Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Caching in North Vancouver BC Aug 5 2007

ABOVE: totem pole at Cates Park

After a bit of an unintentional hiatus from caching brother Ken and I were out again in North Vancouver searching for bits of tupperware hidden in the bushes.
We aimed to do approx 30 caches today but as you know things never turn out the way you plan.

I have posted some pictures with the story, but all of the pictures with captions can be found here on my Flickr site. (Yes, click on the red "here" to go to the photo site).
When you get to the Flickr photo site, in the upper right click on "View as a slide show" and when the slide show starts, click in the centre of the first picture to turn on the captions window.

Whey-Ah-Whichen "faces the wind"is the Tsleil-Waututh name for this place which defines Indian Arm from Burrard Inlet. We know it as Cates Park which was dedicated in 1950 in honour of Charles Cates, founder of Cates Towing, a large tug boat company.

Our first stop was in Cates Park where we were going to pick up 3 easy caches; at least easy to find but Cates Park on a summer day is a zoo. Hard to be stealthy looking when you are surrounded by a 1000 sun worshippers!

Cache #1 "Water Logged" sitting at the edge of the lawn where the ground slopes down to the beach was protected by a band who had set up right there in front of the cache. Listening to the band were 30 people or so all within 50 feet of where we wanted to be. NUTS! OK, so this isn't going to happen, let's leave it and go on to the next one.
ABOVE: East beach of Cates Park

Off we go down the trail travelling east along the beach trail and then onto the beach itself. The narrow beach is squished between the low rock wall and the water's edge, but even here people where enjoying the day. Kayakers set up their boats ready for the ride, and other folks came here to get away from the crowds back at the main part of the park.

The GPSr led us up a flight of stairs back into the forest and along a wide shaded path as we continued in our quest for the treasure. And succesful we were; "Deep Cove Cates" was a good name for the cache based on it's hiding location, deep in it's hidey hole. Cache retrieved, log book signed and cache re-hidden, we were on a roll; 1 for 2. LOL

ABOVE: Ken and his two geo-hounds. Mya is the white one and Jasper is the black one

We headed back along the forest trail to the parking area and across the play area to a small stand of trees where a hidden giant awaited us. One of the things I never get tired off seeing in the forests that make up the parks of the Vancouver area is the gigantic stumps that were logged in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Other people are amazed by them too, as quite often you will find caches hidden in the largest stump in the vicinity. Such was the case here where "Cates Park Coupon Cache" was hidden in an enormous stump that boggles the mind on how two men swinging an axe on their own could bring down this giant.

This was an easy stop and grab which we liked; now our record was 2 for 3 on the day and we were starting to feel cocky...so cocky that due to the late start we had to the day that we quit for an early lunch before we got too wrapped up in the search for more caches.

We always enjoy seeing wild life while we are out caching; usually we come across deer or squirrels running along the tree limbs. How ever, sitting a fast food joint having a "fill me up" sub Ken looks over my shoulder and says "there goes a skunk"! First thing I say is "Scruffster, is that you"? (Scruffster being the caching handle of a well known cacher). Second thing I say is "where? It's not coming close is it"? Nope, it wandered into the hedges across the driveway and we did not see it again, much to our relief.....

ABOVE: Public access to water shore viewing

Stomach filled and thirst quenched, we headed back along Dollarton Highway looking for the cache called "Vindicating Vista". This is one of those tiny green spaces squished in between two houses that back onto Burrard Inlet. Many times I've been along this road and never noticed this public access point to view the water, once again you have to say "I never would have known about this place except for caching".

The cache itself was a quick find, except for the fact the access point was overgrown with thorns and stinging nettle. Me, with my jeans on, held the reins of Ken's hounds while he, with the shorts, attacks the nettle and brambles with only minor whimpering.

ABOVE: the view from the cache called "The View"

Next on the hit list was a micro cache called "The View" hidden on a set of stairs leading down the hill to a new waterfront park. The old buildings here are the remainder of Matsumoto Shipyards in operation from 1949 to 1989; the land is being converted into an city park with the old buildings intact. Hopefully they will make it into a museum.

ABOVE: on the way to "Getting Started"

The micro cache duly found and logged, we turned our attention to a self revealing cache called "Getting Started". The owner of this cache wants you to write a short blurb on how you got started caching. It's interesting to read some of the stories, and even more interesting to find out who knows who in the caching world. As happens so often in caching, the hides are hidden in areas that you never knew about. In this case "Getting Started" is hidden in the Roche Point Forest and is adjacent to a sensitive part of the park off limit to pets as the area is one of the few remaining homes of the endangered Pacific Water Shrew. Now, would you have known that unless you came caching here? I didn't!

ABOVE: Pacific Water Shrew

Cache #6 of the day was at a small community park called Garibaldi Park. Quite a few of the parks have a combination of developed play areas and undeveloped wooded areas, and this was the case here. At the back of the park a small forest area ran along side a small creek environment with trails going back and forth in the open wooded area, no doubt a great play area for the kids. While we enjoyed the peaceful setting we were very disappointed to see that the local residents use a large area around the access points as their personal dumping place for yard waste. The houses in the area are upper mid-class and typically the residents are more flush with cash then some of the poorer areas of Vancouver, yet the laziness and selfishness shown in the park left us shaking our heads.

