Filling in My Finds Calendar

There are many different grids and challenges people can accomplish with geocaching. One in particular that I have put in a solid effort to finishing is the My Finds Calendar which requires someone to find a geocache on every calendar day.

For some people, they had to wait 4 years to grab the elusive February 29th this past year. I decided to hold an event on Leap Day and therefore ensured that I filled that calendar day.

I have slowly been making progress on my calendar; filling in days here and there when I have an open spot. I haven’t missed a day since March. As of right now I have 6 months completely filled in.

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I have only 57 days left to fill; 9 in October and only 2 in November. As it gets colder here in New York months like December, January and February will be hard to fill. But I have been saving new caches nearby to fill days that I need.

Hopefully I can press onward to March and finally fill up my calendar with finds 🙂

Are you working on any geocaching related challenges? Tell me about it in the comments!

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Mission GC: Complete!

Mission GC, the summer souvenir promotion from geocaching.com, is complete. Throughout the month of August, cachers had the opportunity to obtain multiple new souvenirs for finding specific geocaches during 3 weekends.

Mission GC 1: Favorites Are Forever

For the first souvenir, cachers needed to find a geocache with 10 or more favorite points to earn the Favorites are Forever souvenir. I found “Auto Art” GCJ8M8 near Erie, PA; a virtual with over 430 favorite points. You can check it out on my previous blog post.

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Mission GC 2: One Cache is Not Enough

For the second souvenir, you needed to find a multi cache. I found “Veterans of Sampson” GC6PRWX; a new cache put out for a local event at a state park with a really cool final location.

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Mission GC 3: The International Cache of Mystery

The final souvenir could be acquired by find a mystery cache. I had a cache in mine for this, “Armstrong Cemetery” GC6PNZN. This puzzle requires you to go to the cemetery and search for 6 different gravestones and then do some math to get the coordinates for the cache. I did find all 6 of the grave markers, but some of the numbers were worn off and hard to read. I just couldn’t get the numbers to work out. Finally after getting home and doing some more number crunching I got the geochecker to give me the thumbs up. The cache was an easy find after that.

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To my surprise there was a bonus souvenir if you completed all three missions! This was a cool little surprise that I enjoyed.

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Overall, I enjoyed this summer’s Mission GC. I thought the puzzles were reasonable and the requirements for obtaining the souvenir weren’t too drastic. I know a lot of people could care less about souvenirs, but I think they’re fun. It gives me a little encouragement to get out and find caches I might otherwise not seek out. And I enjoy looking through my souvenirs and remembering all the fun things I did to get them.

 

Did you get all the Mission GC souvenirs this summer? Tell me about it in the comments!

Going International on International Geocaching Day!

This year, August 20th was International Geocaching Day. I, along with my good geobuddy JAKSolantern, made the trip from New York up to Napanee, Ontario, Canada for the day to attend the Discover L&A County Geocaching Mega Event. Crossing the border into Canada was a bit stressful, but soon I arrived at the event and the caching began!

The main event location was at the Southview Public School, which was something I had never seen done before. On the wall right as you walk in there was a log sheet and a map to put a sticker of where you’re from. Upon entering the gymnasium, I was greeting by some lovely ladies at the welcome table. I signed in and they gave me some info about the lab caches and the new physical caches that were placed for the event. I purchased a few new geocoins from the vendors there and was on my way out to do some caching!

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I thought it was appropriate to get some Canadian geocoins from this trip

One of my favorite caches was the L&A History Driving Wherigo (GC3N1JB). Wherigos are pretty rare where I live so I was excited to have the opportunity to find another. This one brought you around to 4 historic locations in Napanee. There were also other caches hidden at each site as well, so that was a bonus.

Napanee also features a unique set of waterfalls. And guess what kind of cache was there? An earthcache, of course! We stopped for awhile to enjoy the falls and collect the information required for The Falls of Napanee (GC23BV0). The breeze off of the falls was amazing on such a hot and humid day.

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As I mentioned before, there were 10 lab caches associated with the event. One in particular was very fun. The question was “What crime do geocachers occasionally commit (by accident)?” I had to go into the museum and then I got arrested! I look way too happy about it, but hey, I got a geocache find out of it!

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After doing some more caching in the area, I headed back to the event location. The group photo was scheduled to be taken at 4pm. I arrived a bit early so I was just mingling with other cachers and soon I spotted Signal!

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After the group photo, everyone gathered as some prizes were given away. I even won a few! Shortly after, we decided to hit the road. It had been a long, but successful day. I got two souvenirs. One for finding a cache on International Geocaching Day and another for attending the Mega event.

Did you find a cache or attend an event on International Geocaching Day to earn your souvenir? Tell me about it in the comments!

