Showcasing The GeoBlogosphere #8

Lots of interesting and entertaining articles in the GeoBlogosphere over the last month or so. I did notice a bit of a theme of struggling to maintain enthusiasm for caching in a few places, but thankfully there were lots of positive and helpful articles on why caching is so great and how we can rediscover what made us fall in love with it in the first place. As well as these choice nuggets below, don’t forget to check out my full list of Geocaching Blogs. To be honest I could have included another 10 blogs in the showcase this time, there was so much good stuff out there.:)

Why care about how others geocache
P.J expresses thoughts that I am sure we have all had at times… about the way other people go about caching. But, should we care how others do it?

All Change for Delta68
It has been quiet of late, with no wacky antics from Donna and Mark but as this article shows, a lot has changed for them and now they have some pretty cool caching plans for the future.

Old Dweeb goes Hollywood
A cool article about caching in the Hollywood hills, right by the iconic sign.

The Button Mushroom gives something back
A thought provoking article about how to give something back to the hobby and how to help keep caches in good shape for future generations.

A MEGA weekend for The Geocaching Junkie
Sarah has been at full throttle over the recent months, with her blog continuing to have loads of brilliant articles. I particularly enjoy her account of a recent MEGA weekend trip. Additionally I did a lot of head nodding and smirking at 12 Things Only Geocachers do.

mrbream goes a little Dr Seuss
Just a good old fashioned caching day out with Father and Daughter. Put a smile on my face.

Sherminator reminds us what there is to love about Geocaching
If you start to doubt yourself, or feel a little like caching is losing its edge, then read this and remember why you love it.

Do you know of any Geocaching blogs that I don’t? If you do and you can’t find them on my list of Geocaching Blogs, then please let me know in the comments section below

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The GeoBlogosphere gets the Travel Bug

A few days ago I got a very unexpected and exciting email from fellow GeoBlogger Kel, whose blog, geo-Mumma Kel – The adventures of a geo-caching mum, you simply must check out . Kel contacted me to ask if I was OK with her creating a TB in honour of the GeoBlogosphere and setting it off with a goal of travelling across the world from Australia to us here in lil’ ole’ Watford. Was I OK with it? Hell yeah!

Launched to celebrate all us tireless (or should that be tiresome) bloggers in the GeoBlogosphere. In honour of how we enthrall (bore) and exhilerate (put to sleep) those who choose (are forced) to read the things we write. I am all for promoting the GeoBlogosphere and therefore was chuffed to bits to hear about Kel’s plan.

You can follow the antics of Here’s Cheers to the GeoBlogosphere (TB71MV3) and watch as it hops effortlessly across the world like all the posts on our blogs. Lets hope it doesn’t have a spurt for a few weeks then disappear up its own bum like so many geocaching blogs have in the past:)

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We meet again… for the last time!

Now that the worst of the winter is past… o.k. stop laughing… yes I know it could still snow… but assuming that the worst is behind us… oh for god sake, leave the room if you can’t control yourself. Right, if I might continue. Assuming… I can still hear you out in the hall you know!

Finally!

Now that the worst of the winter is behind us it was time to do a little maintenance on some of our Wall Hall caches. One of the hides had lost its magnetism, a couple were reported as being rather wet and one seemed to be missing completely. Armed with 2 new containers and lots of kitchen roll and log sheets we started our maintenance run on half of the caches. All went to plan and we replaced the missing one and checked all the others, cleaning and drying where needed.

While we were over there, I suggested we look for Hornet’s Hide 18 – Otterspool Trail No. 2 (GCJE1X), which we had so far not been able to find. Sharlene agreed and we took a short detour off our maintenance route. We had attempted this cache quite a while ago and this time we were determined to find it. Recently, many others have managed to locate it, so I had high hopes. After quite a bit of searching and getting rather too close and personal with some holly, we managed to snag the little bugger and I was delighted to convert a DNF into a smiley.

Paul poses in amongst the holly with a mock expression of pain on his face

Bluddy Holly


When logging the cache I noticed a spooky coincidence… It was exactly 2 years, to the day, in between our DNF and the find! I had to chuckle when I reread our DNF log at how clueless we were back then. In 2014 I had written that we had no idea what a beech tree looked like. What amateurs. Two years on… we STILL have no idea how a beach tree differs from an Oak tree or even a Lavatree for that matter. Hmmmmm.

