Geocaching for us is about being together and enjoying the amazing world around us. 2018 was filled with finds at amazing places. These were bits of the most memorable from our year.Before a late January visit to Florida, we made a late afternoon visit to Geneva State Park to give Liz and Phin a big walk before they headed to camp. This icy inlet was hosting a number of woodpeckers on a bright afternoon.
The dogs were at camp, and we were in Florida for adventure. From Lover's Key and Myakka State Parks to Fakahatchee Swamp, it was a memorable week as January rolled into February.
We came home and spent a spring-like afternoon with the dogs in a PA State Gamelands finding our 16,000th cache.
We ended March on Easter weekend with a super hike for some Hatch Run Acorn Series caches on Collins Pine property in Pennsylvania.
With time running short for the virtual reward deadline, we made an annual April visit to Sheldon Marsh and identified possible parts for our Virtual Reward cache. It's a favorite location for us and a great place for a virtual.
In May, I was on a trip to North Carolina when I was able to avenge a dnf from many years ago with a return visit to the falls at Fancy Gap and a find.
Back in New York, we spent a fun day with friends on the trail at the ASP Geobash.
June was a month of mostly business travel for me. I made one of my frequent Spokane trips during the month and used the long dats as an opportunity to visit Pend Oreille County for a long hike in the heat.
We took advantage of my return flights to complete the second Lorain County GeoTrail.
In July we made certain Liz and Phineas hit the trail in Elk for a nice, long gamelands hike and enjoyed a walk along the rail trail in Spartansburg before we dropped them at doggie camp and headed to SW Ohio to finish the last of the Ohio Great 880 Challenge.
Our July adventures set up a wet trip to Delaware County Ohio in August where we made a find on the lightly visited Ohio State Park Challenge.
For September, we finally returned to one of our longer dnf's as we completed the Trail of the Turtles. We also enjoyed a long hike on the Tanbark with Lizzie and Phin.
October was our big vacation for the year. We headed south to revisit favorite places and explore new ones.Quebec Run
Who cares? One of the geocaching's more annoying posts. People post in places they never cache to puzzle cache listings they will never find. Why? I don't get it. We found caches in this series today. The puzzles required at most a bit of internet searching if you can't guess the subject of the puzzle immediately. What's to gain?
For Christmas I received the perfect gift for a geocacher, an Anker power core. When time allows and I am traveling for business, I spend a lot of time off trail in remote areas after work. In Spokane, it's not unusual to be on a mountain trail with the temps near 100 degrees in areas with mountain lions in the vicinity. This power core gives me sufficient spare power to recharge my iPhone twice or once if I also need a charge for my LED. It gives an added level of security when out having fun while being small enough to easily fit in my backpack.
We're both engineers so playing with silly goals are a fun part of our geocaching adventure. Years ago we wanted to place a cache called the Ironcacher Challenge which required cachers to have at least ten finds on each of the 366 calendar days. There was no year or time requirement, just ten finds a day. We had planned to place the Ironcacher Baker's Dozen challenge for thirteen finds a day near our home in Pennsylvania. That plan went by the way with the stricter challenge guidelines.We finished 2017 with 25 finds on each calendar day. For 2018 we were hoping for a stretch to 30 finds each day. We made it!
Going from 25 a day to 30 a day meant multiple days where we had to find five in a day. For 2019 the next goal is a more modest 42 finds per day.It means we will need to cache on a modest 42 days next year to meet the goal. Of course we will cache on many more days. What we've found is this goal gets us outdoors on days where we might not bother. Everyone enjoys caching on warm, sunny days. Getting some exercise on less than perfect days is often easy to put off.So, what's the end point? We are hoping to work our way to at least fifty finds on each calendar day. We've still a ways to go. ;)
I was caching in the Salisbury area while there for business. I visited a familiar park to find some of the newer cache hides. One of those included a bird box in the woods.
The open front of the box reveals four tumblers, a locked box, and a key to the gadget.
The combination is revealed by using the tool to align the tumblers.
Soon, the log is in hand.
The gadget isn't challenging as the cache owner explains the solution on the page, but the cache container is really well done and gives a fun experience. As a plus, the bird box is anchored to the tree with cords which doesn't deface the tree. It was a fun find on a summer evening away from home.
This year we have found two true letterbox hides by accident while geocaching. It isn't the first time, but it's still fun to come upon these hides by accident. One of the finds in New York happened while actually searching for a cache. That letterbox was within 50 feet of the newer geocache and had unfortunately become the geocache find for cachers who were too busy logging their latest non-find to note the sentence on the cache page stating there was a nearby letterbox which was not the cache. Signing a letterbox stamp book like it is a geocache log is beyond rude.The second letterbox find at Stan Hyett Gardens came on an afternoon when we were looking for caches, but not at the time of the find. We were walking one of the many paths through the gardens and nearing this small tunnel to pass through.
When we reached the structure there was a rock out of place.
Only a geocacher would look at the hide location and think something may be hidden there. Once spotted we had to open it.
This true letterbox even included a hand carved stamp.
When geocaching was younger, it was not unusual to find a hand-carved stamp in a letterbox hybrid. We have found a number of older geocaches with well done stamps. I've tried my hand at carving a few stamps, but the results are usually not very good.
Most micro containers are not good. The leak. They rust. The logs are mush.
They seem to shout I was put here for no other reason than a cheap, fast find. There is only one exception.It is the PETling.
We really gained respect for this geocaching-perfect container when we started spending more time in Florida. Southern Florida geocachers know and understand many of the areas where they place caches will flood many feet annually. The caches may very well see hurricanes. Many of the hiders there have embraced perfection and made our caching adventures better with these containers at their hides.
They also work great in cold climates with lots of snow.