Life as a Geocacher

Caching and Reviewing

This is made up of stories from my caching and my reviewing.  It is a collection of those along with comments and thoughts.  Photos, and maps of some adventures and lists of some of the oldest caches.

Updated Oldest 100 caches in Utah

I updated my list of the 100 oldest caches in Utah.  These cover a time frame from August 15, 2000 to July 10 2001.  they are pretty scattered around the state.  The entire list can be found here. No noteworthy changes in the last year.  It seems to be time for me to update the Oldest active geocaches page as well.


View Oldest Caches in Utah in a larger map

Geysers, Goblins, and Bones

This was my favorite day of the trip.  Because we were going to see something new, something a little different and off the beaten path.  We dragged our way out of bed and started the day.  We were sitting in the lobby of our hotel in Green River and eating breakfast when I saw a guy in a ratty beard and wearing second hand clothes eating breakfast.  I kind of watched him out of the corner of my eye. 

Runoff from Crystal Geyser

Then I saw another guy come up to him and ask  "Didn't I see you on X"  (I actually do not remember the show).  Turns out this odd guy was some multi millionaire that just decided to head to Moab for the weekend.  He did not make it that far and was here for the night.   I guess I should not judge people quite so fast.

Virtual Morning

I had to scramble as we headed out of town.  I had forgotten to grab Green River Utah 1st Virtual
Utah is the home of Virtual Caches.  Utah has 255 virtual caches right now.  There are only two states that have more; Texas with 340, and California with 525.  With Califoria at twice our area, and Texas at four times, we have quite a few.  It is easier since about 2/3rds of our virtuals fall along a few roads. Highway 6, Highway 89, and Interstate 15.  I would bet about 75% of all the virtuals fall in those areas. 

Well we swung back into town to grab this one before heading our way south.  I had almost forgot, at the last moment.  Ok well, it was not the last moment, we would come back into town.  We headed south toward Crystal Geyser.

Crystal Geyser Traditional and EarthCache

We found our way out to Crystal Geyser.  This was on my list for a long time.  I love Geysers, so I made sure I looked for the road.  We headed out of town on a rough old road, and turned with the car down a dirt road. It was pretty nice for my car.  Just a ten mile drive.  

The geyser is actually not a hot water geyser like those that are in Yellowstone.  This geyser was actually made by a drilling company.  They drilled into a pocket of carbonated water.  So every so often, usually once per day, it erupts into a smallish eruption, and a number of smaller eruptions that just bubble up.

While we were there walking around, taking pictures, a group of people visiting from Germany actually stopped and visited the area.  I wondered if they were geocachers.  I talked to them a bit, but no luck, just tourists looking at the out of the way spots.  The bubbles started boiling and a small eruption took place.  Nothing dramatic, just a lot of foam, and gas coming out of the top.

Fossil Point

Eventually I walked up the nearby cache.  Crystal Geyser was actually published back in 2004.  So for 10 years the cache was there and it needed finding by me.  It was a little walk up the canyon.  I grabbed the cache and found some trash nearby.  Later when I was logging the cache I noticed that there was another container someone had found, and thought they had found the real cache.  So happily I cleaned up the fake cache. and we packed up the family and headed off.

Fossil Point

We headed around to another cache.  The cache was only 4 miles away, but it was over the Green River.  So it meant a long slow drive to the north, then over the river, then down to the south. The road actually got pretty hairy for the caching mobile.

Dinosaur ribs

The road had a few washouts, a few spots that I had to be pretty careful to get around in the car.  Eventually I made it to the other side.  The little two track road got pretty bad for the car.  Any other vehicle and it would have been nice and easy.

The view at the cache site was awesome.  The different banding in the rock layers there were just amazing. 

There was no cache here, I actually asked about putting an Earthcache at the site.  However the BLM was concerned.  I mentioned that people had been pilfering the fosssils there.  Sadly that is true. Many of the fossils have been chipped out of the rock, or broken up.  When I grabbed them I noticed that the stone is actually softer than the rock around it.  So people trying to steal the fossils would have ended up with a bunch of little pieces.

My kids and I looked around and found a ton of fossils there.   There were some nice backbone vertebrae.  They were about a foot across, and six inches high, and some ribs that would have ran three feet long. There were a large number of other fossils that seemed to be in cross section, so I could not actually tell what they were.

We spent a few hours here.   I thought of placing a cache, but I really do not know if I will ever be here again.  I took a bunch of photos, and we climbed over boulders that are as big as small rooms. It was a great afternoon, and a great time looking about.  This is one of those sites that I think is completely amazing.  We rarely get to see things like this outside of a museum so it was a treat.

Purple Pond

Purple Pond view

The nearest cache was on the route back. Purple Pond by UtahJean.  This was a great location out in the desert.  The view with the little pond was spectacular.   There were a few purple layers, sadly the photo does not do it justice. When it was placed she mentioned a muskrat nest, and it is still there after all these years.

