I am a proud

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Smithfield, Virginia...Ham Capitol of the World and a nice geocaching city tour

Smithfield waterfront

One of six decorated pigs in town

The old stocks at the Old Courthouse

A chat with Ben in front of the local newspaper office

Bdramatic's pathtag
We approached Smithfield from the east. We were in Newport News so we left the peninsula via the James River Bridge and picked up some nice geocaches on the way. This town is famous for its hams. As we approached from the southeast the first thing we saw was the town's waterfront. It was full of shops. The waterfront buildings are beautiful. From there we went to Main Street to find the tourist information center. After getting oriented we headed out on our walking tour of Smithfield. Our first stop was a store/restaurant called "A Taste of Smithfield". It was fun to go through the shop that specializes in selling hams and peanuts. The samples were great there. We left with a stock of chocolate covered peanuts. We visited the Old Courthouse next. It wasn't open but the prisoner stocks out front made for a good photo. We moved on to the city museum. At the museum we saw the oldest ham, the largest ham and saw a video on the city's record breaking "World's Largest Ham Biscuit". The museum was free and worth the time. The town's tourism center has joined up with local geocachers to incorporate some caches into their walking tour. We visited and enjoyed finding Brick Walk (GC11VZ8). The historical houses that are beautifully preserved will take your breathe away. The coffee shops and bakery will draw you in just by the aroma. Of course one of our favorite caches was a simple park and grab at the tourism office. After completing the walking tour we headed out of town to the southwest. We stopped to grab Hot N Cold (GC2WJQ5). We pulled into the parking lot of the business next door. It was just a short walk across the grass to the GZ for the cache so off I went. I started my search and was coming up empty. I'm the type who feels somewhat shy about searching for a cache where I know I'm probably being watched. Usually when I find that a cache is in front of someone's workplace where they can observe you from their desk, I'll avoid it. So, with the cache eluding me I headed for the car. Just then a voice calls out, "You aren't giving up yet are you?". It was one of the co-owners of the cache and she encouraged me to give it another shot. I did and was still coming up short so she gave me a good hint. Not only did she give me a hint she brought me one of her pathtags as a reward for my tenacity. It was a pleasure meeting bdramatic! We said good-bye before hitting the road on a long trip to High Point, NC. We really enjoyed our visit to Smithfield and hope that you'll get the chance to visit too!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Mayan Apocalypse and Geocachers - 21 December 2012

Mayan Calendar Geocoin
Geocachers braving the cold at the Cline Observatory
For months we've been hearing all the hype about the end of the world coming on 21 December 2012. According to the news there were a number of folks who really believe that the end was really coming.  We heard about folks in Russia paying big bucks to sleep the day away in a bunker. Others spent lots of money to go to some village in France that was supposed to be one of the few places that was to survive the destruction. A few others were reported to have sold off everything and partied as thought there would be no tomorrow. The distorted version was that the Mayan calendar predicted this date as the end. In fact the Mayan calendar simply resets, starts over or cycles again on 21 December 2012. With all the hype a group of local geocachers thought it would be fun to get together the night of the 21st to take a look at the skies over the northern hemisphere at the Cline Observatory at Guilford Technical Community College. After all, if there was some kind of super special alignment of the planets wouldn't an observatory with its high powered telescope help us see it?  A local geocacher named markcase (also a science teacher at a local high school) organize the event.

About 7 p.m. sumajhuarmi and I made it to the assigned coordinates. We were some of the last ones to arrive. Having obeyed the instructions included on the cache page we were ready for the cold. We had the layers on. I in my long trench coat and Peruvian chullo (knitted tobagan). Upon arrival we signed the log for It's the End of the World! (GC41MQ9) and were quickly escorted onto the telescope platform. Prof Tom English and an assistant controlled the computer that slewed the telescope into position. We took a look at several stars, star clusters, Jupiter and four of its moons as well as our own moon. The images were spectacular. We had to wait for patches of clouds to dissipate but that just gave us an opportunity to visit more.

It was a cold and blustery night but a great time for a get-together and celebrate the fact that the world wasn't going to end this way. Remember Y2K and all the fears that generated?  Jesus himself said that only the Father knows. We need not fear the prophecies of those who regularly predict the end of the world or the second coming on a specific date. They simply don't know what they are saying.

We wrapped up this educational experience with a group photo and some cookies thanks to the thoughtfulness of sumajhuarmi. We thanked the staff of the college and markcase for organizing the even. It's great to be back in the USA and have the opportunity to get to know local geocachers through events like this. Later in the evening our youngest daughter contacted us from Mexico where she was with her boyfriend to meet his family. They had taken a balloon ride over the Aztec pyramids near Mexico City where he arranged a romantic marriage proposal. She said "yes"! Instead of the "end", 21 December 2012 is a beginning" for our family!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

12-12-12 Geocaching Events... the next one is a long way off

It was good!
4Freds, sumajman, chanak80 & Rickydee48

XX, Chickenlvr413, sumajhuarmi, 4Freds & checkcacher

The alignment of the 12s only rolls around once in a hundred blue moons so we had to take advantage of the opportunity to get together with other geocachers. Two other factors helped influence us. First, Groundspeak was giving a souvenir for all who attended a geocaching event or found a cache on 12-12-12. Second, Nigh-Hawk selected a great place for our meeting. We went to the local China Buffet with its great selection of Chinese food.

We rolled into the parking lot ready to arrive at 12:12 pm on 12-12-12. Night-Hawk was waiting in the parking lot to welcome cachers as we arrived. One of our group, a prolific geocacher in the North Carolina piedmont region, informed us that he was to have his foot amputated on 12-13-12. What a shock as we were unaware that he was suffering from poor blood flow in his legs and that it had got to the point that he was to lose his leg. We will lift him up in prayer. He seems committed to get back to geocaching after a lengthy rehabilitation.

It was great to see faces that I saw several years ago when I attended one of these events. It was really good to see some good friends. We met up with chanak80 and chickenlvr413. We had introduced them to geocaching in 2009. We also sat with a husband and wife team that go by 4Freds. They have two children who also cache with them. It was their 20th wedding anniversary! We also met Rickydee48 and his wife. We had a great time sitting at the table as the event closed down talking about our experiences in overseas mission work. All are geocachers and members of the same church. We had a great time of fellowship and catching up over a great meal. One of our geocaching friends is check-cacher. She is standing at the end of the table in one of the photos. She is famous for her gap series of geocaches throughout the piedmont area. She works at a bank; thus her geocaching name.

As we wrapped up a number of folks headed out to find the 12 new geocaches that were activated during the morning. We have the organizer, Night-Hawk, to thank for the extra smileys. This was just the first of several geocaching events we hope to attend over the Christmas and New Year holiday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

He died warning the settlers - John Douglass: a geocache and history in southwest Virginia

I enjoy a little history with my geocaching. On a recent trip into southwest Virginia I cached along Highway 19 between Abingdon and Lebanon, Virigina. What a fascinating area! My ancestors passed through this area while migrating down the great valley into Tennessee in the early 1770's. The events that later resulted in the establishment of the John Douglass Memorial and cache John Douglass Memorial (GC19MW3) took place just one county north of where they settled. Research shows that they too would have taken precautions against attacks. What exactly happened?

Dragging Canoe

The flat rock

Telling the story
In the days leading up to America's declaration of independence many of the Cherokee began to side with the British. One of the Cherokee leaders named Dragging Canoe rose to the forefront, leading the Cherokee in their opposition to settlers who were invading their lands in Tennessee and southwest Virginia. During 1776 and 1777 many raids were made on white settlements. These led to retaliation during which many Cherokee towns were destroyed. The conflict is known as the Second Cherokee War.  In July 1776 settlers around Fort Black (two years later the name would change to Abingdon) were warned of impending Indian attacks. The son of one of the local pioneer settlers, John Douglass, set out from Fort Black with a friend to warn the outlying settlement of Castle Woods. The two stopped while traveling northwest through the pass in the Clinch Mountain range about noon to eat. John Douglass was sitting on a large flat rock by a stream descending to the North Fork of the Holston when a shot rang out from the woods. He was shot dead. While the account told today does not say it, it is assumed that Douglass was shot by Cherokee Indians. Whether his partner continued on to warn the settlers or whether he fled back to Fort Black is unknown. Today there is a plaque on the very rock where Douglass was killed. The cache is close by too. On 22 July 1776 Dragging Canoe's warriors killed Henry Creswell outside Fort Black. During the next few weeks more Indian attacks took place in the area. Some included British Tory loyalist. It is good to see the sacrifice of John Douglass memorialized with a plaque, a wayside picnic area and a geocache.

