Monday, March 31, 2014

Maker Madness: We're Not Fooling Around GC4ZGTH

I'm almost hyperventilating in excitement! 

Puzzler26 made several small puzzles for door prizes, Commander Overlord is bringing in several of his field puzzles plus a brand new one, and DougPeterson is prepping for a great Q&A. My sister designed the most fabulous certificates, and TaGeez hid two creative caches for the event. Door prizes for first-timers and a grand prize! Such an amazing group of people!

A Cache of My Own! Elisa - GC51CRW

Oooohhhhh!!!!  How exciting!  I was just told there was a cache in Chesterfield Township named after me! 

Elisa - GC51CRW

My caching buddies (TaGeez and Da Finns of Team STD) have named a few “scrapcat” (like “Scrapcat’s Tantrum”), but this was done by a totally anonymous source.  Since it’s named after me, it must be a big container with a fabulous personality – LOL!

Thank you, Team *Aardvark!  It’s a good excuse for a roadtrip this weekend!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Did You See...

... on YOUR geocaching adventure today?

#geocaching #KeeperOfTheCache

Meads Mill - Forgotten Years Cache Challenge

What an adventure! What teamwork! TaGeez and I had seen the Meads Mill listing quite some time ago, but we’ve never been in the area with time and/or daylight. Working on GSIX’s Forgotten Years Cache Challenges, this one was even more tempting.

Meads Mill - a remnant of the Village of Waterford
This afternoon TaGeez and I found ourselves cruising the Plymouth area, heading towards the Canton Meet. Remembering this nearby and, as it hadn’t been found in almost 11 months, we turned around. The lot was super muddy (but that’s OK – I have new Wellies!) and super icy (what a weird winter!). Flanking from different directions, we approached the GZ.

If there's a tree, he's going to climb it.

TaGeez climbed high and I scouted low. Nothing. We circled the GZ repeatedly. I started scouting logs and reached out to an Angel – still no luck. We could see, according to the CO’s logs, that ‘half of ground zero had collapsed’. Yes, that’s an accurate assessment. Looking up, I could see TaGeez dangling precariously over the edge of his new “stand” reaching into every gap, crevice and hole he could find. I was dangling below, balancing on ice-encased roots dodging downed limbs. 

Resting and checking the GPS again
Ok, time to get methodical. From what I’ve read, the cache shouldn’t be under the foot of snow we were trampling. While TaGeez explored outer limbs and logs, I circled the GZ, scanning, touching, and yanking every inch surface at my eye level. I had a harder time as I crouched under the broken half, but, looking slightly up, I noticed something odd.

Reaching my hand up into the cavity and then pushing forward out of sight, there was a little give. I started working my fingers, inching forward until… is that ice or plastic? Worrying away at the surrounding hole, debris cascading atop my head, I enlarged the hole bit by bit. Ice? Plastic? This was hard as the sheer weight and solidness of the broken GZ meant reaching up and in at a very tough angle – no room to maneuver so the work was very slow. Finally, confirmation! That was plastic IN ICE! The container was iced in place!

TaGeez giving a power shove with his fingertips

I called TaGeez down from above. I had made enough room for him to work his hand in there and, with a powerful shove, he broke the container from the ice block. Peering up in there, we realized that the brutal winter had weighted down the broken half so the hidey-hole was compressed down on top of the cache container and the “hole” was now just a sliver. What to do? The weight of the down trunk was massive! But we found the dang cache and weren’t leaving without our smiley! 

Like a frenzied mad woman, I kept digging into the rotted wood, breaking off clumps of wood and worrying the hole. 1/3 open! 

1/3rd open! This probably took 20 minutes of excavating the hole.
You can see the trunk compressing the container!  

We could see the color of the container! TaGeez retreated to the car to grab a knife (you know… now that I think about it…. why didn’t we grab the tire iron?). Between him cutting the scaly bark pressing into the hole and me scooping out the debris, we could see half the container! The hardest part was the last chunk because ice had seeped into the rotting wood so it was solid as concrete. Between TaGeez’s knife, several broken sticks and my broken nails, we finally cracked that last chunk! With just enough room to barely grab the lid, we jostled the container until we could eek it out of it’s chamber.

We enlarged the hole to replace the container for the next hider
To take this picture, I'm standing under the broken half of the tree
Exhausting! Between scouting and excavating, it took us an hour. As we signed the log, the sun was going down, and it was getting colder. We enlarged the hole some more before replacing the container, and then we camouflaged it for the next finder.

A remnant of Mead's Mill

Afterwards, with tired arms and ice-coated legs, we wondered over to the Mill and enjoyed the beautiful view and peaceful burbling of the waterfall. Unfortunately, the sun was so low at this point that we couldn’t take any decent pictures. 

