Friday, October 30, 2009

Going Green the Turtle Way


Taking Care of our Environment is so very important. Without it we are nothing. In today's day and age we hear so very much about be Carbon Neutral, keep our skies blue & go green. But how much of it is really geared towards being a marketing promo and how much is geared towards truly making a difference.

Take for example the "We're Going Green" contest - where every ballot is paper and there are 100,000 of them - how green is that?

In caching it becomes an even more aspect as we as cachers tend to drive to each and every cache that we get and in some cases if a prize sounds like we want it - well we'll even go out of our way and add a higher carbon footprint in search of a chance for that prize.

Well in caching I believe that we need to take responsibility and do our part for going green. What does that mean in caching? Well we all have our own views on this. Mine are only mine - they are no more then that - my opinions - so what would be an "Carbon Neutral" way to cache in our view?

bird on a wire

Let's start with a caching container - If there is anyway possible it should be a recycled container. Those that know our preference is an Ammo box - but there are many other options - make your own from recycled wood. But before you go buy that next fancy lock & lock take a look at what your other options are. Is there something else that can fit where you want it and protect the contents? But alas Peanut Butter containers are a bit dicey as they may always hold the scent and attract animals.

Next up is the "Swag" that you put in it - Is the place you are putting the cache "animal safe"? Would people be tempted to trade inapproprate items in the cache that could attract animals? If so please make sure to leave a note - perhaps consider not leaving any Swag in it. Last instead of buying new "dollar store items" are there recycled items in your home that you can use? I'm not talking McDonald's toys - but what about Candle holders, coasters, tapes - we all donate tons of items to thrift stores do you have some that can fit in a cache? What about CITO containers? What about leaving rechargable batteries & a charger as an FTF prize instead of doing a coin run for a promo? (See the facts below on battery use and impact on our carbon footprint)


So do we have all this so far?

Next up - the all important Cache Placement! First is the cache container approrate for the area? Do you have a micro in the forest - WHY?? if you place a micro in a stump the stump will be destroyed by people looking. Are you placing it where a "geo trail" could be impact the area? If a person who isn't a cacher find it and get concerned about where you have placed it? Make sure you really think about how many people will show up to the cache and what impact they will have.

It's also important to make sure that you return on a regular basis to check to see if there are any impacts and take any action that you need to fix the situation. We all like to make caches fun and a challenge - but make sure you can help guide the cacher - offer dial a hints, puzzles, mysterious clues!

Next up - how are you going to get to your caches? Are you biking? bussing? biking? Let's be honest folks - most of us drive to the caches - as noble as we think we all are in our efforts if we truly do a pulse check on our behaviours we are far from doing the right think.

I suggest that you take a look at your cache to cache distance in any available calculator - ours is about 14,000 at this point for mileage driven alone. Based a Carbon Calculator our Caching Carbon Footprint (not including containers and other items that we use for caching) We have used 5.57 tons. So how can we offset that? Well there are many things we can do to help offset that.

We can plant trees, help in building windmills - it is a personal choice as to what we do - what is your choice? Tell me if you had a choice to either get a gift for finding a cache or a donation to help offset your footprint - what would you choose?


Let's talk about what to do once you get a cache - do you make a point of carrying bags with you to clean up what you find left by others? I hate to say this but no matter how "green" you live your life, no matter how carbon neutral we try to be - we each have a responsibility to clean up after others. Do you really want that garbage to leach into the lake, and why is it I hear from others "well I didn't leave it". Being Green is just as much about fixing what problems we currently have as it is in being preventative. CITO every day in every way - there is a really cool cache labelled Davis Lake Clean up Cache. The day the last big cache launch in BC occured - we opted instead to go to this one, don't know why but it made me feel so good about helping that lake. I think that others should place caches in areas that need help.

Last but not least - what are we teaching our children? Do we always lead by example? Do we reward them for doing the right things for the right reasons? or are we rewarding them by encourage them to do something because they are going to get a carrot? What happens when they get older and there is no carrot?

Oh yes - one last note - USE RECHARAGEABLE BATTERIES! Do you have any idea how many batteries are in the dumps and in our ground because people throw them away. Think about it - 2 batteries per day of caching in many cases - some more. If you multiply that by 50,000 cachers * 50 days a year = 5 MILLION batteries a year. An independent study conducted for battery manufacturer UNIROSS estimates that using a disposable battery to create 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity has a global warming impact equivalent to driving a car 283 miles; using a rechargeable battery is equivalent to driving 10 miles.

I know that my opionions don't resemble everybodies - but if we are going to go "Green" then let's at least be honest with ourselves about what "Going Green" is.

Off to go explore another tangent

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Voice

First I know basically that I'm talking to myself here - and yes I will reply - so does that mean that I'm crazy - maybe yes but it helps me survive.

