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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day to me!

Who doesn't love Valentine's Day? Kick back, enjoy yourself, find some sounds perfect! My sweetie had to work, so I got to go out and play with the lil hippies for a bit.

A little pre-Valentine's fun on Tuesday allowed me to avenge a previous DNF, grab a couple more caches and sign in on the State Name Challenge. The day itself brought two unique and exciting finds. First, I managed to make the trek out and grab the last of the Cacher's Playground traditionals in Mt. Vernon. Secondly, and more importantly though I was able to get my hippie scribble into The Corps of Discovery thanks to the help of the caching monkey himself, lagrac! I've been following this traveling cache for over a year and a half as it made its way around the country. During my vacation out to Portland, I missed seeing it in Ornith's hands by about a week and then saw that it had broken trail back into MO and IA. These are such cool caches and I really wish that the majority of them hadn't been shut down. Hopefully, I'll cross paths with Lewis & Clark again in the future!

Our post-Valentine fun saw the boys and I spending an entire Saturday following in the footsteps of zuma!, Kspud & TeamHoneybunnies as we cached through NE Illinois and SE Wisconsin working on several different challenges. This may have been the first in a series of Super Challenge Caching Saturdays that we partake in. Progress was made on the Cheesy Well-Rounded, Unique Natural Features, Cheesy Four Corners, Population Center & Quad Fizzy challenges. I also managed to make stops to grab the finals for GC43K79 & GC266J4.

Now it's time to finish up my list for our ski trip up to White Cap Mountain, where I hope to finish up almost all of my remaining Wisconsin counties and DeLorme pages. Four days of caching the Northwoods are on tap, with an extensive list of LCG, challenge & high terrain caches to enjoy. Look forward to an in-depth, play-by-play of the weekend when we get back!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Firefighting on the Kiel River

Having received an invitation from Sevencards to join him in hunting down the 'Firefighter' series along the Kiel River, I started to make my plans. Luckily, the lil hippies would stay safe and sound at home with their mom. This gave me the opportunity to leave Madison at about 4AM and take a long, convoluted path to Kiel. Along the way, I managed to find caches for; WI Falling Waters Challenge, WI Population Center Challenge, Triple Fizzy, Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher, WI County Challenge, WI DeLorme Challenge & 4x Grid-Filler's Delight. By the end of the day, there were twenty-three smilies along with sixty-plus LCG points.

My first stop of the morning was Oshkosh, where all I needed was a multicache to complete part of the Population Center Challenge. Luckily for me, WWII Veteran's Memorial was a simple PNG multi that I had no trouble with in the pre-dawn darkness. A quick glance at the clock showed me I was still on pace as I headed to Appleton. My goal here was to grab another multi (fail) and GC18TW6 to fill in a spot on the Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher (success)! Pulling into the neighborhood a little after 6AM, I was nervous about finding the cache in the snow and darkness. Lady luck was on my side though as the first spot I started to clear rewarded me with the sound of a stick hitting plastic. Quickly got back on the road, happily putting that mindbending puzzle behind me. Now it was on to Green Bay, where I had a quick multi and puzzle lined up along my route.

It was at this point, after completing my Population Center goals, that I had to tempt fate and detour northeast in an effort to add Door & Kewaunee counties as well as grabbing another DeLorme page. In the end, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to complete them as I don't often get to that part of the state. The Door County cache proved no problem, but on the way to Kiel via Luxemburg the ice and snow were making finding a cache difficult. In the end, it was a WSQ that saved the day and got me back on the road. At this point, Google Maps was telling me that I'd be 15-30 minutes late for our meetup, but nothing to do for it but drive. As luck would have it, I pulled up to the Kiel River parking before everyone else and found Barry & Val of sweetlife getting ready to head out.

We decided to join forces and tackle the river together once Sevencards, ruff54 & polish cutie arrived. In the meantime, we walked over to Patrick Star and did a little ninja monkeying while we waited. Turned out the cache was archived, apparently right after I had loaded it. The container was still there and it was a fun warmup for the two mile plus hike down the frozen river. It also finished up the 2/4.5 spot on my Quad Fizzy Challenge, which was a bonus. Our gang headed down the river, eventually meeting mjlambert while signing in at Axe #6, and completing my Triple Fizzy at the next cache Rescue Squad #7. #7-10 are all on the LCG list, which netted us all fifty points for our effort. On the way back up the river, we ran into tc54915, neonride93 & lakefly85 on their way out.