Mission GC 1: Favorites Are Forever

This summer there are 3 new souvenirs you can earn (plus one for International Geocaching Day). Premium members will be sent a secret puzzle one week before the souvenir can be earned. Solving this puzzle will tell you exactly what you need to do to earn your shiny new souvenir. This gives the premium members a heads up and allows for a little extra planning that might be necessary.

Cachers could earn the first of the souvenirs by finding a geocaching with 10 or more favorite points on July 30 or 31.

My boyfriend and I had a trip to Cleveland planned for that weekend so I picked out a cache that was along our route home that would qualify for this. I chose “Auto Art” GCJ8M8, a virtual near Erie, Pennsylvania, which had over 400 favorite points.

When we pulled up I was blown away. There were 7 or 8 sculptures all made out of old cars or pieces of cars. There was a car that was turned into a bumblebee, one that was a gigantic spider and a dinosaur made out of various vehicle parts.

 

Did you get your souvenir? What cache did you find with 10 or more favorite points?

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I made a short video clip of all the sculptures. You can check it out here.

Are you a Tough Mudder Warrior?

Recently, geocachers in the Rochester area have been wrapped up in a heated caching competition. Back in May, the first of 7 geocaches was published in the Tough Mudder Challenge Series by a mysterious character Socky P, which is the alter ego of one of our local cachers. With a name like Tough Mudder, these caches wouldn’t be easy.

The caches will NOT be hidden in parking lots!  This series is meant to bring back a little old school geocaching fun, so if you enjoy spending time in the woods, hiking on trails, off trails, ammo cans, and exercise, then you should join in on the fun.  This series is meant to be physical.  If you complete all the caches in this series, you will obtain bragging rites that you are a Tough Mudder Warrior.
The series consists of 6 individual multi caches and 1 bonus cache. Points are awarded to finders based on the order of signatures in the physical log book of each cache. The cacher with the most points at the end of the series would be grated a $20 prize and eternal bragging rights!
I had the opportunity to talk with Socky P about the new Tough Mudder Challenge Series that has been taking over the Rochester area.
Sherminator18: How did you first come up with the idea for a competition style series?
Socky P: About a year ago someone put a comment on a Facebook post about how much caching has changed, and the “new generation” of cachers not knowing what caching was like in the “old days”.  At that point it first popped into my mind to do a series with an “old school” theme.
Also, every summer I try to plan some cache excursions with some of my caching friends where we go out of town and hit some great parks and challenging caches/terrain.  I’ve had a blast on some great caches…that take you to cool places and cool experiences like creek walks, gorges, etc.  And I know how much fun it is for me to do caches like that with other people, so I envisioned a series with that type of cache/terrain that would give people that same fun experience together with some of their friends.
S18: Did you have specific locations picked out first? Or did the idea for the type of hide have you out searching for a location?
SP: Beginning last fall I brainstormed locations, and also the types of cache experiences I wanted to do and really hit it hard over the winter.  I did most of my [initial] searching using the geocaching map on the website.  I did not have a set number of caches in mind for the series but originally set out to do 9, (8 plus a bonus), but some locations did not work out due to hidden puzzles and various other things and I wanted each to be high quality and not just do more to have more, opting for quality over quantity, so it got reduced to 7. Once the winter broke, I think around March, I began to go out and scout the areas I had identified on the map.
S18: How long did it take you to plan and place all 7 of the caches in the series?
SP: With each cache I did AT LEAST 3 trips through it, but most I would say required 4-5 times. First there was the initial walk-through, where I would scout the area, envision the cache, and take very rough cords at spots that were worthy of possible hides. I’d submit those spots [for coordinate check]… if approved and reserved, I knew I was good. 2nd trip out I would often place the hides (never the final, just the waypoints) and take much better coordinates. I would hide the containers but leave them empty so I could go make the waypoint slips for them at home. 3rd trip would be walking through it again, placing the waypoint slips in the containers, placing the final ammo can, etc. There were numerous ones I had to visit more than 3 times, but it was always AT LEAST what I just described.

With each cache I stayed ahead of the series. By the time I announced the series, #1 was all set up, #2 was partially set up, and I had done walk-throughs with most or all the others.  And the bonus was hidden before the whole thing began.  I did not think people would solve it ahead of time, but there are some smart puzzle solvers around so I figured it could be possible.  I think I visited the bonus location like at least 5 times to check on it.

