Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2 weekends, good friends & 5 FTF's

Slide Show!

The last few weeks have found us busy again as usual, summer's hear and what better thing can two turtles do then spend the first weekend with good friends! Then of course the next with a very very long overdue weekend adventure taking us about 800 kilometers.

The weekend of the 19th found us in Tulameen playing host to several of our awesome friends. The first being Catapult Jeff & Iron Maiden - they were there to celebrate their 2500th cache with us. I'd love to tell the story in my words - but you know what Jeff's version is so much better - it can be found here:

The next day found us teaching Geocache 101 at the Tulameen Community Hall, we are quite happy with the turn out and do hope that all that attended will claim thier "attended". It was a good turn out and we walked to the nearest 3 caches as opposed to 5 as it was a very very hot day. But smiles were had as the cachers learned their way through some of the traditional caches and the one that is a bit trickier along the way. It was great to see Geo Canuck 77 & BCrockcrawler & Crossstitcher as well again.

We then came home and rested up for the weekend to end all weekends, 800 kilometers would be had! (or so there abouts), 4 FTF's, a false call to 911 due to thinking there was a fire and in the end an amazing waterfall!

We left Maple Ridge about 7 on Friday night, a little behind schedule due to poor planning on our part. We haven't been camping since last year and had a few last minute things to iron out - like pick up beer ahead of time, pack water - minor details. We then finally got out of town and headed up the canyon stopping for a few of the newer caches along the way. We finally made it into Boston Bar with a last minute thought! - Wait no ice!! It's 10:05 PM what will be open??

Well luckily the Husky was amiable, he was counting cash and I put up a sign in the window that said ICE!! CASH!!! He opened the door and let me get 2 bags, of which apparently I only needed one - but hey who's counting. We then continued booting it up the canyon to Lytton - our destination for the night. In a previous adventure we had come here in search of the Botanie Mountain Lookout and knew just where the perfect tenting place would be, on the lower portion of the road. We got there and set up about 11 PM and settled in for the night.

The next morning I woke up to find my favorite camping food.. berries - now why I love berries is because they are succulent, delicous, mouth watering and these I wasn't sure what they were but I'm venturing a guess that they were boisen berry.. if not Jordy had a picture so when he would have to take me to the hospital they'd know..!!

Cache #800 was on the horizon as we had claimed #799 the previous night, one of Ilovevacations - Blink and you'll miss it. We had opted for Lion's Den to be #800 or is it #801 - It was a place where 2 caches co-existed in happiness together. Was very neat to be there and see the park, I had to step in the beautiful stream that was there though as it was so refreshing!!

We explored for a bit then opted to move on down the line to Lillooet where our first weekend goal was upon us. Fools Gold in Shulaps. We had planned for this cache for the last year and this weekend was our first opportunity to get it. We had expected (since it had sat there for almost a year) to have some sort of challenge in obtaining it - So we were prepared with tow rope, chainsaw - you name it.

We made it into Lillooet and were both happy and sad at the same time, as the forest fire was in the town. Happy that it wouldn't impact our plans, but sad at the same time for the people who live here and the fear they must go through when the fires rage so close to their front doors. We sat in awe at the Helicopters as they picked up the buckets of water and dropped them on the fire, the precision they must have. As well how does water ever make it onto the fire, as it seems so much streams out of the buckets as they head towards the fires.

After cooling down a bit with a slushie and getting gas we headed on up the road that goes to our destination - Fools Gold in Shulaps, and what an amazing beautiful drive it turned out to be. The Horseshoe Canyon amazing, we didn't want to pull the Jeep to close to the edge as we feared we might be the next ones down it!

After making the stop there we continued on up until we passed the sweetest little river that looked so cool & refreshing, alas mean Mr. Turtle wouldn't allow me to play - I had to navigate him somewhere and to play would be my reward.. So I went along for the ride and we made the final turn on to the final FSR that would take us to the top. Along the way we passed Albert's house - how do we know's it's Albert - Well his Lizard told us so! One of those funny things you see, the huge lizard was just sitting in the tree guarding shrek's swamp.. lol

After the momen of humor we continued on up the switch backs, all the while getting closer and wondering when we would reach the top and what obstacles would be in our way - we made one wrong turn down a spur for a few moments but quickly turned ourselves around and headed up the correct route. We finally made it to the top and were in awe that there was nothing in the way, nothing that woud discourage one.. all that was left between us and the cache was 300 meters and a fear that someone had been here and forgot to sign the book - like last time!

