Well what can I say it’s been a hectic couple of weeks – but a blast!! Find 500 loomed over us for the last couple of weeks – just what do we do? Where do we go? How do we mark this momentous event? So many special caches, so many placed by great cachers that we know – but what is going to be important about it to us?
We also knew that we needed some down time, time to get back to some relaxation time so we could sit on the deck in the sun, sleep on my hammock – steak, ribs – you know those things we love so much about being in Tulameen. So how do we balance both? We scavenged through the caches, got up to #498 – and put a hold on things for the weekend til we could find what suited us... we wanted it to be a Terrain 5, and would prefer a FTF if we could. Most of those were going to involve a 6 hour hike up an incline training hill – hard to combine that with the cabin time – but wait what is that we see on the cache page up near the cabin – 2 Terrain 5 FTF’s!!
Perhaps we could end up with the best of all worlds – so plan was set.
So Friday night we leave work, pack up the jeep, grab Quinn – drop him off at his dads, then hit the store for bacon, steak, shrimp and asparagus and finally get out on the Highway at about 8:30 – now we were headed to Stringer Lake (about 30 minutes North East of Princeton and I think we took the most non paved route you could to the caches.. lol
CACHE #499 - COMPLETE WITH ANIMUGGLE TEETH MARKS!
We headed up the Coquihalla way, did the Cashless Bypass (link here for the mid-way cache), came down the other side of the Tool booth (we don’t like paying that $10 – we’ll take the unmaintained road... lol We were just starting to head up the bypass and said “Where are our bear friends?” Not 30 seconds later they darted out in front of us – the mama and her two cubs running as fast as they could after her.
We then joined back up on the Coquihalla and headed to Brookemere, when we got into Brookmere, we then drove down the KVR (there are no signs and a guys house is half way down the road so assuming this is ok) all the way to the Otter Valley FSR – then drove south down the Otter Valley FSR up to Ricky lake area and joined up with the Pike Mountain FSR – after joining the Pike Mountain FSR we drove on it for a bit – over near Robertson Lake, then joined up with the Merritt-Princeton Road down to Allison lake then up the Stringer Lake FSR (not sure if that’s the title but works) and found the area for the first cache!
Jordy stops the Yeep – jumps out races off with only flashlight, no GPS, no bear spray, nothing to protect himself with ... except his own animal instincts - away from the cache you creatures! Mouse - squirrel - marmot - beware! Lol it’s only 32 meters. He finds it however we weren’t the first to find it – it was ANIMUGGLED!!! Wonder if it was a Cougapine? Nah more likely a coyote or something – not too much damage just a few teeth marks on the lid. We put it back nice and safe and sound with a few more pieces of camo to “stick” it in place and make it harder for the animals to sneak off it with it next time.
We then all pumped up, but worried – 500 was next – what would happen if an animal disappeared with it – what would we do? Get a lamppost cache for 500? Noooooo ok with baited breath we get back in the Yeep make our way on up the road to the lake – looking this way and that making sure the cache wasn’t being carried off – watching for the animuggles along the way – 500 meters, 400 meters, 300 meters and closing in – what’s that campers? Lights.. No how do we keep this quiet – ok past the campers – and park – down by their fishing gear... hmm where are the campers???
It’s 12:15 AM and we quickly got out of the Yeep and quietly make our way to the cache – I mention we should take it back to the Yeep to sign the log – just in case the guys come over… well good thing we do – a few minutes later 3 guys come visiting. Can’t blame them as I’d be wondering too about a strange vehicle pulling up and staying for a while by my fishing gear too – Jordy took the opportunity to edumacate them in the ways of the cache. The GPS, the swag, the excitement – they seemed a bit interested – but really think their scotch had interfered – lol but great guys – they took a picture of us so we have a memento of the moment.
We then retired to the cabin for the night a sleep so we could have our bacon in the morning. The next day we decided to unvirginize the jeep – it’s no longer a topless virgin – we took off the top and headed up Loadstone to the lake, cabin and the peak to get the waymarking points for the benchmark – (However now we’ve lost them with the gps.. arrrggghhh) Placed a cache there for Let’s Shack up #3 and went back down the dusty road. Funny we did that on Saturday – and someone was up there Sunday and placed a cache right below near the coalmine.
Sunday we finally felt a bit more rested so we took off through Princeton, then up to Kentucky & Alleyne Lakes as we had 2 caches there – this is a special area to us, as it represents our first caching trip where we fell in love with the sport – as well as we did our 200th cache here – we hiked up to the Kentucky Cairn cache – talk about incline training. We’re hoping that when we go do Hope Mountain next weekend that it’s not 4 hours of that – if it is Jordy will need to find me a hot tub Sat night...
Beautiful views – completely see now why it’s called a Turquoise lake – from a distance it is! We then went to Ramshackle Ranchero – name caught our interest – as it sounded like our Let’s Shack up ones – and it was only better! There are 4 buildings here, in great shape – would make an awesome camping location… but the pictures speak for themselves. The cache was in the old outhouse... lol they think like we do. Why someone hasn’t been there in 2 years – no idea as this cache can be gotten with a Honda Civic – just look at the pictures.
We then took the Kane Valley FSR back around to the Coquihalla to the over and around back home again. Grabbed a couple of caches through the week – then the new ones as part of GeoRush popped up – and of course being in Maple Ridge – had to at least give it a shot.. There were very special mementos in here – coins!
I got off work, rushed home to grab Jordy – and we darted out there – no one had yet logged they had been there and I knew where the cache was by the hint and Google map! We quickly hiked down the trail (don’t let the 1 km scare you – it’s 15 minutes and so well worth it!!) We found the cache – and weren’t the 1st, or 3rd – but we were the 5th... so we actually did get lucky enough to get to keep a coin. This we will treasure always! But we learned don’t put your GPS in the mouth of a monster – we got home and somehow have lost the GPS – it’s not in the car, or the living room, or the kitchen – something ate it!!
GPS Monster on the way to North Beach, Alouette -
So what do all good geocachers do? Well we go get a new GPS – Desperation calls for desperate moves – so we picked up a new GPS – the Triton. It has some great additions to it – however there are some things I don’t like as well – I’m hoping that the firm ware upgrades will continue – as it kind of merges all your caches together and you can’t mark any as found. Guess I’ll just have to become more fluent with GSAK so I can continuously link the queries together… as I don’t want to be searching out for disabled caches. I did learn however that no matter what the program the pictures don’t save when you’re offline... hmm oh well we’ll get this figured out – reception was great on it – hit ground zero and picks up signals quickly – It’s all just change and you know us we don’t like change that much..
Well that’s the report for now – stay tuned for the August long weekend adventures soon to come and see if we do make that FTF on top of Hope Mountain! (If it doesn’t kill me off first)
(Edit - Sunday night - well Kris is a dolt - I left the GPS at Save-on foods - so I guess we get to have two now - so no more fighting over them.. lol)