After going our seperate ways, Sevencards, ruff54, polish cutie and myself headed up to Manitowoc in order to try and find GCGXCE. We couldn't find an approach for WP2 on that one, but did manage to find a waterfall cache on the way over so it wasn't a complete loss. With our DNF, the rest of the group called it a day and I headed over towards Appleton again to grab a couple more puzzles. I couldn't bring myself to climb GC1DRME, but did grab several of the nearby Iconoclast puzzles as well as GC12DAD for the Cheesy Well-Rounded Cacher Challenge. I also ran into Lacknothing while out on the trail here which was a pleasant surprise.

All in all it was a great day spent walking frozen water and monkeying my way up some pretty incredible trees. I even managed to avoid injury until my very last stop, a PNG TB Hotel where I managed to slip on snow covered ice getting out of the car and smash my elbow. I also borderline froze my hand as it tingled and hurt for the two hour drive home. All's well that ends well and this day ended pretty well for me spending some time with the boys before hitting bed. Spent 14 1/2 hours out driving 600 miles to get 23 caches for a half dozen different challenge I'm working on. It doesn't get much better than that!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wet Maze for Lacknothing's 10K!

Wow what a weekend this turned out to be; enjoyed the company of friends to celebrate a major milestone, the LCG event came and went, and puzzle caching R&R style. Even though we only ended up with 10 caches total, they were some really good ones and they all have some lasting memories to go with them.

Saturday started off on a great note, as after three years of working on it we finally grabbed the last cache needed for the WRR Challenge. Plans were made to meet up with Lacknothing and some others in order to celebrate their 10,000th find at Wet Maze 2.300, but WRR 72 was a mere 13 miles north and I couldn't pass it up. Since we were running a little early, I figured that we should cruise by and see if the road was plowed. I was a bit nervous of what we would find and visions of hiking the 1.5 miles down to the cache were haunting me. A stroke of good fortune showed itself and the road was plowed all the way to GZ. As we got closer, I spotted another van pulled off the road near where I though GZ would be. This is just too weird, it has to be a geocacher. Sure enough, it turned out to be redwingrr, and Sue was also headed to the maze so after chatting and signing in we headed down together.

This turned out to be my second lucky break of the day since upon arrival, I found out that she had talked to the guests of honor and that they were running late. Never fear, there are plenty of caches in the area, so we decided to head nearby and grab one of the Room 2 Roam caches. It was nice to take a leisurely walk through a nice natural area and find a big old cache at the end. It took just enough time to get back to Gallagher Marsh and pull in behind Lacknothing & Hitwoman. After a quick chat with the CO (JimandLinda), we headed into the marsh confident we would have the coordinates to tackle the wet maze soon.

Finally, the epic journey to 10000 began. Slowly but surely we (Lacknothing, Hitwoman, redwingrr & myself) began following that addictive little arrow. We were joking that the terrain wasn't that bad as we walked through a farmer's field only to hit a ditch and sink up to our waists. Then it was into the frozen cattails, almost a half mile of them. One step we be up on top of the snow and the next we would break through and sink a couple of feet. Onward we headed until finally we got down under a tenth and GZ appeared to be a spot somewhere in the cattails. No beacon, nothing to draw us in. Oh well, let's go! Once we arrived at GZ, a quick find was made and a lot of celebrating and photo taking ensued. A great big congratulations to Lacknothing for making it to 10,000 finds, very impressive!

After our adventure, it was off to the WGA Lonely Cache event at Horicon Marsh Nature Center. We had a great time chatting with friends from around the state and taking in some of the beautiful sights and cool stuff at the center. The boys enjoyed snacks and playing with the other kids and then passed out on our ride home.

Sunday dawned freezing cold, but I was bound and determined that today was the day we would conquer Tour Le Lac, and I'll be damned if I didn't make it happen. We hit the ice and made short work of the first couple of waypoints, but after about 3/4 of a mile, the boys were cold and unhappy and we still had quite a long way to go. I was pretty disappointed to have to call it on this adventure, but luckily with a little common sense and ingenuity, we were able to drive near enough to finish off the waypoints and calculate out a workable final GZ. I'll admit to a fair bit of trepidation as I headed there, but thankfully after a quick search, the find was made. Unfortunately, the code numbers for the Tricachelon final were not in the container so now I have to try and track them down. A couple of other Renzo and Rocky puzzles around town made it a perfect day.

Also this weekend, I received an invitation to join a group (Sevencards, ruff54 & Youngins3) in tackling the Kiel River Firefighter series this upcoming weekend. I've begun planning out a route and looking at caches that will help me finish off some of those challenges out there. I can't wait, should be a blast!