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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!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Greenway Caching: Des Plaines or Root, River!

The last couple of days have taken us far and wide in search of challenges and challenge qualifiers, but the common theme ended up being the greenways along urban rivers. Specifically, the Des Plaines River near Mt Prospect, IL and the Root River in Greendale, WI. By braving the sub-zero temperatures and biting wind, the lil hippies and I were able to grab the finals for: Century of FTFs, Insane Cacher Challenge One Busier Day & Challenge Yourself. We also grabbed quite a few qualifying caches for the Legend of BAT Challenge & MP State Name Challenge.

A frigid Friday afternoon and some fresh intelligence from KeeganC, Team DarkSeid & The4Buckleys meant only one thing - roadtrip. The boys and I made our way down, altering plans to go after Tour le Lac. I'm glad that we made the switch since the challenge has been on my to-do list for the last two years. I even made a trip down last winter, but the lake was mostly open water. As an added bonus, on our way home we headed up through Buffalo Grove and managed to grab nine Legend of BAT caches for the challenge in the dark. I'm looking forward to another trip down to the Des Plaines River Trail to go after all the Operation A.P.E. caches that are waiting for me.

Littlest hippie at Century of FTFs Challenge - he qualifies as well!!

So Saturday afternoon's caching adventure was supposed to be Friday, but with everything getting switched around, here we were. The boys and I hightailed it out to the Whitnall Park area to try and find some caches before the sun set on us. The first order of business was to replace Challenge Yourself for Youngins3, which is a great challenge. I'm looking forward to finishing up both mystery and multis on it soon. The nearby MLB series beckoned as I could grab caches for AZ, CO & TX to work towards qualification of the State Name Challenge. After making those quick grabs, the boys and I wandered through Whitnall Park to grab some froggerz puzzles and along the way grabbed a Red Jeep as well, which was a nice bonus.

All in all, we had a great couple of days caching. Proving once again that you can have fun caching in any season, just get up and get out!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Waukesha Janboree 2013

Saturday marked our 3rd annual visit to Waukesha to enjoy the Janboree events. It turned out to be a perfect day, with temps in the mid to upper 40's and we thoroughly enjoyed running around the area chasing the new caches as well as some older hides!

The lunch event at Mia's is always a hit with the kiddos, pizza and garlic bread....mmm! Unfortunately, this year the boys were tired and crabby so we didn't spend much time socializing. Kudos to AuntieNae, Doctor Dolittle & beccaday for all the effort they put into this years 'Scooby-Doo' theme. We ended the day with 20 finds and 3 DNFs on the 2 caches I most wanted to find.

The Breakdown:
1. When we arrived in town, our first stop was Cut-n-Cache, a nice urban ammo can hidden near La Estacion and Club 400. I can easily say that the burrito suizo at La Estacion is the best eats available in Waukesha. Made a surprising find on a Green Jeep at the cache - TB12Y3Z.

2. The Wild Brood was this monkey's dream cache of the day. As a member of The Wild Bunch, I'm glad to see that Becca & Ron took my suggestion for a couple of climbers in this year's selection of caches. The boys enjoyed the nearby playground while I quickly went up and signed us in.

3. After making the return to terra firma, we headed through the park to grab the other new cache nearby, Foul Play in Funland. A quick jaunt into the rough and we were signed in and ready to hit the road to Big Bend for an EarthCache.

4 & 5. "Big Bend Detour" - In my ongoing quest to finish the Z Challenge Trail in Eau Claire, we made a quick jaunt down to Big Bend to pick up an Igneous (Plutonic) type of EarthCache for EC Classification challenge. This puts me only 4 away from completing all types of EarthCache. On the way back towards Waukesha, I had to make a quick PNG to grab The Big Bend Hide.

6 & 7. Stopped along the southern end of the Fox River Parkway to grab a couple; managed Hoot 'n' Holler & Homage to the Muggled as well as DNFing The Tapps' Down By The River, which was ironic since someone with 6 finds apparently found it the same day. Go figure! My other DNF of the day was Pool View 2 by The Tapps, which I DNFed on the way into town and the way out, bummer!

8 - 14. Discouraged by the DNF, we headed into downtown to Mia's for a bit of geo-chat and pizza. Along the way grabbed several of the new Scooby Doo caches along our route. A favorite was Scooby Doo and the case of the Evil Monkey. It was a nice, fun jump and climb with the added bonus of finishing off the 1.5/4 D/T square for my Quad Fizzy. At lunch, we ran into several old friends including Nurse Pat & Pharm Team.

15. Cartman's Cache - GCNWK3, couldn't pass up the high terrain cache right along my path home. Ended up being a fairly quick PNG for me while the boys waited in the van. I always enjoy grabbing the older caches out there when I can so this one worked out on every front for me.

16 & 17. Grabbed a couple of quick solved puzzles for my neverending quest to 1K found ?s! These Harder Times & WSQ Tabernacle Cemetery were both quick and easy, which is a bonus when two of the lil hippies were napping in the van and the third was tired.

18. GC1WFDG took me a few minutes, but eventually yielded. This one fills in the "G" spot for me on the Bigger Bowl of Alphabet Soup Illinois Challenge: GC3WZ7Z.

19 & 20. The last two stops of the day were PNGs at Park & Rides; The Nagawaukee Park N Hide and Pseudo Park n Ride. A great way to end a fun day of caching to and from Waukesha.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where there's smoke, there's fire! Even the IAT!!

