Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tom's Takeover Tuesday - 7/13

Well, I missed last week and I'm a day late this week. What a terrible week to miss too because it was GeoWoodstock week and there is a ton of stuff to talk about! I'll attempt to get it all from 6/30 til yesterday, but I can't make any promises. :p Here we go!

On Wednesday 6/30 I took the boys with me and TheMcMorrows (Sean and his two boys) to GCD - Geocache. This is the oldest active geocache in the world listed on We figured what better time to grab this cache than when the biggest geocaching event in the world is right around the corner, and it's the ten year anniversary of geocaching? So we began our journey at the Enumclaw ranger station at 9 AM to get me a day parking pass. After that we began our drive to the Hyak/Gold Creek exit on I-90 which then led us up a winding, dirt road up part of the mountains. We got to the Mt. Margaret Trailhead around 10:30. Then the hike began. According to the GPS we were 1.1 miles away from the cache as the crow flies. Well, we don't get to get off that easy as this journey will consist of a 2500 ft elevation change from start to finish! The first part of the trail is a moderately steep gravel trail with lots of loose rocks and potholes to lose your footing on. Then there is a dirt trail that leads the rest of the way up the mountain that has several switchbacks and....snow! That's right at the end of June at about 3500-4000 ft there is still snow here this year! With about 0.16 miles of distance to cover between us and the cache the trail disappears and we have to basically climb up the snow bank for the next 800 ft...that's in a straight line again so it was quite a bit more substantial distance on the hill. The good news is that at about 12 Logan made the grab...he was 150 ft ahead of me and 200 ft ahead of the rest of the group. With 0.1 miles left he had asked me where it was so I pointed in the general direction and he just took off! What a little mountain goat. :p After the rest of us made it to the top we took some pictures, signed the log, took a brief rest, and then made our way back down the hill. This actually proved a little more difficult than coming up as there was no footing since the snowpack was fairly solid and slick! We made a couple other cache grabs while on the trail, but one was in the parking area and one was a convenient water break on the way up. :)

Thursday was uneventful because I knew Friday was going to be action packed, and we still had the big festivities on Saturday followed by another big event in Seattle on Sunday. I'll get to those in a few minutes.

Friday! The big Going APE! Event! This event was put on by the Washington State Geocaching Association in an effort to help minimize the number of cars that pack into the Annette Lake Trailhead since this parking lot is small. Instead everyone met at the Hyak Trailhead parking area as it can support, by far, a larger number of vehicles. Once people arrived they were checked in and bused from Hyak to the Annette Lake Trailhead. This event for me started as a parking attendant and bringer of power and shelter! Not only did I pay my registration fee to attend the hike, but I also volunteered the first shift and brought 2 10x10 tents and our generator. This hike was no where near as intense as the one two days prior! I basically could have run up the trail after that ordeal. :p But I took my time and chatted with other APE goers from all over. My first conversation buddies were an older couple from Pennsylvania, we didn't chat long as my pace was a little too brisk for them. A little ways up the hill I ran into another local cacher who I see around at FTF runs on her way back down. We chatted for a little bit, but she had other caches she wanted to hit and I hadn't even really started yet! After that it was pretty much no non-sense to the Project Ape cache. I did chat with some people as I went by and I ended up walking a good portion of the way with some ladies from San Diego. I could tell I was close because there was a huge cluster of cachers just congregated in one spot, with a man in a gorilla constume! There were news crews and photographers and reporters along for the ride too, I even made it into the Seattle Times slideshow on the event with voiceover interviews. You can check that out here! You won't see my face, but look for the guy in a desert camo jacket and a red hat at around 1:25... After that I grabbed a few more caches along the trail then took the bus back to Hyak. Including the event, I was able to make that a 14 cache because immediately following the APE event was a Tiki Luau for GeoWoodstock pre-registration pickup. That was in Issaquah. It was after 8 PM when I got home...I left the house around 6:15. That's a long day, and that wasn't even the big event!

