Saturday, May 30, 2009

Surrey Caching

ABOVE: Darts Hill Garden Park in South Surrey

Ken and I had a great day of caching in the South Surrey area today, visiting some neat places we had been previously, and some we had not.

One of the places we always enjoy going to is Redwood Park; there you can see not just redwoods that the South Coast is well known for, you can also see many imported trees planted by brothers Peter and David Brown when they owned the land in the early years. They cleared the land and planted over 30 exotic species not seen before in BC.

Another place that Ken and I had not known about before, were the Darts Hill Gardens left to the City of Surrey, by owners Edwin and Fransisca Darts. They lovingly worked their large property for over 60 years turning it into an oasis, and now the citizens of Surrey benefit from their passion. Visit the web site for Darts Hill Garden Park here.

The other highlight of the day was visiting historic Hazelmere Church and reading the informational sign describing the age of the building and how the building served multi denominations of worshippers. These were the types of places that we really appreciate cache owners sharing with us...

I have a dozen or so photos from the day's trip listed on my Flickr site which you can view here.

TIPS: Right click on the link and say "Open in New Tab" so you can keep the blog page open _and_ view the write up at the same time.

Don't forget to start the slide show, (upper right corner of the screen) and remember to click on "Show Info" to see the captions with the photos.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Great Coal Rush Event in Tulameen - a Geocaching Adventure

ABOVE: Original timbers shoring up KVR tunnel in Princeton

This May Long Weekend was when the Great Coal Rush geocaching event was hosted by the Tulameen Turtles in their home town of Tulameen.

The event area was in a radius of 50 kilometres from Tulameen itself; caches were placed as far south as Princeton and as far north as old railway town site of Brookmere between Hwy 5A and the Coquihalla Highway. A total of 55 caches were on the list of ones to find over the course of the 3 day event.

MrTJ and I did not have the good fortune to be able to attend all 3 days, however we were fortunate enough to be able to attend on Sunday to do some leisurely caching during the day. Our goal was to cache in the Princeton area, then arrive and check in at the Tulameen Turtle lair in the early afternoon. Well, that was our goal....we can now where close with our timing.

We grabbed a few caches on the way to Princeton, then aimed for our first cache at an old Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) tunnel just on the edge of town. Here we met up with some local Vancouver-area cachers in the form of Catapult Jeff and Iron Maiden, Pollywogg, the Wild Wiggly Beanz, the 911Turbos, Scruffster, and Goaliegirl38.

They were just walking back to their vehicles after doing the two caches in the area; we planned on only doing the closest one and then carrying on. We said our "hello's" and said TTYL as they continued on and we went for the cache.

We found the cache quick enough, then headed to the next one on our list; and who did we run into again just as we arrived, and they were leaving? Yep, the "crowd" again..

For the next couple of caches we were a few minutes behind them, and they eventually waited for us to catch up so we could all travel together.

We headed south of Princeton to do 3 caches in the area of the old Allenby mining town; not much is there now but a few old concrete structures of the mill and concentrator. At one time this was a booming town, but like so many mining towns, you would be hard pressed to find much left with a casual look.

The good thing to happen from all this, is that there are indeed many mining areas in the region, and if you look hard enough, you will find many structures still standing, especially in the Blakeburn area in the hills above Coalmont.

The whole idea of this event was to highlight the mining history in this part of the province, and to share the history with fellow cachers. The Tulameen Turtles did an excellent job of that this weekend.....

Back in Allenby, we found the first two caches soon enough, then continued onto the next one down the hill. This one was called "Standing Wall Sinking Shaft" and it was located at the base of a wall of volcanic rock that had extruded from the earth. All around this wall were several mine shafts that were beginning to cave in, making the area a bit dangerous to search in. The shafts just looked like large holes in the ground, but I'm sure there was a lot more of the "hole" beneath the layer of earth that we seen.

ABOVE; wall of volcanic rock

We finished off with these caches, did a couple more in Princeton, then headed for Tulameen while working on a multi cache called "Meet the Cachers". This was a Turtles cache that brought you to cacher's neighbourhoods in Princeton, Coalmont, and ended in Tulameen.

We met several of the cachers along the way, and stopped and had pleasant conversations with them. The final was located on the edge of the Tulameen River, a pretty spot indeed.

Back in Tulameen it was now almost 6.00 PM, and at 6.30 PM the group was scheduled to meet in front of the web cam in beautiful downtown Tulameen to have a group photo done.

Not all cachers were able to make the photo op due to time constraints, but we had a good representation of the weekend gang.

Right next door to the web cam location was the hall were we met to have a pot luck dinner, and man was the food good, and plenty of it. Don't know how all these people staying in tents or pop up campers managed to make such good food, but they did...

Kris and Jordy, AKA the Tulameen Turtles, presided over the night's affair as door prizes were given out, and the poker players in the cacher group turned in their best hand from the envelopes they had picked up at various caches. Each envelope contained playing cards to make up your poker hand.

The prizes were awarded, the night wound down, and the folks in the hall gave Kris and Jordy a very, very well deserved round of applause saying "thanks" for all your hard work on an event that was beyond belief. Every one has been raving about the good time they had searching for caches and learning the rich history of the area.

This event has set a very high bar for any caching events to follow - again congrats to Kris and Jordy on a fantastic event that came off without a hitch.

After the event MrTJ and I said our goodbyes to our caching friends, then began the long haul back down to the Lower Mainland. The trip would take longer going back then coming up, as the mountain roads are not as safe to drive fast in the dark as they are in the day. One of the reasons I was in no rush as the number of deer in the area is high and they all seem to come out at night.

Between Tulameen and Princeton, as space of 18 miles, we counted 55 Mule deer, many wandering on the highway. Wouldn't want to bump into one of those on a blind turn...

We arrived back in Maple Ridge around 1.00 AM; I dropped off MrTJ, then drove home and dropped myself off into bed....the Jeep can wait till morning to get unpacked....

This event did live up to its name...."The GREAT Coal Rush"

A two part video can be viewed on my YouTube channel here

The cache page for the Great Coal Rush Event can be found here
Below is a map from showing the waypoints for the day.
Click on the link at the top of the map to go to my page on to see a full size version.
Change map views from the drop down menu to see a satellite version of the map

Tulameen Geocaching Event - The Great Coal Rush at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging