Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Let me tell you about an urban cache in Santiago, Chile. It's a little different from the previous caches I've described because it is a multi-cache. These have several stages and can be a fun challenge as you go from place to place in a relatively not-to-distant area. Earlier this year I had some free time while on a trip to Sanitago. I headed out early one morning before my meetings started to get some exercise and caching in. I came to the coordinates but the park was all closed. I jogged back to where I was staying and decided to come back after my meetings. It was summer in Santiago so the days were longer. When I went back the first stage called for me to find find a statue and take down some information and incert it into an equation to find the coordinates of the next location. I entered the park at the main gate and climbed the hill and down the other side. The first location turned out to be outside the park. I could have done that stage of the hunt during the morning but didn't know it. Now that I had the coordinates to the second stage of the hunt, off I went, back into the park. I climbed the hill again. This hill is natural, not man-made. It sits near the historic center of Santiago and is known as Cerro Santa Lucia. It is where the first Spanish conquerers set up camp to protect themselves from the Mapuche Indians who then lived in the area. I climbed to the coordinates and found myself looking for a micro-sized container in a wall. There were lots of muggles (non-geocachers who have no clue what you are doing and generally think you are a lunatic feeling all the rocks in a wall) in the area. Finally I found it behind a small stone stuck in the join between stone blocks in the wall. Another equation but this time I have to incert the Mapuche name for something (to give this away would be a spoiler) into the equation. I check with a vendor on top of the hill and get my answer. There is a nice view of that part of town from on top. Off I went again, this time tracking to the coordinates. Another stone wall. This time there's a park bench pretty much in front of where the cache is supposed to be. Muggles are everywhere. There is a couple and the guy is teaching the girl to juggle balls about 50 feet in one direction. Are they watching me? About the time I think they are absorbed in their lessons, along come seven traffic policemen on their motorcycles riding the trail and then stop to have a cigarette break about 50 feet down the trail and in plain sight of me. So I sit there pretending to be writing something. I actually wrote a stupid poem while waiting. Don't ask, I've lost the poem since. These guys get long breaks. They like to have never left. Between writing lines of the poem I was studying the wall from the bench. Where can it be? At last I spotted a very small rounded pebble stuck in a joint between stones in the wall. Now, how do I get to this without the policemen, who are joking around, seeing me and thinking that I'm stashing drugs or something there? Finally I am able to lean forward on the bench and snatch away the stone. I could just see a small 35 mm container in the join. It took some probing to finally get it out. By now I didn't really care what the police would think. Fortunately they were not paying me much attention. At last, the logbook and the find! This cache took me several hours of sealthy observation and searching but it paid of in the end. Geocaching is a way to reduce stress. After a day of stressful indoor meetings, this was a great way to end the day!
Friday, February 13, 2009
I have to use it or lose it when it comes to vacation. My vacation days don't roll over after the year ends. This usually results in me having to take a number of days of at the end of the year. Actually it has been great to have the days off. Since being laid up after shoulder surgery and then having several trips in December, I was still holding a number of Travel Bugs I'd brought back from the US. I was under conviction because I'd had these in my hands for about a month and they really needed to be placed. Finally, in the days between Christmas and New Years I was able to go drop half of these in Karen's Caper Travel Bug Hotel (GC182AC). But I had brought back a lot of TBs. The best solution was to create another Travel Bug Hotel. I don't know what you think and I am interested so please use the comment option to share your thoughts. I believe that if someone creates a Travel Bug Hotel that he or she should be willing to allow the travel bugs to flow freely in and out with no restrictions. I've come across a few TB hotels in the past that specified that you had to trade one TB for one TB. Now if we are talking about swag, that is a good rule. But if we are talking about trackables which have a misson to travel, then to place these restrictions is to limit the ability of the TB to complete its mission. If someone can take one or all of the TBs and help them on their way to complete their mission, then I'm for it! I once heard another blogger call these types of restrictive caches "prisons", not "hotels". He might be on to something. I made the decision to make my TB hotels open. Don't want anybody singing Hotel California around here ("you can check out... but you can never leave"). Anyway.... I took along a muggle who was interested in learning about geocaching and showed him how to do it all. He helped me hide a second TB Hotel named Brandon's Travel Bug Boarding House (GC1K4MD). The first hotel is named for my granddaughter so her brother was waiting his turn. Now I hope that given the freedom to move any and all these TBs along some of our tourist geocachers coming through Quito will help us out!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to visit some friends in the Dallas-Ft Worth area and in northern New Mexico. Naturally my GPSr went with me. I flew into DFW from Ecuador and drove west to Weatherford, TX. I used the last three hours of daylight to hunt caches along the way. I was saddened by the number of businesses that have closed down leaving vacant parking lots. Many of these have become the location of caches in a series about vacant parking lots. While in Weatherford I had meetings most of the day so I had to get up early to grab a few caches. My caching time was limited there. The next day I took an American flight up to Amarillo, arriving early in the morning. Wow! A whole day to cache in a place with lots of caches! Being from North Carolina originally and living in the Andes Mountains now this flat land is something to get used to. I found a series of caches headed out of town to the west. The weather was sunny, windy and cold. I could see for miles and miles. Probably the caching highlight on this leg of the trip was the Cadilla Ranch virtual cache (GCG71X). Just west of Amarillo on the south side of I-40. Here is the description from the actual cache page:
I doubled back at the next exit and pulled onto the service road. I joined a group of several families who had stopped to check out this interesting piece of