further north?  Not possible!  As you can see from the Google Earth image on my app, it’s in the middle of the water!!!  Or is it? Can it be? 

As we scrambled down a narrow, sandy path lined by brush and wildflowers, I thought, “Surely we will run out of land soon.  It MUST be in water!”  But it wasn’t.  Northern Rocks Between The Bays (GC42C4H) was a D/T 4.5/3.5 and my sister found it!  Kriket for the find!  I was SO proud of her!  We had to take victory shots!

High off our victory, we trekked back to the shore.  We needed to celebrate.  Cruising to the other side of the peninsula, we stopped at the Old Mission General Store for eclairs and cherry cream sodas!

We drove a little further down the road so I could show Kriket another fabulous site: The Old Mission Inn (established 1869).  As we we eating our treats and watching the wedding at the old church next door, I checked the GPSr one last time.  Can you believe it?  A few hundred feet to the West was another very unique cache: Old Mission Inn and Out (GC14RW0).

I used up a lot of favorite pointson this trip!

Watch for my final posting about this trip.  Happy Caching!


Traverse City Adventure: From Troy to Traverse City

WOWWEE!!!  I had the most awesome time in Traverse City this weekend!  Kriket called and said she had the opportunity to go up to that gorgeous town and did I want to go caching with her?  WOOT!

We left early Saturday morning – it was so amazingly blue and the weather had finally cooled down.  It took awhile to get up there.  Why?  Because there are caches at all the rest stops, and I’m still working on The Big Flush Challenge (GC2QNJD). 

Luckily, Kriket was a good sport because I kept “forgetting to use the facilities” so we had to keep stopping at the next one and the next one…. Along the way we came across a 1 FTF for 12 Months Challenge (qualified) and a fabulous LARGE cache in the woods filled with kid’s coloring books and toys.

Right before we excited the freeway in Grayling, we realized there was a Virtual cache nearby.  Michigan Firefighters Remembered (GCGB72) is in Roscommon and only about a mile off the freeway. 

I’m sure we’ve passed the highway sign many times, but I never noticed it.  We pulled it and it was so quiet after several hours of highway noise.  We spent some time walking around, reflecting, taking pictures. 

Back on the road to Traverse City.  We had a very special stop after Grayling: Geocache 612 (GC36) – Michigan’s 2nd Oldest Geocache!  We were told that you can “practically pull right up to it”!  NOT!  First our car GPSr had us turn down this sandy logging road.  FOUR MILES LATER, we try to turn onto a dirt track only to be stopped by a group of bikers. Lots of them.  But on dirt bikes.  They warned us the trails were filled with riders and gave us two bits of advice (“turn on your headlights” so they could easily see us and “if you run one over, back over them again so they die quickly”).

Our cache was a tenth of a mile away, but we drove past it so we wouldn’t block this “road”.  Just as we turned off, we discovered that this was another trail.  Much smaller and bumpier, but my sister handled the road magnificently!  Finally, finding a place to park, we got out and walked .13 miles to the cache.  VICTORY!  It’s the oldest cache I’ve ever handled! 

We dropped a trackable & some path tags and I grabbed a rubber cat stamp.  Seeing over  a decade worth of names on a log – knowing how many people have preceded us – living the history. Between that and the adventure there – this is what geocaching is all about!

With just a few stops along the way, we finally made it to Traverse City where an even bigger adventure awaited! 

More to come….


Monday, September 16, 2013

The 13th Spider Geocoin

I LOVE geocoins! Just bought this one as a souvenir at LadyB4T's "Friday the 13th & the Deadly Sins of Caching" event GC4M3N7. REALLY fun games, and I even won a raffle prize!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Oh My Aching...

Yesterday was a big day for Team STD (scrapcat, TaGeez and Da Finns). We found 135 caches, including 117 puzzle caches, in about 12 hours! Had an awesome time grabbing the Dr Who puzzles in Grosse Pointe, National Park puzzles in Roseville, and 31Days of August traditionals in Warren.

Now if only my feet would recover... Did I mention our 8-mile hike on Sunday?

Library Caches

Even some of our local libraries have caches! It's a great way to get people in and see what other Geocaching books are available.

We found this one yesterday in St. Clair Shores. Betcha the patrons thought us odd, writing our names in a book (the log).