Goblin Valley

It took us a year or more to get to goblin valley.  I have been down a lot of roads in central Utah, more than many people.  I grew up down here, however I have never been on this side of the swell, on this road.  This was completely breathtaking.  At the site were a few caches. The Goblin Valley EarthCache.  This took a little bit of work to find the few signs with the information.

State Park Cache in goblin Valley

Following that I headed out into the rocks by myself. I had a quest.  An ammo can placed out in the south end of the valley by the state park.  I had a few in the park that I wanted to grab, but this really was going to be one of my crowning caches from the weekend.

The hike was pretty easy.  In the few days before there had been some rain, and there were a number of gullies down in the bottom of the valley in the sand.  It was a great walk.  I also was following the footprints of a few other cachers that had headed out the day before.  So the hunt took me to the area, and the find under one of the goblins in a hole in the mud was great.

Goblin Valley

I did go look for another.  However this time being in the hills by myself was not a great idea.  I finally broke off the hunt when i decided that I might end up breaking my leg or something worse if I kept hunting.

Kids in the mud

There was one hill, pretty high.  On the top of it were two ladies painting.  Seemed kind of a ways away to drag your painting supplies.  Then I realized I was walking a mile through the desert looking for a metal box with a paper inside.  So not being one to throw stones I headed back.  The kids were playing in the mud and we headed to the car.

You know going on a trip through southern  Utah at this time of year was genius.  The temperature is usually over a 100 degree F in the summer.  So going at this time of year is the best time.  It had rained a few days before and I assumed that everything would be dry, but 70 degree temperatures made it a great trip and at great temps.

Drive Home

The drop from the Swell into the desert.

We took the drive straight home.  Well, kinda.  Kind of like DrJay drove from Utah to Minnesota by way of Texas. We headed up through the desert, then through I-70.  Then to Price and home.  Ok, so it was a good day. 

The rest of the way home was seven Earthcaches and two Virtuals.   It was a great day.  The view up Highway 70 is magnificent.  Many overlooks, looking over many sights that are impossible to find anywhere else in the USA. Oh, I should mention that I did get a FTF on the route.  Butte or mesa?  I made sure I stopped at this when I was in the neighborhood.

I am so lucky to live here, in this place.  Utah is amazing.  I hope everyone has a chance to see this place, this great country that we live in,



Wherigo to the Cito?

Friday night was the night.  I was actually running about town all day, and doing work around the yard.  I was looking at the event tonight and thought that I was going to be too busy.  The event was a Cito event at the park the Wherigo Halloween Party  When I was within about an hour of the event I finally determined that I was going to have the time and packed it up and headed out.

The event - introduction

I got there and and it was the typical event.  People were gathering, and some were in costumes (not me I had forgotten).  We sat around and talked, then passed out some bags to get trash and head out.  The event was hosted by Joephaw and Rannthaw.  They explained about the process of a wherigo, and stepped people through a wherigo they made to introduce the cache type.   On the way through the park we picked up trash (the Cito part of the event)  PeanutsParents arrived and he and I chatted and talked together while we did the cache. 

It was a simple cache with a few steps, and was to show people how they could be made.  They talked about some of the players and some of the builders you can use to build them.  It was pretty interesting.   I have made a half dozen, but I it is cool to learn something more.

The big Wherigo

Then it began.  After a few snacks and a few chats, we were heading off for the main event.  There were a few caches that were part of the Wherigo that we were working on.

There was four caches in the one wherigo cartridge.  PeanutsParents and I hung around for a while waiting for everyone.  We finally drove up to the starting point, and began the adventure.  The park is a few hundred yards wide, and a half mile long.   

Zone after Zone

This was a long cartridge, and big.  There are about 25 zones that you can travel to (and that is just a guess).  We ran into a large number of creatures, and people that you run into.  They give you items that will help you on your quest.  We started about 6 or 6:30 and we went for about three hours.  I think my kids would think it was great, and in the dark it added another dimention to the game. 

This was not something you would just casually try.  The cache needs to be done in the dark.  There are a number of questions that you will only find the answer in the dark.  It was fun, and if I have the chance it will have to bring my daughter and a friend or two so they can try it out. 

If you want to try something like this, try. It can be a lot of fun

Welcome

I would like to welcome everyone to my new site.  Hopefully this works as well as the other site.  If you see bugs or problems let me know.  Feel free to enjoy and look around. There are bugs, there will be growing pains, however I look forward to this working.

Enjoy everyone.

Earthcache O'Rama - Saturday Afternoon

Arches - Park Avenue GC337QWWell after the event....

This is part of a three or four part series from the weekend where we went to the UTAG event. This is the second part of that weekend.

I had a good time visiting with all the people at the event.  Any event that is bigger and I have the regret that I do not get around to everyone.  So I am sorry if anyone feels like I was stand offish.  People will come and say hi, and at that point I will start talking and get trapped.

I brought three coins to the event. An old Cito coin that I had never been activated and had been sitting in a corner, an BSA 100th anniversary coin, and a simple coin that I had made for myself about five years ago.  I was hoping that maybe they would get $25 our of the three.  You never know with auctions. I think in the end that got about that much for each one of them.