Finding the cache: We were traveling northwest on Highway 19 and pulled off on the cut through in the median between the north and southbound lanes. It was cold and windy so sumajhuarmi stayed in the car. Since I began my Coumadin blood thinners a month ago she has been wary of my seeking any cache that could put me at danger of falling. This cache required me to cross over the guard rail and descend a few feet to where the big flat rock sits. The clue took me right to the cache. After signing the log and snapping a few pictures I was back to the car to tell her a little of the story. I couldn't wait to do a little Internet research to learn more about John Douglass. Be sure to visit this location and this cache and remember what took place here.

A special thanks to Cherokeebasketweaver for the photo of Dragging Canoe.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Wolf Cave: Geocaching around Abingdon, Virginia

Passing by Pilot Mountain

Abingdon Visitors Center

Wolf Cave Art

Wolf Hills

At the Wolf Cave
I love the mountains. It's just that simple. Give me some terrain relief on a map and let me go there and I'll be happy. When we were invited to come speak in Bethel Baptist Church in Lebanon, Virginia we were ready to go. Some of the prettiest country is the I-81 corridor running from the Shenandoah Valley southwest down to Knoxville, Tennessee. From our High Point home we traveled up past Pilot Mountain, through Fancy Gap over the Appalachian Mountains and south down the corridor. We picked up geocaches along the way. My favorite caches were in and around the beautiful southwest Virginia town of Abingdon. We stopped in at the Abingdon Visitors Center, a beautiful, old home from the late 1800's. It was a sunny, cold and windy day as we parked the car in the parking lot and started our search. The clue kind of through me on Thanks for Stopping By (GC2Z6G6). We looked around and finally sought shelter from the wind and cold in the visitors center. The place is beautiful. Be sure to stop in. Once warmed up and thinking we'd move on to the next cache, we went out and with sumajhuarmi's encouragement, gave it another shot. Within minutes we had the cache in hand, signed it and were back on our way. Probably my favorite cache inside the city of Abingdon is earthcache Wolf Cave (GC1X71W). It was mid-afternoon, sunny and windy when we pulled into the narrow alleyways in an older residential area of Abingdon. As we drove by the GC we realized that parking in the alleyway would block the road completely so we backed up to a vacant chiropractor's office parking lot nearby. We were only 100 ft from the GC so we walked past the muggle walking her dog. As we approached the GC we saw a piece of local art that confirmed that we were at the correct location. The cave is located underneath an old building with lattice work around the basement-like area. The lattice work affords the opportunity to see the cave entrance and gather the answers for the earthcache. Construction around the entrance leads me to believe that someone is developing the Wolf Cave for commercial tourism soon. As always with earthcaches you learn something about the formation of caves. For me the historical connection to Daniel Boone was most intriguing. Tradition has it that in 1760 while on a hunting trip Daniel Boone and his friend, Nathaniel Gist, were camping near a spring when wolves attacked their dogs during the night. They discovered that the wolves came out of a nearby cave. For this reason what became the town of Abingdon was first called Wolf Hills. By whatever name, this town was the first English-speaking settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. There is a craft shop in the Cave House, which sits at the front of the city block on the same property as the Wolf Cave. Be sure to check it out. They have a number of wolf statues and other crafts. Abingdon is a fascinating place!  Thanks to ucumari for the photo of Pilot Mountain.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unique Geocaches found this month

Hoot owl cache

Bird house cache near my doctor's office

Roadside and waiting for you

Three obelisks
I've been back in the USA for about six weeks now. I've enjoyed the opportunity to see a variety of geocaches. Here are a few caches that I particularly liked. I think I've done a good job of avoiding placing spoilers here. I enjoyed finding one that was an owl figures you put out in town to scare off the birds. It was hanging high in a tree and you let it down on a string. I won't mention the GC code. Then  while at my doctor's office I was able to find a bird house cache placed by a respiratory therapist in the same office. Along North Carolina's version of the E.T. Highway I found one sitting in a guide wire on a post. Nothing too original about it but I liked it. Finally, Tri-Obelisk (GC3N5BX) was a fun cache. Nothing spectacular about the cache but the interesting art work made it a fun find.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Doctor's Prescription to Geocache!!!!

