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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Robert O Cook Challenge


This was a great challenge cache and I really enjoyed spending the day working on it. My wife agreed to keep the boys at home with her, which allowed me to tackle some of these caches. I arrived at the arboretum just about 9:30AM and started off the day with a couple of easier caches near the beginning of the forest. As I slowly made my way north, I picked up a few more caches. My hope for the day was to grab a couple of caches and at least find and sign the challenge cache so that when I completed the challenge I wouldn't have to go back for that one. This time of year is definitely the best time to tackle these. Today was absolutely beautiful, making the several hours of hiking bearable. It's late enough in the year that most of the undergrowth is gone and the tree cover is gone so my GPSr was able to settle pretty easily. Still there were an over-abundance of thorns near almost every GZ I approached.

By about 10:30-11AM, I finally made it towards the back of the park and had to make my water crossing if I wanted the final and the couple of other caches back there. While I was crossing over, I saw that I was fairly close to Smashing Ground's Cache of the Month winner, Just Listen. I was in a hurry to get out to the challenge cache and my GPSr wouldn't settle, so I figured that I didn't need this one and I'd just swing back later. If you end up out in the area, don't skip this cache it definitely deserves the CotM win. I did manage to come back and eventually make this find after grabbing a couple of others. However, in all this I missed completely one of the caches and when I finally realized it, I was almost a mile away and didn't really feel like hiking back, making another two water crossings and hunt for this one. Oh well, next time!

Around lunchtime, I got a call from my wife and decided to start heading back to the car and make my way home. As I wandered back grabbing caches I realized that I had found almost every cache in the park. Finally back to the car and the final tally was 18 finds, 1 DNF, 1 unsolved puzzle, 1 cache I missed and 1 cache at the entrance that I was too tired and lazy to stop and look for when I left. A pretty good day for me all in all. As I headed back towards Madison, I got ahold of a caching friend who was going to take a geocoin over to England for me.

It turned out that mxmarg was out along the Glacial Drumlin Trail working on the America the Beautiful series with mesman, legoboy13 and their family. So I ended up jogging down the trail until I met up with them and then hiking back to my car and grabbing six more AtB caches along the way. The Racing Yorkshire Geocoin Kevw is heading back home to England care of mxmarg! Thanks again for the lift. At the end of the day, I had managed 24 caches with only one DNF, met some new geocachers and managed to get a coin on its way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stumbling upon letterboxes!?

So curiously, in the last week or so, we have stumbled upon letterboxes while searching for nearby geocaches. I thought it was a little odd that this would happen, but I guess there isn't anything stopping people that do both from placing them on top of each other. What do you guys think of this? Let me know!

The first one we found was while doing the Wherigo cache, Joey of Warner Park GC1ZFNY. When I was about 60 feet from GZ, I spotted what looked like a muggled cache in a tree stump. The bag and log as well as some other bits of junk were strewn about. When I looked at the logbook, on the cover it stated that it was a letterbox and who the owners were. I sent an email and it appears that this letterbox may have been muggled quite some time ago (and dumped in the woods?)

Then a couple of days later when working through Two Ponds GC10E7E, a very nice multicache, found a second letterbox. Once I arrived at GZ, I found the cache container lying out in the open. I signed the log, grabbed a geocoin and placed it back hidden much better. Then I spotted a camo lock and lock, looked inside and it's a letterbox. It was literally sitting less than a foot away from the cache.

Personally, I think this is a bad situation because people that are searching for the letterbox may muggle or destroy the geocache or leave it unconcealed. I hope that maybe at some point, the powers that be of these two activities can make some sort of arrangements to avoid situations like this. Based on what I saw in the two letterboxes that I've found, I'm glad that I'm a geocacher!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 - And we're back!

Sorry everyone for the long absence, this summer has been crazy busy and everything just kind of got away from me. There's been so much to talk about; Cache Ba$h, caching vacation along the North Shore of Superior, milestones, WGA Picnic, challenges & series, pathtags it just goes on and on. I will try to post again soon about some of the aforementioned topics, but this post will be dedicated to our fun caching weekend.

