Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Skunk, Two Turtles and a Dingo Walk into a bar..

The Coalmont Hotel Bar that is –

History, a driving force – it is said if we don’t learn from it we’re bound to repeat it – Jordy & I go up there so often that we often overlook the beauty of the remains as they slowly decay – only through taking a friend up there did we get to see it from the perspective of one who is in fresh awe of it – Yes this is a long blog – read what you want and skip what you don’t, either way enjoy!

A little over a week ago Tjguy98 took Scruffster on a one day tour from Maple Ridge, Manning Park, Princeton, Tulameen, Brookemere and then back home over the Coquahalla (ha you had to pay toll) – this trip sparked something in Scruffster – a desire to see the history more & to have more time to see the Castle and the Coal History. The day after that trip I was talking to Scruff and he sounded so excited at the trip and in awe and mentioned that he so wanted to see the Princeton Castle but didn’t get to ... that and the fact that they didn’t see the note we left them in the cache at the house.

Monday night arrived, and what to our wandering eyes should appear but 8 new little green boxes in Coalmont & Princeton – well there were new caches to get and I turned to Jordy (who is very stressed from trying to play in the grownup world too much) and suggest taking someone up to the cabin – and a plan in born – it did take some convincing of the intended victim of a Turtle Caching weekend – and some bribery did occur – but worth every bit of it (amazing what the promise of Sausages, Steak & Asparagus will do for someone) The countdown began!! – 72 hours, 48 hours, 18 hours, 5, 3 blastoff!!!

Friday at 4:30 arrived, Scruff was here, TB’s were ready & we were packed with a surprise – he he MINI-MI for Scruff – (we’ll let him tell you about him – but apparently he’s got a Pirate Bed now and likes Bananas!)..

We then headed up the Coquihalla watching the guys “tape” over the cost to use the toll booth – now it’s just “_____ Booth”. We didn’t have to do the cachless bypass on the way there, we did a quick stop at the cabin to turn on the water, unload the jeep and then we were off on a night caching FTF adventure.

Picture this, the cache states “night caching not recommended” – however we will not let this deter us - Mr. Turtle with a flashlight, Scruffster in the Middle and Me in the back lighting the way.. did you know when you sit on windfall it can poke you in the butt.. We all learned that the hardway. We were so hoping to get the FTF on at least one of them – alas we missed out. Think Scruffster said it best..lol

"Just what part of NOT RECOMMENDED FOR NIGHT CACHING don't you understand," I said as we stumbled up the very overgrown remains of what might have been a road. But there we were -- two flashlights and three cachers -- two of whom were very determined Turtles. You see, if there was one FTF to be found this was going to be it. Alas, no FTF was in the cards for us on that dark night. And no FTF prize either. Poor Mr. Turtle. I still see him in the glow of the flashlight crumpled in utter despair on the compressor pad. Missing the FTF prize shattered his dream of buying Home Depot remote controlled car disablers that automatically activate when new caches are published. Is there really such a thing??? I want 20. I miss too many FTFs.

But the history was amazing here – we have two sources to recommend for history on the area Mozey-on-inn & Blakeburn, forgotten ghost town

We did 3 midnight caches.. he he and when we got the third one realized that Ron49er and Agate47 had cleaned up every FTF in the area (all 7 of them.. sigh) but they were fun.. when we got to the third one we were starting to miss photographic moments so we headed back to the cabin for snacks and some downtime – this was at about 11 PM – we all settled in for a long “nap” and Scruff was up well before us – apparently he woke up at 5:30 and communed with the Dingo, Twitchy and the Twins, and the bluejays (who have eyebrows) later he walked into town cuz he had to see the store.. and he found the shoe trees that have replaced the dead shoe tree.. (Should I mention the skunk shoes..)

When he made it back, we were just getting up and made a yummy breaky of bacon, sausage, Cinnamon French Toast (yes we eat like that every weekend) and Rigs the Dingo joined us (think Scruffy fed him more then himself..lol) and then we were off to a few caches then to Princeton to see if we might get the Electric View FTF – (which we missed) and then to the Princeton Castle – I’ve never seen two guys have more fun playing.. lol

But I got my revenge he he he he

We then headed back to Princeton with a few goals in mind – first grab a few caches on the way up – but to show Scruff the Peak of Loadstone Mountain and the 360 degree view it offers – we made it in perfect timing – Then we headed down checked out our Let’s Shack up #3 & we heard hoots and hollers and had to go check them out – and when we did – a ZIP LINE!! He he and guess what I caught on tape..

