Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blakeburn bottom

First there is no cache at the cache location, however the cache is in the location above - Lover's Leap

Today my Gluteus maximus hurts, cause – numb icy toes, slippery rocks in the stream and my never ending pre-disposition to be caught up in the fantasy land I’m walking through and capturing every moment that I can. Which resulted in not only once, but twice in landing in the water with my backside meeting some rather large pointy rocks, the bruises will heal and simply means I get to spend the next few days recalling how amazing the hike up the stream was.

As we headed up the Blakeburn Road, recalling so many discoveries in these hills the last few years, still utterly amazed at each new hidden relic we find. We quickly made our way off of the Loadstone FSR to Arrastra Creek FSR, then down to the bridge below. As we made our descent, the familiar outline of Lover’s Leap could be seen high above against the mountains side. We parked to the side, surrounded by tantalizing wild raspberries and thimble berries, perfectly ripe and fit for melting on my tongue. Jordy prepped his backpack, wine, glasses, towels, hiking sandals, shotgun and ammo. I got out mine, camera, gps, SPOT & carrots.

Distance to the intended destination, directly up the creek a bit less than 800 meters. Caught up in the ideas of what may still be there, are the rumors true? Will we find carts still connected to each other hanging precariously on something? What will it be like to stand beneath Lover’s Leap staring up at it from below?

We started up the creek, comfy in hiking boots, until the first pool was discovered. Jordy tried skirting around, holding on to the edges, and backpack with shotgun hanging out. That didn’t go over too well; I kept anticipating him falling backwards. I stripped off the boots, switching to sandals, Jordy doing the same. His first attempt at walking through, well the cool icy water reached a certain body part, he retreated. I scampered through and up first, as he neared I grabbed his backpack so he could have full use of his arms.

The scenery was breathtaking, sound of the stream relaxing, water so pure and clear and the birds playing in their private baths. I entertained myself by taking 245 pictures and snacking on every berry that we came across. Jordy entertained himself by keeping a look out up the canyon walls for Cougar, luckily no signs of any the entire hike. The wind coming down the canyon, felt like a Chinook, embracing you and leaving a feeling like having a hot cup of apple cider on a snowy day. Some of the granite boulders we came across were so huge, and perfectly round, made you fear if you’d lean on them you’d set them off rolling down the creek and take out the bridge below.

Then we stumbled across the perfect waterfall, and pool below, a hidden gem that I look forward to returning to on a hot summer day next year and being naughty. How many people have ever seen this? Tranquility is sought by so many, yet so few ever achieve it in their chase for their belief they will be successes in the minds of others. Shortly after that the strange relic of a hockey helmet was caught up in the log jams; made me wonder if we’d find the remains of a body attached to it further up. We were nearing our intended destination; we could see the underneath of Lover’s Leap, the remains of the trestles stretched out and over the embankment.

In front of us were knots and knots of cable, bound up within its self, some of the cables still attached to Lovers’ Leap so high above that crossed the canyon and back up to a tree across. So many things to touch and feel; cables, bolts, abandoned kettles, a rusty flattened bucket hanging on to the side of the mountain, eventually Mother Nature reclaims of all its metals. However, even 80 years later, all of it remains recognizable and strong enough to hold the log jam back. When Mother Nature does push it all forward I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near as it could take down the remains of Lover’s Leap high above. We believe that there is truth to that story the coal carts did fall down, but they were likely retrieved via a pulley system. This is the only logical reason that the cable is attached from above; they would have lowered men down on the cable to attach them and then pulled the cars back up.

We pulled out the blanket and popped open the bottle of wine and toasted to our shared discovery; Grateful to have a backyard that allows us to explore, and live a life full of moments and memories. Sad that we had to leave, but knowing that we can always visit again. Knowing that opening up the portals between the present and the past brings us closer to balance in gaining a true perspective on this world around us.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stave Lake CITO 2010

Below the Video you will find my thoughts - but I think it's very important first before you ready my thoughts to watch the video. All credit for the photos go to my fellow cachers & off road enthusiasts.. I took from them what they captured. I usually am always behind the camera - but this time I spent the time watching others to really capture something..

First I have to ask - how are you? I mean really how are we as a people? I spend my life surrounded by companies telling me how green they are, we preach reduce, reuse recycle - but I still feel strongly that many companies only preach what will add to their bottom dollar. If you were to go around asking these big mega corporations that deal in millions of dollars that tote "Go Green Contests" where every contest entry is a paper entry & they are giving away a Car as a prize (yes a hybrid) to stop and donate the cost to cover dump trucks and to help do a clean up in their own back yard, in their community - you know what they will tell you?

