Sunday, February 28, 2010

Maybe nevermore was a little harsh...

In classic Evelev fashion, I threw a little tantrum about never getting FTFs...and then I got one.

I was sitting on my new couch, in my new house, eating some reheated home fries for breakfast and watching CBS Sunday Morning. Then my iPhone buzzed, indicating a new email. Normally I wouldn't jump up and run over to my phone, but I just had a feeling. Newly posted cache. 0.4 miles from home coordinates. I frisbeed my home fries across the counter and sprinted towards the bedroom. I changed out of my pajamas and into jeans, a hoodie, and sneakers. Period. Didn't put on socks, nor did I brush my teeth, or my hair for that matter. I was in the car before I even thought to look at where the cache was actually located.

I was in such a fury, I turned down the wrong road. I was sure I'd lost any chance at FTF, but when I arrived there were no other cars. The area was somewhat secluded. There were houses all around, but they were either set way back from the road, or had a privacy fence. After looking around a bit, I soon attracted the attention of two dogs on the other side of a fence. I didn't mind that they were barking, but I was concerned that they would draw attetion to me. I shh'd as loud as I could, but it didn't help. Sometimes they would quiet down, but as soon as I crunched down on a leaf, they would start all over. Eventually the owner came out and called them inside.

It wasn't long after that when I found the cache. With trembling hands, I twisted open the cache and extracted the log. It's like jogging in a circle, my happy dance. Furious, seizing, circle-jogging. It's probably better that I do it only twice a year.

I know this post is kinda weak. While moving into my new house has been totally fun, it's been totally exhausting, too. No energy for geocaching and even less for writing. I had hoped to debut my article, but I'm just not comfortable with it yet. I need one good day to review and edit, hopefully that happens this week.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

FTF? Nevermore!

Daily emails announce it bleakly. "Maybe this time," I say weakly.
A new cache has been posted and I head for the door.
In a haze, moving quickly, suddenly the clock is ticking.
But someone else is already driving, driving towards the cache I adore.
"There they are," I mutter, "FTF is not in store."
STF and nothing more.

It was only a matter of time before I had to resort to gothic poetry to express myself. If you have no idea what I'm getting at, click here. Aside from the obvious conotations of madness and hopelessness, I chose to parody The Raven for another reason: it's about a bird.

Let's start from the beginning. Some of you know that Brian and I are getting ready to move into our new home. We knocked down our old house and replaced it with a new one. Unfortunately, in order to do this, the builder destroyed our lawn and we were forced to lay sod before the city would give us the Certificate of Occupancy. We enlisted a hord of muggles and EyeoftheSeeker to help out with this endeavor. Anyway, this is why I didn't post last week. Not only did I not get to do any geocaching, I was simply exhausted.

To thank EyeoftheSeeker, we took him out to dinner last night. Midway through dinner, I checked my phone and discovered that a cache had been posted 0.3 miles from my house. And not just any cache, yet another EyeoftheSeeker cache, in my neighborhood. We also had a movie planned, so it wasn't until 3 hours later that we dropped by the new cache. Three cachers had already beaten me to it, but I wanted to grab it while it was fresh.

Upon arriving, we were surprised by an adorable little screetch owl, who was equally as surprised to see us. We weren't nearly fast enough to snap a photo, but he looked like this:

Then, after searching for a bit, I noticed this tuft of yellow feathers in a branch above me. He was sleeping with his head tucked back, so I'm not completely sure what kind of bird it is. It could be a warbler, but seeing as he didn't have a nest, I'm leaning towards somebody's pet. You just don't see a lot of peep-like cuteness in the wild here.

Eventually I found the cache, and signed farther down the log than I would have liked. It seemed to take forever for me to find it, but it was dark, cold, and spidery.

This morning, we met Team EyeoftheSeeker for a long-overdue breakfast get-together. As I was getting ready, I received the notorious cache-publishing email. Interestingly enough, it was practically across the street from EyeoftheSeeker's house. We raced over, but Seeker8 had just beaten us to it. Doh!

We smothered our sorrows with biscuits and gravy. On the way home, EyeoftheSeeker casually mentioned a difficult cache in the area, so we decided to look for it. Brian made the find this time, but it took some effort to extract the cache from it's spot. I was planning to post a photo; however, even though the photo doesn't actully show the cache, I think the camo would be very easy to recognize.

A few hours later, I was itching to go out again. I really wanted to look for a puzzle cache I solved a few months back, but I arrived at the cache location to find it swarming with muggles - farmers' market. I tried, but it just wasn't working, so I headed to another cache. It really wasn't that hard, but the gz kept bouncing all over. It wasn't until the Groundspeak app went down and I had to search "blind" that I finally spotted it. The cache can be seen peeking out in this picture. The camo should be super-obvious to all but the uninitiated.