We then ventured on a bit further and found my beloved Muppet flowers!! – I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard as I did watching the two of them play with them.. he he

Then it was back down the mountain with a stop in at the Mozey-on-Inn where the couple that placed all the new awesome caches live and see the Inn that they run – the work they have done is absolutely amazing and awe inspiring – I wanna retire!! We spent some time visiting and Scruff was in awe at the history and research they’ve done – It was so amazing seeing him so captivated by it – and it’s inspired me to start a new blog (in my spare time) attached to this that will feature the history only.

We then made a quick stop in at the Coalmont Hotel, which has some amazing history to it, then ventured home – Dinner still needed to be made! We do up the Steak, Asparagus, Ceaser Salad & Prawns and have a feast fit for hungry cachers!! Delicious it was – we then put in the movie MASTER OF DISGUISE.. he he (turtle turtle)

Next Morning we get up and soon the phone rings – it’s our friends at the Mozey on Inn (so thankful someone up there has computers) with news that a new cache was placed – so we raced up to see it!(ok claim it) – Thank you – we finally got our first FTF on the weekend at Blakeburn Bottom, then we continued on the history tour – seeing the Blakeburn Coal Shoots, the rootceller, the coalpit, then Jordy had a slight remembery of the tramlines as a kid – so it was.. let’s just see what’s down this road.

We saw the first one – amazing to see it still standing, he said he was done but just wanted to go a little bit further (famous last words.. lol) and off the adventure goes – one then another then another – so neat!!I think we found about 20 all together and have our idea for our first Multi-cache. We also saw the City boy learn to open a farmers gate.. he he

The really neat thing about the old timers that live in this area is that as long as you are respectful you can cross their property – they only ask that you don’t let the cows out, or stir up too much dust if passing by their house. Jordy kept calling Walt Smart by the name of “Wilf” every time his name came up (he is a local old-timer with so much knowledge of the area) – after getting home and doing research – turns out Wilf was a foreman that was left to shut down the coal mine after the explosion – Guess he was hearing things from the other side.

We then went back into Coalmont and grabbed the last new cache and jordy walked across the river for us – then we took Scruff up to the Tulameen Lookout – then alas it was time to head home..

I know I’ve rambled on for far too long – but it was so much fun – apparently Scruff doesn’t go away much, so for those that know him wanted them to feel they were there. An amazing weekend – with an amazing new friend..

Stay tuned – we are planning an event in Tulameen (a poker run) for next spring as soon as the snow goes – it will be able to be down with a car as long as you don’t mind the dust – and you will be able to camp at the cabin (sorry the couch is spoken for..lol)– or we can recommend places to stay.

Hope that Mini-mi is sleeping good in his pirate bed and yes what happens in Tulameen Stays in Tulameen..

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Whipsaw & The Tailspin Ralley, Harrison & Botanie -


The last two weeks have been hectic as we get back into the swing of the new school year. All 7 kidlets are starting to settle in, we're getting up to date with the new schedules - but still managing to fit in our needed adventure time. Without it we would go to the looneybin!

Last Weekend we managed to be in 2 places at the same time. Jordy headed up to the cabin with his kids (& GPS) while Kris stayed home and attended Scruffster's Tailspin Ralley. While up in Whipsaw Jordy managed to finish placing the last 3 caches for the run, so now there are 4 in total from start to finish. Luckily this time he didn't do in the rear axle.

Last year while doing the run he managed to bust the rear axle while going up Falcon Hill. This resulted in having to be winched up to the top by Wes's Jeep and having to leave the truck there for over a week. After getting home he had to frantically find a new one, pick it up in the Honda Civic (yes full size rear axle's for a Subruban will fit in the back of a Honda Civic - much to the surprise of the guys at the shop!) Make arrangements for Earl to take him up there, switch out the rear axle while the truck is attached to a tree to keep it from going down the hill and all while it's still dark - completing by the lights of Earl's Suburban!