Saturday 7/3 has arrived and so have over 5000 cachers worldwide, and they have descended upon Remlinger Farms in Carnation, WA! Lynette and I volunteered for the setup crew from 7-10 and to work the WSGA booth from 9-11 so our day started early. We also had to pick up Sean (Mr. McMorrow) on the way because they got a hotel room for the week to minimize travel distance between the plethora of activities during the week and so his kids didn't have to get up at 6:30 and be out until 7-8 at :) I can't even begin to explain all the cool stuff that was going on at this event because we didn't even get to half of it! There was live music, news crews, vendors from all over the world, and people...lots and lots of people! We met up with many people we know from around the area and met some new people from all over. I even met a guy from Germany who gave me this awesome geocoin that is the geocache reviewer only edition of the coin. I'll have to get pictures to show you (or Lynette will) because words don't do it justice. We also did a team building exercise where teams go out and try to find caches hidden around the grounds for point values. FTFs are worth more than non-FTFs and the rest of the values are based on difficulty and distance from home base. You had an hour to find as many of the 24 caches as you could. It wasn't all that exciting, but I did get a new idea for a couple caches. :D The event wound down and the after event cleanup event took about 15 minutes because cachers don't's against everything we do! There was a geocoin event later that night in Renton, but Lynette and I opted to get off our feet and go watch a movie!

Sunday 7/4: Lost & Found Celebration at Groundspeak HQ in Fremont. This was a blast...mostly because Lynette and I did volunteer for anything so we could just enjoy it! We bought some swag, we went on a scavenger hunt around Fremont (which included both of us visiting the Troll for the very first time,) and then Sean and I left Lynette and Sean's family near the festivities to go looking for some fake caches placed around the area. That actually ended up being lame because there was no prizes or anything involved, but it was movement. We got to talk with some of the Groundspeak Lackeys (those are what the employees are called) about various things. One of them was one of the girls in the lobby when we went there on the 18th...I gave her grief about not tweeting my coined phrase of "cacheblocking." That is basically for people who use their smartphones to cache then someone texts them...and texts them some more...and some get the picture. It's irritating! Another of the Lackey's is the one who maintains the APE cache, and the day before the big event some jackstain decided to steal the lid from the cache which had a rare coin riveted to the inside. We talked to him about the future of the rare cache (It was one of 14, but is only one of 2 remaining in the world) come to find out a couple days ago that he has a new lid and there is going to be another event! We left that event and went to the fireworks display celebration the church puts on every year. Lynette and I didn't actually stay for the fireworks, but the boys did and they thought it was super-awesome.

So back to the regular grind...I hadn't had any FTF's since the last one I mentioned in the last post so I was getting sort of down. Then like clockwork, one posted on Tuesday...Just in time for me to (not) post about it here! Then the rest of the week was pretty normal...a cache here, a cache there to keep the streak going. Then Friday night our local night cacher crew got together for our second run! We did a cache in Puyallup at Clark's Creek Park. It was a blast and I was able to test out our new 13 LED, 6 volt flashlight. It was awesome...I was pretty much in the back the whole time and my flashlight had enough power to overtake the leader's and I could see the reflectors from 50-70 feet away! It was awesome! And I eventually was able to make the cache grab too because no one saw the final reflector combo with their piddly flashlights! :p

On the FTF front I was able to grab a couple more the week after GeoWoodstock, Jackson was even present to get his first one! Logan is now pretty old hat at the FTF thing...he's got 4 or 5 now. :p I missed out on an FTF in Orting since it posted after I fell asleep, but a hound from Renton swooped down and made the grab. I might rethink my retirement if Renton folks are gonna be grabbing my local caches! :p I even grabbed one yesterday that was off of Hwy 18 in Hobart that was placed on Saturday and published on Sunday. Caches can't sit for two days that close and not be found! I even got a moving truck travel bug coin for being FTF. That brought the total up to 63...I actually went after two in the middle of writing this, but that's technically part of next week's post so I'll save the details there!

I'll bug Lynette about getting some pictures up...we put on some miles on our TB while trying to work on a couple challenges and try to stay ahead in our race and we got some nice pictures. Not to mention the pictures of the events we were at. I'm also thinking of starting my own blog for this segment so it makes Lynette get back to posting stuff here! I'll let you know how that pans out, but until then...See you next week!