- La Guera
My interest in geocaching developed from a desire to get back to the fun of hiking I remember from my Boy Scout past. I'd recently stopped playing soccer after 27 years of injuries were starting to catch up with me. I wanted to get my hiking exercise at lunchtime so I started thinking about where I could hike around my workplace. I quickly set myself a project to hike from my place of work to a park that was about 3 miles away. There wasn't an obvious hiking route between the two places and the project was to find a route that stayed on trails and off streets as much as possible. I made myself a web page to keep track of this project. This project got me thinking that I needed a GPSr, so I started shopping. I had expected them to be very expensive, but I ended up getting a Garmin Geko 201 off Ebay for about $40. Once I had the device my enthusiasm for this hiking project waned but my interest in geocaching took off. When I first started the game I gave all the different cache types a shot. Quickly I learned that I didn't care much for micros, multis, or puzzles. (I gather that that's a common opinion among rookies.) As I got closer to 100 caches I started warming slightly to micros and puzzles, but still don't care for multis. I don't have much opportunity to travel, so almost all of my caching is done near my home and work. (Austin, TX) My team only comes together occasionally so most of the time I'm on my own. I'm not a complete newbie anymore but neither am I a super-experienced cacher. I tend to like ammo boxes that require a bit of hiking to get to.
YAPIDKA: Kay Redden's Boulevard? (GC12FJ6) - The date is September 22, 2007. I had just received my now beloved Geko 201 in the mail and was looking for a good test run. I scoured the website and came up with this one. It was close to where I lived at the time and in a small wooded clump in an otherwise developed neighborhood park. I remember having this idea that actually finding a cache was going to be extraordinarily difficult and so my expectations were not high. May daughter was 2 at the time and came along with me. We found the area pretty quickly and I was impressed that it was the entrance to a cave reserve. I now know that these cave reserves are all over this area but at the time it was a new discovery. It had also not occurred to me that cache hiders would use their hides to highlight all kinds of interesting things. I failed at first to find the treasure and went back to my car to decode the hint. I have rarely since decoded a hint manually in the field, but I did that day, and as luck would have it the hint was only three letters long: "log". Thus armed with a very helpful hint I returned to claim my glory. I was pretty stunned to have any success at all that day. Needless to say I got incredibly pumped up and went on to find 5 more that day in various locations, including one of my all-time favorites, Chicken Cooop (GCT4FC).
Only a few days after my first find I attempted to find Cypress Creep III - The other side (GCYG98). I was still flush with my initial successes and probably didn't even know the definition of "DNF". This was probably my cruel introduction to the fact that micros in natural settings are, um, not my cup of tea. I didn't find it that first day I looked for it and I've never found it despite looking for it at least 5 or 6 times. I just have some mental block. I watch the log and others seem to have no problem. Nowadays most of my pocket queries exclude micros. But I have to live with the shame of knowing that I used to live a mere 4 blocks from Cypress Creep III and I never found it.
I haven't done much night caching but the few experiences that I've had have always been memorable. Over Christmas vacation of 2007 I took my visiting nephew out to find the laser greatness of Night Light (GC14231). It so completely blew our minds that we drove back home and loaded the rest of the family into the car to go see it. Thus introduced to night caching we searched for others in the Austin area and found Roman Nights (GCZ1KY). The night after Christmas another family group set out but was defeated. (Depressing log entry here). We actually tried again a few days later and failed again. Instead of continuing to bang our heads against the wall we took some time off, and before we knew it a year had passed and it was Christmas again. This time it was actually Christmas night of 2008 when we attempted it again. Our year to stew on our past mistakes paid off big time. We ran like a well oiled machine and got our reward. (Triumphant log entry here). I don't think I've ever felt more satisfaction in finding a cache than I did when I found this one.
Nine Princes In Amber
I'm not really much of a completist cacher. If I run across a series of caches I don't really feel compelled to do them all to satisfy some collector urge. But the Nine Princes In Amber series of caches were right up my alley. Benedict (GC1CQ6C) was the first one I found in July of 2008 because it was close to my job. I found a few others and soon realized that they were all quality hides and more importantly were my kind of hides. Throughout August and September of 2008 I grabbed the rest and found each and every one of them to be thoroughly enjoyable. My quest ended with Julian (GC1CQ6V) on September 12, 2008. I still have all the cards, but I haven't yet solved the puzzle and really haven't committed much time to trying. I don't care much for puzzles; I just like the getting outside business. So for me the series concluded after I found the 14th trump.