Whats next?  We might move forward with a UTAG coin now.  We have about that much.  So we may start the look.

Looking West through the park

And it begins - Earthcache #2 & #3

So we headed up and out of Moab, and into Arches National Park. I had already found one Earthcache Early that day.   I was not aware that the entrance to arches was so close.  Well, after 45+ years of living in Utah I finally made it into the park.  We stopped driving up to find The Moab Fault.  It was a quick stop.  Salt Valley - Not the Earthcache site

The second stop and Earthcache #3 was higher on the hill, and it was really impressive. Arches National Park - Park Avenue.  My kids did not want to get out of the car, at least my teenager, who was listening to music and sleeping. I was admiring the view.  It is actually the upper part of a hike that goes down to another stop.   I should have taken the walk, and let my wife drive down. This was a really cool cache that talked about the different stone that is in the park, and was great as an entrance to the park to get an idea of how the park was formed

Sand Dune ArchEarthcache #4 and some overloooks and other arches

The next was mixed into a few other stops.  We stopped to look over Salt Valley - Arches National Park and drove over to a few other trails as well.  There were some really cool trails.

We drove by a pothole arch that was high on a hill. Then we went and hiked up the a trail to the coolest arch that we visited during the trip.  Sand Dune Arch.

Sand Dune Arch is just off the trail.  It is up between a few of the large fins that are sticking up. so you walk through the fins.  Rather than the soil that could be found outside of the arch is a lot of sand between.  My daughter kicked off her shoes and walked the entire route.  Tucked back between the rocks is a little arch that you can walk inside.  A hole made in a fin. It was much cooler that outside the fins.  They were blocked at one end and very narrow.  So no wind moved through the shaded channel. I am not sure it would ever get more sun for more than a few minutes.

On the way out we saw a small rattlesnake.  Rolled up and sitting on a hole in a log.  I pointed it out to a family with a lot of kids.  I thought I was doing the responsible thing so that no kids ran over into the shade near where it was.  I thought the lady was going to have a seizure.  I told her long before she got there.  Her panic almost made her freeze.  I wondered if I had been irresponsible.  I think of my terror of spiders was at that level, I don't think so.  We showed the kids the snake, kept them away, and told them to keep walking about.  

I had decided to do an Earthcache here.  It is one of the locations that I sent a email about.  So I will cross my fingers and wait to hear from the park.

Pine Tree ArchEarthcache #5 and Pine Tree Arch

This one was very cool for me.  Landscape arch is another impressive arch.  However I expected to see cool when I went to Landscape arch.  The hike was a ways over, but the arch that was cooler in my mind was Pine Tree arch.  Mostly because it was one that I was not expecting to be as cool.   You walk over, past some cottontail rabbits that were running off through the bushes. We walked by another arch, and it was nice. 

You then walk over between two fins, and when you come upon the arch it has a great view through it.  It was fantastic.   The sun was going down and things were just getting quiet.  There were not many people in arches today so we could walk to different places without fighting crowds.

Earthcache #6Delicate Arch

And the run goes on.  I really did not have a desire to go after Delicate Arch one for a lot of reasons.  However, the biggest reason was the fact that it is on everything Utah.  Where some may want to see the cache because it was a Utah icon, I did not want to go because of that.  Plus a long hike with loud kids would not be pleasant.

Well in looking at the map there was a shorter hike that would not require the long long hike, but went to a spot where you could see something. 

Well, the hike was nice and the kids were good, and we made it to the overlook and the view of the arch was really impressive.  Once again there were not many people.  Actually there appeared to be far more people up the hill at the arch than there was down by us.

2014-10-04 19.02.53

EarthCache #7 and Virtual #2

We headed are way quickly to the next cache.  We headed to the windows section at arches.  I did not think much of this location.  For some reason it was an afterthought.  We headed this way when we realized that there was enough light.

This was a cool location, there were a lot of people here, and the regular parking lot was very tricky to find a parking spot. The view of the sunset was great.  We did not make any hikes here, it was getting that late.  The picture above does not really do it justice.  The sunset was awesome.  The two caches here.  The Earthcache Windows Section: Arches National Park and the virtual Arches National Park - The Arches

I think we would have stayed a lot longer at this location and hiked to a few points but we decided that it was time to move on with the sun going down.

Earthcache #8 and Virtual #3

Balanced Rock

So now we are heading back.  This was another that needed a quick stop as the sun was going down.  Two final caches the EarthCache Balanced Rock: Arches National Park, and the virtual Arches National Park - Balanced Rock.

It was dark or almost dark.   My pictures may be a bit grainy but it was just after dark.  I was balancing the camera, posts, and anything else I could find to get a picture.   It did turn out, but not as good as I had hoped

Then darkness fell, and we took an hour drive back to hotel for the night.  All in all it was an amazing day.  Thanks for people that made me come down here and experience this first hand.

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