Recently, I've started working on filling in my geocaching blackout more seriously. In the last week, I've managed to grab 8 new D/T combinations while hitting some amazing cache locations. There was a trip to Magnolia Bluff Park, Devil's Lake & an unexpected run-in with a geobuddy in downtown Madison. Magnolia Bluff is one of the oldest caches near my home location, it was placed 4/8/01 and was a near perfect experience. We collected a handful of caches on the way to the park, including finishing up the WSQ B&B Series, and then had a lovely hike on a beautiful day to this historic cache. An ammo box in the woods is one of the best feelings you can get. To make it even better, I found a TB that was listed as missing in the cache - back on the road Tisha Chicken (TB33QEC)

Saturday included a trip to Devil's Lake with the geo-monkey pirates, hikingmonkey (my wife), FoxSpeed (sister-in-law) & tennis pro (father-in-law & wife). We spent an absolutely gorgeous fall day hiking, picnicing & geocaching around the park. Even though I only hit 4 caches there, 3 of them were new D/T combos and we rescued 2 geocoins from the black hole of missing trackables that is Devil's Lake. One of the caches we did was the EarthCache Holes in the Devil, GC1YDTJ , on one of my favorite trails. Some of the other hikers we saw must have thought we were insane doing this with our kids, but everyone made it to the top eventually!

On Sunday, after parent/child yoga in the morning, we loaded the gang up and headed to Hartford for the 10-10-10 event. Even though I would have loved to go after some of the 20+ new caches available at the event it was not to be. We did get to enjoy the weather and some free ice cream before heading to Wauwatosa, I had to force myself to drive past many great caches that I would have loved to hit, but we were on a clock. I'm looking forward to getting back to the area to do the Return to Oz series before it is archived as well as continuing work on Battleship and Eight Tiny Reindeer.

Hope you got a chance to help set the record for number of cachers logging a cache today!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 11&12 (7/15/10 - 7/28/10)

Today the geo-monkeys and I set a personal record. We grabbed two FTFs this morning, courtesy of rcflyer2242 and wingwalkers. Since we were up early and ready to go, we headed out west of Madison and managed to pick up the two new WSQ caches. This also helped keep my cache-a-day streak alive. Our streak is currently at 37 days and going strong, which also puts me well on pace to have the Cache Ba$h in West Bend be my 200th milestone.

I'm really excited for our very first Mega event and it's local to Wisconsin. This should be a lot of fun because it falls over my birthday weekend and we have a lot of friends in the area, one of whom is letting us crash at their house. I also recently found out that an old co-worker is an avid geocacher. He also caches with his son and we are planning a couple of group outings for our families.

This week's successful trips:
161. Pay It Forward: P-38 Rider
162. WSQ Jackson Cemetery
163. WSQ County Line Cemetery
164. WSQ Fayette Cemetery
165. Willow Springs
166. Fort Definace II
167. Henry Dodge
168. WSQ Cottage Grove
169. WCQ: Don't take life for GRANTed
170. Acewood Greenway - North
171. WSQ 1st Lutheran
172. Mr-Magnet
173. WaunaCache #5
174. Stuck at the Dead End
175. Another Padawan 1n The Oven
176. Bucky's Bike Trip
177. Leopold Legacy: October
178. Harriet Park
179. Leopold Legacy: May
180. Wayward Song
181. McCache
182. Shawnee National forest - America the Beautiful
183. Cuckoo's nest
184. PIF S.T.E.D. at Camp Turkey Feathers
185. Ice, Ice, Baby

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 10 (7/8/10 - 7/14/10)

This week, the geo-pirates and I were out and about in every direction. We spent a day in McFarland clearing out a few of the caches left there, then we made a nice long road trip out to Lone Rock and Spring Green and another day was spent in Oregon picking up the caches there. Finally, there was a roadtrip down to Walworth County, which netted us another county for our challenge and a sweet Landsharkz Gecko coin to move along.

I have to take a minute to address a pet peeve of mine, logging promptly! So last Friday, we made a FTF run down to Iowa County after three new caches. After tracking down the first cache and opening the log, there were not one but two signatures on it already. So be it, but the second cache was also found by the same two teams and now on Monday (3 days later) they still haven't logged the FTF. I think that if you are going after an FTF or grabbing trackables, then it is your responsibility to log that as soon as you can. You have to know that other people go after FTFs and GC/TBs, so by not logging these timely it messes with other cachers plans and enjoyment. Grrr!