A beautiful pasture near a cache called "Yes. We've Got Cows"
Great Falls Mill
The sign says it all
My mother-in-law's side of the family held its annual family reunion in November and we were able to attend. This afforded the opportunity to hit some caches on the way down to the small town of McFarlan, NC. Since being put on blood thinners I've been told to go no longer than an hour at a time in the car before getting out to walk. I was very pleased to hear that. Imagine, a doctor's prescription to get out and walk around ..... read..... geocache. Thanks to my wife who loves me we were able to head out for McFarlan early on a Saturday morning. Heading out of our High Point, NC is someone's version of the E.T. Highway. Of course the original Extraterrestrial Highway is in south central Nevada. Thanks to geocachers in the area it is a 98 mile long power trail with caches galore. In our case all the caches are easy park and grabs and they all start with words beginning in E and T. We picked our E.T. Highway clean! Once this was done we drove uninterrupted for an hour to get to Rockingham, the first major city along our route. I was drawn to a cache there that focused on a piece of Rockingham history. We pulled up and easily found Great Falls Mill (GC1RJ8P). The find was easy. The view of the ruins of the old cotton mill were fantastic. According to locals the mill, originally called the Richmond Manufacturing Company, was burned as Union General W.T. Sherman in the last days of the Civil War. For a historian, this is one of those caches you appreciate geocaching for bringing you to the location. Apparently a new mill was built in 1869. The ruins I was looking at today were from the 1972 fire that destroyed the vacant buildings. Nonetheless, it is impressive. Impressive enough that the group Hootie and the Blowfish filmed their video, "The Old Man and Me" at this location. Check it out.

The reunion was fun. It was great seeing the folks there. When we finished we drove half a mile to the North Carolina/South Carolina to find another park and grab entitled, IS IT NC OR SC? (GC2RB4X). We enjoyed the weekend with family and friends. To top it all off, with the doctor's blessings I was able to justify getting out of the car numerous times to find those easy park and grabs and to make up for lost time when I couldn't geocache during my recuperation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

EXMAN gives back to the geocaching community by reactivating missing Travel Bugs!!!

I recently listened to Sonny, Sandy and Sean on the Podcacher podcast share about fellow geocacher EXMAN and his contribution back to the geocaching community. He's come up with an idea to help keep travel bugs active. As most of you well know travel bugs have less than a 50-50 chance of survival out in the wild. It may even be worse. It just seems that there are folks unwilling to play the game as it is intended. Too many travel bugs go missing to be simple mishap. I guess that is a pet peeve of mine so enough of my soap boxing.

Anyway, EXMAN has a plan that he's putting into action. Over the last few months he has released into the wild over 600 previously missing Travel Bugs. That's right, EXMAN, at the request of the TB owners, has created a tag with the original tracking number for the missing TB and then released it from wherever he was currently located. What a thoughtful way to help encourage geocachers around the world.

I have only one Travel Bug out. It was named in honor of my grandson when he was born almost 2.5 years ago. Soon after his birth I released it near Raleigh, N.C. with the goal of it traveling to Quito, Ecuador. The TB, Ryan's Arrival, made it to California and then, after being retrieved by a geocacher, went missing. I've written to the cacher who took last retrieved it but have not received any reply. Could it have gotten lost? Could they have dropped out of geocaching and simply forgotten it? Who knows but I suspect the latter as their statistics show that they cached with furvor right up until July 2011 and then seemed to have dropped out of the sport. This happen. Several weeks ago I wrote to EXMAN asking for his help and sending him the necessary information. I've not heard back but am confident that soon Ryan's Arrival will be re-activated. EXMAN will only release the tag. I've changed the goal of Ryan's Arrival so that it will come back to North Carolina where we have settled down. Maybe it will get close enough for me to grab it and add the photo of Ryan.

