As we marched into March, in the metaphorical sense ‘life’ began to settle down into 2016, and in the literal sense, we headed off to Mardi Gras – our family’s big day of celebration each year. Mardi Gras brings 100’s of thousands of people into the streets of Sydney, in all manner of glitter and rainbow get-up (or get-down for many I guess 😉), but despite this, for the last few years I’ve found myself scanning the parade route and surrounds for a handy cache (or two)… Not that it makes much sense – apart from the crowded-muggle factor, finding a cache on the parade route, even if there was one, would be impossible while parading (read, dancing) down the streets anyway! But there was an opportunity for one between the car park and the parade start and finish – so I looked. Disappointingly there were none close enough to make an easy grab around the finish zone at Moore Park, which surprised me, because there was plenty of places about, and plenty of visitors would pass by for varying events over the year, probably like me, looking for a quick find. Jen even suggested I should hide one there next time we are down – and maybe I will!
Anyway, I did still have one in Hyde Park yet to find – a simple multi, which I had already garnered the required details from the computer to have me a GZ…. Problem was, Hyde Park and its surrounding streets are the marshalling area for all the floats, and is just teeming with happy and glittery people at this time of year. For others, the marshalling zone might have got in the way, preventing them access, but for me this wasn’t a problem, and I secretly hoped the cache was inside the zone so that I would have something to do while we hung about waiting for the start. I compared my geo map to my Mardi Gras marshalling map, and alas, it was in the open area, but haha! My floats’ meet-up point was right on top of GZ! And so, it was a simple case of a sneaky grab while waiting for everyone to gather about – not that it mattered, everyone around was so self involved in the happenings of the night I don’t think anyone could have cared less of the happenings of the cacher 😀. I guess the other bonus for me getting this cache on that night, was that the Oblisk used as the focus for the cache was ‘dressed, for the Occassion – with a bright pink ACON “sheath” 😜😱😂.
Cache found: Thornton’s Scent Bottle
Find Number: 1179
Date found: 5th March 2016
Location: Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW
March marched on, and even if one wanted to go caching, it was so unseasonably hot and humid for the first few weeks, you’d go out and be covered in sweat in moments anyway, and everything felt like an effort. Most everyone I came across for a couple of weeks looked zombie-fixed and complained of tiredness, so one can only assume the heat took “it” out of everyone. So no. No caching for me. But in the back of my mind I was aware of an event on a Sunday, that sounded like a fun day, styled on an old-school type car rally, which I have fond memories of from my childhood, and was keen to get to this event if I could swing it. A couple of weeks before I casually mentioned it to Jen, as a nice way to spend a family day out, and to my surprise she was up for it, so I quickly logged my “will attend” and excitedly added it to the calendar. Then, over the course of the next few days it became apparent that Summer had other plans, and Jen would prefer to hang at home, ferrying about the social butterfly… So it was down to me and geo-Jorjy…. But I needed a navigator – I mentioned it to a friend who had a daughter who was friends with Jorja – and so I got some company for Jorja, but my friend was not up for it… I double checked with dad to see if he had gotten a pass out for the day, and he had 😀 – and so our ‘team’ was set: Mumma Kel as driver, Opa Shrek as navigator, and the geo-friends as chief information gatherers 😀
The “GeoTrek” started the day with a standard “Meet and Greet” event in a park in Dural (North-West Sydney)….in some sense, this was to meet event guidelines and for people who couldn’t do the trek to still come along to the event, but mostly, this was just the Starting Point – we signed up our “team”, and got some question sheets, with all the forward coordinates listed (including the final point, in case we got lost, ran out of time, or just wanted to cache our way there instead) – we greeted a few folk (some we knew from the coast, others we didn’t) and then we were off. The first question we needed to answer was from a war memorial at the same park, so we sent off the chief information gatherers (boy, was it handy the girls were 9 and we could trust in their reading skill ) – there was also a quick traditional cache I hadn’t yet found, but dad had, so he “subtly” guided the kids to the find for me 😀 – And then we were really off and running (read, driving).
