Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

GC1BN9B - Lean on Me

     This was the second geocache of the day, and second geocache ever for ben4377. This time he actually found it first, however not before some poor navigation. You see, to avoid the mistake that I made on my first geocache, I decided that ben4377 won't use the GPS. This was his second one though, and I decided to give him a shot at navigating. In the city however, it can be complicated. We knew there was a bridge up ahead, and we were walking along Ellesmere to our destination. Ben had already tried to lead us astray up some other road, but he said we were 700 meters away, so I knew it couldn't possibly be up that road. I don't have any fancy map system in my GPS so it really just shows the major highways and super important roads. This meant that we couldn't just look at that GPS to figure out where we were. I told Ben to make sure that the cache was directly north of us before we leave Ellesmere to avoid being on the wrong side of the bridge. That didn't happen. 
      Ben took us off the road into a forested area. There was a nice steep ravine with a river running at the bottom of it. So BBB and I asked our navigator where we need to go, and he told us that the cache is probably down on the river bed. We descended the hill and came to the river bed, and I ask which way now. Ben stood with a confused look on his face, and I thought "uh oh." Taking the GPS from him I could tell the cache was on the other side of the river. Now technically, we could have climbed back up, walked to Ellesmere, cross the bridge where there was most likely a nice entrance. In the city though, wilderness adventures aren't too easy to come by, so we decided to take this as an opportunity for an adventure. We found a semi-decent spot, and we were gonna jump the river. BBB made it across pretty ok, however I made a little splash as I jumped over. Ben however, although his jump was good, didn't quite make it across. Luckily though, his jump was the only one caught on video! 

After this is was fairly easy to find. Although the smell of sewage was pretty nasty, it wasn't bad enough to make us turn back. Ben actually found this one first, so congrats to him. It was in a metal ammo can, which I thought was super cool until I realized that they are actually a pretty common. It was really fun to find, a great adventure.

GC1ECPZ - Rootin Tootin

      The Beginning of Ben4377.
       A friend from church has gotten me into fishing. You would think that growing up in Nova Scotia I would be a pro fisherman.... but I never went seriously fishing before in my life. When I was a kid I went to a camp with my family where I would throw a string with a piece of hot dog on the end into the water, but I never caught anything, and that's the closest I ever came. However these past few weeks I have gone fishing a couple times with my friend. So myself, bigbangboy, and ben4377 (before he was ben4377) had planned out a nice relaxing day of fishing, and we were excited. The only problem, our ride bailed on us at literally the last second. I wasn't too upset because stuff happens. I've had to bail on people before. However now we were left standing at Tim Horton's at 6:30 am, geared up for fishing, but nothing to do. 
       BBB basically saved the day. I had been wanting to go geocaching again for a little while now, but at this moment in time (probably due to the fact I was awake so early, didn't think of it. BB suggested we go geocaching. Ben4377 had never done it before, so I decided it had to be done. he was close to coming with us one time, but we had to wait for BBB so ben ended up having to go to work. 
       This time there was no excuse. We sneaked into my apartment taking ridiculous care to not wake up my wife, and looked up some geocaches that were close. We realized that because it was so early we literally had the WHOLE day. We chose three, and one was a multi-cache. This would the be biggest geocaching day since my first day, and it would involve my first multi-cache (that will come in a later post). 
        Ben4377 was skeptical. Those of you who read our first couple blog posts (linked in the "About us" page) know that I related to this skepticism very well. I assured him he wouldn't be disappointed. 
         Taking the bus down Kennedy ave we went a few stops to far, which ended up being a blessing in disguise. When we got off the bus it was time to fire up the GPS. I pulled it out and pressed the on button... nothing happened. Confused I thought to myself, good thing I brought spare batteries. Opening up the back I realized there were no batteries in there anyways (I quickly remembered needing batteries in my xbox controller a while ago), so thought it was really great I brought extra batteries. Plugged in my new batteries, and was ready to plug in the coordinates. Nothing happened again. Somehow in grabbing batteries... I grabbed two dead batteries. Fail. This is where getting off a few stops too far was a blessing in disguise. First of all, it was a nice walk back up Kennedy looking for the cache, but most of all, we got off right in front of a shoppers drugmart. We ran in to buy some new batteries. 
          This time we were actually ready to go, and we marched up Kennedy finally finding the parkish area that the GPS was telling us we were headed too. I walked until it said I was within 2 meters of it with a 2 meter possibility of error, and we decided to search. It was actually a difficult search. The difficulty rating was only 1 star, but I think it should have been more like 2 or 2.5. We searched and searched and searched. Ben4377 wasn't impressed. We had a hard time finding it. Then I remember my first cache. There is usually a hint within the name. Rootin Tootin is probably near a root of a tree, or something that makes noise, and there didn't seem to be anything there that made noise, so I looked around the roots. Within a few minutes I was looking at the cache. Just before I yelled out to my loyal team mates, I remembered that BBB said we should let ben4377 find it first. I quickly covered back over, whipped out my blackberry, and text BBB, "I found it." By the time he checked his message I was too far away to give off any hints to its location. 
          BBB came to me for hints, but the best I would do is show him where the GPS said we were within 10 feet. He dug around, and ben4377 came over to look around as well. I reminded them that often times there are clues in the title, so to think about the title. I kept having to stress to ben4377 to not be afraid to crawl on the ground. We haven't done any hard core caches yet, but some of the ones we do still involve getting dirty. I looked up to see BBB kicking over some rocks to discover the cache. He looked over and smiled, and then all we had to do was wait for ben4377 to discover it. 
       It took so long. We couldn't convince to crawl under the trees, or to move around brush and rocks enough. He might give them a little push, or something, but never too much. Finally, after giving the most obvious hint we could think of (which I won't explain here in an attempt to avoid spoilers) he kicked the ground, and discovered the cache.
       "the rookie found it" I yelled to BBB. We didn't tell him that we had known where it was for almost 10 minutes by now. To this day he still doesn't know that he wasn't actually the first to find it that day, however I assume he will read this soon enough :). But this is the story of ben4377's first cache. We did two more caches after this one, and later that day, after the idea of chazowntrekerz came up, he went home to make an account with the name ben4377. Now, only more adventures lie ahead. 

