VfAk48LJJrNcB1QnPEmU1bJ7a18 Geocache on: September 2012


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Watery caches and Rats

This is part two of our return trip from Vancouver to Calgary and when we left off we were in Merritt for the night.
After a quick complimentary breakfast at the motel, we checked the GPS and determined that there were two nearby caches that we wanted to try to find before leaving Merritt. The second one hinted that water would be required to obtain the log book so we made sure to fill a bottle for that purpose before setting out.

But first a simple drive up cache that proved to be literally a drive-up for us! The name of the cache was Refuel and the GPS was taking us to the parking lot of a grocery chain store so I drove my truck in and parked without watching the GPS. It was quite surprising then when the littlest goat turned on the GPS and discovered we had parked directly beside the cache. She hopped out of the truck, lifted up the object she thought was covering the cache and pulled out a RAT! Thank goodness it was a rubber rat container for the cache!

We always enjoy caches that are a little out of the ordinary, ones that the cache owner has taken some time to plan either a cool container or an interesting place to visit. The next cache we looked for was just that sort of cache. The container itself was fairly easy to find. But to get the log book out you needed to pour around 500 mL of water into the outer container to make the log container float to the top so you could grab it. Nice work! And a physics lesson built in!

After two successful cache discoveries, it was time to start driving again, heading North toward Kamloops. Allen kept checking the GPS for caches near the highway and eventually we came across a cluster of three that were off a small side logging road and located near a lake.

Aptly named Helmer Lake cache, Helmer Lake 2 and Helmer Lake 3, the first one took us to the remains of an old log cabin. And when we got out of the truck we saw the lake. A beautiful calm lake surrounded by trees with a handful of people camping around this hidden gem.   

 The other two caches were not far from the first and were quick pick-ups for us. We sat here and ate some sandwiches and enjoyed the view before getting back on the highway.

More cache stories tomorrow. Some rock scrambling, a coffin, and a rare bird sighting. Stay tuned!!

Monday, 3 September 2012

The Vancouver trip Part 2 - The Return

For our return trip to Calgary we allotted 4 days although many people do it in one long day and I usually do it in two. My husband flew out just for the road trip home and we wanted to take our time, visit points of interest and geocache along the way.

Our first stop was at Bridal Falls Golf Course for lunch with our friend who owns the course. The restaurant in the clubhouse serves amazing food. We started with a mango butternut squash soup that was just spicy enough to be flavourful but not enough to burn your tongue. Then we had salads accompanied by garlic toast drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. I chose the green salad which had morsels of figs and feta cheese tossed in and was delicious. Alana and I shared a slice of lemon tart afterwards which was just the right finish for the meal. I highly recommend this restaurant as a lunch stop even if you don't golf but since this is a geocaching blog let me get back on track.

There were two caches within a short distance of the golf course. The nearest was Welcome to Bridal Falls (GC1H34K) which was at the end of a field just past the driving range and a quick, easy find. The second cache we went after was a BC Parks 100 cache called Bridal Veil Provincial Park (GC2Y1GD). This one took us into the woods of the Provincial Park where we did some stream hopping before finding the cache. We made it a lot harder than it was partly because the trees made it difficult for the GPS to pick up satellites. Eventually the old goat realized we were off track and doubled back to make the find.
The next destination on our "Stop and See One Day" list was the Othello Tunnels along the Coquihalla river. This is a series of no longer used railway tunnels that have become a pathway into history.

 The Kettle Valley Railway ran through these 5 tunnels built by Andrew McCullough in 1914. The tunnels are connected by trestles which have been converted to walkways. The views of the river from the path were beautiful and the tunnels were very cool to walk through.

 At the end of the tunnels and quite a good walk past the gate we located the hint that let us know we were nearing the cache. After some scrambling up and down rocks we finally found the cache.
Although we were deep in bear country we managed to complete this adventure without running into any grizzlies and that was a relief to me!

By the time we got back to my truck it was getting quite late so we had to make time to get to the town of Merritt for the night. I'll fill in the rest of our trip soon! If you get a chance to go to the Othello tunnels or if you are heading down the Coquihalla, this is a nice place to take a walk, stretch your legs and enjoy the views!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Summer trip to Vancouver and a little caching

I had hoped to reach 300 cache finds by the end of the summer (I know, its not about the numbers!!) but our recent trip to Vancouver and back  has blown that goal out of the water! We may be heading for 400 before the end of the year!!

My Mom came to Calgary for a visit at the beginning of August, flying out here on the 8th and spending a week joining in on our activities. Then my daughter and I packed up the truck and drove her back to Vancouver and stayed for our own visit. While we were in Vancouver we went to White Rock beach for an afternoon of playing in the sand, collecting pretty rocks (not to keep) and visiting with friends.

Imagine our surprise to find out that there was an earth cache just metres away from where we sat?! So we walked over to the White Rock (GCP6M8) and took photos of it and logged our find!

Like many Earthcaches, this is a glacial erratic that was left behind when the glaciers receded from this area. It has been painted white to aid in navigation as it can be seen for a long way out to sea and from satellite photos. Finding an Earthcaches always brings a geology/ecology/earth science lesson with it and makes geocaching that much more interesting. Usually to log an earth cache you need to answer some questions about what you see and take a photo of the cache to prove you were there since there isn't a log book.

The next day we went with some friends to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) for the day. We had two 8 year old girls along and spent most of our time following them from ride to ride as they tested their mettle on swinging, sliding, twisting, turning contraptions! By the smiles and shrieks, fun was the order of the day! After a quick bite for dinner, I explained geocaching to everyone and then we set off to find the one cache that is hidden on the PNE grounds. (GC3APCA) Hastings Park Cache is located in a nice treed area with several walkways surrounding a pond. The reeds of the pond hid a few ducks and a heron the day we were there and we could hear a frog as well. It is a welcome respite from the noise of the fair grounds and offers time for digestion before heading back to the rides.

Our next adventure was more laid back as we went to visit my sister in North Vancouver for lunch and a few caches. She is a new cacher and had dropped off a travel coin in a cache and then had decided she'd like me to pick it up and take it on our trip back to Calgary. However when we visited the cache, the coin had been taken but not logged. We are hoping the previous cachers were just inexperienced with geocoins and will log it soon, but there is always the chance that they have decided the coin is something they want to keep. Unfortunately, this happens frequently to geocoins and travel bugs and is one of the drawbacks in letting go of these objects. They may be taken by collectors or muggled by non-geocachers.

In my next post I'll tell you all about the caches we found on our drive home from Vancouver including cache #300!! Keep reading!