Not an experience we wanted to repeat this year. Jordy headed off with his 4 kids on the run, and luckily made it all in one piece - along the run is a really cool hill called Janzen Rock - not sure the history behind the plaque that is there - but Jordy climbed up it!

He placed the first cache at Huff's mine - and that will be Gotta Go #2 (what will happen when we get to #3 - what is that exactly) - then up to Let's Shack up #4 - then finally - Can you Spare a Rear Axle? - Falcon Hill. Can't wait to see who claims the FTF on these ones - we've got our eyes on a few people to run up there. Jordy forgot the FTF prizes - so we have them here to share with the winners when we get to meet up with them.

Meanwhile Kris stayed behind and had a blast with fellow Cachers while attending Scruffster's Tailspin Ralley! That was so much fun - I think that the blog by Left Coast Floyd's say's it best - so click here to read theirs. I met some new great friends that day and realized that I can do things by myself and actually not get panic attacks when in a social setting.. lol

Jordy Returned back to my arms on Sunday night and we spent the next week trying to play catch up and get ready for this weekend. This weekend we had so much fun! Friday night we stayed put and got ready for our trip up Harrison to Sloquette. We had two goals in mind - Have fun with the group on Saturday and make Botanie Mountain before coming home Sunday. Anything else would be a pure bonus!

We got up Saturday morning and headed off to Timmy's in Misson for the Breakfast at Harrison Event - of course we went to the wrong one.. lol didn't depend on our coordinates - went by "of course it's there" - when will we learn to listen to the GPS? of course when we do we're supposed to listen to our geosense - always an excuse.. lol

We found the correct one and met up with everyone and suggested meeting at the Fish Hatchery - forgetting to clarify which one - we were meaning the one up at the start of the Harrison FSR - everyone else thought Inch Creek - apparently we missed the hugest fish ever - they even have a picture to prove it - (wonder if he photo shopped that - we'll never know will we Scruffster). Think we need to take a drive up there - we then as a group headed up the West Harrison FSR and did each of the caches on Ed's list - he made a perfect list and had the timing down pat. We were able to make it there and back with still some daylight - if we had ventured off for some of the more challenging caches we never would have made it.

Funny how we do so much of the exploring, we take for granted our ability to get out there. We travel these roads, see the sights - stand at the top of the mountain and shout out AMAZING!!! See the results of the landslides, hike to the top of the lookouts - but so many people can't do these things for one reason or another. So happy that we got to help them get out there and see it... Think I learned more from that then I have in a long time - just seeing their smiles on the faces when looking through the pictures.
Read the log entries for the whole story - and TJGuy98's write up. Just give him a few days to get it up there is a lot to tell! and he's even doing a up the video footage!!!

We then took our passengers back to their cars, and headed up to Sloquette - first stopping in at Mystery Spot! - What an amazing little Cache - the Stumps there are so huge!!! and the road there so much fun. We now know why we didn't find it the first time - about 100 meters out - amazing what you clue into when you read the hints and now know what that stands for. Cache was safe and dry after over a year - and Jordy had a blast on that little quad trail. After claiming the cache we headed up to our final destination - Sloquette - a welcome area after along day. We set up camp, blew up the air mattress - played a bit of music enjoyed a yummy dinner and crashed.

We got up the next morning and who should be next to us but Steve & Wendy (Zuuk's friends he brought up to Stoyoma.. :) We chatted for a bit - he had the unfortuante incident of a bad tire, but was successfully going to repair it. We made our way down to the Hotsprings and Established our first DNF in a while - Still can't find that cache. Before we go next time we'll clarify with the Beanz in to which stump they placed it. We then hiked up the hill, it is getting a bit easier each time - does that mean that we're getting in better shape? I didn't have to stop this time!

