I am a proud

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.