As I’ve said before, with geocaches to find near home few and far between my caching has been on a go-slow lately…. which means there’s been barely a find or three worthy of a blog post. But, as with any addiction, I have had withdrawals from time to time, and so managed to squeeze in a handful of finds over the past couple of months.
9th October 2016 (Picton, NSW)
Finds: 2 (#1332-1333)
A family picnic in Picton happened to coincide with International Earthcache Day, so I was keen to pass by an Earthcache at some point in our travels. As it turned out though, there were no Earthcaches in/near Picton, nor en route. Dad and I did wander off at some point, with the youngest family member to find the closest cache to our picnic spot. A short walk across the park and we found the bridge that held Rob’s Micro. After a bit of a hunt around in the usual spots on the side of the bridge indicated by the GPSR, I decided to check the other side after noting someone in a log saying something similar. And bingo! There it was.
With few options for my Earthcache find though, I spent a little time checking out some in the surrounds and uncovered one near Penrith, where we used to live….Lapstone Layers asked for information about a rock cutting on the side of the motorway, so one couldn’t stop by at GZ anyway…. so with a little help from my old mate Google, I had the required geological information about the layers and was able to send off my email with the info required, claim the smiley and my Earthcache Day souvenier.
13th October 2016 (Marsfield, Sydney NSW)
Finds: 1 (#1334)
It just so happened that my 3rd cache-iversary rolled around on the same day I had a job interview in Sydney, so after the interview I figured I should pick up a smiley or two to mark the anniversary, as I have in previous years…. I should have remembered from my past experience – interview garb is not entirely the best geocaching-wear, But of course, it wasn’t until I paused by the first cache I picked out on the map and realised I needed to traverse a muddy oval… hmmm. Probably not the best idea given I was wearing my best shoes and dress, so I moved on, convinced there would be an suitable urban hide somewhere – and found a mystery cache on my map that appeared in a carpark. Perfect…. and bonus, it seemed I’d found a solution to All Puzzled Up #6 at some point because my mark was resolved coordinates not the posted ones. Pulling up in the car park closest to the mark on my map, all I needed to do was slip out my car door, and grab the magnetic eclipse from the fence pole nearby. Cache-iversary smiley done.
31st October 2016 (Kariong, Central Coast, NSW)
Finds: 1 (#1335)
With another souvenier on offer for Halloween, dad and I made it our business to head out on the required day to make the required find for our shiney-pretty. Big J had the day off, so she joined us when we headed off – we’d decided not to waste time or energy and just go for the closest unfound cache to my place, Golden Dragon Poker. This cache has a fun little side game of poker attached… in order to find the cache, we needed first to find one of the set playing cards left by the CO in random caches about the places in order to get the keyword – so since the cache had been published as I found the playing cards, quickly gaining access to the coordinates. But I decided it would be fun to have a hand in the side game of poker, so as I travelled about I took note of any of the playing cards I found in the hope that I could form a somewhat decent hand to present – but I’ve always been pretty crap at poker, and this case was no different – despite finding 6 cards before I found the cache, the best hand I could muster was a single King. Easily beaten by the 2 pairs already recorded by a previous finder…. but as the song says, you gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, know when to run – so I held my hand…. after all, you never know what I might find next!
8th November 2016 (Cardiff, Newcastle, NSW)
Finds: 1 (#1336)
It was time to update the family van, so I found myself wandering the Cardiff Caryards in search of a suitable vehicle. I figured wandering a suburb I hadn’t cached in would yeild at least a couple of caches along the way, but when I pulled up the map there was only a few caches in the suburb, and only one that I would pass by without going out of my way…. So when I reached the Cardiff Scout Hall I cut across the corner of the block so that I could non-chalantly check out the back end of the hall…. and there I quickly located a simple systema under the stair void…. and it didn’t even look out of place with other containers and junk being stored along with it.
11th November 2016 (Charlestown, Newcastle, NSW)
Finds: 1 (#1337)
A few days later we wandered the caryards in “auto-alley” on Parramatta Road in Sydney and I was quite dissapointed that in all the places we wandered about there were no caches within spitting distance – well, actually, thats not entirely true… there was one, but when I reached the street it was on I found the street was cordoned off for construction work, making GZ inaccessible.
But luckily for me I had another chance to grab a quick find that day, as Jen needed to return her work vehicle to Newcastle…. so I got the pleasure of driving our new car up there to collect here. I arrived before her, so I decided to use the time to duck around the corner to the nearest cache, which happened to be part of the Great North Walk series. I would love to walk more of the GNW, but time/conveience is a big factor in that one, so was pleased to be able to make a quick grab of GNW Tree Chest in a spot where the GNW crossed over a residential street. And it didnt take me long at all to locate the “tree-chest”, a broken sawn log/stump with an eclipse tin within – so I was back to meet Jen before she even realised I’d been gone.
