Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Novi Civic Center GC4VAXF

TaGeez and I had time to fill this New Year's Eve. We had several hours between leaving work early and attending a party. We decided to complete the onsite puzzle at the Novi Civic Center. I've never seen most of this art before. Brutally cold but beautiful!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Vanity Ballroom

I spent the morning grabbing caches in Detroit. Weirdest thing... One of my stops was a still-unfound cache, 3 weeks after publication! As I was searching, Team Rumble arrived, and we shared first-to-find! Then, 17 minutes later, another Cacher arrived (with the CO) and grabbed second-to-find! What are the odds that an unfound cache would have a rush 3 weeks after publication?!?

Then, as I was in the area, I stopped to grab the puzzle final for the Vanity Ballroom GC45W7G. The cache page contains some fabulous photos of it's heyday. So sad to see it in such disrepair.

As I was leaving, a pair of Urban Explorers arrived to take pictures of the interior. I'll have to search the Internet to see if they post their work.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

T'was The Cache Before Christmas

There was a great Christmas show on Podcacher this week – I particularly enjoyed the geocaching poems and Christmas carols.  My favorite was Washknight’s T’was The Cache Before Christmas…. poem found on his blog, Geocaching Blind. It’s a keeper!

Merry Christmas, my friends!  I already have my cache planned for tomorrow – keeping the streak alive just a little longer!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Size Doesn't Matter

I have one of these micro ammo cans, but I never imagined anyone would actually hide one. I found this at today's cache site. Four months later it hasn't been poached - woot!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Geocaching 101: Winter Caching in Michigan

I belong to the Southeast Michigan Geocaching Group on Facebook, and the question was asked, “How do we cache in winter?”  I knew that the Podcacher show had a recent show called “Caching through the snow”, but they spent most of it interviewing an Alaskan cacher out in -25˚F  weather.  So, putting my thinking cap on, this is what I came up with for Michigan (or comparable) winter caching.

Note: As I don’t want this to become a “do as I say and not as I do” blog, I really won’t be discussing dressing for the weather as I’m as bad as a 7-year old.  I’ll leave that to the experts.  These are just suggestions in addition to normal winter preparations.


·        Ziploc your phone: Let’s face it… caching with your smartphone is becoming the norm.  Protect that investment.  You can buy fancy weather pouches, but Ziplocs work fine for me.  I can still type on my iPhone – it just gets tricky if I want to take pictures. Also keep a spare in your bag in case going in and out of a warm car causes condensation.
·        Batteries! Cold weather will drain your battery faster.  Be aware of battery levels in your phone because you don’t want to get so caught up in caching you let it run down and don’t have it in an emergency situation.  Also, I have heard that Lithium batteries (only batteries I use in my GPSr units) last longer in inclement weather than regular alkalines.
·        Walking Sticks or long branches: These are good to test the firmness of the terrain before you (see Locations warning) and to knock heavy snow off pine branches (nothing worse than getting snow down the back of your neck and into your thermals).
      Keep a GO bag and an emergency kit in the car: It should contain spare clothes, a bag for wet clothes & towels.
·        Toe- and hand- warmers: My sister bought me my first warmers last year.  I toted them around for several months before I finally used them at the Plymouth Ice Festival.  Oh, man!  They are awesome!  I’ve already stocked up for this year.
·        Warning – Gloves with ‘Tech Fingers’: I’m not saying all of them have this problem, but I bought several pairs last year so I could “log as I cache”.  They are typically not very thick (needed to wear fingerless loves over them), but the fingertips with the “tech pads” would get particularly cold very fast and start stinging.  I had to stop using them.
·        Pens: Gels work well in this weather (cold weather, wet logs). If using another pen, warm it in your breast pocket while on way to GZ. Or, if you are wearing snug long sleeves or thermals, tuck it up into the sleeve to warm up the ink.