They will say sorry, not sure if that fits within our corporate priorites, we'll get back to you. Yet you ask the little guys - like Mike Salo (who has helped year and year again), Lloyd Davies & Keith, Darryl & Glen Weed to help and they jump at the chance very year. They don't run multi-million dollar corporations, they contribute to their communities and put not only the cost up - but also dedicate their time - and time and energy counts for so much more then pure cash. How many people do you know that figure that to give back just "throw some money" - I'd like to see some of the big head honcho's that make disposable items - like shot gun shells get out of their suit's and fancy Mercedes and spend the day squatting 1752 items to pick up the 1952 Shot Gun Shells left by others.

The 4 Wheel Drive Association of BC - their entire board of directors & all their volunteers put so much effort into arranging this & the sponsors that helped out to make it an amazing "fun time" - you have made more of a difference in the world then you will ever know - thank you for that.

I'd also like to take a moment to address those that think that those of us with "big trucks", or "loud trucks" are the ones dumping the stuff in the gully's or ripping up the fields. I've heard it since Jordy's been building the truck - wow you're going to destroy the meadow's with that thing - I know I can't change people's minds - but I wish people would not judge others so quickly. That big truck of ours has hauled more garbage out of sensitive area's then gas we've burned.

I know so many off-roaders that dedicate their time to taking care of the environment and the areas we use, yes there is an ulterior motive - to keep the roads open & to show those in "control" that there are good people out there. But even if that wasn't at stake - I can guarantee that the same people would be out there. And that number is gowing past a small visable minority to a noticble amount - if we take a look at this year's Stave Lake Clean Up - this year we had 91 people there!

That is a record amount, in total 22,000 KG of Garbage and over 4,000 KG of recycled metal (not sure if that included the several burnt out cars or not). People of every age & size were there - it was great to see the familes with the young kids out there - that means we are not only walking the walk - but we are setting an example! Those that came out to clean - well they even resulted in converting a few people that were camping and not "part of it". By leading by example those around us followed, it's a natural "pack" mentality.

That sad thing is it is so hard in this disposable world of "me" to set that example, we all run around trying to fulfill the need to meet all these expectations of the worrld that we all often forget what is truly important. When was the last time that you stopped and turned back time to rewind a memory to the vision that you thought your life would be? I mean really rewind back to the years and years ago to when you were innocent - to when you thought the whole world would do right? Where you did right because well it was right - there was no debate over what was important?

Where life was alive, where you could feel the slightest touch of a hair on your arm, where all the synapses in your brain were clicking & the sky was filled with pink elephants floating in the clouds..

So I ask how are you? How are we?

Where did we as a society go so wrong, to where even if we don't agree - saying nothing is ok as well?

Where did we say yup - it's ok to watch that trailer drive past you filled with TV's, microwave's, garbage bags of dirty diapers - where it's ok to drive by it after it's been dumped and well we don't pick it up because we'll do that another day?

Why is it that those that care also find it so hard to stand up for what they believe in and just tell people they're f* up for doing this when we see it? Why is it when people stand up for things we stand up and tell them they are causing a big comotion for nothing? Wait until you have back up? Don't be the little girl standing up to the 6 foot 4 guy with a shotgun - (I carry a big Aura - it's all good)

Where is our accountability and responsibility as a society? Why is it we as a society don't enforce a community service law for CEO's that make disposable goods?

Perhaps tonight it is my existential depression, of sitting in bed with my 11 year old son the other night who equate pollution and the garbage disposal a bigger issue then War - and that life will be no good when he grows up because people just don't take care of the world - they simply want more and more.

Anyway enough of my "lecturing tonight" - How are you? Are you doing anything different tomorrow? Will you every walk by or drive by garbage without at least thinking of stopping to pick it up?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anacortes - year 3

Last weekend we made our annual trip to Anacortes, and I think that this year gave me more pause in my reflections on life then ever before. I never really realized why the location holds so much importance to me, but in retrospect I realize it is one of the few places that truly holds positive memories for me. From the memories of the ferry right, saving the baby whale, to the bunnies at the Deception pass campground, to the last three trips since we found geocaching. Every memory is a happy one - with no negativity which is rare in my life.

So tonight I sit back with a glass of wine and reflect back on the joys of a life more traveled, and the unconventional roads it has taken me as we look at the caches and adventures we uncovered over a few days.

Spontaneity - Some can't stand it, some can handle it, others of us crave it as if it's a drug. The unknown adventure that awaits us around the corner and inability to understand how one can find exciting the concept of picking paint. We wonder at how one can prize the glow of the "bling" as we would give it all up for the mere chance of creating a memory. A memory that stimulates and leaves you feeling as if a vampire has kissed the nape of your neck. Where every cell in your body quivers with the anticipation of what is around the next corner.