This week's successful trips:
131. TST: Pets Saving Gas
132. Vermont Pioneer Cemetary
133. Highland Oak Park
134. Playing and Laughing
135. Cedar Ridge Park
136. WRR96 - In the Valley of Nora
137. Small Town Bison - Utica
138. WSQ Ezra Holton
139. WSQ Oak Hill
140. WSQ - Dover Cemetery
141. Colorful Non-conformist
142. Western Escape
143. WSQ Cornerstone
144. WSQ Spring Green
145. Lone Rock History 2
146. WSQ Trinity Cactus
147. WSQ Button Cemetery 2
148. WSQ Unity Chapel
149. Farmer in the Dell #7
150. Hyde's Mill & the Old Mill House
151. Blue Mounds Fort - a WSQ?
152. "T"
153. WSQ Prairie Mound Cemetery North
154. WSQ Prairie Mound Cemetery South
155. A Joyous Bark in Bethel Park
156. WSQ A Tribute to my Parents
157. Gather at the Liberty Pole
158. WSQ Mt Hope
159. Do Horses Smile?
160. Nearly Batty

The Hyde's Mill virtual was a very interesting and peaceful place to spend a bit of time. I recommend you check it out if you haven't already.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 9 (7/1/10 - 7/7/10)

This last week I finally managed to get my very first FTF! Hooray, I still can't believe it. I didn't think that I would ever beat out all the FTF hounds in my area. Everything just kind of worked out for me to get there. It was a weekday and the cache was far enough from Madison that no one ran out before work but close enough that I didn't mind driving for it. Luckily, my sister is visiting from Canada and she was watching the geo-pirates for me. That let me move quickly and not have to deal with any baby issues while on the way to the cache. As I was driving there, I checked and there were no logs posted yet so might as well attempt it. I arrived at the park and there are a ton of Muggles at the pool, so I'm thinking to myself how am I going to get this cache. As it turns out, the cache was hidden in a nicely secluded area and I was able to make a relatively quick find. It felt good to grab the FTF, especially since the day before I had a run of STF because the FTF waited over 4 hours to log their finds.

I also was able to take another chunk out of the America the Beautiful series on the Glacial Drumlin Trail, I've really been enjoying them except for the mandatory blood donations to the mosquito nation. Finally, another of my friends has decided to try out geocaching and I'm pretty sure he is addicted. It's always nice to bring another Muggle to the light!

This week's successful trips:
106. Harper's Ferry Historical Park - ATB
107. Theodore Roosevelt National Park - ATB
108. Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) - ATB
109. Effigy Mounds National Monument - ATB
110. WSQ Hope Lutheran Cemetary
111. Ahuska Park Cache
112. WSQ Oak Hall
113. But I Would not feel so all alone...
114. Goeres Cache
115. Eli's River
116. Happy Birthday Rich Cache
117. Happy B-Day Chez
118. Jenni's Cache
119. Bella's Cache
120. Elliot's Treasure
121. Grassy Lake Boatlanding
122. WSQ: St John's Lutheran Cemetary
123. WSQ - North York
125. Bullseye #3
126. Jenni's Cache IV - Strength on the Prairie
127. WSQ B&B Series - Everyone's The Same
128. WSQ B&B Series - Cemetery Fun
129. Ole's Sign
130. Skybrid Cache

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 8 (6/24/10 - 6/30/10)

We had a busy caching week, finally hitting the 100 find milestone. Over the weekend, the boys and I made it to an event at Carver-Roehl Park. It was a lot of fun and even though the forecast called for thunderstorms, it was a beautiful afternoon. We got to play in the park and enjoy a barbeque along with meeting quite a few local cachers. CommanderUSN, WStemple, Bushwhacking Queen, rcflyer2242, wingwalkers, NursePat, GeoJorg, RLR x2 and The Professor of the EcoRangers were just a few of the people that we got to meet. I also managed to grab an EarthCache at Miller Park while we were in town for the Brewers & Mariners game. Afterwards, we took a detour to a TB Hotel and dropped some travelers for a vacation to the Scottish Mega Event. Thanks a ton Cache_boppin_BunnyFuFu for giving them a lift! Lastly, I managed to introduce both my little brother and sister to geocaching, we'll see how it goes. The master plan is to convert all of our family from Muggledom to caching addicts.

This week's successful trips:
79. Roads End
80. ECL720
81. CLR209
82. A Silver Box for CommanderUSN's 1000 Smileys
83. '69' Easy Dead End Cache
84. Rock and I-Beams
85. Sugar River Prairie Cache
86. WSQ Frenchtown
87. Swan Pond Kettle
88. Swan Pond
89. WSQ Bradford Cemetery
91. The Crossing
92. This Old Skavlem House
93. My First Cache - WSQ
94. HAST EarthCache: Changing Landscape
95. Return of Landsberg Center Travel Bug Hotel
96. WSQ Mt Zion Cemetery
97. Morningside PNG
98. Circle of Friendship
99. WSQ Top of the Hill
100. Kaching with Kids - Go West!
101. Hot Springs National Park - America the Beautiful
102. Grand Canyon National Park - America the Beautiful
103. Gettysburg Military Park - America the Beautiful
104. Madison's Hidden Creek Geocache!
105. Bambi is safe for another Season

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 6&7 (6/10/10 - 6/23/10)

Busy, busy the last couple of weeks but now I'm back and getting another post out. Lately, I've been moving a little further afield to hunt down caches and pick up trackables. We also managed to make it up to Roche A Cri park for a meet and greet event, which was a great time. Meeting all of our fellow cachers was quite a bit of fun and helpful to talk tips and tricks with more experienced cachers. Over Father's Day, I got to meet and spend a day visiting caches with rcflyer2242 and wingwalkers. They were nice enough to show me around McFarland so that I could pickup some caches there.

So this coming weekend, the boys and I are going to try and make it to the HAPPY HOLLOW event, GC25D9A, to meet some of our neighbors in the south of the state. It will be fun to get down to the park since I grew up in the area and haven't been back for quite a few years. Hopefully, we can manage to pickup some caches along the way and make a nice day of it.

Lastly, I managed to work it out so that one of the TBs that I had picked up could hitch a ride close to its goal. The Armadillo is on its way to Texas within the next month or so. So long buddy, enjoy your new home wherever that may be.

This week's successful trips:
42. WRR 035 - Serns Road
43. WSQ Otter Creek Cemetery
44. Milton VFW Post 9403 Becker-Godfrey
45. WSQ Hidden Markers
46. CFD
47. WSQ: Hauge Cemetary
48. WSQ Liberty Prairie
49. Gettin Jiggysaw Squares With It
50. Meet and Greet at the Park
51. Wedding Annivers-a-cri
52. Do You Feel Lucky?
53. The Critter Chronicles: Twin Towers Mark the Path
54. WSQ: Calvary Cemetary
55. Park and Grab It
56. Quick dead end in Madison #2
57. WSQ Evergreen Cemetery
58. My Turn
59. WSQ: Albion Prairie Cemetary
60. Geocacher's Race
61. Kaching With Kids - A Governor to Remember
62. VP: West
63. WSQ St Andrew
64. Hometown USA
65. VP: Kay
66. Hawk Ridge
67. WSQ: Kingsley
68. Curly, Curly Tail
69. Junction Ridge
70. Something is out of place
71. Welcome to McFarland
72. Going Back to School?
73. On the deer trail
74. Troop 53 Eagle Project
75. I hear the train a comming
76. Crab apple fall out
77. Bring Your Kit
78. Old Carriage Road

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meet & Greet and interesting TB travels!

Over the weekend, the geo-pirates and myself headed up to Roche A Cri park for the meet and greet; GC28DYW. This event marked our 50th cache in just over a month of caching and I'd like to thank baconbaits and LNJ Browning for putting it on. I was pleasantly surprised that the boys were both content and well-behaved even after our long car ride. The only downside to all this was that I wasn't able to hit any caches on the way up to the event, but I wasn't too worried since there are a few in the park and I was sure to grab some of them while visiting. Maybe I'm overly optimistic, maybe I carry unrealistic expectations I don't know. What I do know is this, by the time we were done eating and visiting and ready to "hike" as Liam calls geocaching, the boys were exhausted and I only managed to grab the cache that was about 150 feet from where the event was held. Oh well, just an excuse to come back again.

