Monday, April 19, 2010

The Next Frontier

First, I must provide an update on the status of team Evelev. As I mentioned before, Brian had back surgery on April 2nd. He spent the next two weeks in inpatient physical therapy. His recovery was going extremely well, until April 17th when he had an emergency apendectomy. By the time he went into surgery, his appendix had ruptured. So began a longer and more arduous recovery than we ever anticipated.

He came home a little over a week ago. Since then, I've spent 18+ hours a day helping Brian, studying for finals, working, and reclaiming our home. After three weeks of doing little more in this house than sleeping, our beautiful new home turned into Lord of the Flies. The dog is Piggy, the cat is Jack, and the bird is somewhere in between. Our lawn turned yellow-ish, which became the talk of the neighbordhood. One neightbor actually called Brian to tattle on me. I can't wait to get back to my normal, boring life. I appreciate it a lot more now.

It will be a while longer before we get back to geocaching. That's ok, I was obviously FTF-addicted. This is like my own form of rehab. I haven't hallucinated any disembodied babies on the ceiling yet, so I guess I'm doing ok.

When we do we get back out there, and we will, it will be with some modifications. Brian might be in a wheelchair for a while longer. It won't be permanent, but recovery takes time. We'll probably start out with a steady diet of park and grabs, then we'll work up to parks and eventually woods.

The other day I came across, which allows users to re-rate caches on a slightly different scale. I went through my past 10 caches and couldn't find any that had been re-rated. Then I realized they only have 21,700 caches re-rated. I guess it's not that popular, but it's a fantastic concept.

The most recent re-rated cache is GC10KX7, a 1/1.5 in Australia. The new rating on keeps the 1 for difficulty, but increases the terrain to 5. The rater notes "impossible for a wheelchair" due to rough/bumpy terrain with small-moderate obstructions (branches, vegetation, etc). To be fair, the cache page includes an attribute for "not wheelchair accessible." And, according to, "a 1½-star terrain rating could indicate a very easy hike (easier than typical 2-star terrain), but a cache location that is not wheelchair accessible." So, it's not that the original rating is wrong, but the rating provides more information.

To do my part, I rated a cache I grabbed a few weeks ago, GC23HCP. If you have nothing better to do, here's my rating. The cache description is really honest about this cache, so it's not like I'm making a difference, but it makes me feel useful. I'd like to get into the habit of re-rating caches for'll see.

What I can say for sure is that we are about to evolve as geocachers. It should be a good experience, like holding your toothbrush with the other hand. A little strange at first, but we'll get used to it. One of the beautiful things about geocaching is the flexibility it offers. We will definitely put that to the test.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And this one time, when I was geocaching...

This Tuesday, April 13th, marks one year since I found my first geocache.

As much as I hate to admit this, it was actually the 8th cache I looked for. I chalk it up to my lone-wolf style of geocaching, but on the down-low, it probably had a lot to do with geo-tantrums. Don't act like you've never had one.

I don't feel like I've accomplished much in my first year, but it has certainly altered my perspective. Not a day goes by that I don't look at a light pole or guard rail and wonder if there is a cache there. When I see someone milling around on the side of the road, I mutter, "geocaching?" My purse now includes a flashlight and a mirror. I never carried a mirror before, but I do now, and I owe many, many finds to it.

The most significant change in my life is that I no longer experience afternoons with nothing to do. An unfound cache is always nearby. When I run errands, I usually take a look at what caches are on the way. If Brian and I leave town for a few days, we always make to time to explore new territory. I even look for easy heel-friendly terrain ratings on my lunch break. Geocaching is always in the back of my head.

What have I learned? Spiders, while still out to get me, are not nearly as abundant as I thought. Not everyone is watching me, and the ones that are do not automatically assume I am a terrorist (mostly). Stealth isn't about ninja-like quickness, it's about looking like you belong. One of the easiest ways to deter muggles is to acknowledge them - wave and be friendly, they usually get spooked and leave. Other geocachers are not my competitors (mostly), they are the most interesting and decent people you will find. Water is the most destructive force on the planet. My dog hates geocaching, while everyone else I have introduced loves it. And finally: anything, anything, could be a cache. You just don't know until you wiggle it.

The best stories come out of the geocaching, and I have definitely bulked up my arsenal. I look forward to many more years of finding nanos, ammo cans, pill bottles, and 35mm film cannisters. My GZ is right here.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Skeletons in the Ammo Closet

As some of you know, Team Evelev is temporarily out of commission. Last Friday, Brian had surgery to untether his spinal cord (don’t ask me how that happens) and remove tumors and scar tissue. His recovery is almost on-schedule, though we were a bit delayed by a spinal fluid leak (ick, I know...) Today, he was cleared to start moving around, but walking is a challenge. On his last day in the hospital, I think we’ll get him in a wheel chair and try to grab the mutli cache here. I can see the starting coordinates from his window.

So, if you were hoping to read about my caching escapades this week, I am sorry to disappoint. I do, however, have a little piece I started working on a few weeks ago. It’s been waiting for a weekend such as this.

A few weeks ago, I was dozing off on the couch, when I heard, "You found my cache?" One eye popped open. "I knew it!" I yelled at the TV, "I knew that ammo can was a cache!"

I don't watch The Forgotten. In fact, I avoid all things Christian Slater. It just so happened that Lost had ended moments before. I really needed to go to bed, so I didn't change the channel, but I didn’t get off the couch, either. Enter Mr. Slater, and his widow’s peak.

It starts like all other prime-time-crime-dramas. Two teens, sneaking off into the woods (presumably to do what teens-in-the-woods do) trip over an enormous ammo can marked EXPLOSIVES. Being the good citizens that they are, they put their necking on-hold to report this to the authorities. A bomb-probing robot cautiously opens the ammo can to reveal...gasp! Bones.

Slater’s character rushes to the scene, and here we find out that these bones could be those of his missing daughter. Go ahead, gasp again. The detectives inventory the can, which includes a rubber band ball, a ladybug key chain, and some puzzles, which are presumed to be clues to the identity of the killer.

They trace the cache back to a young teen, who informs the detectives that they found a globocache. Soon after, we find out that the ladybug is actually a trackable hopper. The detectives find themselves at a globocaching event. You know, to look for clues. It is here that globocachers prove just how cool they are, by dressing in animal costumes. A giraffe, dog, macaw, skunk, and pink hippopotamus were all in attendance. The detectives track down the hopper’s owner, who pitches a hissy fit when they inform her that the hopper won’t be hopping. Excuse me, Miss, it’s part of a murrrrder investigation.

Good detective-work leads them to a suspect: a good geocacher with a bad attitude. Oooo. I really wanted to link a video, but ABC makes that tough. If you have a spare moment and need a good laugh, go to The Forgotten’s website, wait for the video to load, then click “More Videos” (lower left), and then select the one titled “Good Night Moment 3/9.”

After that, the crew completes a platinum cache, which is sort of a multi and mystery cache combo placed for them by the killer. They get up to all kinds of detective-based mischief and solve the crime, blah blah blah. Anyway, the show sucks and I will never watch another episode, but this particular one was pretty funny. I don’t think they meant it that way though. Well, maybe ABC thought it would be funny, Mr. Slater – not so much.

In all seriousness, geocachers do find human remains occasionally. It's not usually this funny, though. Or maybe it is. I'll let you know when it happens.