Showcasing The GeoBlogosphere #7

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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When Geocaching Despair leads to thoughts of Cannibalism

For a recent Geodate I had scouted out a cluster of caches in the Misbourne Valley area of Buckinghamshire. Whilst the caches were not a series as such, a rough route between them could be seen and that was all the incentive we needed to pack a lunch and head out for a wonderful day of geocaching… what naive fools we are sometimes.

OK, I’m not gonna tease you or skirt around the issue, I’m just gonna hit you with it right in the face. It was a god awful, miserable day out, probably one of our least favourite days and one that got me questioning why we do this silly hobby at all!

See, told you I wasn’t going to pull any punches. So now you are thinking, “Yeah, but you are here and writing this post and I saw another post about geocaching on your blog recently so you must have got past this blip and moved on, yes?” And that is why I love and respect you dear reader, you are just so darn smart. But let me first tell you why it was such a crap day and then reveal the somewhat startling discovery I made when I came to do my logging.

First off our choice of parking place left us with a walk of almost 2k to get to the first cache. I guess I hadn’t really absorbed this fact fully when we planned it but I certainly became aware of it as we trudged along the busy road to get to our first GZ. Being blind is hard enough but adding loud traffic noise into the bargain meant I was effectively deaf blind for about 20 minutes.

Eventually we turn off the road and try to stop shouting to each other realising that finally the background noise has diminished. Then we are hit straight away with a massive hill. Oh Come on!!! We haven’t even got to the first cache yet.

When we arrive at the GZ, needless to say we can’t find the bloody cache. So enjoyment levels are sinking fast and show no sign of rising soon.

The next part of the walk is ok, along a footpath and quiet lane for a bit. Then we emerge onto a local high street and the traffic noise is back, but this time with added pedestrians. When you gear up for a couple of hours walk in the country, I don’t know about you, but I always feel a bit out of place when I then emerge back into civilisation. It’s not like I am dressed in full camouflage or anything but I think it is more a state of mind.

On the plus side we find two caches along this road. Both magnetic micros on the back of street furniture. Our most favourite caches… not! To be fair we did plan this route of caches so we only have ourselves to blame. Thankfully then we leave the high street again and start heading back into fields and there is even sign of a wood ahead. Now this is more like it.

I was dumbstruck to realise that we had been out for about 90 minutes at this point and only found 2 caches and were basically half way round our walk. It was approaching lunchtime and the lunch was in the car because we thought this would only take a couple of hours at the most. I am starting to wonder whether we were drunk when we planned this.

Anyway so stay positive and lets head to the woods. we like woods, woods are good. Oh wait lets have an argument about how to read a map on the way, that’s what will really help the situation. Take a man who has a relatively good understanding of how maps work but cannot see the current map being used, or anything for that matter, and add in a woman who had little or no map knowledge before she started geocaching but has a perfectly good set of eyes, and you can see where frustration may arise. I end up explaining a concept about maps using examples and pointing in random directions that make no sense and Shar is unable to explain to me how the map relates to where we are and is starting to think I am a total git! She is probably right, I was in a bad mood. It has to be said that neither of us were in great moods by this stage, but we wrestled through it and trudged on, now slightly further apart and Sharlene adopting her, “I’m not really sure I want to guide you at the moment because you are such a git” mode, although this does have a failsafe “I won’t actually let you fall off a cliff or anything but if you happen to trip over a branch right now… so be it!”

We find the correct path, enter the woods and a short while later we find a geocache. It takes a further 5 minutes of stumbling through the woods before we both relent and make our peace, or at least agree to come to the table to discuss terms.

Our next cache is further in the woods in the centre of an enormous cluster of holly bushes and trees. We circle the bushes almost entirely, a distance of around 200 metres I guess, trying and failing to find a way in that looks achievable. In the end we plunge in regardless and take numerous pricks and scratches as we battle through the dense holly to the centre, whereupon we glimpse the path about 5 metres to the side and groan at how easy it would have been if we had just entered from over there as opposed to where we did. No words are exchanged on the matter, neither of us wanting to risk shattering the fragile peace that we have established. We do the business, sign the log and then fail entirely to find a path to our next cache.

What was a distance of a couple of hundred metres as the crow flies, turned out to be a roundabout route of close to a kilometre up and down a hill, before we could finally get close to GZ. This was not made any easier by the total lack of any marked footpaths on either of our maps even though there were very obviously paths through the woods.

