Thursday, November 25, 2010

High Cliff State Park 11/24/10

BakRdz, Jstajlr, and myself spent the day geocaching at High Cliff State Park yesterday. I've never been to this park before and I had a blast doing a whole variety of caches. The photos below are from one puzzle cache that was probably the most challenging terrain I've ever encountered caching. It normally wouldn't be this hard, but the stiff winds had blown water vapor across the rocks creating ice that was nearly an inch (or more) thick near GZ. It was only 0.11 miles each way, but the entire journey lasted almost an hour. The first hundred feet or so was easy and then we hit some frost. Frost turned to a thin layer of ice and then it just continued to get thicker the farther we went. Knowing it's a puzzle cache and not wanting to spoil it, we decided not to post the pictures. They're being posted here without any reference to the cache because it was such a great adventure that the pictures just need to be shared.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Spelunking (with a cache nearby)

I took a day of vacation today to chaperone my daughters field trip to Ledge View Nature Center near Chilton, WI. What a great day we had. There were 10 students from the 5th / 6th grade class along with their teacher and two of us chaperones. The main activity for the day was a guided spelunking tour. We were told ahead of time to plan on getting dirty and grubby which was a good forewarning. Our guides name was Ron and he was extremely passionate about about his love for the underground caverns he took us through.

Please keep in mind these caves are completely unlit meaning that the only light we had was from the flashlights we took with us. The pictures are a little deceiving because the flash makes it look almost like daylight.

This first picture is inside Carolyn's Caverns where we had to traverse a 40' long tunnel to get to our first stop. In this area we started out and hands and knees and then had to belly crawl the last 20'. The caverns were very wet and muddy today as you'll see in the pictures.

This picture is coming back from where we were. CamoQueen (my daughter) is in the background belly crawling out. It was tight for the kids, and even tighter for us adults.
This next three pictures are from our trip into "The Wishing Well" which is within Carolyn's Caverns. The first picture shows CamoQueen making the trip down the ladder. The second is CamoQueen coming to the top of the opening. The last picture shows CamoQueen making a "graceful" exit into the mud. This is one of those were getting in is way more challenging than getting out. The ceiling is only 2' above the opening and you have to go in backwards which means you have to start in a pushup position and go backwards through the opening and onto the ladder which you can't see but can feel with your feet.

The next picture is a little creature (a relative term apparently) called a cave spider. In actuality it's about the size of a quarter and just a little on the creepy side.
The second cave we visited was called Montgomery Cave and has been a known cave here since the 1860's. This picture shows the small entry hatch that is used to descend into the cave.

This picture is from the bottom of the ladder looking back up towards daylight. The opening looks deceiving because it's actually only about 18" x 24" which is a bit challenging for average size adults like me.

This next picture shows CamoQueen at the bottom of the second ladder descending into the lower portion of this cave which put us about 30' below the opening. The cavern in this section is about 3' high making it impossible to stand upright.

While we were in Montgomery cave we met another special friend show here who just "hung" around the whole time we were there. He was alive and breathing but stayed sleeping the entire time we were here.

After spending 3+ hours underground in the darkness (and out of the rain) we emerged to much colder air. Ron (our guide) is shown standing next to CamoQueen. Notice the muddy clothes and this was after we brushed the majority of the "chunks" off.

In the title I mentioned "with a cache nearby". The cache was called "I can see for miles and miles..." (GC1496G) The picture below is taken from the top of the 60' tower and you can see Ron (our guide) and the teacher waiting at the bottom.

Definately an awesome day and something I wouldn't have tried had it not been a class field trip. Ledge View Nature Center is open to the public and they do public tours (so you can experience this first hand as well). I would highly recommend this cave tour to anyone looking for a different experience.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How far would you go for a cache?

This picture is from a cache I completed a few weeks ago. As I approached this "tunnel" which was mostly covered with snow I was confused because the GPS was saying 35' to go. I dug out the snow which was covering most of the very small entrance only to discover the entrance was mostly blocked by rocks. The bottom of the picture shows the snow / rocks blocking the entrance. Fortunately the owner warned me the final was going to require me to get dirty. From here I went back and got the flashlight and sure enough there's the ammo box - 35' feet into the tunnel. I did the backwards belly crawl in and duck walked back to the cache. The entire tunnel is less than 3' high so even once inside there isn't a lot of room. Then I duck walked back out and belly crawled out through the hole. With my winter gear on it was a bit of a tight squeeze, but I managed to get in / out without incident.

Definately one of those more memorable caches.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lonelies and FTF's

I've been concentrating my efforts this month on only doing Lonely Caches and FTF (First to Finds). Why? Well the answer may seem a little strange to the non-caching community but I have the 200 milestone coming up. My plan is to hit this milestone while in Orlando, FL at DisneyWorld. There are a couple of virtual caches there and this is a special once in a lifetime trip for us as a family.

Lonely Caches are geocaches that haven't been found for more than 4 months. As a member of the Wisconsin Geocaching Association I participate in this "game" where you get to accumulate bragging points. "Chasing lonelies" (as I call it) has taken me on some wild adventures into the wilderness, taught me many history lessons, and generally just challenged my geocaching skills. The reason many of these caches are lonely, is because they generally aren't easy to do. The majority of these that I've done involve some kind of puzzle aspect and require some kind of research to complete them. The research may involve internet searches, trips to the library for books referenced, or plain old just walking the streets reading street signs and tags from power poles. While these types of caches don't generate high numbers they do provide a great challenge.

First to Finds (FTF's) provide another bragging rights opportunity in the caching community. The first person to find a new cache gets the bragging rights to claim FTF which is just one of the many numbers cachers track. I don't have my log handy at the moment, but I believe I snagged #26 this weekend while doing Stuck between a Bell and a “Starry” place which a fellow cacher named BakRdz did to give me some grief about being an addict.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What a PuzLr

What a wild last few days with a major upgrade event at work and an attempt on a couple of FTF's. The biggest of these events was the FTF today on A BakRdz’ PuzLr by BakRdz. The full log explains the details, but to summarize - I made a bunch of mistakes and was still able to get a CO-FTF with 2boyz. JimandLinda also arrived on the scene and scored STF.

After that it was a trip over to Starbucks to meet with BakRdz. It was a coincidence because we had this planned prior to the activity with this puzzle cache. It was great to meet some of these fellow cachers face / face and share in the excitement.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another puzzle?

I've been banging my head on the wall with Geocaching Math but was finally able to crack the code during lunch time today. Got a big green "SUCCESS!" via the geochecker which made my afternoon. This is one of the elusive caches only found by a handful of people. Know the trick is to get it moved from the "to find" to the "found" pile.

I also attended a great caching event Paperless Geocaching IV - 50+ caches in one day this past Saturday and learned a lot about how to make it happen. Now to try and figure out where / when to attempt a 50+ day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I just finished the audio book "Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson and figured that PIRATES TREASURE (DRIVING ME NUTS ARRR!) would be a great related cache. Hit GZ this morning and was a little confused. Something seemed amis, but then again this is a 3 Star rating. I managed to negotiate my way to WP1 and found it after a little searching. The hint definately makes sense, but they all do once you know the answer.

Plugged the new coordinates into my GPSr and headed for the final. WHAT? A muggle is getting out of there car? You've got to be kidding. Thankfully I'm not parked in the same area. I can see the tree through the forest, but can't make the assault. Guess that means it's off to work and that this one needs to get put on the back burner for a bit.