Here's a big thanks to EXMAN for what he's doing. You can learn more about EXMAN and this project by clicking here. Thanks to mrsdkrebs for the TB photo.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A forced slowdown in my geocaching

Nano size

Nice bison near the sidewalk

Film canister size easy-to-get
During our recent Fall Family Weekend at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. I got in some fun geocaching. On Saturday lots of family came to join our daughter Rubi and see her campus as well as go to the football game. During the game I started experiencing pain in my right rib cage area and shortness of breath due to the pain. After the game Rubi pushed for me to go to the emergency room. Off we went. The attention was swift and efficient. To cut a long story short my problem was multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli, blood clots in my lungs. They started me on blood thinner medication immediately and gave me pain medicine. I was transferred to Virginia Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg where I spent the next three days. With my current medications I have to avoid falling, bruising, essentially anything that could result in external or internal bleeding. Since getting home from South America three weeks ago I've enjoyed getting out on the trails with my mountain bike in order to find geocaches. I've had a blast. Those are my favorite kinds of caches. Now it looks like I'll have to slow down. For the first week I'm to rest and thereafter continue a "normal" life as long as I do nothing that could result in cuts or internal bleeding. For now at least there'll be no more woods geocaching alone. I always come back with brier cuts on my legs and scratches on my arms. That won't do. Biking is out of the question as the risk of falling is there. So, thank the Lord for the park n grabs, the LPCs (Light Pole Caches) that populate the urban world. I'll have to focus there for a while. Thanks to, laura*b and WordShore for the pictures.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Candler's Mountain Virginia Caching Run!

This past weekend was Family Weekend at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. We've been overseas most of the times this special weekend came up and have missed it. Our daughter was thrilled that we were able to come be a part of it with her. We drove the three-hours from High Point, NC and met her at the campus Starbucks! We went with her to several activities on campus and then she and her mother went shopping. They knew that I need a chance to get out and geocache. I was ready, having plotted out my path to get a handful of caches on Candler's Mountain. I drove up to the Snowflex Ski Slope where I parked the car and began my search for geocaches. The leaves were gorgeous on a warm, sunny fall afternoon. At times a jogger would come along so I was pretty much on my own. I hiked from cache to cache, finding about half the ones on my list and DNFing the others. The caches were a variety from large to micro. The hike around the mountain was the real prize in the day's activities. At one point I found myself hiking directly up one of the mountains. I was winded but considered it part of having gotten out of shape. One of my first caches was Monotrail (GC2D2PE). I looked and looked and then there it was, staring me right in the face when I stood up. My favorite cache of the afternoon was GW & RW's cache (GC39ZKC). It took me right up past the monogram on Candler's Mountain. Everyone all over the valley sees the big "LU" on the side of the mountain and from that vantage point you get a great view to the west of Peaks of Otter and the mountain ridge line where the the Blue Ridge Parkway runs. From the hill with the monogram I headed east down into the valley picking up a trail that was called "Psycho". I hiked up it and understand the name. I had to stop frequently to get my breath. I was worn out by the time I finished it. What a great day!

The Liberty University Monogram on Candler's Mtn

The view from the monogram

The Lodge at Snow Flex

Spoiler photo of one of the caches on the trail

Liberty University n the fall
The next day was filled with family and football. Two of our daughters were here, two grandchildren and we were having a good time until I started aching in my side and couldn't breathe. I made it through the game before going to the hotel to rest. Thanks to my youngest daughter, who is a senior at Liberty University, for insisting that we go to the emergency room. We did and within a few hours they determined that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms in both lungs. I spent the next three days hospitalized as the doctors began to thin my blood and medicate me for the pain. I'm so thankful for the good health care and for the many prayers from all around the world. I hope to be back out caching in the near future although I'll need to limit my caching to more urban and/or cache with a group of people if I'm going out into the woods like I always like to do.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

International Earthcache Day Celebration on Deep River, central North Carolina

 The second weekend back in the USA (14 October) proved to be as much of a geocaching adventure as the first (last week's report on caching and camping in the Uwharrie National Forest). Soon after arriving in North Carolina I received Groundspeak's weekly notification and saw a geocaching event only 16 miles from home. I looked it up and saw that the theme was one that interests me - Earthcaching -- and that the host was someone I'd met in December hosting a Christmas event near my home. I had to participate. 