It was great to get a chance to meet so many different cachers and share stories, ideas & trackables. Liam the lil monkey got to spend time at the "Monkey table" with monkeyman81 and Firemonkee. He also got a critter nano to place from Team Firemonkee, thanks so much guys! We also got to meet pis4piglet - thanks for letting me discover your travel tag, Trekkin' and birdin', 2 o'l Farts and a GPS, TJSAAVEDRA - thanks for sharing your coins, Lions Fan and 08rocklady - nice meeting cachers from my neck of the woods and thanks for holding Luke while I was getting lunch ready, and sandlanders. I enjoyed meeting the people behind the forum posts on WGA. Once we hit the road to head home, the boys both fell asleep immediately and I was able to grab several caches along the way home. You have to love PNGs when you've got the kids sleeping in the car.

MonkeyMagic: TB3G7AV and Jane the T-Rex: TB3F3K3

I ended up playing a small part in both of these item's travels and I just thought I would share it since it shows how things will always somehow work out and hopefully will teach us to look for the best in a situation.

I got ahold of Jane at the WWFM event in Beloit, WI. She is from Rockford, IL and is trying to get to MT, since I was heading NW to Madison, jack99 gave her to me to help on her travels. I got her comfortable in a cache and was watching to see how the travels went. One day I received an email saying that it had been picked up and would be moved along soon. I was thinking great, it should be interesting to see how much closer to its goal it is. Then I see that it traveled over 200 miles....SOUTH! WTF! I'm not sure if it's too hard to read and see what the TB's goal is or if people just don't care, I mean come on. This was now further south than when it started out, even though she isn't mine I was a little upset by this. Then about a week later I saw that the next people to pick her up are headed out to Geowoodstock and are planning to move her along out west. So all is well that ends well, I'm glad to see Jane heading home.

My other story is a work in progress, in regards to MonkeyMagic. He is on a trip to Australia and while at first I had thought that the best I could do was move him along across WI it now looks like he has a ride to the Mega Event in Scotland and hopefully from there to Australia. Thanks to the generosity of Cache_boppin_BunnyFuFu and with the okay of the owner, 12_monkeys, this little monkey will be on his way across the pond by the end of July. All I will need to do is make sure that the monkey makes it out to the Waukesha area before that for pickup.

I can say that it is great being a part of a coin or bug's travels and I find it completely reprehensible that so many of these go missing. I really wish that more people could either help them along or just leave them be, as it is I know myself as well as many others are unwilling to let their trackables go out since it is most probable that they will disappear shortly. I've heard a few stories of trackables resurfacing after a long peroid of time, but it just isn't worth the risk for me. I will gladly help other cacher's items on their travels and goals and truly appreciate that those folks are willing to send their items traveling so I can share in the experience.

Until next time folks, remember - don't mess with a geocacher, we know all the best places to hide a body!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 5 (6/3/10 - 6/9/10)

Been keeping busy with the geo-pirates and caching. Over the last week, I managed to work on the Big 10 Challenge series as well as starting out on the Civil War Geocoin series. The whole family also spent a beautiful afternoon down by the UW campus, including a couple of caches. The boys and I are getting in gear for the Meet and Greet at Roche-A-Cri park this weekend, it should be a lot of fun. I've never actually been up to the park and I'm looking forward to at least grabbing a couple of the caches there. Lately, I've been on a puzzle cache kick, which meant today was puzzle solving day around the house. Since it was so hot and muggy and I didn't want to burnout the kids before the all day event on Saturday, I worked on a bunch of different puzzle caches. It's always fun to bring up the page and stare blankly at it because you can't even begin to wrap your head around the puzzle that is presented to you. I'm definitely more of a logic puzzle, crossword & sudoku kind of person. Some of the puzzles I've found are going to be a challenge for many moons to come, but that's okay because it should keep me interested.