Mead's Mill

Beautiful but cold

We'll return another day
TaGeez on the few remaining Mill steps
We will be back. How many people pass this daily and miss this experience? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Caching Every Day of the Year... Again! GC41Q5T

I did it! I'm currently on day #757 and qualified for this "park and grab" challenge final in Clarkston!

The terrain was most definitely coded for Summer! You can't tell here, but I'm standing atop a 5" high ice/snow mound to reach that small evergreen behind me. What's on the other side of the snow and tree? A steep, muddy embankment end in a river below. Luckily for me, TaGeez had my back the whole way!

North Oakland Meet & Greet GC4ZBDH

What a fabulous adventure!

TaGeez decided to work on his Extreme Social Butterfly Challenge in March. Should be no problem as he only needed 8 of the scheduled 17 events to qualify. Looking at the calendar, we had decided it was finally time to attend the North Oakland meet to make new friends.

We realized if we drove from Farmington (work) to Clarkston (meet), we would pass multiple challenges and puzzle finals along the way. Between us, we each grabbed 4 challenges, 2 "Where in the World" puzzle finals, an SQ (Multi), and a Meet. In addition, since we were passing by, we stopped for the All Aboard Virtual for TaGeez.

Here are some of my favorite pics from the event!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Waiter, there's an alien in my soup!

 Well, actually, my cache. Had an excellent lunch date with TaGeez and found our cache-a-day 348 ft away! Gorgeous day for a walk!

#geocaching #cache-a-day

Sunday, March 23, 2014


A friend shared this recently:

Forgotten Years Challenge

Gsix5666 is a local cacher, a prolific hider, in Roseville, Michigan.  In the last few months he created a series of wonderful challenges called the 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-Forgotten Years Challenges.
The idea of this cache is to encourage people to visit neglected caches.
Basically, you can only count the caches that have been neglected for 6-months or more. Take the number of days between the last visits and yours.  Add them together to equal 5 years, 10 years, etc.

It's caused quite a flurry of cachers seeking out the "Forgotten", with people crowing victory on the Southeastern Michigan Geocaching Group's FB page.  There's a neat little macro for GSAK to help them out.  I qualified awhile ago, but TaGeez needed a few more.  We had two victories this weekend!

WDC - Phone a Friend GC1C3ZA was 13 months unfound!

and WDC - E-Z Projection GC2DKBY unfound 15 months!

One more find and TaGeez can claim all 6 challenges!  Woot!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Itching for Spring!

It's mid-40's and gorgeous out! TaGeez and I had the itch to cache again. It's been a long, cold Winter.

This morning I was browsing for our cache-a-day when I came across a math puzzle. It's been about 2.5 decades since College calculus, but I solved it!

Spoke to the CO who said the site was probably muddy, and, since we were heading to one of the most affluent malls afterwards, we decided to skip the find for tonight.

But it was so close... A D/T of 4/2.5. Hmmm... Maybe we'll do a little recon. Once there, maybe we'll just park and plan our return visit. Maybe we'll walk a few hundred feet closer. Over snow the consistently of an Icee. Past thorn bushes.., over logs.

Before we knew it, cache in hand and our names on the log. Great fun!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Caching with Android GC4WXGA

Three events in three days! The Android users were attentive listeners while the iPhone users were giggling & socializing in the corner.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Last Day of Winter

Another fun evening with friends. This time at the Last Day of Winter event GC4YRNX at Firehouse Subs in Berkley.

Roseville Spring Meet & Greet

Caching Fire made it to the Spring Meet & Greet. He was able to congratulate Bapman Crew on his 5000th find! Fire was dressed in his new tool belt, promoting my Maker event on April 3rd.

It was a fun event as we met some new cachers (Jenny & the boys). We're attending a lot of events this month as TaGeez is trying to qualify for the Extreme Social Butterfly challenge - 8 events in 1 month. This would have been a lot easier if the two Belle Isle events weren't rescheduled. #Geocaching

Friday, March 14, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Belle Isle and Boblo Boats

I met my Sister for lunch on Saturday.  And, typcial to us, we ended up taking a miniature adventure. Cruising Detroit, we visited landmarks, waymarks and a sad Virtual.

Guess who showed at National Coney?

Belle Isle Aquarium was PACKED!
Trying out a new Hipstamatic lens/film

I'm used to the Koi outside.  Cool!

Mustaches are in!

Lots of pretty new fish since the last time
After leaving Belle Isle, we stopped at the site of the Cinderella Theater in Detroit.  It's an empty lot under snow and melting ice on East Jefferson.  Then, since we were in the area, I took my sister to Lenox Park to see the riverwalk, the bare platforms that once contained the Civil War Missile radars, and the canals weaving their way from the Detroit River into the Connor Creek neighorhood.