markcase teaching a geology class
sumajhuarmi preparing an avatar
Deep River
sumajman, MasterYoda1 and sumajhuarmi on Deep River
On Sunday morning we had our picnic cooler packed, our change of clothes neatly hidden away in the car and our Bibles with us as we headed out to church. We attended the Baptist hispanic church in Greensboro, NC. It is called La Iglesia Internacional and it is where two of our three daughters attend along with their families. We had a great time seeing old friends we've not seen for a while and making some new friends. After church service there is the usual conversation outside the building. This time we had another mission. We had to get in the car and hit the road for Randleman, NC and more specifically, for the Deep River Park where the event was to be sponsored. On the way we picked up a few caches. Upon arrival at Earthcache Day! (GC3XJBH) we did all the preliminary things such as signing the log, registering for prizes to be given away in the drawings, and making our little avatars to be placed at what we each believed to be ground zero for the event. We then broke out the food and began to share with the rest of the geocaching community. I learned that we were one of less than 20 such events worldwide on this day. That made us rather special I thought. Our host markcase challenged us with some great lessons on local Piedmont geology. He explained how the Deep River came to be 10,000 years ago and how the worm holes formed in one of the large rock formations in the river nearby. It was very interesting. My grandson, MasterYoda!, was really tuned in to all that he said. Then we played our games. None of our ground zero avatars was close enough to win. When it came time for the prize drawings both MasterYoda 1 and sumajhuarmi (my loving wife) won prizes. They were content. One of the blessings of the day was getting to meet up with some old friends. In this case we introduced them to geocaching some years back. See the blog entry for 9 August 2009 related to that funny experience. We also made some new friends who came from the surrounding area. We had a blast! I really appreciated several things about this event: 1) The host was sensitive to the fact that a number of the likely participants would want to go to worship service in the morning so he hosted the event in the early afternoon. 2) The time he took to prepare to teach the geology lessons. 3) The new earthcache that we all got to partinicpate in giving birth. That's right. As we walked along Deep River markcase pointed out some interesting geological facts. We decided which of them we would turn into a new earthcache. Keep an eye out for the new earthcache in Randleman, NC. When the event ended we headed out to pick up a few more caches around the area. We must admit that we had several DNFs. It seemed that two well-known geocachers in the area had hidden some difficult caches with names like Tadabailey's Revenge (GC14AWB) and so forth.Clearly Tadabailey was striking back at another cacher for a particularly difficult cache. We rounded out the situation by DNFing both caches. Maybe someday we'll find them. It was a great way to spend the day! I hope your Sunday afternoon was exciting as mine was!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Camping, hiking, geocaching in the Uwharrie National Forest in central North Carolina

Caching the coast of Badin Lake!!!
Holt's Hideaway
King's Mountain Point
MasterYoda1's campfire
After about 24 years overseas (not counting three years of military time in Germany) sumajhuarmi and I have finally come home. Sure, we've visited over the years but this time we've made the move with plans to settle down in High Point, NC. We arrived nine days ago. As promised I packed up the borrowed mini-van and headed off on a camping/geocaching adventure with my 11 year-old grandson. The trip down to the Uwharrie National Forest took about an hour. Along the way we picked up a handful of caches . We had a beautiful day, almost like late summer. We parked the van at a road intersection in order to unloaded the mountain bikes. Soon we were on our way. We cached all along Badin Lake, finding a combination of micro, small, regular and an earthcache. After living in a tropical environment for 1.5 years it was refreshing to ride and hike through the pine and oak forests along the lake. The leaves were just starting to change colors. My favorites for the day were Holt's Hideaway (GC1N52N). We parked next to the picnic area to have our lunch. We then walked into the woods behind some campsites to find the cache. Just before reaching the GZ we walked up on some young girls who thought that this part of the woods was a safe enough place to change their clothes. I'm not sure who was more surprised. We averted our eyes as they ran away hollering and laughing. We got the cache and cleared out. We then worked our way down to King's Mountain Point (GC1N69C) The view of Badin Lake was great. Not far from this cache was an earthcache worth visiting. It is called Don't Fall in the Lake (GC3NYE0). You'll get a chance to see how the coastline is eroding away and to calculate how much longer until the trail has to be moved.  Once we completed our geocaches for the day we began looking for a place to camp. The park has reserve campsites. It also allows for primitive or dispersed camping throughout most of the park. The caches we hoped to attack the next day were in a section of the park which allowed All Terrain Vehicles. We searched and finally found a place where we could pull off the road to set up a nice camp. We got our tent into place and built our campfire before sunset. We had a great early evening with a meal and the traditional roasted marshmellows over the fire. It was great! What 11 year-old says I am tired and ready for bed before 8 p.m. on a Saturday night. MasterYoda1 hit the sack. This gave me a time to sit and relax by the fire and contemplate all the good of the day. I love being home! About 8:30 pm. I turned in. An hour later the first drops of rain began. These continued to increase accompanied by lightning and thunder which eventually drove us into the mini-van. After an hour the rain stopped and the temperature dropped 35 degrees. Since sleeping in the van wasn't working and since the tent was pretty wet now, I packed it all up and we headed back towards home. We didn't want to wake everyone up early in the morning so we found a Waffle House in Thomasville where we had a nice breakfast. The nightlife at Waffle House in Thomasville proved pretty interesting. It included some pretty crazy people who ended up in police custody. The food was ok for 4 a.m. Although our weekend was cut short we had a great time caching the Uwharrie.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A little rant: Replacing someone else's geocache - is it right?