Decided to head out yesterday afternoon and hike the Ice Age Trail between Frenchtown Rd and Cty D outside of Belleville. The lil hippies had been driving me crazy, so grabbed the geo-puggles and my cache bag and hit the road. I figured that I'd go after the Wisconsin Orithology and Beefies caches that are along that segment of trail and then on the way home stop for the FTF on a new EarthCache: GC3XW8T.

A beautiful but chilly day to be out along the trail. The dogs and I made pretty good time and after about a mile of hiking, we had grabbed a couple of WPs for Wilson's Snipe as well as signing in at Beefies - The Angus. The sun was starting to set, but I figured that we could make it to the Illinoian Glaciation EarthCache and back before darkness. Well surprise, surprise. As we turned the corner in the trail, I see two large and untended fires going! Wait, WTF, what is going on here. There had been no signs or information along the way stating that they were doing burning out here. So I called the police department in Belleville to report it and find out if they were aware of the burning. The gentleman I was talking to seemed to be having trouble figuring out where on the trail I was, even with me providing coordinates as well as a description of where I was at. He asked if I could remain there until the fire department arrived, and although it was now almost dark and I still had a mile and a half hike back to the car, I agreed. Soon enough, I heard the sirens and could see them on the road, but suddenly they stopped and headed back towards town. At that point, I figured that I should get out to the road and try to find the firemen or find a house so I could call again. Pull the trusty flashlight out of my bag's dead! Now it's a half mile bushwhack through trees and a farmer's field since I lost the Ice Age Trail along the way. We eventually make it out to County D and I run into a gentleman in his driveway. Second call to the police and second visit from the firemen, who still don't know how to get up onto the IAT. Eventually, they load an ATV and take off looking for an access and the homeowner offers to give me and the dogs a ride back to our car.

All in all a pretty eventful "short" hike on the IAT which ended up taking about 3 1/2 hours! Still I feel like a good samaritan since the one fire had 12" high flmaes going when I got there and there was a lot of loose wood and branches nearby. I'd have hated to see anything get out of control.

Got home and the dogs promptly passed out on the couch, so I decided to start wrapping my head around AenteiUhnmlcinltsur, which is apparently gibberish for ZB is a $^#% and my head hurts! Just kidding, I managed to make short work of most of them and now I'm tumbling some ideas for the final numbers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Adventures in the cold & ice

We finally managed to get out and break in 2013 with some caching this weekend! Although the weather was windy and cold, the troops managed to fight through and from Fri-Sun we managed 20 finds and a handful of DNFs.

Fri: The afternoon saw us touring around the Delafield/Waukesha area while grabbing a select few caches. I managed to avenge my previous DNF on Sisyphus. Turns out that I had the right idea the first time, but didn't follow it through to the conclusion. We also grabbed a challenge in the area, got some LCG points and managed a FTF in Palmyra on the way home, GC43QPQ.

Sat: Saturday was a roadtrip up to the Stevens Point area for the 4th Annual Sweet Treats event. This makes our 3rd birthday celebration that we've made it to and it's always fun to help Pat & Becky enjoy their birthdays. While in the area, I managed to knock the 5/1 off my Cheesy Well-Rounded list with Wazeecha Walking Trail, which is a cool hide, although it was in need of some TLC when we found it. We stopped off in Wautoma on the way up to try and grab a couple of challenges, but ended up with DNFs on both of them. Will probably have to wait for warmer weather before I make another attempt on those.

Sun: Finally we managed to knock the Johnson Creek woodpecker series off our list, this has been 3 years in the making! Assembled a great group for our river trek; Lord Cadogan, tick27, chevyole & Scribble Scribe along with the lil hippies. The weather was perfect, not windy but still cold enough that the ice was in great shape. A great series of caches and when we got to the final, we were worried that it was MIA. Finally after much searching for GZ and even more poking and prodding, chevyole came up with the ammo box buried in the dry rot in the tree. One sled ride back to the parking area for the boys and our day was complete!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Welcome to 2013!

So here we sit, opening the door on a new year! A few quick stats here before we begin tackling the goals for the year:

Caches found: 3575
Caches hidden: 22
Challenges completed: 75
TBs/Coins: 180
TBs/Coins discovered or moved: 1523
Cacher Stats rank (WI): 88th
Avg D/T: 1.89/1.8
US States: 14
US Counties: 140
WI Counties: 56
WI DeLorme pages: 51
FTFs: 148

Goals for 2013 1. Find GC1XHXR WRR 72 - Mountain Rd near Ripon to complete the Rustic Road Challenge. I've been working towards this for several years and now I'm finally down to the last cache I need.

2. Complete GC3PNKE by finding an EarthCache that starts with a "J". I've got several possiblities lined up including one in Joliet, IL on the way home from MOGA and one up near Duluth, MN to grab during our summer vacation along the North Shore of Lake Superior.

3. Continue to be active in CITO events, as I only need 3 more to complete GC1N4BP down in Busse Woods.

4. Search out qualifying caches for my double, triple & quad fizzy challenges as well as The 'Cheesy' Well Rounded Cacher! They are few and far between, but each one promises to be an adventure.

5. Lastly, just keep grinding away at puzzles so that one day I can log my find and join the 1K Puzzle Club! Considering the fact that I'm currently at only 386 puzzles found, it might be time to clear out my solve but unfound list a bit.

Mostly though, I want to keep having fun with friends and family on new and ever more challenging adventures! T5 icewalking, insane tree climbs, LCG & FTF runs, local events & Megas; it all sounds great. Hope everyone had a safe & fun New Years Eve and I'll check back in soon!