Fortunately or unfortunately I am one of those who lust after what is around the next corner, as for what it is - good, bad or indifferent it is better then anything that continues along a rutted path. Some wonder why I chase after the Tupperware - it's because you never know where it will take you - it's because on any given day I can recount hundreds of adventures that it has created in my life over the past 3 years, it's because I can write & share others adventures & I can see people prove to themselves that they can do something. I get to see people make a difference in others lives, their community & their world - and it's fun!

We arrived into Anacortes on Friday night, checking into the beautiful suite we booked at the Anaco Bay Inn. This trip we were indulging in the Honeymoon Suite, something about a beautiful jetted tub to lie down in after a hard day of hiking while surrounded by eucalyptus, bubbles, candles & a good glass of wine just had that appealing sound to it. Not sure why, but I think others might agree with me. After checking, we made our way downtown to grab a yummy burger & Cesar. Now I must give kudos to the pub for their ceases - pickled green beans, asparagus, onions & olives all part of it. I think I had my equivalent in vegetables for a day with just one! Dinner was delicious and we decided to try the Greek restaurant for Saturday.

We then settled in for the night, all ready for another amazing Anacortes adventure on Saturday! We woke up at 9 and were anxious to get going for breakfast at the Calico Cupboard, then off on our adventure! Since it had been a few weeks since we cached, and this would be "urban" caching we needed to do a warm up first.. lol We headed off to the Cap Sante Cache. The cache itself has had several challenges over the last few years as it's a very high muggle area, but it's the view you go for. Starting your day with a view of all below, Mt Baker in the background - while sipping on a home made hot chocolate with whip cream - what better way can you do it!

If you do decide to visit - we highly recommend that you also make your way down to the Abandoned Amphitheatre as well. We've made mention of it before - but it truly does feel as if you are walking into a scene from Indiana Jones and have stepped back in time to a slower day. Look for the gnomes in the tree roots on your way.

After that we opted to continue down the coast towards Washington Park, there was a new cache that popped up this year that sounded interesting -

Treble Clef. We've walked down this little strip of land before, but never this far. It's about 3/4 of a km down the beach, but well worth it. We found the most delightful little quiet beach that is away from everything! Bring a bottle of wine, blanket and indulge. While we were there over the weekend - we had the most amazing weather, it was warm, sunny & felt so intimate with the sun hitting your face. Almost like sitting across from a person and having them run their fingers across your cheek.

We then continued down the road towards Sharpe's park. We've been to Sharpe's park twice before, and it continues to be one of our favorites. As with all of Anacortes's trails - they are rocky & rooty with a few mild grinds. Nothing major, just make sure your shoes are tied! Over the last year 4 new caches have been placed. Of the new ones A Rocky View is our favorite. The views from the park are amazing, the sheer cliffs, the "naked trees" as I call them - I think they are really Maruba trees - but I like my way better.. lol We saw some amazing sights while here - including a porpoise or two swimming in the distance. I also saw poor Patrick (from spongebob) floating upside down in the ocean - alas there is beauty in destruction.

It was so warm in some areas, yet it almost looks as if the pond at the start of the trail still had ice in a few places - felt like I was experiencing an oxymoron.. lol We spending about an hour and a half walking through the trails signing or "Tupperware" before heading back to our nemeses cache for the last 3 years.

Before we move on I want to stop for a moment on a reflection - we as a society put so much pressure on the "do more", "push further", "you'd be amazing if you just...", and then we spend time "celebrating" things that really truly have no meaning. Do we really need to pad lists of accomplishments to make ourselves feel better? or are we simply trying to make up for the fact that we regret the ability to indulge in those little things that truly bring happiness. How many of us really spend the time doing the things we need to be doing - and instead do the things "we think we need to be doing". How much less could we do without and would we if we truly understood what we could get back in exchange?

But I'm digressing again - to live life with my chipmunks we know I would be happy sharing life with the monks in Tibet, or discussing the theories of Dabrowski and celebrating his poem "Welcome all ye neurotic", wondering if truly the Theories of Positive Disintegration would apply to me.. lol

Where was I - oh yes our nemeses cache! Mr. Erie! You see I seem to have one fear.. and that is standing over a cliff trying to "rock climb" to where I could fall and kill myself (although the cache wouldn't endanger me) but the problem is we can't find the crevice that cache is in! If I knew for sure where it was I would go get it - but I don't. And apparently my fear of personal injury is greater then my caching sense.. lol Jordy tried again - but to no avail. Later Saturday night we sent a note to titelines asking them as they were there recently - but even with their picture we can't figure out where it is. So we are missing something. It will wait.