This week's successful trips:
30. Big 10 Challenge: Illinois vs. Northwestern
31. WSQ West Middleton Lutheran Church
32. Big 10 Challenge: Minnesota vs. Iowa
33. MonKey Hunt
34. Big 10 Challenge: Michigan vs. Ohio State
35. Not another Pine Tree Cache!
36. Big 10 Challenge: Purdue vs. Indiana
37. Big 10 Challenge: Wisconsin, National Champs!
38. WSQ McFarland
39. STH - William Hugh. McFarland
40. Picnic Point Cache
41. Benchmarker

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First series completed and a mystery cache to boot!

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I found my first cache is the Big 10 Challenge by Lob-E-1 and decided that it would be a nice little challenge to work on. Fast forward one week and hooray I finished up the series and now we're ready for the next one to work on.

GC1D66A was the final and my very first Mystery Cache. The series was quite a bit of fun and definitely got me hooked on mystery/puzzle caches. There were a nice mix of caches with various D/T combinations including my first multi-cache, which included an amazing hide. I appreciate that these caches forced me to increase my skills and thoughts on finding hides in several different ways.

On Saturday, I was left with the last of the clue finds and the final to finish this series. So when I arrived at the park for the last of them, I had high hopes of finishing this up quickly. Sure this one is a difficulty of 4, but come on I can do this. I had the hint, "mossy dead hollow". My GPSr bought me into a thick forested area near a streambed. SHIT! I'm looking for a camo-taped matchstick container, there are a million dead trees with moss on them here. It's hot, humid and I'm pretty sure that there are all kinds of bugs crawling around my legs and neck. The ground is slick with mud and here I am in my flip-flops and shorts. One of these days I'm going to get around to changing into my hiking shoes before I head into the woods. So while I do the drunken bee dance around and around, I'm starting to think that I may not be finishing this series after all. Peeking, poking, lifting, sweating eventually I noticed a tiny bit of white tucked inside a small hole. It's about time to get out of here, and amazingly enough no ticks. So onto the final we go, I can do this. What? I'm looking for a camo bison tube and the coordinates for GZ lead to a field. Are you kidding me, then to make it better my wife calls and tells me the baby is awake. Times up, I'll have to come back for it, when I spot it. I really can't believe it, there is a god!

Now I guess I'll need to find a new challenge, I think I might tackle the Civil War Geocoin series by rcflyer2242. Until next time, happy trails and easy caches to everyone out there. Remember, don't mess with a geocacher we know all the best places to hide a body!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 4 (5/27/10 - 6/2/10)

It's been a very busy week here for Team Hopp Geocaching. We headed out on the trails to pickup some caches and celebrate the wonderful Memorial Day weekend. We had near perfect weather just about the entire time and we managed to squeeze in a couple of grilling sessions between hitting caches around town. Since I've got the boys with me all the time, I set a challenge for myself to pickup at least 10 caches over the long weekend, I managed to surpass my goal by a bit and grabbed 21 caches during this week. Now that I've proved to myself that we can go out and get caches even with the geo-pirates, it's on to bigger and better geocaching challenges. We closed out the week of caching with a fitting Memorial Day tribute, GC16G4V Remembrance

This week's successful trips:
9. Kati and Kenzis Cache
10. MadiSUN #5 - Solar Wind
11. On Target Dead end Nano
12. WSQ Middleton Junction #2
13. Big 10 Challenge: Michigan State vs. Penn State
14. MadiSUN #3 - Edgewood College
15. MadiSUN #2 - Parking
16. MadiSUN #4 - The Heritage Center
17. Dutch Mill Park and Ride
18. Bullseye #1
19. Drinkin and Bikin: Madison Overground Series PT1
20. El Escondrijo del B├║falo Perdido
21. Bullseye #2
22. Greenway Walk
23. Is This a Dead End Cache?
24. Deming Way O.P.
25. Twin Valley Terminal Moraine
26. Pope Farm
27. CCC 1938
28. Pay It Forward: CommanderUSN
29. Remembrance

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Run of Fun

Sorry for the long delay in posting, being a full-time dad, dog walker, geocacher & blogger really eats up the free time that is available to anyone. However, we are back with a vengeance and ready to get rolling. Now that the nice weather has finally arrived, caching is kicking into high gear for Team Hopp.