We climbed to the top making sure not to look down and get veritgo and were greated with some of the most amazing sights we have seen, and reminders of the wa and reason we like to cache. It's about where it takes you, what you get to see and experience.. Not about the numbers. We took in the 360 degree view and tried to get some footage, my audio got drowned out by the wind - but I think you can get the idea!

It was then time to head back down the mountain, victorious that we got the FTF! The first of the weekend.. we headed back to Lillooet arriving in there about 7 PM, and watched the helicopters some more. Lillooet had had a farmers market running earlier and they were now setting up for a celebration of some sort. I can not think of a town that would need it more. To have the fire burning at your back door, less then 1500 meters up the hill would make even the strongest of people unsettled.

We then headed over to Cache Creek to head towards our next destination High Thynne - yet another FTF that Jordy had the fever for. On the way there we passed through Cache Creek, outskirts of Kamloops & Merrit. Never in my life have I seen such an amazing thunder storm. I tried and tried and tried to get pictures and video but it continued to ellude me no matter how hard I tried. We did manage to pass over the 5 mud slides on the road from Cache Creek to Kamloops without it stopping us.

But the lightening covered the entire area from Vancouver, up the canyon to lillooet, over to Kamloops and back down along the Coquihalla and the dancing lights had me more then a bit nerous and the thought of all that lightening and the consequences it would bring. I've always feared fire - for good cause, sometimes a bit anxiety and panic ridden but hey better safe then sorry. We arrived at the Brookemere turn off and headed up there and into the Misty Mountains in search of another Plastic Tupperware FTF! We headed on up past the FCC & Andy's lake, on up passed the turn off, on up the road, on up the turns and higher and higher until we rounded the corner and orange embers glowed in the distance.

NOOOO!!! There must be a fire, quick do we have cell service - yes we do, call 911 report forest fire says Mrs. Turtle she dials - thankful for Cell Service talks to the operator gives her the coordinates, describes the position and that they are about a mile from the Coquihall and the fire is bigger then a house - it's in 2 lines - must have been an amazing bolt of lightening that did it - and just as the operator has to go there is another call and she'll have forrestry call them back do I clue in.. although a moment too late - that it is not a fire, through the pouring rain at the top of Thynne Mountain I am seeing the lights on the road before.. DOLT!!! I am Now before I go on I am reminded that I did see the geocachers ultimate dream -Hudreds and hundreds of little green boxes!!

From 4 FTF's!

It is now midnight and I am tired, Mr. Turtle is tired it is dark and it is raining and it is lightening and we are at a fire lookout with radio towers around us - hoping they will take the lightening strike. And Mr. Turtle looks at the GPS - 130 meters or something that direction to which is ready to give up his precious FTF at this point. I tell him no! In my cranky state if you dragged me up here this late at night I want my find - grab your man card, a sweater and let's grab the dying flash lights to find it. To which we wander off hand and hand to the cliff in the dark (or what we think is a cliff) together by the dim light hoping to have to walk back to more then the light of the GPSR. We find what.. a lined rock pathway that leads to the helicopter pad.. lol We then feel safer figuring the grizzlies would safe in their dens so quickly find it. Jordy eccstatic that he gets the FTF after all that!

We then retire to the jeep and make the trek back down a bit quicker and off to the cabin for a good solid 11 hour sleep until noon. We wake up and noon & visit with Alvin and the munks feeding them some peanuts, have coffee on the back deck and plan the days adventures - 3 more potential caches - the new one on Rabbit Mountain and the 2 at the falls. The cabins up at Rabbit Mountain were special as Jordy & I had tried to find them some time ago but had failed. Thankfully for caching we got to discover them again - thank you for that. We made the quick run up there but after finding the caches had to turn around as now there was a log in the way the other direction.

From 4 FTF's!

We left the cabins and headed back down River road towards our final 2 stops of the day - Way to the falls and the waterfalls themselves. Great minds think alike and we had been planning on placing a cache here for the last year, just timing never seemed to avail itself. We climbed down the little hillside and found the mining equipment below. Pretty sure it belongs to our friend Will, who we think stays in the trailer above. Really cool guy - if you're on his goodside!

We hiked into the falls, reliving the same steps as we did almost 3 years to the day - when Jordy first brought me here (other then in 1974 when I lived here and don't remember.. lol)

It was an awesome weekend - the same as the one before full of memories - so thank you to our friends for sharing it with us, and thank you to our friends for placing the caches out there!

Cache on & 42!

From 4 FTF's!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Geocaching is a game – that’s it plain and simple.

So why does it create so many politics & concern? (Photo’s to come later.)