ben4377 searching for "Rootin Tootin"

BigBangBoy (BBB) wondering where the cache could be

GC1Y3K6 - GCMY31 - Inspired

       This is it. The caches that got me hooked. Shortly after finding "Reflections" we piled into the van and off we went to find two more caches. Still skeptical at the start of this journey, but this time I got to use the GPS. I don't know what it is about technology, but put it in the hands of most men, and anything is fun. "Oakey Pokey" was what we were searching for, and I had a blast watching the GPS as it told us we were getting close, how far off track we were. Even the speed we were walking and how long it would take us to reach our destination. I have had experience with GPS before, but it was minimal, and someone else mostly did all the work, so it was fun to get out there and actually be the one looking at the GPS.
       The GPS also had an effect I didn't quite expect though. Although I was skeptical that geocaching was AS amazing as they were saying, I have always loved the outdoors. I loved being outside in nature, feeling the breeze, getting fresh air; not to mention I always felt great after exercise, even if it was just a nice walk. However I didn't notice anything around at the time. I was fascinated by this GPS, that my love for the ocean was pushed aside and I didn't even notice the beautiful water just 30 feet ahead of us, or the gorgeous island lighthouse out in the water.
         We found "Oakey Pokey," in a stand of Oak trees with rose bushes around it (I began to understand that usually the names have something to do with where it is hidden). My wife found it actually. We opened it up and began to go through its contents. As we opened it up I had this incredible sense of accomplishment (and that's a feeling I love!), and when we began to go through the cache I felt this weird... connection. I read in the log book of all the people who had been there before, and looked at all the things they had left behind. It was so cool! There was a trackable in there too. Super Sheep. I still have it, waiting to put it in a cache that's on my "would love to do" list. My father in law explained that when we get back, I can check out Super Sheep's mission, and where it had been before coming to Bristish Columbia. I was so excited. Then... we sat. There were rocks by the water, and we sat and looked out at the ocean I had ignored on my way up. I sat and thought about the glory of God, how beautiful the world is and how so many people don't take the time to enjoy its beauty. So many people even abuse it's beauty.
        Our next cache to find was "Tower Point:" and I wasn't going to make the same mistake I did before. The GPS was cool, but I was going to take in every moment. I wanted to look at every tree, smell every breeze, look for seals in the water. I wanted to do it as much as I wanted to find "Tower Point." It wasn't just a bunch of people looking for silly treasures in the forest, it was people across the world, from every culture, looking to explore the beauty of the world we live, and I was excited. In "Tower Point" we found the trackable "Travel Sudoku." I knew I would find some nice places for them in Toronto.
         By the time I got home I had a plan to buy a GPS as soon as I returned to Toronto. I wanted to get started as soon as possible, and I wanted to tell everyone that they MUST go geocaching.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

GC12BCF - My first Geocache

         This is sampson028. As the leader of our fantastic team I will most likely be doing most of the posts, and most on our team were introduced to geo-caching by myself. For that reason I would like to take some time. I first was introduced to geocaching while vacationing on the west coast. My father-in-law had some travel bugs sitting around and I tend to be a pretty curious person, so I inquired as to what they were. He explained that the code on them relates to a site, where I can track it as geocachers pick it up, and trade it for other trackables, and it moves across the world. At this point I had to ask "what's a geocache?"
         His explanation didn't excite me to much. It sounded like that guy everyone thought was crazy from that movie "National Treasure."
         The cache "Reflections is actually just a few minute walk from their house, and they were aware this cache was there. My skepticism lingered however I decided to go along with it and find the cache. It was a micro-cache, and it didn't impress me much. However when I finally stopped focusing on the geocache and stopped to look around, I realized that it was such a beautiful spot. It was a view I had seen often because we had to drive by it to go to their house, but seeing something when you are driving by, and actually getting out, standing on the side of the road and looking is a completely different thing. It was such a beautiful spot. I grew up in Nova Scotia, and it had a great view of the ocean, which I haven't really seen since moving to Toronto. Lake Ontario is close, but it's not the Ocean. It was beautiful.
         I was still skeptical, but I really enjoyed the experience. It wasn't until the next two caches that I really caught the excitement of geocaching. I'll write about it in my next post, and soon enough I'll get to some of my most recent adventures! Good luck with your finds!
         Sampson028 and the Chazowntrekerz.