ABOVE: Trailhead at the base of Seymour Mountain

Moving on we went in search of a cache located at the base of a Seymour Mountain, home to Seymour Park and the Seymour sking area. The history of the cache was just as long as the mountain is tall; "VTMP No; 79 Along The Way". This cache is one of many dedicated to Vancouver's first moving cache that was archived a while ago. A moving cache is one you pick up from it's current location, find a new hiding spot for it, and post the new co-ordinates. The next finder will do the same and so on; eventually the cache will have moved around the western part of the Lower Mainland. In honour of that moving cache, permanent caches were hidden at it's temporary homes; I myself have two caches hidden from this series.

The cache was located a short walk up one of the trails that ascend Seymour Mountain, lucky for us it wasn't very far along the trail. The mountain has mountain bike trails as well as hiking trails, and the wide path we walked along was a favourite exit point for the mountain bikers.

Keeping one eye on our GPSr and one eye watching for rapidly approaching two wheelers, we took the short walk to the cache. A quick sign of the log book, a quick look up the trail for speeders, and back to the truck we went.

ABOVE: Cache location for "Well Grounded"

Proving that you can put a cache almost anywhere, this is the location for a small sized cache; can you see it in the picture?
ABOVE: Can you see the cache now?

ABOVE: Always a possiblity when walking through the forest

When you go walking in the woods you never know who or what you'll meet, a chance encounter isn't as rare as you might think. Probably every cacher has a bear story to tell!
ABOVE: "Hello, Hello....any bears down there? Ken, send the dogs first"!

The bear sign was posted near the trail head for "Big Stump, Little Stump" located just behind a town house complex off Dollarton Hwy. Hidden behind the town homes is a small grove of once mighty trees, now just mighty big stumps. The cache owner has hidden the cache almost in plain view around the base of one of the stumps; the trick is, which stump? Ingenious camoflauge makes the cache tougher to spot than you think.

Next on the list was another cache located in a city park that consists of playing fields and a ravine greenbelt. "McCartney Creek Cache" is the location that Ken and I employed our best method of searching for a cache. That is, simply stated: "no matter how small or deep a ravine is, you must always start on the opposite side of the ravine from which the cache is located". That's almost a golden rule for us, and we employed that theory in this park as well.
ABOVE: Let's play "Can You Spot the Cache" again......well....can you?

At least the ravine wasn't deep where we crossed it, and after some searching and tapping with a handy wooden probe, Ken located the well disguised cache.

ABOVE: The pathway through Harbour Park along the bank of Lynn Creek
The next two caches were close together, situated along the bank of Lynn Creek where it empties into Burrard Inlet. Along the river's edge was a small linear park that was an off leash area, which the geo-hounds enjoyed. Ken spent a few minutes throwing the stick into the river for the black hound to chase, while I went looking for the cache called "Cache Remains Final".
As it turns out I was standing almost on top of it! Well, that was a quick find! LOL
ABOVE: Some geeky guy with too many toys strapped to his hip. In my hand I have my GPSr, a Magellan Meridian Gold, next to it is my cell phone, and the orange thing is a FRS radio for when Ken and I get a bit too far away to yell to each other.

With one dry and one wet dog in tow we meandered down the pathway to the end where the park meets the harbour. Here was a virtual cache called "King of the World". You have to count how many poles of a certain colour are in the area, and then email the cache owner the answer to verify you were at the cache site. After that you can claim the cache as a "find".

Poles counted we strolled back up the pathway headed to the truck to squeeze in a few more caches on the day.

ABOVE: A busy creek in the summer heat...looks inviting!
Across Main Street and further upstream of Lynn Creek is Lynn Creek Park, a perfect place for young kids to come with parents and float down the slow cool creek while they beat the summer heat. In the park is a "Cache Remains #3, which was originally part of the series called "Cache Remains". Now the caches are stand alone, and you can do them individually. The cache was an easy find, but with all of the people enjoying the park it was tough to grab the cache with out looking too obvious.

ABOVE: One of the sign boards at Moodyville Park

The next cache was our favourite of the day as it was located in a historical area. "Bones #3" is the name of the cache and it is located in Moodyville Park on the former grounds of the community of Moodyville. Named after S. P. Moody, the community was home to first a mill, then a community as the workers settled around the mill. There is a trail that runs around the outskirts of the park, and along the trail are historical signs that tell you a bit about Moodyville in it's hey day.
The cache was a bit difficult as our readings were a bit off, but find the cache we did. Then Ken and I spent an hour walking around reading the signs and the large historical board located in the main area of the park.

Almost done for the day but we still want to cache, so we went looking for "Refuse to Cache". This was a micro located at a turn around at the end of a road as it bumped up against Hwy #1.
We found it quick enough, while trying to look casual for the sake of the home owner working on his house nearby.

ABOVE: Pond at "The Happy Man"

Last cache of the day, which made us happy too! This cache was a fun one to do as it was a "multi", which means you had to go to different spots in the park and count swing sets or posts, then use certain numbers from your answer to determine the bearing and distance to the cache. Well, Ken and I are never that confident of our projection to the final cache on hides like this, so we were once again "happy" to find the cache where we thought it would be.

ABOVE: A biggie-size ammo box
And, man was that ammo box HUGE!! It was so large that at first the white geo-hound wasn't sure about it. I think she was afraid she would fall in and not get back out. LOL
Well, that's the end of the story; a full day of caching with 16 caches under our belts, plus a hamburger or two! :)
Time to go home and log our finds on GC.com

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