Still, it was satisfying to finally find this cache, especially as it is among the few remaining Hornet caches in the Watford area, and it is always nice to find geocaches older than 10 years, no matter what. Happy days.

This geocaching adventure took place on Wednesday 16th March 2016 and took our cache count to 1416.

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Mother Chooses Geocaching

I think it is fair to say that I was a little shocked when Sharlene suggested that we should head out for a few caches on Mother’s Day. The idea was greeted with a groan from Sam and he was about to whine about not getting enough quality X-Box time when I gave him a “power Stare” and stated calmly that it was mum’s day and therefore she got to decide what we do, and without missing a beat I added, “and you will be happy about it”.

“Just a half a dozen or so” was the instructions from Shar and so I got to work finding a small cluster, not too far away that we could tackle. I plumped for nearby Bovingdon and 3 caches in a line along a foot path and another triangle of3 close by. A suitable parking spot in between the 2 sections was located and before long we were lacing up boots and shrugging on backpacks for a couple of hours in the great outdoors.

Despite the slight moodiness of pre-teen Sam on the first straight line section of 3 we managed to locate all of them and were enjoying being out in the fresh air. The caches were placed along a wide footpath that ran between two country roads and it was peaceful enough walking the tree lined route. We didn’t see any other signs of life the whole time… I guess the majority of mum’s had chosen to stay in bed with a cup of tea and a box of choccies. To be honest I half expected Shar to do the same, well the stay in bed part anyway.

The hides themselves were nothing special, just basic tree and fence post hides, but they were relatively easy to find apart from one where the coordinates were quite a few metres out leading us to search fruitlessly on the wrong side of the path for 5 minutes. It being a linear trail we picked up the middle one first, then the last one and headed back for the one closest to the car last to avoid any long cache less walking. By the time we were on the return trip to the car, pre-teen was in a better mood, almost “happy” even and there was time for a few photos which will no doubt be viewed nostalgically in the future to remember a time when Sam was, and I quote Shar, “Still my baby”.

Sam and Shar pose pulling silly faces for the camera on a footpath.

Like Mother, Like Son… in so many ways


A sandwich and a cup of hot chocolate back at the car and then we headed in the opposite direction to locate another 3 caches. We walked down a quiet country lane heading for the one furthest away first, as we are want to do, next to some rather imposing fencing to one side. They definitely either wanted to keep something in or something out. A slightly muddy tromp along the edge of a field and we found Fluffy The Great (GC2VARN). What was interesting about this cache was not the cache itself, although I did find the reason behind placing it rather endearing, but the TB that we found in it, MuggleBug West (TB48882). It was a tag with a chunky notebook attached to it. Reading the goal revealed it to be a “Muggle Bug” with the aim of travelling from cacher to muggle in the hope of converting new people to the hobby. The notebook was to record stories and adventures along the way. A nice idea, but it could be a stumbling point for some people should they not know any muggles they want to convert or trust them to deal with a precious TravelBug. Most new players of the game have little clue about what TBs are or how to deal with them properly. We do still have the TB now and it is burning a hole in the bottom of my bag as it really should be back out on the trail and so I have decided to move it to another cache so that at least the owners know it hasn’t disappeared down the back of the fridge where surely all the missing TBs go. Just need to find a cache big enough now to put the thing in!
A picture of sheep

Not Fluffy but fluffy nonetheless. No relevance to the cache or the TB or anything really. I just like sheep


We back tracked to the car collecting another two simple caches on the way and then it was back home so that Shar could relax for the rest of the day while Sam and I attempted to heat up a pre-prepared Spaghetti Bolognaise without burning the neighbourhood to the ground. We managed it… just! Happy Days.

This maternal geocaching adventure took place on Sunday 6th March 2016 and took our total cache count to 1415.

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GeoDate – Bad Choices in Hawridge

For our GeoDate this week Sharlene and I went back to Buckinghamshire for some good ole’ CaptainJack caches. Hawridge, a small village in the Chilterns was our destination.