After I found this cache, I decided to grab a multi. I finished the first stage to find that stage 2 took me right back to Lake Lily, which is where I had started out. I finished stage 2 of the multi, but decided to solve both mystery caches at Lake Lily before heading to stage 3.

The area around the first puzzle was still a bit busy, so I moved on to the second. It required me to walk around the lake, gather various dates and numbers, and then plug the numbers into an equation that would tell me the combination to open the lock on the cache. Cake.

As I ventured around the lake, there were birds everywhere - Hitchcock would have been a little freaked. I didn't have any bread, so I had to sneak past these ducks. You can't tell from the picture, but they were all shaking their tail feathers furiously.

Then I saw these ducklings. There are no words. The cuteness was indescribable.

One stage of the puzzle required me to count the number of wooden planks on this bridge. I won't ever forget that number. I'd like to tell you what it is, but if I had to count them all, then so do you. All I can tell you is my calves were sore from taking tiny little steps all the way across.

After the counting, I succumbed to a moment of guitless vanity. Oh yeah.

When I'd finally gathered all the info, I headed for the cache. I was soon in a panic because I thought the cache had been muggled. Unlike other DNFs, I had actually done some work for this cache. I couldn't bare the thought. But then, I expanded the search radius, and there it was. I entered the combination and pryed open the rusty cache. There wasn't anything cool in this cache, but I was thrilled to have finally found it. To commemorate the moment, I took no less than 30 pictures with the cache. Warning: Shameless narcissism ahead.

You thought my raven parody was a joke? Look at that face and tell me it's a sane person.

After that I made another attempt at the mystery cache I had come to this area to find. But I never found it. I think I may have solved the puzzle wrong.

At this point this point the sun was setting, but I had to finish the multi I had started earlier. I drove to the area and found this serene spot on Lake Sybelia. You won't find me there on Sunday morning, but I can certainly appreciate the beauty.

Today was definitely not a numbers run. I think I prefer caches like this. I like doing the work and feeling like I accomplished something.

In other geonews - FTF Geocacher has the first issue availabe for download. You can still sign up for the second and third issues, but the first one is only available online.

I would also like to welcome EyeoftheSeeker to the world of blogging. Destination Unknown focuses on the cache locations more that the caches themselves. I think there is a tendency to get so wrapped up in finding the cache that appreciating the area sometimes comes second, or not at all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Any Given Sunday

Despite being totally bogged down with my work and school schedule this week, we did get out to do a bit of geocaching. Team EyeoftheSeeker and Team Evelev had plans to visit some muggle-friends (as opposed to enemuggles) in Clermont to watch the Superbowl, so we grabbed a few caches along the way.

We started out the day with a DNF at a newly posted 5/2. We found plenty of junk, sandspurs, and the skull of a small animal, but no cache. Oh well.

Then we moved on to a couple of super easy park and grabs. Well, they were supposed to be park and grabs. We ended up walking more than necessary, but the weather was great and the finds were easy, so it was quite enjoyable.

Our final find of the day required a little stroll and tiny amount of bushwhacking (bush-stepping, really). The container was one I've seen on the geocaching website, but never in the wild. It is in great condition, although it probably won't stay that way once the rainy season gets here.

The cache location would have been obvious to anyone looking for anything. As every Southern geocacher knows, Spanish moss is more conspicuous than a neon sign advertising a strip club. Not that Spanish moss is bad camo (I think it's moderately muggle-proof), but it's definitely not subtle.

We made the grab right away after we found the right tree. While I was posing with my find (showing off my sweet backpack and wicked sunglasses), I was photobombed by EyeoftheSeeker. Very mature.

An unexpected bonus was this random tangerine tree. I didn't take any fruit, but I suppose no one would have minded...

The highlight of my week was the arrival of FTF Geocacher magazine. It was even better than I imagined. If you enjoy my blog, I highly recommend it. Not (just) because I'm in it, but because several geo-bloggers have contributed articles. This gives the magazine a very communal, story-teller feel - a quality somewhat unique to geocaching. And you don't have to blog to contribute, articles from any geocacher are welcome. Copies of the first issue are going fast, so if you are interested in a subscription, you're running out of time.

And finally, a tidbit from Evelev's enlightenment corner: Time really flies when you're geocaching. Holy cow. We killed three hours on four caches today, and it felt like no more than an hour had passed. Maybe it's a good thing no one is paying me to cache. I would probably wake up one morning to find an 80 year old woman in the mirror and wonder what the hell happened. I suppose that's a chance I'm willing to take.