Saturday, January 14, 2006

Geocaching with Team ARC

This was the second weekend geocaching as a team. We decided to adopt the name Team ARC. I'm sure we will have our core group (Mike, Robert, and me) geocaching together most of the time, but there will be others that cache with us on an occassional basis. I say this because there are others at work that have expressed an interest in joining us for a day. Everyone is always welcome to join us as I go by the idea "the more the merrier".

Robert, Mike, and me started of this morning around 10:45 and set out on our first hunt. It was a Multi-stage hunt located in Bixby Oklahoma. Well, at least, it is listed as a multi, bit I think it was more of a puzzle cache than multi as we had to travel to different locations and gather clues to decode our final destination. The cache we were hunting for is called "Bixby History Tour". We headed to the first clue and found it quickly. We went through each clue relatively easily until we had decoded all the numbers for our final coordinates. I punched them into the GPS and it told us we were 5.1 miles north of our final destination. Hmmm...this was a little concerning as all the clues were in a fairly concise area. Off we went to check out our coordinates. When we arrived, we were obviously in the wrong spot. We decided to try and figure out where we had gone wrong. To make a long story short, we ended up checking two different final coordinates and neither was correct. This was not how we wanted to start our day. We had burned two hours and had yet to find a cache. My goal was to locate ten caches bringing my total up to 50.

After giving up on the puzzle cache, we head over to "Bentley Park". This was a nice cache hidden near a sports complex. I was glad it was winter as it would have been a bugger getting to it in the summer! Mike spotted the cache first and grabbed it for us. I saw a BLM pin that I wanted and Mike wanted a Statue of Liberty Patch that was in the cache. I traded a travel bug called "Thomas Whistle" and Mike traded a foreign coin. As a side note, it appears I have violated a geocaching rule without knowing it. (I just read a post on the geocaching forums about travel bugs not being trade items. I had never thought of it, but it makes sense now that I read the post and thought about it. Travel bugs are for moving, stuff you buy is for trading.) All of us signed in on the log and we moved on to the next cache.

We headed for Lake Bixhoma for our next cache. This is a lake located southwest of Bixby and I believe it is their water supply as well. I had been there once before to hunt fossils. It has an exposed are which was once a shallow coral reef and there are lots of criniod stems and brachiopods to be found. Once we parked the vehicle, we were off to find "Megan's Stash Cache". First off, let me say that this is rated as two stars on terrain. Well, it's two stars if you take the correct path to the cache ! Unfortunately, I think we took the four star route. The end result was me falling and taking a chunk out of my knee and having to stop and catch my breath. It was quite a climb up to where the cache was located. About 80 feet or so higher and we were there. This was a very nice cache that was in great condition and well hidden. I didn't do any trading but Mike made a trade for a signature card. Once we had placed the cache bak in it's hiding spot, we hiked back to the truck. We took the easy way back this time. It was about 1:30 by now so we decided to catch lunch on our way to the next cache.

After a quick bite to eat, we headed east to south Broken Arrow. The next cache was located in Ray Harrel Nature Park. The name of the cache was "Beaver's Playground". I assume it was named this as there are plenty of beavers in the area. It appears that they have built habitats to to encourage the beavers to stay in the park. This cache would have been easier if we had read the cache discription or looked at the map at the enterance of the park! We did neither and the result was a much longer walk than expected. THe walk was through rough terrain, as well, so we certainly got our exercise. Once we figured out our mistake and made it around to the right side of the beaver pond, the cache was a quick find. Unfortunately, the ammo can had leaked at some point and the cache was damp. The log was dry enough to sign, but we made not trades. We hiked back to the truck and punched in the coordinates to the next cache which we knew was close. Little did we know, we had walked past the next cache, "Cache #1", on the way to the last cache. That got a good laugh out of Team ARC. At the request of the team, I went ahead and put in the other cache in the area, "St. Patrick's Pot of Gold", and sure enough all three of the caches were in the same park ! We made quick work of the remaining two caches. While we were at the last cache, we heard a woman hollering at us from across the beaver pond. Although a bit startled, we hollered back. She wanted to know if we had found it and we immediately knew she was a cacher as well. She walked around the pond while we signed the log and made our trades and met us at the cache. She was one half of the team known as The Sooners. After introductions, we had a really nice visit with her about caching. Her and her husband have over 1000 cache finds and over 100 hides. It was great to meet up with a very active cacher ! This was a nice cache run getting us lots of photos and 3 caches and the opportunity to visit with a fellow cacher.

Once we wrapped up at Ray Harrel Nature Park, we headed back toward Bixby for the final three caches. I won't bore your with the details, but we were quite tired by this time and we got skunked on our last three caches. We decided to call it a day with my count up to 45. Not a problem, I will hit 50 another day !


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys had a pretty wicked cache hunt. Good to read about other peoples cache experiences.

Cache in, Trash out!