We then packed up and headed back up the FSR towards Pemberton, grabbing one of the caches. What an amazing cemetery there was - I still swear I heard voices, and after the events of Monday morning thing they were the boys guardian angels. We continued on up the FSR til we hit pavement and then traveled towards Lilloet - passing by the Pemberton ice fields (think that's what they were) - amazing. I've never done this part of the drive during the day, this time Jordy was driving so I was able to take photos - I took tons of them - still sorting through the final ones, but put quite a few in the slide show.

The lakes, the mountains - all so unbelievably beautiful!! We then made it into Lilloet and stopped for a few moments at IRLP's Hanging Tree Cache - Funny on one hand we seem so advanced, on the other things were much simpler back then - here's the crime - here's the punishment. But history none the less is amazing -

We then left Lilloet and continued our way down the Canyon til right outside of Lytton and headed on up the Botanie FSR to our ultimate destination - the lookout and towers up there and the Botanie Mountain Lookout Cache!. Still not sure if we'd need to use the chain saw - we were completely prepared! Some awesome sights on the way up - a ladder along the cliffs of the river (I'm not that brave) - what I can only call a tinkerer's shop - lot's of interesting creations. We then turned off of the paved road onto the FSR and saw a bear. Not a huge one, but not a cub - he just stared at us for a moment then went back to munching on his berries - not really interested in us.

We slowly made our way up the Switchbacks, ensuring to take the right turns instead of the lefts when we got near a cliff and climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed (at least this one there was no hiking for.. lol) til we plateued for a bit going past Devil's leap - beautiful views from here. We then stayed level crossing the ridge til - when what to our wandering eyes should appear but a radio tower and some cliffs ahead.

We gulped and we gasped and we said - up there? how scarry the thought is when one has a bit of fear - so we buckled back in and set off on the road - with rocks under wheels and not an inch to spare - we slowly drove up - not looking down til we reached the peak and said what a trip.

We were so excited.. See Video - sure we had the FTF

But alas - twas not to be - but none the less we would have done the cache anyway - that would have just been a bonus - but why come up here and not claim the cache - we each have our own reasons for doing this.

To Ed we say thank you - (well to both Ed's that is - you both made our weekend!!) - Til we adventure again- so hmm that Chilliwack Lake FSR is looking a bit of fun and we have lots of caches to get up there - anyone up for an event that way?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our First Video

Just a quick note - we put together our first ever personalized Video.. Don't worry we know it's cheesy and a bit choppy - but it will get better with time - first time I've played with it.. :) Technology - amazing but at the same time when do I have time to learn to perfect these things.. lol


Friday, September 5, 2008

Snow – Vacation – Stoyoma


What can I say but my life rocks – no other words can even start to describe my life – it is amazing. No – nothing will ever be perfect, I could still stand to win the lottery – but overall it’s only money. Money can’t buy you those things that are important. It’s important to relish every moment we’re given on this earth, put in 110% and make it our own – we control our own destiny and life gives you back what you put into it!

As I finish tonight putting up the TB pictures from the last month, an writing this, updating and thinking I’ll never get this done before tomorrow when the next adventures start – I shake myself realizing how lucky I am to get to write this – so here goes.. 2 weeks off 1 ½ of those with 7 children in a cabin with not so great weather, 2 start of the day emergencies and a lost Dingo (yes the kind that eat babies), an Event, Conair @ Stoyoma an 2 trips to bridal falls – one planned an one was Karmic – and yes – Kam is staying for a bit.. yeah.. finally! – so ready for the ride – here goes.

We started out our trip in the best way possible - Jordy got to stop and see Ed again, funny how connected he feels to him - he always is happy to speak to him - talks to Ed more often then his own dad.. kind of neat to see him have that connection as he doesn't with a lot of people - Ed had his FTF prize for Hope Mountain - now we're hoping to claim some of those other FTF's a bit more North of here so we can have them engraved as well.. :)
From http://picasaweb.google.com/trixnbun/ConairStoyoma

