Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Laughing in Langley

ABOVE: Treehouse built in the style of the twin brothers who owned what is now Redwood Park

C'mon, you knew I was into these rhymning titles!

You can view the complete set of pictures here on my Flickr site. Be sure to leave me a comment at the end of the story, I would love to hear what you think of the day's write up.

Well, laughing is a good title as we did laugh a lot today, both with and at each other during the course of the day. And anybody else who had the good fortune to cross our paths. :)

We started the day where we left off last week; in the heart of Redwood Park in South Surrey. We had found 3 caches last week before darkness over took us and called an end to our caching.
Well, today the first one on the list was the one we couldn't find last time.

ABOVE: Signboard telling about Redwood Park

Redwood Park is a 32 hectare park with trees from around the world planted by twin brothers David and Peter Brown. In 1893 for their 21st birthday, their dad gave each of them 40 acres of cleared land as a birthday present. The boys immediately began collecting seedlings and trees from around the world, and brought them back to plant in their private arboretum.

ABOVE: Picnic shelter in Redwood Park

The first cache to find was called "It's Not Easy Being Green", a comment a lot of us will remember from the Muppet Show. And sure enough, a frog figured into the hunt some where along the way. The cache was a two stage multi; the first being a small micro container that we had trouble in the dark finding, and the second stage was the actual cache location. We all agreed we thought the final location was a cute hide! No spoilers here...

ABOVE: On the way to find "It's Not Easy Being Green"

#2 cache to find in the park today is called "Below the Bird @ Redwood. Already I don't like the sounds of it......"is there a hill" I ask not trying to sound weak kneed. "Only one way" was the smart ass reply from one of the two comedians I was with today.

Down the hill we go as we realize the park is located on a steep hill that slants away to the south. Well, going to the cache was OK so far, so I guess the return trip is the uphill part.

It took a little while for the GPS' to swing around and zero in, but not before we had searched a wide spread area. Eventually MrTJ hollers that he has it and we start doing the wave we're so happy! No, not quite that bad, but I could have done the wave I was so happy; I hate to get DNFs !!

On to the next one a short drive away in an area called Stokes Pit. For as long as there have been teenagers, this old gravel pit has been the scene of many parties and good times for any one with a 4X4, a motorcycle or an ATV. These days the city of Surrey has bought the land, made it a city park called Latimer Pond Park and are revitalizing the area. No more parties, or motorcycles allowed, just families taking their kids for a stroll to see the ducks, the occasional dog walker, and a few geocachers.

South Surrey and Langley seem to be inhabited by people who love to make caches part of a series; I think we did 4 or 5 series today as we worked our way around the Langley area.

"Near & Dear #4 - Stokes Pit" was the first one we picked up today in this particular series .

ABOVE: L to R; Bowser98, kindersurprise, kindersurprise father, MrTJ and Bowser98junior

As we drove up to the area we noticed a couple of dudes walking around holding their hand in that tell tale fashion while they tried to read some thing on the device in their hand. Well, this will be easy; we'll just wait a minute or two, then follow them and they can just hand us the cache!

Turns out we surprised kindersurprise while they were on the hunt, and our timing was perfect, they already had the cache out! We had a good talk with them as we signed the log and put away the cache; as it turns out they were also going to the next cache in the same park, this one called "RFI1". We walked together as we headed around the small pond with a few dabbling ducks having a rest on the still waters; the ducks where mostly Mallards, with a few Buffleheads thrown in for good measure.

A few minutes walk brought us around the lake on a mogul type of trail, and of course, as luck would have it, a couple of Bubbas riding off road motorcycles had decided to stop there and have a couple of beers. Pretty sure there were several signs back at the entrance stating that this was a park and _no motorcycles_ allowed; I guess some guys just don't get it.......

Of course the fact we stopped right by them and started looking around made them pretty curious, so i decided that tell them the story of geocaching while the others looked for the cache. Pretty soon they were spell bound by my tale, which made it easier for the other teams to gang up for the discovery of a micro hanging in the woods without being noticed.
Cache signed and put away, we walked back to the cars with kindersurprise chatting as we went. We enjoyed our social visit, team kindersurprise were nice people and as we said our goodbyes, little did we know that our paths would cross again.

Remember the game called Clue? Well, now you can play the geocaching version; the latest series in the Langley area is based on the game of Clue; multiple caches provide clues for the murder weapon, the room the crime was committed in, and the murder weapon.

Above: Rees-Callard Natural Park

"Clue: The Dining Room" was our first visit to a possible scene of a crime, how ever the scene we visited was a lot nicer. Rees-Callard Natural Park is a small park in the Brookswood area that looks like it's just been turned into a park recently and none of the amenities have been constructed yet. So far the acreage looks like an abandoned grass lot with a small forested area at the back of the property. The cache itself was located in the forest belt, some what shielded from the prying eyes of the neighbours.

ABOVE: You can hide it anywhere!

Next stop, "Short under a bridged circuit" just up the street and around the corner. This cache was a regular sized container hidden under a bridge that goes over a small creek. In the rainy season you are going to get your feet wet, as the bank of the creek is barely wide enough for your feet at the best of times.

Over the edge goes MrTJ, while Bowser98 and I stand guard above. Our job was to guard any pop bottles, tin cans and beer bottles that MrTJ found and through back up to us; "that's real money" he said , "guard it well".

Well, the story sounded good anyways; truth is he was the first one to jump over the edge to go look. "Hey, I had the camera so I couldn't do too much jumping could I?"

ABOVE: Playground at Bell Park

On to "Near & Dear #1 - Bell Park. This is another small park in the area amidst a residential area; the great thing about these small parks is that they all have great playgrounds for the little ones. And of course for us adults the toy of choice was our GPS' which we used to find the cache.