The trunk of my car was packed with things for months; containers, materials, my boots, flashlights, spray paint…and my pink backpack that was on my back each and every trip.
S18: What has been the geocaching community’s reaction to this series?
SP:  I’ve been blown away by the reaction of people.  So many of you gave favorite points to these caches, and as someone who takes great pride in their hides, favorite points mean so much to me.  I put many, many hours into each cache, so someone writing a great log or giving it a favorite point makes it all worth it, as I know they enjoyed it the way I meant them to when I constructed it.  I’ve been truly humbled by the response.  And it is so awesome that there was such a great combination of older caches who have been around for many years, and newer cachers who were not around during the old series, and it seemed all enjoyed it.
It was a ton of fun for me to do, and while I am pretty good with handling rugged terrain and physical challenges, I was beyond impressed with people’s determination to persevere and get through a series of caches that takes hours to do.  Really impressed by everyone who completed it.
Many thanks to Socky P for taking the time to talk with me and for putting out an excellent series of challenges caches!
Geocaches in the Tough Mudder Challenge Series:

DENVER! GeoWoodstock 14er

Recently, I made the long drive to Denver, Colorado with my boyfriend, McDoogins and our dog Rogue. The reason we were in Denver? GeoWoodstock 14er. We arrived to Denver on June 30th. That night we attended “GW14er: Denver Craft Brew” (GC6EB4A). The event was at a local brewery called Prost Brewery. Attendees were given a small sample cup and were allowed to try samples at 6 breweries and 1 distillery. These were also the locations of 7 of the 10 lab caches for the Mega event. We got two of the 10 lab caches that night.

The next day we visited the Garden of the Gods park. In the park are many large red rock formations. We took a driving tour around the park and got out at a few different locations. We did a few earthcaches and the “Garden of the Gods Wherigo” (GC5FEBH).

The morning of July 2nd was the “GW14er: Early Meet-n-Greet & GeoCoin Poker” (GC6CQKW) event. When we arrived there was a really long line to pick up your registration packets and any swag you ordered. Instead of waiting in the long line, I met up with many people I know from the #USGeocachingHour which is a weekly chat about geocaching on Twitter. I even got to meet some of the popular vloggers and podcasters such as The Geocaching Vlogger, Geocaching with Darick and Geocache Talk.

After that event, McDoogins and I decided to head up Pikes Peak, the tallest mountain in the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. There was an event scheduled at the summit that afternoon, “GW14er “DGS Rocky Mountain High 14,115ft”” (GC6C8FY). The drive to the top is a 19 miles on switchbacks with a near drop off right next to you. The weather near the top turned cold and cloudy so we did not stay long. We found a handful of caches on the mountain and they are all now my highest elevated caches at 10,000 feet or higher.

Sunday, July 3rd was the big day. I headed out early to the “GW14er: Donuts in Denver” (GC6CT3Z) event. It was at a donut shop with the most delicious donuts I’ve ever had. I was even given a sample of a fresh, hot one right off the cooking line. I signed the donut shaped log and chatted with some other cachers for a while before heading out.

I had a mission to complete. I was going to make an attempt at finding 10 cache types in one day. I stopped at a virtual nearby “Northglenn Veterans Memorial” (GCHHJY) and quickly gathered the required information. I also needed a webcam cache for the day. The one I chose was “Pearl Street Webcam” (GC4994); it was a 35 minute drive away from where the donut event was, and the opposite direction of the Mega. I arrived there for find a group of probably 10 cachers there waiting. When I approached them they said they had been there for quite a while and the camera hadn’t refreshed. I was so upset at this point that I wouldn’t be able to get all 10 icons. I decided to sit and wait awhile. A few other cachers came and went and a few more came. I decided to give up on the webcam and got back into my car. Before I left, I checked the webcam page on my phone one more time and the picture was of the two cachers who were still sitting at GZ! It worked! I excitedly hopped back out of my car and told them it was working again. I waited anxiously a few more minutes before the camera refreshed again and I was in the picture!

I headed back to pick up my boyfriend and we headed over to the Denver Botanical Gardens at Chatfield. We first headed over to the large letters that spelled out GeoWoodstock which were the log book for the event. We signed on the letter D. After that, we spent some time checking out the different vendors. There were a dozen or more vendors attending and they had a wide variety of supplies and swag. We also wandered around the grounds in search of the 3 lab caches that were there. Before too long we were heading toward to big letters again but this time for the group photo. Thousands of geocachers gathered together and our photo and some video was taken by a drone. We spent the rest of the afternoon finding the new gadget caches that were placed around the grounds. Lucky for me, there were 6 cache types placed throughout the grounds specifically for the event. Soon after that McDoogins and I left the event and headed to the remaining breweries for the lab caches.

The next morning, we began our long journey back home to New York. We had a fantastic time at the Mega event and all the satellite events. I got to meet many people I had previously only known online. It was a great time with great friends that I will never forget.

I also put a video together of some photos. You can find it here: