Wednesday, April 30, 2014

MGA14 - One Day and Counting!

I’m so very geeked!  The Michigan Geocaching Adventure (MGA) brochure for 2014 was released last night!

Between May 1st and November 30th, visit 13 Huron Metroparks to find a special cache in each location.  Not only do you get a smiley, but you get a special code and a clue to a bonus cache.  In year’s past, if you completed the series you received a special path tag for that year.  Last year, my sister (WikidKriket) and I each won a Huron Metropark annual pass for this year!

It’s great fun! The caches are all in good-sized lock-and-locks, and they are located along family-friendly trails.  Each year the caches are located in different areas of the parks so you can explore them to the fullest.  

Then, after grabbing your cache (or caches – each park has additional caches totaling about 120 of them), you can have a picnic, visit the nature centers.  One park has a tunnel under its pond.  Another has a wave pool.  Another has a water park.  There’s an Eagle’s nest, a hawk enclosure.  We’ve tripped across a lot of wildlife on our explorations. Each park has its own personality.

Visit some of my earlier blog posts to see some fabulous pictures of Team Free Range Lobster’s adventures! Here are several of my favorite MGA adventures: Huron Meadows and Hudson Mills, Lake Erie Metropark, and Indian Springs and Stony Creek.

See you on the trails!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Belle Isle CITO

Had a blast at the Belle Isle CITO - great turn out! I focused on my usual road, accompanied by the Somershoes and the Pilkingtons.

Let's keep this momentum going!

Spring Arbor Adventure

Boy, do I owe my sister a THANK YOU!

As I mentioned recently, I've had a secret desire to fill my Jasmer grid from 2002 to present.  After my trip to Chicago, I just needed 1 more - February 2002 - but there were none in the neighborhood.  I told Steve (TaGeez) about one near Spring Arbor, and he was all for an adventure!  Only problem?  I have a leased car and am over in my miles. Sister to the rescue!

Thank you, Lorna, for the loan of the green geo-mobile!  Steve also appreciated finally having some leg room!

The weather started overcast, but the closer we got to Jackson (and then onto Spring Arbor) the sunnier it became!  On the plan were 4 Virtuals, one Earth Cache, several cemetery caches, and Lime Lake Isthmus GC3A12 (my February 2002 cache).

I'll let my photos tell the story:

Target caches - Virtuals in white

First Stop is a Virtual: Stonewall Jackson? GC9304

TaGeez and scrapcat at Lime Lake

Lime Lake

Found it! February 2002 cache!
Lime Lake Isthmus GC3A12

Beautiful day! Unwittingly getting a little sunburned right now

The lake was so clear you could see the rocks underwater!

Falling Waters Trail was formerly a railroad track/train bridge

Spring is finally rearing her head

View from the Earth Cache: Missing River GC4FATZ
Due to poor construction, the tunnels under the railroad bridge didn't allow
water to flow so half the river became a lake and the other half diverted course

We had a great time on the Falling Waters Trail

Practicing Stealth
Can you spot the geocacher?

Sign in Concord Township just before the cemetery

Can't give the GC for this baby - no spoilers, but this
was a fabulous multi-hide in a cemetery

Third of four Virtuals today: W.H.L. GC9932 deserves its 93 Fave Points

El trabeio rustico is the practice of creating objects resembling wood out of concrete
McCourtie Park on the McCourtie Estate

There are 17 "wooden" bridges of different styles in this park

Birdhouse on the McCourtie Estate

Another view of McCourtie Park

Just completed the last cache, a Virtual, when TaGeez became distracted
It was an awesome series of caches and exactly the day out we needed!  In the end, I logged 13 caches including 4 Virtuals, 1 Earth Cache, 1 Multi, 1Cache Across America, and 3 cemetery caches. We could've added some puzzles and a webcam for a more-rounded day, but, then again, we had already added enough miles to my sister's car.  Time to head home!

Friday, April 25, 2014

I Suck at Geocaching (ISAG)

Brand new cache published less then .2 of a mile from my desk - within a minute of my lunch time - and I never checked my phone. ISAG

Luckily I'm a card-carring member of this online support group!

February 2002 - Nailed it!

I know completing my Jasmer grid is unrealistic, but I've had a secret goal of completing my grid from 2002 to present.

This week, driving 75 miles to the Spring Arbor area (near Jackson) with TaGeez, we found the last cache needed! February 2002 - woot!