Looking on the map we located a pub on the route which we figured would be a good place to park the car. When we arrived however we found that the Rose and Crown had long since gone out of business and the building was now depressingly deserted and boarded up – an all too common sight these days when it comes to out-of-the-way country pubs. They could have at least left the car park open, but it was not to be. We did manage to park on a verge near the pub on the side of the quiet country lane so it was on with the backpack and boots and off once more into the wilderness in search of Tupperware.

After a quick find at Hawridge – Off Road (GC334BD), a short distance from the car we then made the wrong choice about following either the road or a footpath. We chose the footpath and had to squelch through some low level mud and fight off the encroaching brambles whereas in hindsight the road would have been much easier… but boring. We almost missed Hawridge – A Common Sign (GC34Z44) because we were mourning our poor decision about the route we had taken. Quite surprising really as the hide was on a massive sign which even I could tell was not part of the natural environment, it being rectangular and white which most trees and bushes are not.

Next it was time to make a choice again about taking the footpath next to the road or walking along it. We had already made the wrong choice once so we opted to be smart and take the road this time, despite there not being any verge. As we approach gz we realised we had again made the wrong decision as the footpath to our right on the other side of a line of trees started to rise in elevation away from us and when we got to GZ we realised that there was no way to get up to the path where the cache was. We then discovered that the cache description of Hawridge – High Verge (GC34Z3A) clearly stated that the cache was not accessible from the road. Hmmm, another fine decision by team washknight.

We weren’t gonna give up though and after continuing for another hundred metres along the lane, we found a not-so-steep part of the bank and scrambled up to the path. It was then just a matter of backtracking to find the cache which we did with relative ease and only a small loss of pride. This was far too much decision making for us at this time of the morning… err… actually it was just after lunchtime.

With an easy find at Hawridge – A Micro Gate (GC34Z2Y) a bit further along the lane we felt that we were back on safer footing as the path turned away from the road and headed off into the countryside. The wind that had been biting into us dropped a little as we made our way towards our next cache. A gasp and a gulp from Sharlene however hinted that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I had suspected. With a groan she declared that in front of us lay one of the steepest hills she had ever seen, and a chicken. The chicken was not phased by the hill, or us and happily clucked around while we prepared for the climb.

A Chicken

Clucking Hell, that’s a big hill


The clouds darkened somewhat as we hoofed our way up the slope towards in the heart of it. I have to admit it was a pretty dam steep ascent and as we arrived at GZ there was a brief pause for a bit of mutual huffing and puffing before we then tried to work out how to get access to Hawridge – The Heart of It (GC34Z2N) which could only be hidden in the blatantly obvious massive tree at GZ. After a couple of failed attempts and a brief bought of melee combat on my part with a tangle of branches, Shar announced that she had found a way in. A few spots of rain started to fall as we signed the log and turned to admire the moody view across the Chilterns. All pretty dramatic stuff for a Thursday afternoon I can tell you.
Shar stands on a hill with a view down into the valley behind her. The sky is gloomy
Having ascended the hill it was now time to drift gently down the other side and into a tree line that would take us along the path that ran parallel to the road. There were 4 caches along here, Hawridge – Multi (GC34Z24), Hawridge – Within Reach (GC34Z1N), hawridge – Bottom Gate (GC34Z14) and Hawridge – Rooted To The Spot (GC34Z0Z), but none of them were anything special. However they were all there and surprisingly for CaptainJack, they were in a reasonable state of repair. The rain refused to commit itself to anything more serious than a bit of distracted drizzling and the only thing of interest we noticed as we walked were two men off to the side of the path burning wood. I can only assume that they had decided to do this purely to indulge my liking for the smell of a good wood fire, for which I failed entirely to thank them… well I didn’t want to spoil the illusion by acknowledging them or anything as crass as that.