It’s about lunchtime now, in fact a little past, but we are still about 3 k from the car and have a half a dozen or so caches to do. I am tired, hungry and quite frankly pissed off with the whole thing. What a stupid hobby this is anyway!

… and breathe.

The Cache was found quite quickly which was good and for a moment I was thinking that if the remaining ones were this easy then we could be back at the car within an hour and it was just possible that I wouldn’t have to kill Sharlene and feast on her flesh in order to stay alive. I had mentally selected her thighs as being a nice juicy and life sustaining meal but now pushed this aside and tried to focus on the task in hand once more.

What you don’t need right now is a DNF yeah? Well have one. There is a cache on this bridge somewhere, but it hasn’t been found for a while and it is likely to be hidden right underneath and here are wave after wave of muggles coming your way to get in your way. Hmmmm… I wonder, is it apple sauce or mint sauce that best goes with human flesh. I suspect, what with Shar being a good New Zealand Girl and having such a love of Lamb that that flavour may well have permeated into her very bones over the years. Mint sauce then.

We are 10 minutes at the next cache and I am just mentally “booking a table by the window” when I almost surprise myself by finding the cache when to be honest I was only half-heartedly prodding at things in the bushes. 3 left and perhaps there is hope.

One look at the thorns at the next GZ and we are sailing past without even stopping. Ain’t nobody got time for that when we are in this sort of mood. Now it is simply a case of let’s get back to the car before one of us dies and the other has to carry their body the rest of the way (or eat it).

A 2 minute DNF at the next one and my aching feet can almost feel the joy of boots being remove with only one more to go. Little is being said between us at the moment although there is an air of hope that we may be nearing the end.

And get to the end we do, we even find the last cache quite quickly. We are back at the car groaning and aching in a matter of minutes and I practically eat the lid of the tupperware box to get at my sandwiches. Mmmmm… chomp chomp… breathe… chomp… hmmm… I wonder what human flesh actually does taste like.

So you can see, it was a less than enjoyable day. Most of our problems stemmed from poor planning and spiralling bad moods. But here is the funny thing. We set out to do 11 caches, only found 7 and of those 7 I gave 3 of them favourite points!!!

Are you nuts?

I know! After that day we were both thoroughly pissed off with caching and I left it a while to log our finds. When I did come to do the logging and actually thought back to the caches, I had to admit there were some pretty good ones. Not A Tractor (GC2YPW7) was hidden under the steering wheel of a tractor in the woods, a bizarre sight if ever there was one. Doctor’s Holly (GC2ZF4T) was in a lock and lock fixed to the bottom of a plastic chair… that was the one buried in the holly.

A plastic chair is pictured in amongst the holly wiht a cache fixed to the bottom of it.

When waiting to see the Doctor in amongst the holly, we found a handy chair to sit and wait. No 3 year old copy of Cosmopolitan though.


Thanks Aunt Ula! (GC3NNDC) was a lovely homemade metal spider container that was very cool, and the one I almost accidentally found, Rotary Mower and a Broken Post (GC2XHCW), was hidden very cunningly in the end of a fence post in a way I had not seen before.

We also did come across a little curiosity on the way round that made us smile for a time. This sign confuses us slightly. The building being protected appeared to be a pharmaceutical lab. What on earth has prohibiting access under the organised crime act got to do with anything.
2016-04-21 Misborne Valley Paul standing next to weird keep out sign
So at the end of the day, it wasn’t the caches that were the problem, it was the planning, maybe the terrain a little, but mostly it was probably us… or maybe even just me.

But you knew that right!

This geocaching adventure took place on Thursday 21st April and took our total cache count up to 1441.

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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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Dinosaurs, Crocodiles and Thieving Dogs – A PugWash Adventure in Watford

As March rolled around, it had been almost 6 months since we had been out caching with our friends Geoff and Melissa on a PugWash adventure. It wasn’t for the want to trying, but that annoying thing called life kept getting in the way. So as the Easter holidays were upon us Geoff and I put our heads together and as well as getting a pile of sawdust, we formulated a plan. There is a series very close to us in Watford, on the Grand Union canal… well not actually on the canal that would be daft, but next to it anyway. We had all been saving this series for a PugWash day out and so we met at Cassiobury Park car park on a mild Thursday morning at the end of March, ready to hoist the sail and shiver me timbers *piratey grimace*.