Not only did we complete my "wish grid", but it was a stunning day to boot. I favorited the cache (which actually had 2 containers present) for such a beautiful location.

I'll share more pics and stories this weekend. HAPPY DANCE!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Geotalk Winner!

Just listened to Episode 104 of the GeoTalk podcast ("caching down under") and heard my name! And it was pronounced correctly TWICE!

I forgot during one of Darren's (Spindoc Bob) recent podcasts that he requested listeners to email their 2014 geocaching goals (mine was to complete a dozen Earth caches plus more quality caches in 2014). My name was drawn, and I won a 2013 New South Wales Geocoin! Awesome!

I love this show.  I love the roving reports from Australia and New Zealand.  I love hearing about the types of caches they find, the challenges they complete, the dangers they deal with. Caching "down under" is on my bucket list, but I don't know if I'll ever afford it.  I can dream while listening to this podcast, though.

I have to admit that I've been lucky, of late.  I won several geocoins through GeoGearheads last Fall, Detroit Zoo tickets through their caching series, a Huron Metropark pass in their MGA13 drawing, Travel Fleas via the Podcache Show, a flashlight during a live taping of GeoGearheads about a week ago, and another flashlight during the taping of the Chicago Geocaching Podcast's 100th episode.  

I thank my lucky caching stars!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Belle Isle Adventure!

Belle Isle is a verdant island located in the Detroit River, almost equal distance between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario.  It is Detroit’s gem, first settled by French colonists in the 18th century, originally called “Hog Island”. The name was changed to Belle Isle to celebrate its beauty.   The landscape was designed by Frederick Olmstead and many of its more prominent buildings (the Casino, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Belle Isle Aquarium and Livingstone Lighthouse, to name a few) were designed by Albert Kahn.  As of November 2013, it became Michigan’s 102nd state park.

Detroit Skyline
And, as many of you know from my recent posts, I LOVE THE ISLE!

For 9 years, the Belle Isle Cachers (Rattrak, Brummelbear – and now – Team Rumble) hosts an event releasing 45 or so new caches on the Isle.  The bonus?  On this day only they keep the prior-year’s caches intact so you have the opportunity to enjoy 90 caches at a go (if you have the stamina). 

2014 Caches
This year was a particularly nice turnout as the event was postponed a month due to this year’s record-breaking Winter.  Even though the trees haven't budded yet, it was still a gorgeous day – hitting the mid 70’s and sunny.  We ran into Cachers from Canada, Ohio, and the North Oakland (Michigan) area.  It was also very exciting as we had a lot of first-timers in our ranks!  Congrats, JLIEB, on your 1000th find milestone!

The day starts with a breakfast at Michigan-based Big Boy’s across the McArthur Bridge.  Afterwards, Cachers regroup at the pavilion outside the Aquarium/Conservatory for the FTF raffle drawing.  

Once the drawing was over and caches loaded (via GPS or email – love GeoSphere, too!), we were off!
Representing Team Free Range Lobsters were WikidKriket, SnakeyLicks, myself, TaGeez, and Caching Fire! 

TaGeez, Fiona, SnakeyLicks, WikidKriket and scrapcat
Kriket and Licks at the Band Shell
TaGeez on the scent
Fiona met Freckles
Fiona looking for Stage 1 of the Multi.
It's under her paws!
Ran into some Canadian friends - Hi oOAMYOo and Chatsie!
TaGeez and Kriket trying to "rock the boat"
Met some random people at a new guard rail
Just one more before potluck!
Breaking for the lunchtime potluck.

Rattrak sharing with Fire

Belle Isle Cachers:
Brummelbear, Rattrak, and Team Rumble

Ok, back out for more caches!

Meeting of the minds
She was doing so well avoiding the puddles - NOT!
Just a wee bit of standing water... everywhere!
One happy Cacher!
Stopped a moment to rest a spell
We have company.... near a really cool cache involving a pipe,
a bottle of water, and a bobber
Belle Isle has some seriously impressive weeping willows!
Loving the Vitamin D!
Sisterly time together
That mosaic totally photo-bombed my sister!
Fiona for the find!
Pretty serious looking, eh?
We ended the day with 26 finds, 1 potluck, 1 impromptu picnic and then home for a barbeque afterwards.  

We tuckered her out!  Woot!
It was a glorious day, and I’m SO motivated for another season of caching.  What’s next?  MGA14!