Locations (besides the obvious lamp posts and guard rails):

·        Metroparks: I LOVE caching the Huron Metroparks in winter!  They are typically larger containers along well-maintained paths.  And, let’s face it.. if you are lucky, you will have an audience.  Nothing cooler than looking up from a logbook to see deer or fox quietly looking back.  I love spotting animal tracks while out in the woods.
·        For safety, use Google Earth: Use GE to spot rivers (in parks) and drains/culverts/overflow ponds (in cities).  That snow can be concealing dangers.
·        Do not walk across unfamiliar “flat fields”: That flat field could be a concealed pond.  I was with TaGeez during a night run last year.  We slid down the side of an embankment to grab a FTF at dusk.  I started to walk across the “field” in a direct line, but TaGeez directed me along the edge and higher ground.  I passed by the same spot during the spring only to discover there was a deep pond there.  The heavy snow weighted down the cattails and phragmites, hiding the danger.
·        Night Caching is awesome!  I LOVE night caching in winter!  The crunch of snow echoes in the winter quiet!  The brush is dormant so reflectors are more visible.  Muggles and mosquitoes are scarce.  LOVE IT!


·        No straight lines in nature: Ok, it’s a cliché but true.  Whether it’s on the ground or up in a tree, look for snow resting on flat or straight surfaces.
·        Use your head AND your feet: When I get close to the GZ, I start scuffing my feet along in case the cache is located at the base of a tree, under rocks or a woodpile, etc.  I’ve located the final of a very difficult puzzle/Multi that way (it was hidden in fall, snow hit, and I kicked it up). Just yesterday, I found a flat cache container hidden under a regular rock buried in 6” of snow.
·        Attibutes: Unless you are desparate for a CaD, avoid caches that aren’t “winter friendly”.  This is useful unless it’s BSW hiding a “Happy New Year” cache.
·        Snow camo: After replacing the cache, use a branch to cover your tracks or add extra footprints to camo the true trail.
·        Know your hider: Caching locally in the winter can make the difference.  If you’ve found enough of a certain hider’s caches, you will know what type of container they like, their preferred hide locations, their understanding of the difficulty/terrain rating.

This is just a quick list for now. Hope this helps.  Please supply any additional tips in the Comments below and, if we get enough, I will create a followup posting.

Happy Winter Caching!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's Here!

My free 2014 Huron Metroparks pass arrived in today's mail. Can't wait for MGA2014!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Did Not Find (DNF)

Ok, for the uninitiated, a DNF log is created on a cache when a cacher Did Not Find it.

To date, I have 99 DNF logs.  Many, I have since returned to make the find (I like the challenge they bring), but I don’t log every cache I do not find.  Why?  Because sometimes I assume it’s me.  If I’m having a bad day, raging headache, everyone else has found the cache, it’s raining hard and I can’t see through the trees….. if I think the cache is most likely there and I didn’t give it a ‘fair go’, I won’t log it as a DNF.  I may log it as “Write Note” to flag me to come back to it.  Why not a DNF log?  Because I don’t want to stigmatize the cache for the next finder just because I didn’t look properly.  If you are on a numbers run or visiting the area and you see a recent DNF on a cache, you may skip it.

Lately, though, I’ve seen a disturbing (to me) trend around here.  I’m seeing DNF logs on caches where the cacher DID NOT LOOK.  “Pulled up to the area and there were muggles sitting on a nearby picnic table”, “Didn’t stop because the traffic was heavy”, “Cache is up the slope and I am in work dress shoes”, “Raining too hard to get out of the car”.  These aren’t Did Not Finds because they didn’t even try!

Just my 2 cents.

SE MIGO Meet + Dragon + Prize Geocoins

Had a great time at last night’s monthly SE MIGO Meet at Panera.  Caching Fire (TB5MKYT) made his grand appearance on the event scene.  I think it was a hoot!...er.. I mean a hit!

While at the meet (with everyone “discovering” my dragon), I ran into DarrylW4.  I mentioned earlier that I won a geo-prize in one of the GeoGearHead’s drawings.  He handed it to me.  Woot!  I won a 2011 DarrylW4/Firefly geocoin and a Cache-A-Maniacs geocoin!  Awesome!  I already have a DarrylW4/Firefly geocoin (with a silver border) so I’m going to give this gold-bordered one to TaGeez for his collection (I “earned” another DarrylW4/Firefly geocoin about a year ago at the Belle Isle event, and it’s in my sister’s collection).