Unfortunately Mel was unable to join the fun so it was the 5 of us (Shar, Sam, me, Geoff and Smokey the Pug dog) that tackled our first challenge… finding each other in the car park. This didn’t bode well for a day of caching if we couldn’t even locate each other amongst 50 or so vehicles. I was just about to call in search and rescue when Sam spotted Geoff’s car cunningly hidden in plain view in between two other cars. The caches being laid out along a linear route, we all hopped into our car and drove to a suitable parking spot further up along the canal; the cunning use of two cars to tackle linear routes a topic that I have waffled on about numerous of times before and so won’t bring it up this time… oh bugger.

Being in British Summer Time now and with the weather being pleasantly mild I am feeling quite summery and will therefore summarise our days caching as follows… oh stop groaning, it wasn’t that bad a joke, was it?

Our first cache, a fiendishly clever homemade, up a tree, clever retrieval jobby was a DNF. We spent an hour at GZ trying to free the mechanism from where it had got snagged as a result of recent high winds. This doesn’t sound too difficult but believe me it was. We spent the time constructing numerous “tools” of ever increasing length by lashing branches together with camo tape in order to try and reach the aforementioned snagged mechanism which was approximately 15 feet up a tree… out on a limb…. hanging over a high fence…. that was topped with barbed wire. Due to the nature of our improvised tool I can only compare the experience to that of trying to write your name with a leadless pencil strapped to the end of a 15 foot piece of rubber hose as someone jabs spikes into your armpit… almost impossible, and bloody pointless, not to mention bloody and pointless. In the end we ran out of branches, camo tape and ideas. So we admitted defeat and logged a DNF.

Geoff is using camo tape to secure multiple branches together to form a long tool to be used for desnagging a cache mechanism

Impromptu Tool Assembly


Geoff and Paul holding the hastily assembly tool consisting of multiple branches taped together trying to unsnag a cache mechanism

Reach For The Sky


During the above saga, Smokey decided he was much more interested in a large group of passing children and so blended in with the crowd and was 50 feet away, having a whale of a time, before Geoff could finally catch up with him and extract him from the group of smiling kids.

After that, things improved and we actually started finding caches along the canal. The series, Z’s Dino Trail (Dilophosaurus – Z’s Dino Trail GC5P8ED), as the name suggests, was all themed around dinosaurs and all the containers had little plastic dinos attached to them. It was a really cool idea and made a change from just boring old lock n locks. As if dinosaurs wasn’t enough, intermingled with the dino series was a series of crocodile themed caches, The Legendary Cassiobury Crocodile (GC61V7Q), which was awesome too. We collected a couple of bonus numbers from those and hope to find the remaining ones and the bonus sometime soon.

Sam holds one of the Dino Caches

Dinosaur loose in Cassiobury Park


At one cache, Shar disappeared into the trees at the side of the canal with Geoff to go searching for the container and then reappeared rather quickly a few seconds later looking rather shaken. Apparently as they had been searching the tree, something small and furry had scuttled up it in such a way as to really test the effectiveness of your sphincter muscles.

Still further on, we were aided in the location of another cache by a local canal boat owner who had spotted another “bloke” poking around in the bushes a short while ago before finally settling on one spot “over there”. He wanted to know if it was some sort of treasure hunt and not wanting to have to explain the intricacies of geocaching once again, we just smiled and mumbled affirmative. We found the cache a short while later, incidentally it was not “over there” but “over there” instead.

A short while later, we rocked up to a cache GZ that was slap bang next to a couple of canal boats and so Sam, Smokey and I did crowd distraction while Shar and Geoff went in search of the cache again. There followed an awkward conversation with one of the boat people – oh dear that does not sound like a very politically correct term – about Smokey who I was holding on to. I fielded the first question with ease, “yes, he’s a he and his name is Smokey” and then came a tricky one. How old is he? I wasn’t sure and my hesitation confused the woman. The ease with which I answered the first question had obviously fooled her into thinking I was the owner of the dog, but now she was not sure and I can only imagine was eyeing me with the look of someone who thinks I might be a dognapper. I then had to confess that the dog was not actually mine, but I don’t think this helped the situation. Mercifully then Geoff and Sharlene emerged from the bushes all happy and laughing, which I knew meant they had found the cache, but I suspect the old woman thought meant they were a couple of local doggers or something. Time to leave.

