Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2016 - Black Bear, Madeline Island, La Pointe, WI

While camping on Madeline Island over Memorial Day weekend, I was out running solo for some early morning geocaching. I had a black bear sighting that I managed to capture on film. Normally the only part of a bear you'll see is the rump as bear is running away the other direction. But what you don't see in this photograph are mama bear's three cubs 30' up the tree. She wasn't going anywhere.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2016 - Batería Costera J-4, Cabo Silleiro, Baiona, Spain

One of the most memorable moments on our Spanish adventure was when we spent the day geocaching and urban exploring with a small group of local Spaniards. Located near Baiona, Spain, we explored Batería Costera J-4, Cabo Silleiro, or better known as, the Coastal Battery J-4, located near the Cape of Silleiro. I could find little history of Battery J-4, but it was built in the 1940's following the Spanish Civil War. There are four cannons still in place today that are connected by over 200 meters of underground tunnels and rooms. Our Spanish guide took us on a dangerous tour of the underground, leading us through dark passages, up and down rusted ladders within cramped chutes, across floors that were missing their bottoms in some spots, to each of the four gun mounts. I experienced anxiety during most of the tour and was wildly overjoyed that Nene, without question or fear, completed the journey too.

For my geocaching friends, we completed two high star geocaches while exploring these military remains. They were El túnel del pánico (GC3AMAB) and Medal Of Honor - Bunker 1 (GC44RMQ). Both geocaches deserve favorite points. I want to personally thank Abri Abi Alonso (A3sound) and Tuxa Ana Paula Afonso for the wonderful experience.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 8th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 29th, 2015 and like every preceding event, was more successful than the last. For the eighth consecutive year in a row, the weather cooperated and was perfect.

The event is annually held at Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, which is located about four miles south of Miesville, MN and six miles northeast of Cannon Falls, MN. The majority of geocachers paddle the Cannon River from Cannon Falls to the Miesville Ravine landing, which is  a 6.7 mile gorgeous stretch of the river. Some geocachers biked the Cannon Valley Trail and others just stopped in for the picnic.

I would like to thank the following:

  • My daughter Molly and boyfriend for manning the picnic shelter while everyone was on the water.
  • Doublemoose for personally carrying the cold beverages on the water and keeping them nearby.
  • Those that provided door prizes.
  • And especially thank you to all of whom attended this event. Without you all it just wouldn't be as much fun to be on the river.

Final attendance numbers as of September 8th, 2015:

  • There were 45 RSVPs.
  • 51 have logged the event Attended.
  • 68 signatures were listed on the written log.
  • Physical headcount during the picnic was in excess of 65 attendees if you count infants and canines.
  • 5 dozen ears of sweet corn served along with a pound and a half of butter.
  • In years past, we've filled the two trash barrels provided by the park. This year, we hauled out two of our own trash barrels leaving the park with only a minimal amount of cleanup.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Black Bear, Missoula, MT

While on the long drive home from the Pacific Northwest, we stopped for a geocache just a few miles west of Missoula, MT. We were reaching into a culvert to grab a large sized geocache, 10 Years (GC27Z8M), when we were welcomed by an adolescent black bear. The critter didn't seem dangerous but paced back and forth waiting for us to leave.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Hiking the Mountains of Idaho, Pocatello, ID

We stopped for a short but brutally steep hike in the mountains just on the outskirts southwest of Pocatello, ID. Our goal was to find the second oldest geocache in Idaho. We had to crawl to the top of a small sunflower covered mountain top in order to score the find.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Paddling Lake Calhoun, MInneapolis, MN

I can't think of a better way to enjoy life than to merge my passion for geocaching with my love for paddling. I was joined today by a few dozen paddling geocachers for Minnesota's first ever flotilla style geocaching event. We all gathered flash-mob style in the middle of Lake Calhoun. The early morning weather started out a bit rainy but by event time, it had dried up enough to allow us to get out on the water. Following the event, we managed to locate the local sea serpent skulking around Lake Calhoun's western shore.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Anatomy of a Ravaged Geocache

Back in October 2013 in preparation for the MNGCA Fall Event, I hid an Arduino driven gadget geocache named Thanks Alfred (GC3F7F6), The gadget was an audible puzzle and required you to listen to a message in Morse Code. The decoded message led the seeker to the final stage of the geocache.

Apparently someone felt threatened by the cache or had a problem with it as within 5 days, the well hidden gadget had went missing. I suspected foul play by one of our own in the game but with most incidents like this, it was pure speculation and couldn't be proven. I more or less wrote off the $55 gadget as being gone forever. That was until April 11th, 2015, almost a year and a half later, when geocacher Bubbles&Bonkers emailed me to let me know she found the gadget floating in the nearby lake. It's still not proof. But the fact that the gadget ended up in the lake rather than being taken from the woods leads me to believe it truly was another disgruntled geocacher. If true, how sad.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2015 - Fire and Ice Named Geocaching.com Geocache of the Week

My geocache Fire and Ice (GC4TXB2) has been named by Geocaching.com's BLOG as the first Geocache of the Week for 2015. It only has 51 finds since publication on July 27th, 2014 but it has 36 favorites with a favorite rating of 92%. It's always nice to get a bit of recognition for a fun geocache, particularly since I wasn't expecting anything. But for me, the best part of the game is watching others enjoy the geocache and reading the logs of their experience.

Click here to read more about the construction of this geocache.


2015 - Sitting on a Spider (GC4113)

I was perusing the geocaching maps prior to a family trip down to Kansas to visit Jane and family. One cache in particular that caught my eye was Sitting on a Spider (GC4113), by barondriver. This cache stood out because it has all of the elements in a cache that I look for; it's an oldie, it is rated a 5/5, and it looked like it requires a bit of persistence and ingenuity. The only drawback to the cache is that it is located just south of Wichita, KS, which is just over 200 miles from where we were staying in Lansing, KS. Like Nene always says, since when does distance ever stop me from finding a cache? So Jane, Dan, and I headed south to try and score the find.

I had a couple of months in advance to think about how to get at this cache. I own climbing gear but anchoring and my inexperience could be a problem. The next best idea was a couple of ropes, a grappling hook, and a magnetic device, hoping for the best. The idea of bringing a ladder seemed like cheating so I put it to the back of my mind as a possible secondary idea.

Dan was the star at tossing the grappling hook but unfortunately, after a few attempts the ropes got tangled within the protruding bolts up top. My idea of using the grappling hook was a total failure. Luckily there was a hardware store within 10 minutes drive that just happened to be open on New Years Day. I am now the proud owner of a new 28' extension ladder. But we managed to score the find.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..