After our failure there we then got the Woodpecker cache that has been on our list for the last 3 years to grab. Then we head the call of a good glass of wine, Greek food & a bath. We packed it up, headed back to the room for some freshening up and good "grits".. lol If you go - we highly recommend eating at The Greek Islands.. it is to die for - but we also recommend making reservations!

The next day we opted to take life a little easier - Jordy was still not feeling 100% and we did some "car caching". This was a good thing as we found a few places we wouldn't have - first we stopped and grabbed the earth cache at Deception pass. We then made our way down to Doqualla Bay. We saw a father and his daughter playing there - kind of neat - and found an irony. Brewermd had been there right before us - and she is a friend of our sisters who we haven't met yet. One day we will, we made our way back up the island and stopped in at one of the most uniquest beaches we know of - Powell Street Beach - public portion exactly 100 feet wide don't move to the right or left of the paved section.. lol

We then grabbed a few more before meeting my sister back in Bellingham for some great Chili - as well as their amazing pretzels & bread. If you do go to Bellingham - I highly recommend you take in the mouth watering treats they have Ralf's Bavarian Bakery. Then we came home and they listened to my pleas at the border and allowed me back into Canada. I will be so happy when that proof of citizenship shows up.. just because I didn't know I needed more then my US passport to prove Canadian Citizenship.. lol

One last thought before we go. The last 6 months have been very up and down for all that know me - the loss of my brother threw me for a huge loop. In the end I was standing there with everything I knew ripped away from me, all items of comfort no longer existed and I stood before my own judgement day due to the chain of events that followed that. I held my hands open to the skies and watched life as I knew it pass through my fingers left trying to grasp and grab at everything as it slipped through with no way to reach back in time. In the end you can't get it back - and I realized that in the end - so little matters. When you are sitting there and your breaths are numbered what will truly matter? Will what you did matter? no - it will only matter on why you did it, not what you did - such as we can explain Grendel's actions and explain them away - when looked at a certain way his destruction can be justified. In the end we answer only to ourselves - so if that is the case why do we spend so much time trying to get other's approval. Remember - live happily, taste life & we live forever, live for others only and we fade away.

Friday, December 4, 2009

2 Awesome Years of Caching = 1,194 km, 3 days and 38 caches

Disclaimer - pictures in story are not indicative of the part of the story they are placed with - they are simply ones I liked from our weekend

Last weekend we set out on a 3 day adventure celebrating what is most important to us - Time with each other away from the hecticness of life. Celebrating 2 years of adventures, exploring and seeing the road less traveled the way others wanted you to see it. This totaled from leaving the house to coming back 1,194 KM over the 3 days and claiming 38 new caches. For many that we know that simply would be enough, but for us the caches are what leads us, not why we're there - if that makes any sense. It's about what we see - and if anyone knows us they know we get distracted easily!

We left here Thursday night to head to the cabin, we had originally planned on starting up the canyon. Plans changed at the last moment and we reversed our plans and started in Tulameen, then to Keremeos, Osooyos, Penticton, Merrit, Logan Lake, Ashcroft & then home. We wanted to take more side roads, but the snow is here so it makes it a bit challenging. A few of the caches will stand out in our mind for many more years to come, and but we've also learned that not every cache over the years will. Hard to imagine that at the beginning though.

We left Tulameen and headed in Princeton to try to find Mercs Rock "Playing in the Fountain" , it is his newer one that we hadn't had a chance to grab yet, and was kind of fun playing in the muggle zone. While there I scoped out to see if there were any new history books, and Jordy ran into Will and got to hear about his latest ways to make a few hundred bucks. He still so reminds me of my dad. We then headed down towards Hedley, but first attempting to make our way up to the YDC - VORTAC Station at Princeton cache that had escaped us in the Suburban. We've realized that the tank won't get you everywhere you want to, it's great on mud, dirt and other places - however snow and ice you need something else - this resulted in us trying out the Jeep with the lift now, Sway Bar disconnects, newer tires and we found that it got us all the way to the top!

A beautiful view was beheld, a true 360 degrees it felt like, not quite as high up as Botany or Hope, but still very neat for the area. Very happy to have this one off our list we headed down to Hedley to stop in to see if the museum was open, which they weren't then onto Keremeos & then to Spotted Lakes. We had originally intended to replace our cache at spotted lake as it is a film canister at the bottom of a sign. But when we got there to check on it we realized that the log is completely dry, it had survived a full winter there already and is truly unobtrusive. If we put it in a magnetic keyholder the magnets could come off, if we place it in a bison tube people will struggle to get the log in and out - so we left it as is.