Anyone who knows me knows how value driven and ethical I am. Do I fully expect others to live up to the same rules and expectations I hold myself to - no. But what do I expect?

I expect others to think about the consequences of what they do.

I expect others to focus on something other then personal gain.

I expect others to speak out publically about something that concerns them rather then just keep quiet and to a few people

But then again over the last year I've learned some very hard lessons on the reality of life.

I've learned that there are some people who care so very deeply and passionately about things that they will fight for what they believe in no matter what the cost.

I've also learned that some people are afraid to rock the boat or fear the consequences so they don't speak up. I've also realized just how much pressure of peers can impact people.

I've also learned that for some people caching is a game to be played and won at any cost.

I've also learned that caching can truly make a difference in ones life. Who would have imagined that chasing a tupperware box in the forest could actually make a difference in a life and possibly save someone?

I know that 10's of thousands of people value it as a game that entertains them and it's nothing more then that. Perhaps that truly is the majority of people - but there are some that caching has "saved" their life or another aspect of it.

As a society we say that majority rules, but why is it that we as a society can not step back and do what is truly best and the right thing to do? I guess that depends on what the right thing to do is.

Perhaps we have a slightly altered view on the importance of caching and the beauty it can create and the difference it can make - why? Well:

- We know a person with Agoraphobia that this is how they get out of the house and are overcoming their fears that have kept them locked up for a few years

- We know a person who has Social Phobia and refused to talk to anyone they didn't have to, on a scale of 1-30 on an intravert they were a 30. Today because of caching they will interact and have friends

- We know a person who had brain surgery a year ago and this is how their family gets them to get out of the house and regain courage in life

- We know a person who was subject to depression and unable to work and felt they could do nothing right, they now feel as if they have accomplished something and we have seen them do things that we ourselves might not have been willing to do and given up

- We have seen people with physical disabilities (walking on hand crutches) hike several kilometers to get a cache

- We have seen people dedicate caches to helping to clean up an area abused by people

- We have seen people who cared so much about a fellows cachers daughter that they gathered up a care basket and delivered it so the daughter could smile

- We have seen people who lacked belief they could do something stand in the middle of a room getting aplauded by 100 fellow cachers and congratulated on such an amazing event and then repeat it to make it even better

- We have seen cachers adopt streams & the list goes on and on

Caching can make a difference in a life, so if it can make such a profound difference and I truly hope that if we were to stand up in front of a room of people and give them the option of doing something to help encourage these scenario's. But unfortunately I know the truth about the general public - If they have an option that will benefit them personally they will pick that.

Not anyone in particular - but society in general has a what's in it for me belief. Those we count as our close friends appear to be the exception to the rule on this, they care more about those in their lives and how can they help them.

I know that it is a pipe dream - but what if we all stood up and spoke in our one voice and united and made a plan to make a difference? Does that "big tupper wear drop" really help that? Why not spend the energies focusing on something that can reach out a hand to those that need it and make a difference in this world -

The original video won't allow embedding here - so I had to use a different one

Monday, October 26, 2009

Placer Mountain

Placer Mountain - A tribute to my brothers
In August of this year we ventured up the backroads of Copper & Placer Mountains - it started out as an adventure with the anticipation of using some of the sights we found for next years event. What we found were memories that were long forgotten, memories that would also take me back some years ago through the photos of time in an album of my own.
You see many years ago I roamed these streets of no name at the tender age of 2, the roads were different but many of the places are the same. It seems that time changes nothing & everything at the same time. I invite you to join in the days adventure as we take you through the Placer Mountain roads (alas we did not make it to the lake) through the Ashnola transverse & up along the back roads.

Serene Creeks

A copy of the GPS Routing can be found here (Thank you Ed for the link to the site - it will deffinitely come in handy as we learn to use it better)

Placer Mountain at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Travel Community

We woke up early on the Saturday morning, with one goal in mind, to adventure - adventures had been so little this year and we wanted to see what there was to see. Jordy had read up on it & we had taken a good look at the map book and had an idea of where we would go - so we headed down to Princeton and then West on the Crowsnest to the turn off. The turn off can easily be identifed by the Cache that is located under the bridge.. :) Here you will find 2 roads - one that heads down towards Copper Mountain and another that is Placer Mountain. Placer Mountain was on the agenda today - as if you look at the backroads map book carefully you will see how it traverses across to Ashnola. Based on the backroads map book we had several options on the roads we would take, we were hoping that the map book was fairly accurate, but were up for the adventure.