In July and August of 2008 my wife and child were out of the country visiting family in Mexico. That left me with lots more caching time than I normally have, and I took advantage by planning several all-day caching trips. This is a luxury of time that I normally don't have and I look back on those days as some of my best caching experiences. They were completely solo trips which fits my disposition. The first of these trips was to Zilker Park / Gus Fruh Park on July 26, 2008. The idea was to park my car in Zilker Park and hike all the way through Gus Fruh park picking up all the caches along the way. Once I got to 360 I'd hike over to Barton Creek Mall and catch a bus to take me back to my car. I logged 12 caches this day and DNFed one. I posted basically the same log message for each cache. The one I DNFed was BridgeToTerabithia which is somewhat disappointing since it is a highly regarded cache. This was also the day I ran into my first fellow geocacher in the wild, SoftScienceOfficer. In the end my plan to hike to the mall and catch a bus ended up being unnecessary. My father called me on my cell phone when I was in the middle of the trip and as usual he thought I was doing something monstrously dangerous and insisted on coming to pick me up. So I got a nice air conditioned car ride back to my car instead of a nasty hike alongside 360 to catch a bus.
Dick Nichols Park
Only a few days after my Grus Fruh trip I planned a run through Dick Nichols Park on August 2, 2008. The scenery isn't as great as Grus Fruh but this day remains my record for most caches in a single day, 15. No DNFs that day either. Considering how much enjoyment they all gave me I really should have come up with something better for my generic log entry for all those caches. I was able to successfully indulge my strange obsession with combining geocaching trips with mass transit. I took the bus all the way from our home in Cedar Park down to Dick Nichols Park in South Austin and back. Why would somebody voluntarily do this when I could have driven in a fraction of the time? Well, I think riding the bus is fun. Yeah, I don't really expect you to understand. :-)
Los Tiburones Eléctricos have two hides to their name:
- Los Tiburones Eléctricos (GC18G7F) - This was my first hide and is an ammo box since that's the type of cache that's nearest to my own heart. This was also something of a tribute to Chicken Coop (GCT4FC) which was for me the first cache that really surprised me. At the time that I hid this there was only a single cache in this little Twin Creeks park. I take some pride that after my hide this park started to get more attention and now boasts 5 high quality caches. (Yes, I'm including my OWN cache in that high quality list.) Since I've moved away from the area I got The Outlaw to adopt it for me since I was not comfortable being responsible for it from so far away.
- Now Is Better Than Later (GC1F2DH) - I struggled mightily to come up with a cache as clever as Night Light with scenery as spectacular as BridgeToTerabithia. That's a tall order, and in the end I dedicated this cache to the "just do it" mentality. It's close to my job for easy maintenance.
- Barton Creek Greenbelt, west of Mopac and 360
- Mary Moore Searight Metro Park
- Get Your Horns Up (GCNQQP) - I've solved the puzzle already and this is probably my only shot to get a webcam cache
- Emma Long Metropolitan Park - I've grabbed one from here but I'd love to make a day out of it and find all the rest
- Spicewood Springs, west of 183 - This is more in my neck of the woods and there are still many caches I haven't found
- Williamson County Regional Park
- Pocket query - Get rid of this query and generate a new one from a book mark list. It's got a few of caches I don't want.
- Lake Georgetown - I love regulars and it looks like there are a lot up there
- Town Lake Island - The idea is to take the bus down to 1st and Congress, walk towards I35 on the hike and bike trail, pick up cache #1 along the way, rent a kayak at the Town Lake Holiday Inn on I35, paddle out to the island to pick up cache #2.
- Pedernales State Park - I'll probably find a way to take my bike along for this one.
- geocaching.com - "The" site
- GeoLex - The Lexicon of Geocaching - Where I find the definition of all those pesky acronyms
- Geocacher's Creed - Interesting read
- It's Not About The Numbers - A nice geocaching stats site
- Garmin Geko 201 Manual - The preferred hardware of Los Tibruones
- TinyGPX - A little utility written by yours truly to facilitate "less paper" caching by printing out cache info in super-compact form
- maps-gps-info.com - A great site that lists all the free GPS software out there
- waymarking.com - I can't decide if I like waymarking or not
- GPSBabel - My GPS software of choice
- EasyGPS - My other GPS software of choice (along with Google Maps)
- Rankings for Geocachers with 200 or More Finds - I will not rest until I break 200 caches and am therefore listed on this site