Easy – because humans are involved. From the outside and from the point of view of someone who doesn’t participate in it they would view it as a game so why worry? For me it becomes a double sided sword, my sense of justice comes out with a vengeance – why though?

I must step back to what caching means for me, and I personally want to see it preserved in the same way as it came to me. However as with all things change is coming, and some of those changes are good – but they all will be called into question in one’s mind. And we all know how my minds twists things.

Being altruistic and doing things for the right reasons is such an important factor in my life. And if everyone could be as altruistic as possible and always make decisions based on my sense of ethics we would be living in my personal utopia. But wait we are in a society, and society needs a norm – which is far outside my sense of Utopia.

A norm is just that - the combined blending of ideals from all and we then allow for a standard deviation from that and if it falls within that deviation then all is good.

When we strongly care about something and feel passionate about it, we can tend to put our values forth as the values that all should uphold to – but why? they are nothing more then that - our own values. Am I perfect, no – I make mistakes. Mistakes in judgment and when we want something we can usually find a way to justify those mistakes. Does it make a person any less of a good person? No it makes us human.

Perhaps for me it’s that I’ve seen that other side of the coin and sometimes I can tend to stand on my soap box about certain things. Some of those are conflict of interest, taking care of our environment, and keeping out the commercialism. Over the past year they’ve hit me hard as I learn to integrate with others and try to be a social person. My life growing up I backed away from society as that is just simpler then trying to find the balance and getting hurt and ending up in a “fight” over ideals. Unfortunately my over excitabilities tend to get in the way when I’m feeling a bit passionate about things. Time to go reread Dabrowski theory of positive integratino again.

I try to keep these things under a private note when they occur; unfortunately at times they can get out of hand. I believe in ethics over morals. Morals offer no black & white – murder is wrong, adultery is wrong & thievery is wrong – however if a person had to feed a starving baby and no one would help is thievery wrong if it keeps the child alive? Again that is philosophy and getting beyond my intention here.

I can understand the other side of someone’s choice as long as that choice was not for personal gain. When I see personal gain (corporately or personally) as being the reason for doing something that doesn’t fit within my altruistic values then I call the entire motive and item into question and the entire thing becomes a “bad thing” and I struggle with seeing any positive to it at all. This I’ve been very guilty of (being human) over the last year.

I think we should all be out their picking up garbage, taking people to great locations and having people challenge themselves. Picking up garbage makes me happy – miserable that people leave the garbage there – but happy that I made the world better. But if they didn’t leave the garbage I wouldn’t get the happy feeling.

However for others it doesn’t make them happy to clean it up – they view it as it’s no concern of theirs as they didn’t leave it. And like children if you keep cleaning up after them they’ll never learn.

Is there really a wrong side to that argument? It depends on who you ask – Comes down to ownership, stewardship & integrity I guess. I once wrote a paper defending Grendal's actions based on the fact that he came from a dysfunctional mother and never learned the right way. But then again you can justify anything.

So where am I going with this entire conversation – I’ve been relatively quite about the Gold Rush & now the Shu Shwap, and another program that someone is working on that is causing a whole lot of political issues in the background right now in the caching world. A few very good friends of mine have put up with my venting about how can they do this it’s wrong. But it’s not that it’s wrong – I just see minor aspects, and people getting hurt that are resulting in a tainted view which is making my inner struggle very difficult.

To my friends I say thank you, I am starting to see the light. I’ve been given some guidance from good friends on views and they’ve presented. This weekend on a 5 day 4 x 4 run I opened up my eyes quite a bit on the real world. I’m just as guilty as the rest of the world – and realize it’s time to turn geocaching back to what it is intended to be – a game for fun without the politics, with the laughing and without the view on others rights or wrongs. They say judge not least ye be judged thy self.

I didn’t want to go this weekend, was dead set against going as it was people I didn’t know bringing things I didn’t want on a camping trip. Generators? Lights? Kegs of Beer? Well you’re going to keep my squirrels & birds away and I’m going to be a 5 year old spoiled brat and stomp and fight not to go. Pouting and my pity party, I had wanted to go on a 5 day caching adventure and wanted my way. To my husband to be I offer a huge apology for being so difficult and almost forcing you not to go - I'm glad I did.

Top this off with a bit of social anxiety with meeting new strangers and not knowing how they would treat mother nature, would I be out in the middle of no where with a bunch of people that would decide that burning pallets and making a bonfire that licked the trees and having to tell Jordy we needed to be rude and leave? (there was the Dead tree being cut I didn’t agree with – it was pretty – but Dead).