Ever since Jordy picked up Jingle Bells we keep running into Snow – at the top of mountains where we hike, top of mountains where we camp, top of mountains where we 4x4 too – imagine that and in August.. frustrating.. lol We started off the first day of vacation, Sat with a knock on the door at 8:30 – on Sat – neighbour needed help – late for work car problems. Cancel the sleep in – we then spend all day getting ready and finally get to the cabin. Sunday morning at Cabin at 9 AM, motorcycle in Drive way saying need phone, call 911 – dad hit deer on motorcycle. We call 911 an Jordy goes and help. Later that day we get adopted by a dog, figure don’t feed it, he’ll go home. No Dog didn’t go home – so spend all day Monday finding who dog belongs too – after calling SPCA, putting up signs, buying dog food (this is in Tulameen.. lol) turns out dog belongs a few blocks down and is a sneaky little Dingo.. lol named Rigs – very nice dog – wanted to keep him – but alas no room in the in – besides right now my cat has fleas.. lol

We then spend the remainder of the week trying to entertain children in the lovely weather we were having, and decide let’s go camping – so we make our way up to Apex.. yes cold, no fire won’t start wood too wet. Fine make hot chocolate, go to bed will be better in morning – in morning snow all over everything – we still swear it’s Jingle Bells fault.. lol so quickly pack up an back to cabin for remainder of week – finally Thursday – go home.. give kids to other parents and recover sanity.
Now to the fun stuff..

From http://picasaweb.google.com/trixnbun/ConairStoyoma

Friday we get up excited - tomorrow we leave, we spend all day getting ready. Ribs, Prawns - wine, beer and yes dry Fire wood so we can leave nice and early Saturday and cache on the way up. We were to met Ashton, Natasha, Best Red & Teskelly in Boston Bar at about 2. Zuuk was to meet us at the campground - all should be good. Well you know those best laid plans, we got out of the house to have the #1 closed due to an accident so we made the best of it and figure still grab a few caches - 5 minutes in that traffic won't make a difference. So glad we did - we found Beastman's Evil genetic twin without the dog tag mutation.. lol
We get in the truck and go wait in line then all of a sudden are given a start when someone pops there head in the window and goes "hi" - lol it was Best Red, they were worried we might leave Boston Bar without them but were very pleased to know we were in the same line up as them just a bit further up. We finally make it to Boston Bar and meet up with everyone then can start the trip in. We went up the Utlize FSR out of Boston Bar, as the Spirious route appears to be closed. We then worked our way through the maze of trails - and yes we took wrong turns.. lol even though we've been there before. We finally made it into camp at about 6:30. Luckily Zuuk was already there, however he has his own adventure to tell. For the full version - best to read the logs on the Event.
But going to just paste the logs for best effect to capture the feelings.. It was great meeting Best Red & Teskelly, Zuuk and his gang.. :)
We made it - such an amazing journey there - and so happy we could make it with friends.
Funny, one of the last logs was from non-cachers who found it - and we know them, Jordy grew up with one of them in Tulameen, they were there July 9th - a few days after we tried.
We loved the hike in, glad to find out it was only 2 hours to get there at a non grueling pace and that there were no severe "mountain climbs"

For future cachers we suggest to be prepared for every possible weather pattern - you will likely experience snow, hail, sun - and if it does start to snow just hold on for 15-20 minutes it will likely stop and the sun will come out and melt it quickly. We had sudden and severe weather pattern changes every 15-20 minutes. Going from short sleeves to full bundling up back to short sleeves again.. :)

When we rounded onto the final meadow of Heather near the basin (Jordy now realizes the trail is not named after a woman but the fact that there is Heather at the Basin..lol) we we crossing it and we looked up and saw the plane on the mountain side - amazing as it looked like a shiny pile of snow.. the hail then started to pour in buckets but we moved towards the plane we refuse to turn back..
From http://picasaweb.google.com/trixnbun/ConairStoyoma

30 meters away from the plane the hail stopped, the clouds moved away and sun came out keeping us warm - we then spent about 45 minutes - Jordy & I - along with Ashton & Natasha (two friends we took with us) climbed up to the very top portion of the plan - absolutely amazed - but be careful up there as footing can be a bit loose.

we then took our pictures with us, then the TB's of course and made our way down again - thinking how amazing after all this time so much of the plane survives in such good condition and how we're happy the cache is placed here as other wise we never would have made the journey and would have missed this!
From http://picasaweb.google.com/trixnbun/ConairStoyoma