The metres rolled on and the caches piled up and a drink of water was taken. A tricky find at Hawridge – In Plain View (GC334BX) proved to us that it was anything but in plain view but was in fact well hidden in amongst the ivy vines around a tree. This was the closest we got to a DNF all day and I am glad to say that we managed to find the little bleeder just before admitting defeat. One last cache, Hawridge – Hollow Tree (GC334C6), along the path and then it was back in the direction of the car for Hawridge – Along the lane (GC334BR). The hill on the way back was, if anything, even worse than the one we had to climb to get here. It was a bloody good job that the car was just a short distance from our last cache, Hawridge – Hawridge Lane (GC334BK), at the top of the hill, otherwise I think we may have had to call for the air ambulance to take Sharlene to a place where her burning thigh muscles could be extinguish with some liquid nitrogen or something similar. As it turned out a short sit down in the car and a cup of hot chocolate was enough to revive us sufficiently to avoid involving the emergency services. Happy Days

This geocaching adventure took place on Thursday 3rd March 2016 and took our total cache count up to 1409. OMG we just passed 1400 and I didn’t even notice. YAY us!

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Getting back on the Metaphorical Bike / Horse

Time to break the slump of over 6 weeks and get out and do some caching again. Umm… how do you do this again? It was a bit like that as we struggled to remember what we packed in the bag and where our boots were. To ease us back into it, I opted to go for a nice easy 7 caches in CaptainJack country – Buckinghamshire. Actually only a couple of the caches turned out to belong to CJ and those that didn’t were invariably of a better quality and in a better state of repair than the CJ ones.

We went to Ballinger in Buckinghamshire and no, I am not sure how to pronounce it either. Is Bal-inger, Ball-inger, Bale-inger, Ba-linger, Ball-linger, Ball-in-jar or bloody ba-li-ng-er? Who knows and quite frankly who cares? It was a nice mixture of farm fields and woodland footpaths and despite the frigid start to the day, it turned out to be a lovely “sort-of” circle picking up easy caches.

Nothing particularly special to write home about although there were a couple of well-made caches; a hollowed out log, a hanging pot high in a tree that required a handy stick with a hook on the end of it to retrieve and of course the obligatory hollow pigeon.

No wait… go back… Pigeon?

The aptly named Stool Pigeon (GC35N8N) was a plastic bird perched in the crook of a tree with the log secreted eponymously up its bum! Bizarrely half of his head was missing and a big hole was leaving its innards open to the elements. It looked somewhat like a pigeon might if it had been shot at point blank range by a gang of field mice armed with shotguns…. I imagine. After extracting the log and signing it there was a strange discussion between Shar and myself about how to place it back in the tree. I voted for putting it back upside down so it wouldn’t fill with water, but apparently that would just be “weird”. Like a plastic pigeon in a tree with a piece of paper up its backside isn’t weird to start with, I am not sure wedging said bird back in belly up is going to make the situation any stranger than it already is. We compromised in the end and set him at a jaunty angle that would hopeful keep him from “filling up”. And That is what relationships are all about… compromise. I was tempted to jog back and turn him upside down but knew I would get lost and Sharlene would refuse to rescue me on principle.

A few more easy hides and a water trough that was surrounded by thorns like they so often are, and we were heading back to the car and a nice cup of hot chocolate. It turns out geocaching is like falling off a bike… It doesn’t matter how long since your last time, you still remember how to do it, and its painful every time. Not sure that is exactly how the saying goes but close enough. We really are out of shape though as just this short loop had us aching in places that we had forgotten about. Hopefully though it won’t be another 6 weeks until our next GeoDate. Happy days.

This Geocaching adventure took place on Thursday 25th February and took our total cache count to 1395.

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Locking in the Leap Year

It comes but once every 4 years and so finding a cache on 29th February was an absolute “must do”. Other geocachers who have been attempting to find a cache on every date of the year have been waiting for the 29th for a long time so they can complete their grid, but not us. We still have a long way to go. Thinking, somewhat optimistically, however that we will complete it, at least we have the pesky leap day done and dusted.

Our chosen cache was a simple urban micro just a couple of hundred metres from our front door. It being a school day, there was no time to head out for a nice cache in the country so we drew on our stockpile of handy easy urban caches in and around watford. Football Focus #4 The Hammers (GC46BNG) was found in a matter of seconds on the back of a telecoms box and we were back inside and logging it online within minutes. I probably could have popped out there in my slippers but I expect Shar and Sam would have disowned me. You used to see a lot more people popping out in their slippers back when I was a kid… not so much nowadays.

This Geocaching micro-adventure took place on Monday February 29th 2016 and took our cache count to 1396.

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