My grandson hid a micro-size cache several years ago. I have it on my watch list. Recently finders are surprised when they find two caches at the same location. What is going on? Someone who didn't want a DNF simply dropped a replacement cache instead of admitting that they couldn't find the cache. Having someone replace your cache can be either a blessing or a curse. In this case it was the latter. Had the cacher written to request permission to replace the cache and had he/she received permission from my grandson it would have been different. It would have been a help.But in this case the drive for the smiley was more important. Now the cache the cacher couldn't find is being found along with the intrusive cache left by a numbers-hungry cacher. I strongly feel that cachers should get permission from the cache owner before doing anything beyond finding and logging their find or DNF. Thanks to dream4akeem for the picture.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Oxbow - Yarinacocha, Central Peruvian Jungle

Along the shore of the Oxbow
Shipibo dance during worship at an evangelical church
Majas - in the little zoo along the Oxbow
Fun at the zoo
Airport promotion of shamanism
One of our favorite things to do when we visit Yarinacocha in the central jungle of Peru is take a boat out on the Oxbow. Yarinacocha was formed as the Ucayali River shifted its path as it winds its way north towards the Amazon River. As we fly over the jungle in a small Cessna we have the opportunity to see numerous oxbow formations. It's not all that uncommon. The shores of Yarinacocha is populated by the Shipibo people. Their jungle fishing and yucca cultivating traditions have given way today to the production of artisan work which the women sell on the streets of Pucallpa and Yarinacocha daily. Some have developed tourism centering around their shamans and the use of plants grown in the jungle that produce hallucinations. Tourist come from many places to "find themselves". They pay a pretty penny to spend a couple of weeks "drinking the kool-aid" (so to speak), hallucinating, being incredibly sick to their stomachs and then having a shaman interpret their hallucinations so that they can determine where the spirits are guiding them in life. In our quest to help the people develop tourism we've steered clear of this particular activity and have focused more on geocaching associated with eco-tourism. Thankfully there is a large population of Shipibo who call the shamanism tourism industry a deception; completely rejecting it. They tell me that in their past only the shamans took the these drugs and that it was never considered a source of economic income until it recently became popular with gullible tourist. Sad! If you come to Yarinacocha be sure to rent a boat in the small port and take a trip up the banks of the Oxbow Lake. You'll see lots of fauna and some wildlife (birds, sloths, fresh water dolphins, etc.) along the way. One of our favorite stops is at the privately-owned zoo that is only accessible by boat. It's a small time operation but worth the time. The boat ride and the zoo trip are inexpensive. If you rent the boat you can direct the operator to take you to visit The Oxbow (GC3A7G1). The cache is just a short walk from the bank of the lake in small little public park-like area. Be sure to check out the other caches in Yarinacocha and Pucallpa while there. I hope you enjoy your visit to Yarincocha.