The next stop, just a short distance along had us looking for a cache container (not a real cache) where we were to count the geocoin said inside (photocopies, not real coins)… Because a few of us had left at the same time, it stood to reason that we would find others here – but that just made it easy to know where on the back dirt road to stop, and then even easier when they located the cache… The great thing was that no one really saw it as any kind of competition, so her, and other places we ran into other trekkers, everyone was friendly and helpful. Someone else did their counting but remained quiet and handed the bundle over to the girls to count… And the number they ended up with was not one of the 3 options given! So we counted agin, this time, aloud and as a group, and this time coming up with the same number as the lady who counted first, which matched one of the options, so we were good to move along 😀
Next along was a simple matter of driving past the spot, where a unique letterbox stood – we noted it was a Ned Kelly type mailbox and continued on our way… The 4th ‘stop’ was also not so much a stop as it was driving along and counting as we went – from a certain point, down and back up the Galston Gorge, we needed to count the road signs, and so as I drove, our carload counted aloud together… And as we reached the top with 27, we found we’d counted incorrectly – we must have because our choices were 14, 24 and 34… Figuring we must have counted just a few extras, we picked 24 and moved along.
Next stop was a location I’d been to before – a small reserve in Hornsby, where, funnily enough, the event CO had another short multi cache. we had a short stroll through the reserve for the girls to gather the information, and then headed back out again – the girls were ahead of dad and I , and as I popped back out of the reserve track to the footpath, they jumped out at me, having hidden behind the brick entry wall – scared the pants off me, and they,re bloody lucky I didn’t wet myself too!! 😂 – as we were leaving here, another cacher came along so we stopped to say hello , which was cool, because it was a local Coastie cacher I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to put a face to the name 😀.
The following spot was a monument in front of an old house – and I can’t tell you any more than that, because with limited parking close by, I dropped the others off and turned the car around while they gathered the answer, and then we moved along again – another monument, another location of a short multi cache by the same CO that dad and I had previously gotten, and so another quick jump out of the car to grab the info we needed and then off on our way again… And then, guess what’s? Another monument, used in another multi cache of the COs that dad and I had previously done, and so another quick park and grab of the information and we marched on 😀 – it would have been handy had we not already found all these caches, as many of our fellow Trekkers were running about making the logical finds along the way, and many others were taking themselves off track from time to time to grab a cache or three along the way, which dad and I hadn’t felt the need to do…
Having passed through the leafy north shore we then started heading out towards Pittwater and the Northern Beaches…pausing first at St Ives Showground – there was plenty of activity happening here, with a variety of sports, and even a trapeze school – but we were here to see the race track… A remote controlled car race track that was actually quite cool – the track had hairpin bends and mogels, and the drivers sat on a raised platform… We watched a very organised race happen, complete with crashes and what not – dad and I also briefly considered the caches about, but resolved to make a day of it some other time – and we were on the road again.
Next stop was the entrance to the Kurringgai National park, and another cache-no-cache to find. GeoJorjy made light work of that, and we had ourselves a riddle from within. the girls and I came up with the same answer, dad another, so after we convinced dad to agree with us, we moved along once more… This time to a lovely little waterside reserve in Chirch Point. The girls saw the water, and ditched the shoes to get their feet wet straight away (you can take a Coastie away from the coast…) – leaving dad and I to hunt about for one of the three famous Australians who was supposedly enjoying the vista here… Soon joined by a few other Trekkers, we must have started to look pretty funny as we wandered about lost, starting to wonder if one of the boats had a namesake, because one of the picnicking muggles nearby came over and said – are you looking for Mel? – he confirmed that there was a picture of Mel Gibson under the bench his group were picnicking upon, and that there had been other “treasure hunters” before us – so we must have been providing good entertainment for the muggles 😂. So with our answer at hand, we gathered the girls from the water and got back in the car again. We were making decent time as we followed the water around to our next spot, but being a national park, there were no nearby caches to find, so nothing to distract us. The next point of call was a sign in a busy carpark at the Marina, so here GeoJorjy jumped out, ran to the sign and back again while I double parked.
We popped back out of über richvale into the Northern Beaches I was more familiar with, stopping next high on the hillside above Dee Why beach and Mona Vale hospital. I got distracted by the view here, but I gather the others found our next answer on some plaque, and before we knew it we were off again – but we delayed ourselves just long enough to watch one of the paragliders fly overhead down the hillside 😀.
