Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Return To Caching


For the last few years, Geocaching hasn't been much apart of our lives. However, things have recently changed and our focus has again turned to hobbies and sports such as this one. 

Since our last post, we have only had a handful of finds, most notable were two virtual caches located in the Maya Riviera of Mexico; one along the edge of Bryce Canyon, Utah; and two located at Long Lake, Alberta. 

This past weekend, Torran's work had their Christmas Party in Jasper, Alberta. The weather forecast looked promising so we decided to pack-up the snowshoes and go. 

We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived in Jasper and found only about an inch or two of snow. The weather remained beautiful all weekend. The first day, we headed up just behind the Jasper town-site to a popular trail system head. There, we headed off on the trails to grab the three nearby caches. 

The snow was so shallow that the snowshoes never left the truck. It was a fairly easy hike with some spectacular views. The path took us to great vantage points of Whistler mountain, where we could see the winter clouds bend and churn around the jagged landscape.
Our first cache took a little time to find, though it was not overly difficult. Just goes to show how out of practice we had become. The second cache had some neat camo as it blended in very well with its surroundings as you can see from the photo immediately to the right.

Continuing on to the third cache, we encountered a wonderful old tree. There were a number of things that made this tree so awesome. The first being that it had at some point been struck by lightning. Torran found the lightning scar that spiraled around the trunk of the tree. Another neat fact was that someone had hacked at the bark of the tree to form toeholds in order to climb up the first several feet to the lower branches. We could see that though the notches were cut deep, they had not penetrated past the layer of bark, just going to show how thick this tree's skin is. This giant had also managed to grow on the north face of the ridge, which in tree-terms is mighty impressive. We haven't been able to figure out what kind of tree it is as of yet, but did manage to find a few cones to hopefully help identify this fantastic tree. ~UPDATE~ According to Tatterhood's Dad, the tree is a Douglas Fir.



The third cache in this trio was a sneaky one and had Torran thinking, 'Does that really belong?' Sure enough, the inside of a pine cone had been hollowed out and a small bison tube glued inside. It was a very unique cache and served to end this portion of our search. 


After a break for dinner, we headed out for a night cache adventure along a nicely groomed trail system within town. These ones were extremely tricky. The first was a cache designed to look like a rock and the next one was really evil.  It was a hollowed out bolt with a capped nut. On the nut a magnet had been placed so that when the nut was stuck to a real nut on a park bench it looked like it belonged. To add to the difficulty, the cache owner had spray painted the bolt cache rusty brown. It blended in very well, especially at night. The next cache was a simple matchstick holder in a spruce tree and really brought out just how rusty we are. We searched for a good long time before Tatterhood spotted the zip tie that held the cache to the branch. The last cache for the night was magnetized to the bottom of a park bench. The challenge here was that the nearby bar flourished with intoxicated patrons. Much stealth was needed but the cache was found, signed and returned to it's hiding place before anyone took notice.

The next day, we went after four more caches. The first two laid along the same trail we had been on the night before but it was far in the bush, and we hadn't wanted to wander into it during the night. Both were micro's in trees, and both took a little time to locate. The third one was located at Old Fort Point. This one got points for the view of the Athabasca River, which hadn't yet frozen over. The last cache was as we headed out of town, located on a simple roadside turn out. In all we bagged 11 caches on this weekend getaway, which brought us to 13 finds so far this year, which exceeds last year's (2012) total of 9 total finds. We're hoping with this trip under our belt that we will be over our cache hiatus and will be able to continue on Geocaching in the near future. Forgot how fun it was to find a cache.


TORRAN & TATTERHOOD

Weird Cones From Awesome Tree