We then go into Osoyoos & had lunch/dinner at the best pub (brew house) around - we've been here a few times and the food is so good! The murals on the walls are very endearing as well, afterwards we headed over to find one of the caches at the visitors center (Under the "I" in Osoyoos ) & met new cachers while were there. kaasi ! A very nice couple who had just had their first cache published and are becoming as addicted as so many of us, we talked for a bit sharing a few stories then headed our way up the road grabbing a few along the way. One of those included Road 22, one that eluded us last year do to the bug population in the summer!

We hit Penticton and settled in for the night at the Super 8, a nice place - however the hot tub was not hot enough, the water in the shower wasn't that warm either. Next time through we'll try another location. We did get a good nights sleep & then woke up in the morning and enjoyed Starbucks before heading out for the goal of the trip - a road less travelled! There have been a few caches that have been on our "home query" around Tulameen that we've wanted to get and now was our chance.

We were able to grab a few on our way, however we were very excited we we got to the first one on the list - Teddy Bears' Picnic. , it would take us to one of the Trestles along the KVR. Lets just say it didn't disappoint! We also headed up the KVR a bit further along the way and it took us to another neat spot (TCT Faulder -Nothing but a Hole-__- )- one where there was a cellar dug into the mountain with support beams that still stood. This was the first time we have ever gone into a "Hole in the wall", as we were without fear of something eating us or it collapsing! he he

We then continued on up the road attempting to go get Kathleen's cache, alas that wasn't to be, the elevation was just way to hi to get that one, but maybe next time, or if we can get a snowmobile and go.. lol We decided to continue on instead of heading to Mizzula lake, this lead us to the B-59 cache and a road we thought would continue through - however the road dead ended.. just our luck, so we had to make the long road back down to almost Kelowna and then back on the 97C over to Merritt to settle in for the night.

Once we hit Merritt we had some good Chinese & a bottle of wine and had the opposite result for water - the hot tub too hot.. lol We woke up the next morning and tried out the Home restaurant and it was ok, but way to busy on a Sunday morning for our liking - That was ok though - today's goal would be exploring Logan Lake - a first for us.

We left Merritt and headed west, the first cache we tried for was a failure - but not because of lack of trying. We ran into a tree across the road.. lol and we weren't willing to go where no other jeep had traveled by ourselves. So we went back down through the mud & muck he he and I got my dirty boy!

The next cache really struck a cord with us - it was a Gold Rush Cache and the first one that has really caught our interest very interesting as it took us somewhere we wouldn't have been other wise - Gold Country - Lafek Pioneer . We so wanted to go past the gate to see what the buildings were like, as even from a distance as I stood on the hood of jeep looking beyond at the house and school building I could feel him there. I could feel the love and hard work that went into here, and you know they haven't left here as of yet and that their spirits never will. Jordy and I would give almost anything to be able to walk away from our every day life and live like that. Hard yes, but in some ways so very much more rewarding.

We paid our respects then headed into Logan Lake and tried getting ahold of 5King Cachers to meet up with them, but while we were waiting explored some of their finder caches. The bike Park in Logan Lake is amazing with the frisbee gold & running across the road he he.. but here we found yet another one of our favorite caches - Logan Lake Bike Hill. It was a bit of a grind & hike to the top, but once you got up there you get amazed by the little things up here - the word Phantom written out in rocks that has stood here for how many years, the little pile of white rocks in a circle covered in manure (pet cemetery?) little lean to's that look like their covered in something - and the view great (also if you have Rogers you'll get 4 bars of cell phone service here.. lol)

We spent about 30 minutes looking for the cache and taking pictures, we finally found the cache in a logical place after reading Pappy90's log - it's not by the bench, but in the side of the mountain tucked away to keep it safe - along with it's few bite marks.. after finding it we headed back down to meet up with our friends and then head on over to Ashcroft & then back down the canyon as our adventure was coming to an end.

Can you see the jeep?

We got home Sunday at about 10 pm - almost on time which is a miracle for us, unpacked and settled in for a long winters sleep. But as we settled in we realized just how lucky we are to live this amazing life - looking at the mileage, the views, the sites and thinking were we really standing at the Vortec look out only 2 days ago - wow we saw a lot..

Is this a sighting of Stinky Pete from Toy Story 2

And then we realized that's why we cache, to see those things, meet those people and have those memories we would have any other way.. so thank you to those people who take us new places!
PS - We also placed a cache that we'll be offering up to Graf to place as it's a film canister in a skate park -we thought perfect for his skate or die series - and only he get's that one!