Another quick stop at the Institute of Sport to count some high ropes equipment, and then, Next stop was a neat little historic schoolhouse in Oxford Falls – the girls were quick to gather the information we needed from one of them signs and ran off back to the car, but I got a little distracted, and realised that there was a multi cache here to find. Mentioning it to dad, we walked around until we had the answers we needed for the multi, but disappointingly it wasn’t hidden nearby, so off we headed back to the car… And just as I was wondering where the girls had got to, I saw a body part poking out from a hiding spot in front of the car… Oh, no, not gunna get me again girls! Once bitten, twice shy, as they say 😂
Evidently this was our final waypoint, and the girls seemed to actually think it was a race, or were. In a hurry to get to the finish line anyway, so after dad and I got into trouble for taking so long at the schoolhouse, we were headed to our final destination – Echo Point Park in Roseville Chase, just under the Roseville Bridge 😃🎉.
Here we joined the group of Trekkers gathering for a picnic lunch – we swapped stories with others, and got to meet the CO – the ‘infamous’ Calypso62, the CO who has prized more favourite points out of me than any other. And deservedly so for his myriad of creative caches, mostly multi’s, which I really enjoy – and if I could have given an event a favourite, he would have gotten one this day too 😀 There was even a cache in the nearby rock cliffside, and with it found, we made the most of our afternoon in a standard event fashion – although the girls did find a riverside beach nearby to have another splash about in – dad and I chatted to folk new and old, finally putting faces to some of the logs we’ve seen about the northern suburbs of Sydney, and even gathering a good handful of travelling bugs and coins to continue their journey with me for awhile (I have a hotel of sorts coming soon to an area near me – stay tuned 😉) – and before too long it was time to head home and prepare for the new week ahead… We thought we’d grab a few caches along the route home, but in the end only one was active and convenient – and with a boost to the hole in the tree our freshie geokid had herself her 3rd cache find, and first event under her belt 😉 – as did we 😀.
Caches found: GeoTrek – Meet and Greet – 2016 and 3 other traditionals
Find numbers: 1180-1183
Date found: 13th March 2016
Location: Dural –> Roseville Chase, Northern Sydney, NSW
Found with: Opa-Shrek, GeoJorjy and GeoZoe
The following week I had a couple of days planned to run errands in the northern parts of the coast…the first day I was out on my own, and my errands took me to the southern edge of Lake Macquarie at Gwandalan. after completing what I,d come to do, I brought up the caches in the area – and was a little let down when I saw there was only 2 😉 – the first was at a community garden… I approached with caution as I could see an older gentleman leaving and locking up the gate – he paused to greet me, and I made up some story about enjoying community gardens so making a point of finding them when I travel… He then went on to tell me this particular garden had won the Australian Sustainable Garden award, and some other garden stuff, and I agreed with him this was in fact a great example, then he left me to my will, which was to go straight to the bird box I had spied behind him 😉. The other cache was a couple of streets away – an uninspiring bison in a drain under a road, which I found quickly despite the muggle jogging backwards and forwards past me the whole time.
A couple of days later I was off again, but this time dad joined me to collect up a handful of the scattered caches we had left us found or had appeared since the last time we cached up this way – it was raining off and on while we hopped in and out of the car, with none of our finds particularly memorable, despite finding both a turtle and a lizard guarding their respective caches… On our way home though we paused by a relatively new multi at the Ourimbah Uni campus… Just as dad dropped me off to cut through the uni to gather the waypoint information not by the roadsides it started to downpour so by the time I reached dad on the other side of the loop road I wa soaking wet… Given that, I figured I didn’t mind doing the ducking out in the rain to grab all the other tidbits at all the other waypoints, so was well and truly drenched by the time we had double checked a couple of waypoint kin formations and found ourselves the likely GZ – I poked about in the area for awhile, but in the end decided to call it a (wet) day, and we could come back some other sunny day for the final find 😀
Caches found: 7 (Find #1184-1190)
Date found: 15th/17th March 2016
Location: Gwandalan/Lake Haven, Wyong Shire, Central Coast, NSW
Found with: Opa-Shrek
And then, just to top off the week, on Friday I tripped and fell, and 3 caches fell out of my pocket 😱 – 2 simple park and grab traditionals, Blinky and Maggie, which kind of speak for themselves, and a multi that I tried hard not to complicate – Parks within a Park (*unpublished at time of writing this blogpost) hopefully will tour people past a few interesting locations at Mt Penang Parklands, with my idea of a pun cache container at the end. So far so good with the treads, with dad taking out both first to finds, simply because they’re nice and close to where he lives, and I am yet to see how the multi goes. Hopefully a little more straightforward than my last few attempts!
Location: Kincumber and Mt Penang, Central Coast, NSW
Date Hidden: 18th March 2016