All in all, a good event and the last one for me before Christmas.  I wish all my geo-friends an awesome holiday season!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Michigan Craft Brewery: Meet Me At.... GC1D935

In Michigan, we hide caches near breweries, too! This one was hidden in a Mercedes Benz Fire Truck in a Ypsilanti parking lot. The find was fun, but the brewery was an awful and expensive experience. At least they had Faygo Root Beer!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


By completing the Michigan Geocaching Adventure, I was entered into a drawing for a free 2014 Metropark pass! Woot! And I won! That is a wonderful reward - our parks are gorgeous!

I've been so lucky these last few months! All due to my love of geocaching.

October - Won family passes to the Detroit Zoo after completing the zoo caches.

November - Won a geo-prize pack after sharing the GeoGearHeads podcast.

December - Won my Metropark pass after completing the MGA series!

I must be doing something right and am really grateful!

UPDATE: I just found out that my sister, WikidKriket, won one of the five passes, too! Woot! 2014 MGA HERE WE COME!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back in Black GC4MT8W

I thought I’d share my recent geocache log from yesterday’s adventure:

After a harrowing journey nearby that resulted in a DNF, twigs in my hair and leaves in my underwear (don't ask), I trekked out into the wild jungles of Berkley to locate the ever-elusive Tupperware-in-the-woods (preferably the kind with a jaunty lock lid).

Perusing my treasure map to unfound treasure, I spied this beauty in a field of gray and meteors.  Awaking my trusting geo-steed and donning my Circus cap, I tightened my boot spurs and off I went! 

It was a dark and stormy night.  A door slammed.  There was a scream!

But the great white whale wasn't getting the better of me! 

Shaking my time capsule and stirring up fairy dust, I head North (or South, but the really long way).

Sea Monsters!  Yetis on skis!  Nessie sunbathing! The horrors!  Would I ever survive the trials and tribulations to reach this galactic skyscraper?!?

Monkeys.  Yes, monkeys in hats.  I was doomed.

Rounding the corner, I saw the light.  A leg lamp?  It was a major award!  I won it!  I will call it "Frah-jee-lee"!

Sliding off my magic carpet and getting rug burns, I landed on a cloud.... a puffer fish.... a dandelion and tromped my way to my reward.  I signed the log and took a nap.

The end.

Lucky, Lucky Day!

Wow!  Great drive home yesterday.  I love listening (and sending in listener feedback) to Geocaching podcasts.  Some of my local geo-buddies laugh at me each time they hear my name mentioned on a show.  It’s not that it’s “all about me”.  It’s just that I learn so much, and it’s like hanging out with peeps with my same passion.

My favorites are (in no particular order) The Podcache Show (folksy fun out of Britain), GeoSnippits Reboot (Andy can be VERY enthusiastic at times – totally hyped on sugar), GeoGearHeads (all-things geo-tech and the source of my Wallabee addiction), Podcacher (the granddaddy of them all), GeoTalk (monthly Australian fun), and Geocaching Podcast (I like the panel of rotating hosts lately).

As I was driving home last night, GeoGearHeads had their drawing for some geo-prize packs on their 100th episode.  If you blogged, FB’d, tweeted, etc about their show recently you were entered into the drawing, and I was picked!  I’m not sure what I won… I’ll find out in a week, but it was an awesome surprise!  I have been so lucky lately!

And, much to DarrylW4 and my sister’s joy, I did pull off the road before I emailed GGH with my mailing address.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Where the Dead People Live - GC165F

Last month I spoke of visiting Virtual Caches (looks like the San Francisco trip is a bust – bummer).

I love Virtuals – again, they take you to places you may never know existed.  Steve and I visited this really cool forgotten cemetery up in Auburn Hills this weekend.  Except for the immediate neighbors (who obviously take care of the grounds), we geocachers are probably the only people who know it exists!

It’s directly across the street from larger Eastlawn Cemetery.  Except for the wooden fence and tiny gravel path, there’s no indication that it’s anything more than just an empty field.  No sign.  No proud headstones near the road.  But as you step into the cemetery and meander towards the back, odd shapes loom out of the dusk.

I’m sorry some of the pictures are a little darker.  We were running late due to work commitments and dusk settles fast this time of year.  Afterwards, we wandered 10 miles down the road and met some friends for a very interesting night cache called the Haunted Series 1.