So I was lucky enough to have my holiday weekend start on Thursday afternoon and last all the way through Tuesday morning. Sometimes I just love my job! To make things even better, my new GPSr that was on backorder finally arrived. I'm now the proud papa of a Garmin 60CSx, and I can honestly say that while I love my iPhone and it did allow me to start geocaching without any initial investment, I love the new GPSr even more. Out and about with the new toy in hand, I managed to pickup quite a few caches, including my very first Multi and Earth caches. My other notable achievements of the Memorial Day weekend are introducing my mother-in-law to geocaching, getting some college friends addicted to caching and bringing the wife out of retirement and back onto the trails. She's a trooper, even though she had worked a ton of hours including the entire holiday weekend, after she got home on Monday we went out and found GC1BQGR, our first Earth Cache. The park that it was located in has become our family favorite, which in my opinion is one of the best things about geocaching. We headed back out this morning and grabbed the three traditional caches within the park. Also, while out and about, we spotted the rare and elusive wild geocoin. As we stalked our way to the final cache in the park, avoiding the tick patrols endlessly searching for us, we came upon an ammo can and inside was a tiny beauty; TB2EA1G

I've also learned that an essential tool for geocaching, especially in an urban area, is a stroller loaded up with little geo-pirates. The kids are an amazing deterrent to Muggle attention. While I would normally be looked at with suspicion if I was poking around a park or play area alone, with the boys there it seems perfectly natural. If I need to check something out, I can just roll the stroller up, give the kiddos a snack and check out whatever it is that needs to be checked. Anyone that passes by just looks at the boys and smiles, completely ignoring me and my explorations. If I happen to be poking around in shrubs or trees, I can just tell them about plants or animals and people assume that you are just out teaching the kids about nature. Perfectly acceptable, now a couple of grown adults doing the same thing is a little suspicious but hey that's the world we live in. To make this weekend perfect, since tomorrow is my wife's day off we are planning a little caching roadtrip assuming that the weather cooperates. As long as I've got my family, nice weather and new caches to find I'll be a pretty content individual. Hope to see everyone out on the trails, good night!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cache Grab: Ep. 3 (5/13/10 - 5/19/10)

I'm back everyone with another installment of my Cache Grab segment. So this last week, I managed to get my first virtual cache as well as my very first event cache. I also dropped a couple of micros into the mix for the week. I have to say that heading down to the WWFM VII event was a lot of fun, even if I didn't manage to do much actual caching. Just meeting all the other area cachers and chatting a bit with them was a great way to spend a Saturday.

We are already making our plans for this week's caches, very exciting. We are going to introduce my father-in-law and his wife to geocaching this weekend and hopefully grab a couple of caches. I'm also planning a little trip north to visit a TB Hotel and dump off a couple of Bugs that I've got in my pack currently. If all goes to plan (yeah right) I'll be getting my first Earth Cache and knocking another of the Leopold Legacy series off my list. However, you never know where you'll end up so we'll just have to wait and see what next week brings.

This week's successful trips:
5. Stonefield Park Cache
6. WWFM VII: Celebration
7. Cache In Beloit
8. Hill Point Park Cache

Sunday, May 16, 2010

WWFM VII and Micro Hunting with the Boys

This weekend the kiddos and myself made the trek down to Beloit for the Worldwide Flash Mob event going on. The plan was to hit the event and then spend a little time hitting some caches in the area. Sounds great, we can handle this. Oh wait, I forgot, I have a toddler and an infant with me in the car for over an hour each way. As crazy as this seems, we managed to get packed up and on the road in time to make it to the event. Oddly enough even though Liam whined and screamed for the entire car ride to the site, once we arrived he was perfectly happy and relaxed.

The event itself was a lot of fun, it was nice to meet people, chat a bit and just enjoy the day. While we were there, we picked up a TB that needed a lift NW TB3F3K3 , can't get her quite to Montana but at least moving in the right direction. Liam was lucky enough to get a 2006 Illinois geocoin, which he is pretty excited about. He knows it's his and keeps saying "mine" when he sees it.