As we moved away from the cache at about 30 meters away the hail started coming down in buckets again, so thank you Eric for allowing us to explore in sunshine. We then headed back to camp and the hail turned into snow flakes - which I caught with my tounge - then back to sunshine.. :)

Thank you for placing the cache here, thank you to our friends who came with us - we'll be posting the pictures up in the next few days :)
Now Caching Karma comes around - Zuuk left at about 3 pm from the campsite with all his vehicle issues, left us 2 mike's in exchange for the use of the tools and truck to help save them while we were hiking - very glad he made it out. On the way out the fuel filter/pump was having issues and we never made it to Zuuk's Nahatlatch cache - figure it wasn't safe and came home. So we looked at the available caches on Monday, still a holiday for us - thought let's go grab his cache in Bridal Falls - we can also work on Ed's Bunker cache.
Well apparently a huge coincidence (and regardless of what people think there was no conspiracy here.. lol) Zuuk happened to be out in bridal falls that day as well. He was running behind us - we figure about an hour at most. We had finished with the "hoser' cache and came down passing paragliders going to the take off- in his picture the paragliders were flying.. when we left Bridal falls paragliders were landing..
We worked our way through the 4 caches in the park, and the 2 above - also getting to meet Mr. & Mrs. Gigabyte and seeing the trailer that Zuuk's smart car towed. Well at work on Tuesday I was looking at the geocaching site at the caches we went and go and up pops caches still in Bridal falls - that can't be right.. Zuuk had placed 2 new ones up there and moved the FVRT there as well. Now I know we said we'd never go get that one again but being his mention of "turtles" in the cache pages couldn't resist - so thank you Zuuk - you made a great day.
I can only reiterate it as I did in the log for the one with the best view..
Yeah - our 2nd FTF for the day - well the adventure continues - on the way out to the caches we phoned a friend to see if they were out on their way to the cache - quite happy to know we were still in the running, but slightly feeling bad that we were past the point to pick them up.
We thought they would be able to get their in their Dodge Dualie - never realizing that it might not be the right vehicle to go up the road and that the Jeep would probably be a better choice - we will keep that in mind next time, as long as they let us know of new caches that we might want to get together on.. (hint hint)

We continued up the road from the last cache to what is litterally the end of the road - then walked up the trail - something tells us that there may have once been a cache up here as how else would 2 people know that the end of the road leads to a trail with an amazing view!! We walked along the trail, a bit scary at times with the drop offs and knowing that you are on sheer shale!

But none the less a breathtaking place to take in the sunset and hold each others hands as we realize how lucky we are to live in the best place on earth and have people help us discover these amazing places that we never would know exist..!!

We picked up the coins - hard to trade in the little container -however left the equivalent to our bottle of wine that we forewent tonight..the celebration was in the view and memories of the trip :) We'll likely hold on to the one coin for just a bit as we want to get some good photos of it..

Thank you.. for showing us how addicted we are - but more importantly why this is such a great sport for us - and for the distraction of helping us think we were on vacation for one more day, however now the budget kicks in and we have some reality calling us for the next bit as we fix fuel pumps, vacuum and get kids back to school (hint we can't rush out at the last minute anymore this week.. lol)
As I sit here Friday night looking back at the last two weeks, with Jordy up Whipsaw placing caches with the 4x4 club, and me running off to the Rally tomorrow and realize how blessed I am to have this amazing life. If you had asked me a year ago what I'd want to do and if I'd enjoy being around people, as anti-social as I am I would have said just let me be.. I never imagined that I would enjoy a group of people as much as I have those we've met through geocaching.. they're true, genuine, caring - a bit eccentric like I.. but all so good hearted - the ones we've met anyways.. I'm so genuinely happy right now with so much in my life - now wish me luck in the Rally and Jordy to not break a rear axle in this whipsaw run and the caches get places safely!

As we came back from Stoyoma - 2 guys in Jeeps pulled in, at 4 pm they decided to try to get to the plane - I hope they made it in and back ok - they seemed really cool. I'll leave you with one thought..It's about living, it's about caring, it's about just doing it.. no matter what you can be happy - it's all a choice

From http://picasaweb.google.com/trixnbun/ConairStoyoma