14th November 2016 (Vales Point/Catherine Hill Bay, Central Coast, NSW)
Finds: 15 (#1338-1352)
After a bit of a stint doing some casual work supervising Year 12 final exams, dad and I finally found a day that worked for us to get out on a geo-run. We decided to head north, as there were several new caches that had appeared since our last geo-run in the area, about a year ago.
We headed first towards the South-eastern end of Lake Macquarie and made a couple of basic finds in the waterside reserves. From there we headed across to Catherine Hill Bay, and old historic beachside village. In recent times Council have constructed a new road into Catherine Hill Bay from the southern end, so we decided to take that route in, grabbing a cache from a guardrail on the way. As we came into town, and paused for another park and grab my heart sunk as I realised “they” had bulldozed acres of green bushland leading down the hill to the beach, and created streets and lanes, blocks of land all ready for a new estate. It’s sad to think what will happen to this quaint little village with a perfect beach when the hordes of new home-owners move in.
The day’s run went without so much of a hitch as we headed about making the finds – for the most park, basic eclipse tin or bison tube type hides, and none taking us all that long to secure the smiley. In fact, the only thing of note here was our search among a search, with the assistance of a homeless guy. Sounds legit right? Catho #3 turned out to be reministent of my previous experience with An Expensive Geocache … Not the keys to the new car! Yep, you guessed it – as I crawled in and around the bushes at GZ looking for the cache the car key slipped out of my pocket. The search for the cache was instantly put aside and a hunt for my keys ensued…. And as we were doing this the resident of the tent set up right next to GZ arrived “home”, asking if we had found “it” yet – explaining we didn’t care so much about the cache anymore, he jumped up and knuckled in with us, and it was the friendly gent who came up trumps with the keys. Thanking him, he returned to his tent, and we returned our attention to the cache – not long after uncovering it. So this was yet another lesson learnt for me – being that both times the key went missing on a cache hunt I was wearing the same pants, said pants have been banned from further caching.
26th November 2016 (Copacabana/MacMasters Beach, Central Coast, NSW)
Finds: 3 (#1353-1355)
A day at home with geo-kids was driving us all a little batty, so I suggested to the girls we could head out and see if we could find a couple of caches. I knew there were several ‘new’ caches over towards Copacabana and MacMasters Beach that I had deliberately ignored, in the hope I could build up a few local caches so when the urge strikes there is an option closer to home. So when my urge struck, and the girls jumped at the idea, we headed that direction. A quick detour on the way took us to Wharf Reserve on the edge of Brisbane Water…. a bit of a play on the rocks at low tide, and then back up to the entry gate to make the quick find. From there we headed down to Copa, and made another quick find of a nano behind a sign on the beach viewing platform. My plan was that we would then wander down along the beach from end to end, collecting the 4 caches along the way, but the geo-kids quickly poo-pooed this idea, so it was back to the car to drive around to the next location at MacMasters Beach/Copacobana Lagoon. Summer quickly located the decent sized container here, where they were able to swap some SWAG, and with that, they were satisfied and actively discouraged me from heading to the next cache in line. Oh well, 3 is better than none.
Cache Owner Business
Total Active Hides: 28 (+1 currently disabled; +2 awaiting review)
Over the past few weeks I’ve also popped by some of my active caches and performed maintenance where needed – a couple needed components to be replaced, but mostly it was just a systematic check-up…. And as I went through my hides I decided a couple had past their expiration date and sent them to the archives. So I was left with only one cache still disabled, waiting on parts, and had checked on the status of all the others – and then the bug hit me. Time for new caches! I have had my eye on a chunk of bushland I pass by on a regular basis, and often wondered why there was no cache there…. so that’s where I decided to focus my attention this time. There is enough space in the location for more than a single cache, so I had in mind a bit of a series, but in the end I just bit the bullet one day and took with me a couple of ready made, un-themed containers. Heading off for a bit of an exploration bushwalk, caches in hand, I discovered what i assumed i would find – a tremendous view worthy of highlighting. So the first cache was placed. Wandering further afield, following a bit of a bush track/fire trail I spotted a rock along the way… with cache sized holes in it! Checking the distance from the first and finding I was about 200m away I got a little more excited than one normally would over a rock. Cache 2 in place.
Back at home all that was left to do was write up the cache descriptions…. but because I usually choose some sort of theme, or particular place to highlight I normally have plenty to write about/describe on the cache page – this time it was a little different because I had placed the caches without any forethought as to the listing. After a bit of internal debate, I decided to make one a traditional, and the other a reasonably simple puzzle. I’ve been wanting to create a logic puzzle (aka Einstein or Zebra puzzle) for a while, but I simply couldnt be bothered this time round, and decided instead to present a simple encoded message. A little bit of googling about the area and I had some info to pan out the listing for the traditional, and before I knew it Harmony Hill and The Ridgeway were born (not yet published at the time of this post)