ABOVE: In the ravine we go!!

"Brookswood: Under the Saddle" was another series of caches, this time from two years ago. I had done some of these caches last year, and was just now getting back to work on the rest.

This cache was located in a ravine at the back side of a school, sure glad we were here on the weekend. This would be a bitch to do during the school hours, if you didn't get run off by the school first.

We looked around the top of the hill first, as that's where the GPS' put us, but as we slowly worked down the short, steep hill to the ravine bottom the "under the saddle" part became failrly obvious. Oh yeah, this was one of those "slippery clay on a steep hill down by a ravine" type of day, and every one made sure we had traction control engaged before we tackled the hill.

ABOVE: Lots of space here

Another Brookswood cache, a short multi, brought us to a forested area at the end of the play field of another school. "George Meet Linda" was a good little hide tucked away in the roots of a tree that were above the ground. The GPS' wandered a bit in here and it took a bit of looking and a bit of re-checking of checked-already places before the cache container poked it's head out.

ABOVE: On the way to the Fairy cache
"Forest Fairy".............all right......keep the wise cracks to your self; it's a cache in a long strip of forested municipal land that is now green space. A short walk along well marked paths brought us to the hiding spot for the cache. An easy find for the group and we only had to worry about a mom and her two kids riding their bikes along the path to disturb our signing of the log.

ABOVE: Troubled Bridge

Just a few minutes walk in the same green space is another cache that MrTJ and I had already done, but one that Bowser98 had not. This was one of the Brookwsood caches; "Water Under Troubled Bridge" at the location of an old bridge where at one time a road must have crossed the small creek set in a marshy environment. The old path down to the cache was definitely an old roadway at one time.

The cache was found quick enough and we spent more time taking pictures and talking about the location then we did finding the cache. OK, back up the hill we go to the geo-mobiles to continue on our journey.

ABOVE: On the Simond Nature Trail

Back to the Near & Dear series with "#3 - Simonds Nature Trail" A small creek cuts south to north through a neighbourhood and past a school, and in the creek setting was this cache. Another one of those caches that was an easy hide but did not want to appear for several minutes, but we found finally. As usual I took more pictures as the other two signed the log book; what a team!

Back down the trail we go for another 700 feet to the next cache which was on a very wide walkway from one street to another. But before we could get too far, who should appear but team kindersurprise again! Another pleasant trail side chat before we said good bye again and continued on..

"Clue: The Hall" was a micro cache located inside a huge old cedar stump that seemed to take up half the walkway space. This was a quick garb and sign, until MrTJ said "hurry up, some ones coming"; turned out to be team kindersurprise again!! Another trail side chat ensued, through which we found out they had just recently come from the next cache we were going to.

"OK, we'll follow you back there and help you look again" we say, and off we went.

"Near & Dear #2: City Park" was a good size city park tucked away behind houses where the park grass followed the contours of the creek.

Kindersurprise beat us to the cache location, and showed us some pens and stuff that they said had probably come from the cache that had been muggled. I looked around 15 feet away in an obvious place and was rewarded with a small cache container hidden under forest floor detrius. I think kindersurprise was a bit embarrassed by the quick find of a "muggled" cache. Of course, that didn't stop me from razzing him!

The last Near & Dear cache, and clue, we needed was a parking lot cache at the nearby Kwantlen College. We had hoped to catch up to team kindersurprise and go to the final with them, but a slight routing error put us a few minutes behind them - bugger!

Oh well, we got the clue, now we just need to put the answers together for the final cache location.

"Clue: The Ballroom" was located at a major softball complex and I guess it was opening day, as every diamiond was in use and cars where parked everywhere! As it was later in the afternoon we found a few empty spots to park, and then followed the GPS as it lead us to the bushes behind one of the diamonds alongside a swampy crick.

A quick find, sign of the log book and we were off to the next cache..............

"Library" was located alongside a new condiminium complex that had just been built alongside a busy 4 lane commuter road. the city sought to buffer the walkers from the road by putting a small garden area between the sidewalk and the sidewalk.

Lucky for us a cacher thought this was a great place to put a hide for us! And a quick find, thank you very much, grab the clue and off again!

Another series called "Letter Hunt" had us down a new path; that is for Bowser98 and I. MrTJ had been here already and showed us where to park just around the corner from the cache.

ABOVE The Letter cache sceanrio

A nice broad walkway cut between back yards of new houses, which afforded us a peek into their crowded houses. Not much privacy here....

Bowser98junior found the cache, we signed it and he put it back....good work team!

One more cache in the area, just a couple of blocks away. I'm sure this cache, called "Cabin Fever", was picked because the crowded feeling you get from all these brand new houses squeezed together.

At this point I thought we were done, as I only had a couple of caches left but they were not in the general direction of where we wanted to go. However, Bowser98 and MrTJ were game to continue for a few more, so off we go to look for "Watergate 2".

ABoVE: Watergate #2

This cache had been replaced, as it went MIA the first time. the cache is located along the Nicomekl River, and the original cache was in the flood zone. So, last time here, I donned my trusty rubber boots and waded through the large pods of grass looking for a floating cache. I didn't succed in finding the cache that day, but I did succeed in looking like a stork!

This time the cache was found in a different environment, one that was safe and sound from the floods.

Last cache of the day brought us back to "On the Right Path", a micro hidden very cleverly in the area of a paved walkway. Last time we were hear, we got totally skunked, not a clue!

This time, with a hint, a friend, and a more bodies, we had another go at this one. SUCCESS!!!!

Found it!! And it took Bowser98junior to find the cache for us......again!!

Well, this was the last for the day, # 19 for MrTJ, #20 for me, tjguy98, amd #21 for Bowser98. I think finding 20 caches was a heck of a good caching day!!

Time to head home for a very late dinner........

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