Plane and Train Spotting

As we entered the school holidays I converted my “mommyvan” into an Airport Shuttle, volunteering myself to shuttle friends to the International Airport on Saturday morning – of course, in the back of my mind was the ‘free’ trip home, so I checked with Jen it was alright to ‘take my time’ before I left 😉

We had a smooth run via the highways into Mascot, but found ourselves confronted with an overload of traffic in and around the airport itself, so by the time We had reached the drop off point and I’d sent my friends off on their adventures, I decided my adventure was best had away from the airport, so left the surrounding caches for yet another time and navigated myself across to a neighbouring suburb before pulling up to check out the geocache options about.

I find it quite enjoyable when I the opportunity presents itself to “trad-hop” – guide myself about using caches on the map to navigate me from place to place… So that was my plan for the morning – I knew where I needed to get to eventually, and figured with the holiday traffic I’d steer clear of the busier roads, so I just picked a dot on the map in the right general direction and told the phone-lady to drive me there. Pull up, locate cache, rinse, repeat (in most cases that is – because I told tend to look at the finer details until I’m there it’s occasionally a miss for one reason or another – location, parking, terrain or MIA caches usually) 😀 – I tend to avoid puzzles because I don’t expect I’ve solved any, and multi’s I tend to save for occassions with dad or the geokids, but moreso, more time. It’s not so much about the numbers, but it is about finding caches, and let’s face it, traditionals are the easiest to get on the fly.

So, that said, I picked my mark and headed into the backstreets of the nearby burbs, finding myself alongside a railway line. Pulling up the cache details I saw it was yet another Saint Mary cache by the Travelling Sister – Mary MacKillop Arncliffe … those following along will know this would be my 7th or 8th ‘Mary’ cache, so I was happy to have randomly picked up one here. These caches are always pretty straightforward park and grabs, and this was no different – a small container under a rock by the railway fenceline… I took it back to the car to sign, finding a very wet innards, so I did what I could to dry out the contents, knowing the CO relies on others to maintain the caches (and as I didn’t have a dry logbook to replace the wet one I made a mental note to update my geo-bag….still, I was a little confused with the Mary reference to the train line so read thru the description to find out – ohhhh. Looking up I could see the Church School on the opposite corner being referenced 😀.

I tapped on the next dot on my map, and noted I was headed for a cache called Sydney Skyline … The description said I was in for a good view, but it was tricky to find access – but handily the CO had provided a trailhead marker, so I navigated there, pleased I’d checked out enough info to get me to the right spot. Once I found a park in the narrow side street, I then had to walk up a steep long driveway, where behind the neighbours bins I would find access to the public stairs into the reserve – all as described, I found myself atop a hill in a little space I assumed was only there to serve as space around the electricity transformer at the top of the hill image– regardless, I could see why the CO had brought me here, and took a few snaps of the City Skyline in the distance. I then headed to GZ and found a log, but nothing underneath it, and nothing else worthy of a hide anywhere else around… I turned to the logs for advice… DNF, DNF, DNF, NEEDS MAINTENACE, DNF, NOT HERE, DNF, DNF. Dang nam it! Why didn’t I look at that before I got here. Oh well, at least it was a good view… It’s the places, not the caches right? 😀

Back down the stairs and the driveway hill to the car, and I picked my next mark, taking me away from vaguely familiar suburbs to ones I knew only by name. The fist was a “troll” at Bardwell Park, which usually means the cache is under the bridge, but in this case, almost pleasantly, the cache was at the edge of the bridge (which didn’t really seem like a bridge at all) tucked into the guardrail end in standard fashion.  I grabbed it as I stepped over the barrier into the park, using the nearby picnic bench to log my attendance while a muggle in the bus stop watched on.  Simply for the muggles benefit, I picked out my next dot while I sat there, then returned back the way I had come slipping the cache back in place as I did.   Further down the road I had spotted 3 caches near enough to each other that I could park once and walk to all 3 so I headed for the carpark I could see between 2 of them. The first of these 3 was a ‘Trainspotter’ cache – having found a few in a series of the same name spread all over the Sydney network,  I was surprised to find this one wasn’t one of those, but in similar fashion I was alongside the railway line looking for a Bison – finding it in a standard place on a power pole, using a magnet to hold a bison hanging on fishing line inside the metal jacket.  Walking around the corner I hoped there would be a convenience store to grab a drink at the station shops, but inconveniently there were 3 hairdressers and a very busy cafe. Grumbling about that, I made an easy grab of the “troll” at this bridge, but once again hiding in the guardrail not below.  imageThe 3rd in line on the other side of the railway line had me in a small bushland area, Wolli Wood, but with good coords I easily found the cache – and was pleased to find a good sized one, where the CO had constructed a camouflage outer “log” using a fish tank ornament. And, bonus, the actual cache was one of those giant bisons 😀.