Sam Shar Geoff and Smokey stand next to the canal

Two Thirds of Team Pugwash


Our halfway point was in Cassiobury Park and so we took advantage of the picnic benches and… well had a picnic. More doggie shenanigans during lunch as a wandering canine, belonging to who knows who, snuck up and stole the very sandwich from my hand as I was about to eat it. Geoff confessed that he had seen the dog hovering nearby and eyeing the sandwich, but didn’t think he would be so bold as to actually pluck it from my fingers. He was! No sign of the owner anywhere and therefore no one to either have an argument or a laugh with and so as we packed up after our lunch we left lacking a certain amount of closure on the situation.

More excellent dino caches followed along the canal, most of which were easily located. One needed a PAF to the cache owner who we all know quite well. One in particular we had been warned was a replacement cache and therefore was not a dinosaur but merely a 35mm while a new dino was being sourced. After a few minutes looking, neither Geoff or I could find the cache but then, quite unexpectedly, Geoff found the original dino container which the CO was very happy about as it saved her the trip to put a new one there.

We met the resident canal swans a bit further along. They glided over with elegance and grace and then proceeded to hiss violently at Sam and Smokey. Watford swans are so rude.

A swan on the water of the canal

Oh, hiss off!


With the last of the dino caches found, we then backtracked a short way, crossed over the canal back into Cassiobury Park and found a couple more crocodile caches on our way back to the car where we rested our tired feet for a short while and chomped on some delicious cake, lovingly provided by Mel who despite not being able to cache today still did us proud with the baking.

Improvised “waggling” tools, bemused locals, hissing swans and a sandwich stealing dog along with yummy cake and great company are classic ingredients that go to make up another exciting PugWash adventure. Happy Days.

This geocaching adventure took place on Thursday 31st March and took our total cache count to 1434.

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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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Showcasing the GeoBlogosphere #6

Well a plethora of great articles out there in the blogosphere this month to choose from. In case you were wondering… there will be articles of my own coming soon, just getting back into caching after some unavoidable breaks. In the meantime don’t forget to check these out and if you are reading this on Feb 29th, for god’s sake go get a cache!, otherwise you will have to wait 4 years to tick this date off your matrix! As always be sure to check out my extensive list of Geocaching Blogs.

A rant about Travel Bugs from the Bitchy Cacher
Wow, even by the Bitchy cacher’s standards this is a fiery one and one that made me think. First I can’t say I entirely agree with everything written but it made me giggle to see the interaction from afar. Second, it reminded me that I have been sitting on a TB for too long myself, so better get it out there.

Some advice from a seasoned streaker
I will NEVER be a streaker when it comes to geocaching, but I know some very decent and “normal” people out there who are. Alicia has been streaking for over 1450 days and therefore if she deems to offer some advice on the subject, then it has got to be worth a look.

The Geocaching Junkie’s Cacher Classification list
Which type of cacher are you? Sarah’s blog has an impressive output of interesting and entertaining articles lately and this one caught my eye. I seriously can’t fit myself into anyone of them though, perhaps a bit of this and a bit of that. I think perhaps I am type number 11 – “Special Cacher” (and no adding in a slurred “th” in the middle of the word special thank you).

Classic Kel moments
A great article from Kel this month, full of “coffee spluttering” moments and some decent insight on how to rate puzzle caches into the bargain.

OS Map tip from Marcus.
I love OS maps, always have and even though I can barely see them now even with super magnification, I continue to be fascinated by them. For those that share the fondness for OS maps, check out this article on how to get OS maps back on geocaching.com.

Claire takes a pill.
I so enjoy reading the antics of Claire and her Muddy family and this article did not disappoint. I particularly enjoyed her theory that a DMF after a PAF is the fault of the PAF not yours.

When Geobloggers overlap
An article this month from Sandhurst geocachers that reminded me of this little unique community that I am apart of. I speak not of geocachers, but of that subset… geocaching bloggers. This month The Sandhurst geocachers found a cache on the Isle of Wight placed by fellow geoblogger RobInn. It gave me a warm glow deep within… or that could have been indegestion! 🙂

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