On the way to Lenox Park, you have to pass the
Hare Krishna Cultural Center at the Fischer Mansion
Fischer Mansion - no Hare Krishnas in view

Headed down to Ecorse to see the Boblo Boats,
the SS Ste. Claire and the SS Columbia
The SS Ste Claire was featured in the most recent Transformers movie.  The Columbia was the first and oldest excursion boats of its kind.

Sis took this one - heartbreaking

It was interesting... the Belle Isle Aquarium (a ruin undergoing a rebirth) and the Boblo Boats (a childhood memory ruined).

Friday, March 7, 2014

PBN – It’s a Michigan Thing

Paint by number (or painting by numbers) describes kits having a board on which light blue or gray lines indicate areas to paint, each area having a number and a corresponding numbered paint to use. The kits were invented, developed and marketed in 1950 by Max S. Klein, an engineer and owner of the Palmer Paint Company of Detroit, Michigan and Dan Robbins, a commercial artist. [Source: Wikipedia]
The Palmer Paint Company is just up the road – on the way to my sister’s house.  And Michigan Geocachers have a particular affinity towards them. They invented one of our favorite little cache containers: the paint-by-number containers, or PBNs. Their benefits are the caching trifecta: Water-proof, durable, and inexpensive.

With or without magnets. You can use a 1/2" log and they camouflage nicely.

As discussed on the different podcasts, each geographical area of the US has different methods of hiding caches.  To excel in an area, you have to learn the quirks of each region.  Last month, at one of our events, we had cachers from Ontario visiting.  They had never seen a PBN before – didn’t understand it as a hint on the caches.  But they laughed because they are everywhere around Southeastern Michigan!  You can buy a package of 18 for $3-$5. And if you look around sometimes you can find slightly larger versions!

USES: We like to thread wire around the hinge and bend it into a hook.  We will adhere a magnet (preferably a strong ½” magnet with Amazing Goop!) and hide them in signs.  We will also use them to protect logs inside other cache containers.  And they camouflage beautifully using Rust-oleum camouflage spray paint!

There's even a tribute cache!  Visit Thanks for the Invention by TheGrundalows onsite at the Palmer Paint Company.  But don't ask for a hint on what the container is!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Maker Madness: We're Not Foolin' Around! GC4ZGTH

Well, I did it!  I'm hosting a Maker Madness event! I wanted to do something a little different as there are several other MM events in the area.  I thought with so much talent in the area we may want some of our local superstars to display their creativity and share their knowledge - make it a true learning experience.

I must admit that I'm a littler nervous, but everyone seems receptive to it!  A number of people have RSVP'd, and TaGeez is hiding some caches for it.  I found a brand-new Panera Restaurant that is perfect for demonstrations and excited to have us!  Grand prize will be some of our favorite cache-making supplies all wrapped up with a bow.  I'm so geeked!


It's the year of the MAKER!

From March 28th through April 7th, Geocachers around the world are gathering to celebrate masterful caches.

Meet some of our most skilled craftsmen and local creative thinkers to see unique containers, discuss planning hides, and creating cache pages. On hand will be:

Commander Overlord - With over 300 caches hidden, Commander Overlord excels at creative puzzles and finding that perfect hide spot. He has agreed to talk about his creative process and answer questions for new hiders. (Note: Availability is subject to change due to work commitments)

Puzzler26 - Puzzler26's 25 caches in the Presidential Series have garnered almost 790 Favorite points! Puzzler26 has been working all Winter on new containers & locations, and he's offered to display a few of his creations for us!

DougPeterson - DougPeterson has several excellent series including the I-275 Bike trail, Hines Drive Connectors and the Crazy Eights Series. Doug's discussion may include: planning for a series, selecting weather-proof containers, and maintaining a series of caches.

This is an excellent event for new and seasoned cachers! Get your questions answered, be inspired for Spring, and, please, throw in your own 2 cents! We are our best resource!

Join us from 7-9pm at the new Panera of Southfield at 28681 Telegraph Rd, Southfield, MI:

7:00 pm - Social time
7:30 pm - demonstrations and Q&A
8:30 pm - drawing for prizes

As part of the Groundspeak's Maker Madness celebration, attendees of registered Maker Madness events will earn a Maker Madness souvenir and a certificate of completion!


Maker Madness Certificate

BONUS: Every attendee will be entered into a drawing for the Grand Prize. Must be present to win.


I just went on the Groundspeak website and we're all registered, too!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's March!

Caching Fire is ready to party!

WDIV will be at the Livonia Meet tomorrow, and Fire wanted to look his best!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Streaking x 2!

Today is my second anniversary of my cache-a-day streak! Grabbed it with TaGeez on our way to our birthday dinner (his is yesterday and tomorrow is mine). Woot!