Once the mob dispersed, we started hiking back to the south end of Riverside Park to pickup a couple of nearby caches. Well it was not to be, the boys by this point were letting me know that they didn't have the patience or energy to watch dad stumble around looking for micro caches by the river. As a compromise, we just hiked and grabbed our first Virtual Cache, GC1ECB . I was glad to manage at least one other cache while I was in Beloit and even though we didn't manage to grab any others, we did get out and get two local micros this weekend. I know what you are thinking, only two caches in a weekend. Caching with a 2 year old and a 7 month old is definitely not as easy as one would think. It's weird, but kids just don't have the same patience and persistence when looking for a microcache. They are also very easily distracted by the ubiquitous playground structures, what are they doing in all these parks?

All in all it was a very enjoyable weekend and I'm looking forward to the next event I can make it to. In the meantime, we'll keep grabbing caches when and where we find them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Anatomy of the "Geo" Bag

I'm going to keep it short and sweet this time. So tonight I thought that I would go over the contents of our geocaching go-bag. Since we are caching with the boys, it definitely pays to be prepared. I'm excited to be heading out tomorrow morning for the World Wide Flash Mob VII event. Looking forward to meeting some of the other geocachers from southern Wisconsin.

The magic goody bag of fun: so much happy goodness for the little pirates. We've got a veritable library of field guides of plants and birds, hiking trail maps and Madison guidebooks. The kiddos never stop eating so most of my backpack is filled up with snacks; graham crackers, lara bars and dried fruit. Must have the camera in there to document our adventures. It would be a waste to visit so many beautiful areas and never get anything to remember them with. Then we've got our swag items since Liam loves trading with the stuff we find in our caches. A couple extra diapers (for emergencies) and tissues take care of hygiene issues. Lastly, we've got pen and paper for working out clues and signing all the logs we find.

Everything you need to have some fun in one convenient carryall! I can't wait to get back out on the trails and hit some caches, we'll see you all out there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Intro to Team Hopp Geocaching.

Say Hi to the team; nhopp22 (Nikki), kungfuhippie (August) and the L-Star Pirates (Luke & Liam). We've just recently taken up geocaching as a family hobby and I'm planning to use this blog to chronicle our achievements, adventures and all things geocaching. Since there are so many different aspects of the hobby, I will try to spotlight what each of us enjoy throughout. Although there are vast hordes of the unenlightened i.e. Muggles, geocaching has been around for 10 years. So if you enjoy getting out and exploring beautiful, natural locations I would recommend checking out the main geocaching website: to learn more about it. We'll see you on the trails.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Cache Grab: Ep. 1 (5/1/10-5/5/10)
So Tuesday morning, before the wife had to go to work, we set out to find our first cache. A nice, kid-friendly location that was close to home for us. After a minimal amount of time wandering through the park we achieved victory. A box full of goodies for Liam to check out. This isn't so bad, I think we're getting the hang of it. Since Wednesday is the wife's day off, we planned to spend the afternoon out hitting some caches and enjoying the weather. So off we head to walk the dogs, you know work before play and all. Well wouldn't you know it there's a cache hidden right in the neighborhood we are walking dogs in. Okay troops let's get this one. So after wandering around for quite a while and getting ready to call it quits, we meet Chuck. Chuck is a very nice elderly gentleman who pointed us in the correct direction to find our cache. That was a very well hidden micro cache. Once that was all said and done, we ended up at a nearby park for a mile and a half hike to the cache site. Along the way we lost one of Luke's socks, later recovered on the way out of the park, were buffeted by hurricane force winds, and stomped through a marshy grassland in flip-flops but ultimately the cache was located. Inside were quite a few interesting swag items as well as a couple of Travel Bugs. We left everything as it was and hiked our way back out to the car. Everyone was thoroughly exhausted, but ready for more adventures.

This week's successful trips:
1. Blackhawk Park
2. Simply Simple
3. Leopold Legacy: January

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Cache Grab: Ep. 2 (5/6/10 - 5/12/10)
So between inclement weather and a busy schedule, we only managed to grab one new cache this week. My oh my though, it was definitely a good one. The whole gang made it out to the Ice Age Trail near our house on Mother's Day. We had beautiful weather and found our little goody box without too much trouble. Then we spent a nice afternoon at Nana's house visiting with Abbey and Jason.

This week's successful trips:
4. Leopold Legacy: September