Back in the car I again looked at my map, and decide to skip a couple of suburbs, picking another random trad  off the map. Turning into Wyatt Ave I saw a park bench in the wide median strip, and knew that was my target – so I pulled up, and leaving everything in the car, dashed over,, sat down, grabbed the magnetic bolt from under my butt, signed and replaced and was back in the car in moments, too easy 😉.  A few more streets over and I pulled up alongside the next dot on my map. As I walked up to GZ I noted the clue said something about fat stumps, and saw a line of fat stump fence posts on the other side of the garden bed so knew that was what I wanted – I reached a small park bench area on the footpath, that cut into the garden bed so I paused – and sure enough that was my GZ – so it was a simple case of reaching through the garden bed to reach the Om the footpath side, and then I had a seat to sit while doing the signing duties – pleasingly I’d lucked upon another well constructed cache here too… A small systema that had been sunken into a bit of log, and covered in paperbark.  Didn’t match the surrounds, with no paperback trees in sight, but I admire the effort 😀 – and then as I drove away towards my next spot on the map, I realised where this cache had brought me – I’d been there before even, plenty of times for work purposes, as it was some giant community centre in Burwood. Being in Burwood also pleased me because I was back into vaguely familiar territory, and was no longer lost in the burbs at the mercy of caches and my lady-navigator 😉.

Next up I found myself pulling up alongside a quite neighbourhood playground and park area.  As I got out of the car I pulled up the cache details and saw the name – =POISON CACHE= – and I didn’t need to look any further, pocketing my phone.  I’d heard about this cache, and as luck would have it, had only just watched a video online the week before who had given all the “spoilers” one would need – I headed straight for the park bench and plucked the cache  out from beneath me.  The funny thing about this cache, if you read the description, is that this is one of the “stoopid caches” that people needn’t bother with – the crappy mint tin cache – imagebut this wasn’t a crappy mint tin as they would have you believe. It was a mint tin, but the CO had wrapped it well in black tape, and attached the magnet inside so that it wouldn’t catch on the logbook.  The logbook was a clean dry and fresh geocaching branded logbook, in a clean dry and fresh snaplock bag. All of which fit perfectly and sld in and out of the container easily. Clearly a well care forced and maintained cache. Not poison at all. Almost a joy for an urban find in fact 😀 – and just to play along I added a “found it” bottle top as SWAG because mint tins with SWAG are even worse, and gave the cache a favourite because I can (I have 40 dod up my sleeve so why not) 😀

Knowing there was a couple of main roads to cross over I picked my next cache  on the other side, and started my way there, but as I crossed over Parramatta Road I spied a Harry de Wheels pie place and my hungry belly grumbled at me to stop. So I found a convenient place in a side street, and headed toward the footbridge overpass – and pleasingly noted a cache was right in the middle of the footbridge – bonus! I expected a mint tin, and anticipated it would be in the usual hiding spot under the handrail, but despite poking my hand into the slot at each section as I crossed over I didn’t find anything… So while I waited for my pie I looked at the description… Oh, a nano. On my way back, I slowed down enough for the compass to point out where to look, and then checked the place at foot level where the little ones like to hide – sure enough my fingers landed on it… imageBut I couldn’t get a good grip on it to unscrew it and I didn’t quite like the hide of putting my pie down to get a better grip, so I just did the old “take a photo of the cache in lieu of signing” trick, plopped it back in place and moved along 😀.

Next up I found myself at Concord Hospital, and a quick find at the back services entrance with not a soul around on a Saturday, but followed up with a “couldn’t even find a parking spot to get close” non-find on the front side … Then as I turned onto Ryde Ard, my passage northward and home I told myself I was done for the day as I was reaching territory I’d grabbed the odd one previously – but, as you do, I found myself pulling off at the next side street after I crossed the Parramatta River, headed for the cache I knew was alongside Ryde Bridge 😉 Conveniently there was a little carpark at the riverside reserve, so I parked and checked my hint – a key hide, so I assumed a certain size, and magnetic… But I was wrong to assume. Of course, after a long while poking about the metal areas looking, I finally spotted a tiny weeny key hide lying alongside a pole, not attached to it… I’ve found one like this before, and it’s surprising how well they just blend into the ground. Back to the car, and I couldn’t just get straight back on the main road now, could I? I picked out another neighbourhood trad and went there instead 😉. despite being called. Skyjam’s #2 playground , I didn’t need to go into the playground, because it was hanging by a hook inside the entrance sign.  Another good one to finish up on I thought, so I headed back for the main road and travelled homeward…. Or so I thought! I’d inadvertently turned onto a different main road, heading West not North, and so as soon as I realised I turned off finding myself in more suburban back streets – so what was I to do? I picked out a dot on my map, and headed for it 😂.

Finding myself in a back laneway, at the back fence to the Sydney Live Stream, I found myself a Trainspotter cache, this time of the aforementioned series… And peering down into the pole sleep I could see a sprinkler at its base… And a heap of lost retrieval sticks. Hmm. Turning to the logs, I could see that it was being found, although not terribly recently and that it was a cache inside a cache. With no other reason for there to be a sprinkler head inside the power pole jacket I knew that was the outer shell, but how to retrieve it… I inspected it for a fishing line, and failing my efforts to find one, I headed to the car, grabbed a few tools and went back again, this time, prodding and poking at it from any angle I could access in an effort to lift it out of there. I can only assume there is a simple method of retrieval, so with all my efforts failing I had to call it a DNF 😕. Not wanting to end my day on a DNF, I picked out another nearby, and off I went – finding myself at a train station, I chuckled to myself knowing it was another Trainspotter. Trainspotter – Denistone ended up being a simple find of a bison attached to fishing line within a pole – much what I had expected at the last, but this one was functional so I was able to sign my name on the bottom line, and head home. This time without anymore stopping 😱

Caches found: 13 (Find #1203-1215)

Date found: 10th April 2016

Location/s: Arncliffe – Bardwell Park – Burwood – Concord – Ryde – Denistone, Sydney NSW

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