So if we take the Dead Tree, It is standing in the middle of a meadow and it is a dead tree. There are 2 views on this (and there was no immediate benefit to cutting the tree down other then occupying the children – we needed no wood and it was not posing a danger)
1. It’s dead you’re causing no harm, in fact you can help by cutting the tree down as it will leave to a lesser consequence later in case it falls on something and hurts it at that time
2. It’s a thing of beauty; leave it where it is for all to enjoy. Don’t interfere with Mother Nature as for every foreseeable consequence there will be 2 unforeseen if we end up in the laws of the chaos factor of life.

Well those that know me, know I chose #2, how dare you impact my beautiful view and destroy something that isn’t needed! To which I left the camp fire and walked back up to the truck not understanding how anyone could view it necessary to do this. And therefore the world is wrong, again tainting my view of the whole evening as per my normal response.

Through a conversation one of the guys on the trip, the one you would least expect this to come from agreed with my point as he made comment on it later. Mr. Turtle disagrees with my point. So then what should I do – fight with Mr. Turtle – or agree to disagree as a dead tree that children cut down is not worth my relationship over. It’s had enough issues of late.

But in retrospect the Dead tree really is a symbol of my beliefs and perfectly resembles why I cache. I like to find beauty in all that surrounds me, I like purity, wholesomeness with no ulterior motive to anything other then for the “good of the world” and all that jazz. I like peace & harmony and the serenity that standing on a mountain top represents for me. I like to know that the person who brought me there did so because it represented something important to them and they thought it was a beautiful place, or the place and meaning in their life. Work, personal memories and helps to make me a part of their life.

Being brought somewhere because of the need to generate revenue, or a cache filled with items that advertise to me about here’s a 2 for 1 coupon for Bob’s Chicken really doesn’t appeal. Kind of like those garbage bin caches that you’re crawling around underneath to try to find. So with the new plans I felt like (with so much unknown) that it what I will find and then as a consequence there will be less quality caches as people will start to think that’s what caching is about. However that is fear speaking, and aren't I the one preaching their is nothing to fear but fear itself.

But that is the beauty of caching; there is something in it for everyone. And Caching is exactly what you make it to be. It is a way of life, however it’s much more then that and represents so many important values to so many people I know.

We got a cache this weekend that when was placed was intended to be a 2 day hike, however we did it in 40 minutes as well we know the backroads. We didn’t drive anywhere we shouldn’t have and never broke my personal values, we walked on the intended trail from our location. However did we fulfill the values of the person who placed the cache, he may be disappointed that someone got it as easy as they did. We didn’t uphold his values, but that would be impossible to do through caching as you would have to uphold everyone’s values without knowing theirs. So what do we do? Makes you realize that you can justify anything if you want -

Back to where I was going I’m off again. The game is changing, but it’s not all bad – Underneath we have to look at the real reason why these things are happening. Taking some of the areas – they’ve been hit by a loss of revenue due to the pine beetle, which is what killed the beautiful tree the kids where chopping down, the revenue needs to be added back in so people can eat and feed their children so they don’t have to put their own ethics into question by looking at stealing and doing things they shouldn’t have to so that they can feed their babies.

What a wicked web we weave as humans – I think we all should move to the mountains, get rid of money and live in utopia of the 60’s.. oh right that would involve Drugs that I don’t agree with – but my views on pot in retrospect are due to my brothers death so again a bad experience has tainted them. So to help people that are being impacted by the fact that a beetle hitched a ride on a long boat from China part of the solution is to be putting plastic tupperwear in the forest - I'm confused on how we got here.. what was that again.

So in the end what am I to do? Well learn to see the otherside, stay off my soap box, let Jordy & I find more peace and balance between his 4x4 and my need to cache, understand that life is not full of people with my exact values – if they were then we’d all be the same. Judge less (hey I thought I wasn’t judgmental – boy did I have a wake up call) and stand at the top of a mountain shouting how beautiful it is and turn it back into a game full of memories.

By the looks the Gold Rush is far different then what I had imagined in my mind, it is true to the nature of caching and Brian did an amazing job. Taking people to similar places of what we would take them too and if we choose to do them because they look appealing we might be happy as they won’t be parking lot caches. Perhaps I should have asked more instead of coming to my own conclusions, perhaps I should just enjoy life and not take it so seriously as well..

Hats off on the Gold Rush and thank you for opening my eyes to both the 4x4 crew from the weekend & the Gold Rush .. Even though we didn’t go it has had a huge impact on me – more then you’ll ever know.

My aim for the next year is to be a better person and be more like the ones I care about and hold in deep regard.