The areas through most of the area are very stock friendly, I even know of several cachers who would be more then willing to take their Honda Civic's on a good portion of them. The first part of the trip we did not encounter a lot of scenary or much to mention, as there was a fair amount of clear cut through here. As well the road to Placer Lake can be located among one of these turn offs (not sure of exactly where as of yet). However if you take just the right turns you will soon enough find yourself back amongst the beautiful forests trees that smell so beautiful - and some of the more scenic views. - along with well some "Spirit Rocks"

Spirit Rocks

We had almost passed by the rocks, but they had called out to Jordy and he had heard them - they called "Jordy - come up this road, Jordy - we want you to see us, Jordy - "

So we took the opportunity to see what was up the side road and what greeted us was absolutely breathtaking - We deffinitely located one of the locations for next years event - and Jordy will be calling it "Placer on the Rocks - a Spirit Cache" In some ways it is reminscent of Easter Island - We never finished finding all the faces & in one of the pictures we have someone who thinks they saw a cougar in it - not sure if he referred to a real one, or one in the rocks. We also identifed a few hidden animal homes, and there is a trail that we believe that will lead you to a better view. We didn't have the time explore it but will be back to see what is at the peak of the view.

A little further down the road you will find a make shift camp that contains a bit of a shelter for those that use it, happily we can report none of this area has been abused of late - and the view is neat - not quite as awe inspiring as the Spirit Mountains but still worth stopping for.

Continuing on towards are goal we zigged and zagged through the mountain trails looking for the road that went through, at one point something caught our eye but we opted to check it out on the way back or on the next trip through - little did we know what that suprirse would hold for us later.

We found the road that would lead us down to our next stop, but it was a little nerve racking for myself as a passenger. Close cliffs, loose shale and no holdy onny thingy on the jeep for me!

The Rocky Road

I will say that I am and always will be eternally grateful for Jordy's driving skill, and that he safely got me down the hill. However there was that matter of having to go back up this road. I was also greatful that we were in the Jeep & not in the Subruban. We made our way down the Switchbacks & at one point were required to do a 3 point turn in the shale in the Jeep. I could not imagine the depths of my panic attack I would be having if we had been in the Tank.

We safely made it down through the nerve racking experience and found our way to Ashnola - I think all told the transverse is about 17 kms - which if you do the math and you have the tires to do that section you will cut your gas bill in about 2/3rds of what it would have been.

We stopped in the beautiful August weather at a small spot along Ashnola for Jordy to try his Fly Fishing Rod again - it had been years and he had broken down and got the fishing license this year. It was kind of neat to sit back (getting eaten alive by mosquitos!) and watch him out there doing one of the things he loves the most. The river was running but not to fast, and the temperature was just right.


We continued on up the Ashnola River Road for a bit as we wanted to find out if the back roads book was still accurate and the access road that went through from there to Placer Lake could still be completed. To our knowledge and explorations it can not - the only option is to take the Transverse back up. However that is not to say that it is not worth the exploration time to see where the roads will lead you.

Many of the bridges have been pulled out of here, along with the culverts - the culverts can be found on the "flat ground" and if I had let him Jordy would have driven right through one of them - but I still appear to have a bit too much common sense for his liking. The roads we took were so much fun, a few a bit nerve racking for me as the edge seemed to be much closer to my side of the vehicle and the repair of the roads non existant. However many of the roads were perfectly fine. We do however offer our apologies to the cows that were forced to move & the Ground Squirrels who were wondering just who the world was driving over their home!

We do make a reccomendation of having a bit more clearance and less rear trailer hitch if going through a few of the side roads we did - as Jordy Titled This Picture "Who is knocking at my door - notice the trailer hitch marks)

Who's Knocking?

We continued on to every mountain, looking at every view & even finding a road named "Lusted", but alas they all kept coming to a dead end so we opted to start our way back and take that daring Transverse. The benefit to this would be that we would get to take a closer look at what we had seen earlier out of the corner of our eye.

We headed back up the Snakey, Sharp Shale Road again doing the 3 point turn in the Jeep to the top - and then took the first right to see what there was - to our suprise we found the treasure trove that made the day. An old abandoned mining camp - with structures, left over cans, core samples galore & a flat tire on the Yeep (yes those swampers are coming they are currently in the back yard waiting for Jordy to do the lift kit next weekend).

I love seeing him so happy in these elements, the smile on his face - like a kid in a candy store as he goes "What was that used for, and look at that, and oooohhhh" It's like this magical energies just wafts into him and he comes alive like pop rocks when they land on your tongue!

Core Sampes

Why do I love him? Because we can enjoy this so much together no one else could ever share this with me and be quite as excited. The rest of the pictures are in the slide show - and yes we will be taking you here next August - along with some other amazing locations.

We changed the flat tire & headed on out as the day was over and we couldn't chance losing another tire - and with our luck we would get a flat one.

On the way home I reflected back on how lucky I was as a child to have shared this with my brothers 35 years ago - and how the stories of their treating me like a princess & putting me in a back pack and rapelling off the cliffs or attaching me to a tree so not to lose me to the bears. I truly was lucky - they were the best brothers I could have asked for - even if Rod did break into the Legion in Princeton when he was 13 for beer and spent the night in jail.. lol