Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Geocaching 101 Coquitlam - 2009

Over the past couple of weekends, the British Columbia Geocaching Association (BCGA) held several meet and greets around the province to welcome, and educate, the newer members of the sport.

MrTJ and myself attended the event in Coquitlam as these events draw not just the new folks, but the long time cachers as well. It's always a good time catching up with the friends you have made through the sport, as well as meeting the new members just coming on board.

The BCGA did a good job of gearing this to the new members as most of the day's events centered around ideas like; how to use your GPSr, what are the different types of caches, what does a cache look like, etc. Plus, there were 10 caches hidden around the area where cachers of all skill level could get some practice on different hides, especially the ones that encouraged you to "think outside the box".

Plenty of people attended the event, but as most of them were outside either looking for the caches or on a learning walk-about with a BCGA member, the first impression was of a poor turnout. Not so....everyone was outside having fun! As it should be....

There were also door prizes to give away, as well as an opportunity to sign up for a membership in the BCGA. Being a member adds your voice to other cacher's voices as we deal with various levels of government on issues that affect our sport.

The laughs for the day came when two keep-away TBs showed up; a keep-away TB is travel bug that's specific mission is to be kept away from another cacher. In this case, the two TBs were required to stay away from the cachers known as "Best Red" and "The Tulameen Turtles".

Best Red's TB is a huge Panda Bear that she had chosen as a door prize at a Christmas event. Unfortunately for her, the Panda Bear was quickly absconded and made a keep-away TB of which she has only had fleeting glimpses since.

Today she got within arms length of her bear, but the poor panda was sternly protected by the current TB holder, and Best Red never had a chance to hold her baby... :)

The other keep-away TB is called RainForest Rudy; Rudy is a small cuddly bear reminiscent of a Paddington Bear. Rudy is outfitted for a safari, sporting appropriate safari clothes, hat, and a tag-along green tree frog that sits on his head.

Rudy was in my posession for a few weeks, and he had the good fortune of spending a day of caching with myself, MrTJ and Bowser98, three brothers whom enjoy a good day's worth of caching. I took along my camcorder and made Rudy the star of the day; his face was in every cache hunt I recorded; of course, I had to tell Kris (Mrs Tulameen Turtle) all about the video!

I don't know how well that went over, as I never heard from her....hmmmm....

Come time for Geocaching 101, it was also time for Rudy to move on and stay with another friend. The cacher known as Scruffster thought he would love to adopt Rudy and carry on the tradition of keeping Rudy away from The Tulameen Turtles.

Well, where I was subtle in the way I went about pointing out the fact that I had Rainforest Rudy and Mrs. TT did not, Scruffster had all the savoir faire of a backwoods hillbilly. A couple of times Scruffster waved Rudy in Mrs. TTs face, and twice Scruffster was forced to run for the hills to avoid a whupping.

By the end of the event Scruffster still had Rainforest Rudy in his posession, locked safely in his car. Rudy went home with Scruffster, and, since then, a mini-Scruffster has been added to Rudy's entourage.

You can view the video of the event by clicking in the centre of the image below:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Surrey Bend Cache Tracks on EveryTrail.com

I uploaded my track from the day of caching in the Surrey Bend area to the web site called EveryTrail.com.

This is where you can view all sorts of GPS routes from skiing to walking to 4X4 trips in many parts of the world. You should check it, you might pick up some future trips for yourself!

You can view the full map and story on the EveryTrail.com website here

TIP: When the map draws in, choose a different view from the drop down menu in the upper right corner. I like the "Hybrid" view myself.
Then ZOOM in on the map to see the region better....................................

Surrey Bend & North Surrey Caching at EveryTrail

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Caching in Surrey Bend Regional Park

Had the pleasure of getting out and caching today with Bowser98 and MrTJ in the North Surrey area. We tackled the overgrown riverside trail in Surrey Bend Regional Park as we aimed to knock off the four caches along the trail while the weather was somewhat good and the bushes and brambles had fallen back for the winter.

The Surrey Bend Park is accessed from the parking lot of the Barnston Island ferry near the north foot of 176 Street. There are a couple of caches on the small island (to drive around the island is approx 11K), but there is no public parking allowed on the island. These two caches are best done as a bike ride on a warm summer day.

The first two caches we hit were Festive Tree and The Bridge; these caches are in the main part of the park and the trail to the cache areas is flat and more or less maintained. Except for today, the snow on the ground made it a bit of a chore as we walked along the path, slip sliding around on the snow.

After these caches, there is a small creek that empties into the Fraser River and you have to dip down into the creek bed to cross the creek. Sounds easy, except as the creek bed is at river level; when the tide is high, the creek bed is under 3 feet of water. You would need hip waders to get across!

"Tide" you say? "This is a river, there's no tide here"!

Oh, but there is....the Fraser River water levels are affected by the tides all the way up river to the town of Mission; approx 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

To help you plan your visit, here is a web site for local Vancouver area tide levels. Click here to go to the web site.

After you cross the creek, the trail is unattended and at best is described as overgrown and unmaintained. In sections the trail can be indiscernable from the surrounding bush, and where the trail skirts the river edge, is eroded away with just the slimmest bits of land for you to walk along. Not a place for the kiddies; in the summer the bushes overgrow the trail making it hard to even see your feet as you stumble along. Ensure you keep your mouth closed, as the spiders just love to build webs across the trail in the dense overgrowth.

Cache #3 is called "Happy New Year", and we were very happy to find this one as it apparently had been moved from it's original location by approx 100'. After we gave up looking for it, Bower98 noticed it further down the trail sitting out in the open; on our return from cache #4 we picked up the cache and took it back to it's original hide.

Cache #4 is called Rivershore by the hider named Fungi (a made up name); there are two large cottonwood trees on the bank of the river that have large fungi growing out from the trunks. It was neat to see how the fungi had colonized the trees.

With #4 found, we retreated our steps the mile back to the cars by the Barnston Island ferry dock, and continued on caching in North Surrey.

Watch the Surrey Bend video by clicking on the image below;

For the rest of the day we were mostly in the Tynehead Park area where the snow was still on the ground; between the snow and the boggy grounds we managed to get our feet wet and they stayed that way for the rest of the day.

Watch the the Surrey - Tynehead video by clicking on the image below: