Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Washington County Maryland GeoTrail (WCG)

Saturday September 14th the Geocachers of Washington County (MD) in association with the Hagerstown Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau kicked off with a morning event the Washington County Maryland GeoTrail.   The really interesting and educational trail consists of thirty-five (35) geocaches placed at points of interest all over the County.  Caches can be found in National, State, County and Town parks as well as at Museums, Wineries, Historical sites and places of natural beauty.  You can also earn a trackable geocoin which will be awarded to the first 500 geocachers that complete the WCG and submit their passports of completion.


What made our trip up to this area even more special (other than being with Jim & Lynne of jtmlam59) was an unanticipated coincidence.  Without really planning it, this trail opened on the same weekend as most of Washington County Maryland was having a major reenactment weekend.  Not only did we get to tour a really gorgeous part of Maryland we also got to visit numerous historical sites with characters of all sorts manning each and every site, dressed in uniforms, dresses, etc of the 1860's.  Everywhere we went we were approached by ladies or soldiers offering assistance and ready to answer any and all questions we had.  Thank goodness the temperatures were in the lower 70's as I cannot imagine being in those wool uniforms of huge southern dresses if the temperatures had been in the 80's or 90's.

Among the places we visited while qualifying for the Geocoin were:

Field Hospital (Pry House) [GC4EFXE] -  served dual roles during and after the bloody battle at Antietam in September of 1862.  It served both as headquarters for Union Commanding General George McClellan and Union Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Letterman.   Antietam would be McClellan's last battle command, reflected in his timid and piecemeal approach to Bobby Lee.  To Letterman's eternal credit, Antietam, and the Pry House, is arguably the birthplace of modern battlefield and emergency medicine.  It is thus appropriate that the Site, while associated with Little Mac, is today the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, a sub-site of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Doubleday Hill [GC4EFW3] - In 1861 Civil War times, Union Major Abner Doubleday led the former Fort Sumter Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery to Williamsport to guard the vulnerable Potomac River crossings. It was there that he built a battery at the edge of a piece of land that was, and remains the town's cemetery. It was also the highest point in Williamsport. Three siege guns were installed and Doubleday's men held the position for several months.

Devils Backbone Park [GC4EFW1] - Opened to the public in June of 1966, Devil's Backbone is the second oldest of Washington County's parks. The nine acre park includes a footbridge across the Antietam Creek, which divides the park, providing access to the"island" section of the park as well as to a nature trail which ascends to the summit of the ridge from which the park takes its names.

City Park Railroad Museum [GC4EFXZ] - Tucked away in a back corner of Hagerstown City Park, Engine#202 sits on steel rails at the City Park Railroad Museum. A 'Pacific' model, 4-6-2 combination, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, old #202 is kept company by a number of red cabooses, re-claimed and re-built trackside signals, and an active rail line just beyond the back boundary of the Park. Unlike many of her steam contemporaries, #202 did not burn coal or wood. Her tender was a tank car that carried petroleum distillates; #202 was an 'oil burner.'

Byron Memorial Park [GC4EFY0] - one of the loveliest parks in Washington County. The park is the home Concococheague Little League, the Williamsport Pool & Community Center, the local Boy Scout Troop, and Williamsport Library.

Bowman House [GC4EFVK] - the Bowman House is a two-story log structure typical of many log dwellings of the early 1800's. It is described as L-shaped, the main body being 28 feet in width and 21 in depth. The kitchen wing measures 21 by 12. Typical also is the hewed V-notch construction which is readily visible at the exterior corners.

Beaver Creek School [GC4EFVB] - is an historic two-room schoolhouse dating to 1904. The school was in operation until 1961 at which time ownership of the schoolhouse was passed on to the Washington County Historical Society.

Give 'Em All Three Barrels [GC4EFVT] - This multi-cache is located in small but well-situated Shafer Park in Boonsboro. The short stroll-about encompasses the founders, a time capsule, and artifacts of several American Wars.  The posted coordinates lead to the first of three historical monuments.

M3A1 "STUART" [GC4EFWD] - Placed with permission of the Funkstown American Legion, there is plenty of parking on site.  This site memorializes those who have served this county in uniform and those in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

Rose Hill Cemetery [GC4EFXJ] - Founded in 1865, Rose Hill Cemetery was the first place where local residents could be buried regardless of their race or religious preferences. Many who were interred in family or church plots were moved and re-interred at Rose Hill. The names on the gravestones in the cemetery are a 'who's who' of Washington County history. Among the thousands that rest here are senators, congressmen, governors and nearly 2500 Confederate soldiers who were killed at the Battles of Antietam and South Mountain. Rose Hill has thousands of artistic and historic statuary and markers. The "Statue of Hope," the "Sacred Heart" and a marker for the dog Rollo are several of the many unusual statuary to be found there.

Wash. Monument St. Pk. [GC4EFXW] - Located atop scenic South Mountain, Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of the country's first president - George Washington. The Washington Monument is a rugged stone tower that was initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro.

This has got to be one of our favorite geocaching trips.  The groups that coordinated in getting these caches in place did a fantastic job.  Plenty of historic sites to visit and the scenery is fantastic!!!  We will definitely be back not only to finish the rest of the geotrail, but also just to spend more time at some of the sites along the way.

Thanks again (to all) for putting this geotrail together!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

GC42NJJ - The 11 Annual GCHR Picnic

August 31st, 2013 was a great day for geocachers from all parts of the world in Hampton Roads Virginia.
Photo by: Cheryl LaClair
 The day started out with a small breakfast Meet ‘n Greet near the camping area of Newport News Park.  “Muffin a Go-Go II” featured muffins of all types for geocachers who wanted to rise early and get a head start on the fun filled day.  Well over 100 geocachers of all ages attended this event put on by the group “Adventure Stones Society: Girls Gone Wild for Geocaching.”

The big event at the south end of the park was just setting up for what would end up being well over 600 geocachers from all points on the globe.  At approximately 10AM the fun started and boy was it a blast!

The 11th Annual GCHR (Geocaching Hampton Roads) Picnic was a fantastic event that featured Face Painting, a Bubble Station, and all sorts of games.  Some of the games for geocachers of all ages were:  The Ammo Can toss, Geo-Survivor (a 3-stage multi for 3 person teams), Pole Cache (tossing a cache closest to the pole) and of course the ever popular GeoBingo.

The picnic also featured some speakers.  Lackey Amy from Groundspeak, Reviewers Monkeybrad and Dogwood_Reviewer hosted a question and answer session that all could participate in.  There was also a Meet the Author/Book Signing with the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching”, Brad Simmons.   Two local cachers, Al & Tani Cornelius, hosted a Nature’s hazards talk with plenty of participation.  My oldest son and I manned a tent where local geocaches could be loaded into GPS devices but our main focus was questions and answers concerning GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife).
Geo-Survivor Winners
Along with the 3200 caches within a 50 mile radius of the park, Newport News Park contains over 40 geocaches.  Additionally Groundspeak was generous enough to let the folks in Hampton Roads be one of the first in the world to experience 5 new Lab Caches.  Lab Caches were spread around the park for the day of the event only.  Those attending were allowed to hunt for these caches and I heard nothing but good reviews on these caches.

The picnic also featured several vendors that showed up to add their wares and give the opportunity for all to shop or just browse for new and different geocaching items.  Among the vendors in attendance were Walkin Mania, Cool Geocaching Swag, Simple Laugh/GeoProvisions and Space Coast Geocaching Store.

All day long I heard nothing but positive feedback from those that attended. 

A big thank you goes out to not only all the “Purple Shirts” who were the volunteers that pulled off yet another FANTASTIC!!! GCHR picnic but also to all those unnoticed ones.  The unnoticed ones include the spouses and children of the volunteers who pitched in just because they wanted to.  The unnoticed ones also include those others that pitched in without a “Purple Shirt” who pitched in and helped just because they saw something that needed to be done.  But most of all, a tremendous job was done by both Cheryl LaClair and Ann Walters whose leadership, without which, this event never would have happened.
Some of the "Purple Shirts" with Lackey Amy
Big thanks goes out to the sponsors of this year’s event which includes: Groundspeak, TOM Creative Group, Space Coast Geocaching Store, Cool Geocaching Swag, The Simple Laugh, WalkinMania, Newport News Parks and Recreation, Chesapeake Emergency Physicians,  and Newport News Public Works
Q&A at the GSAK tent
I know I had a great time, spending the entire day with my oldest son, at an event celebrating a hobby that both of us enjoy!!!  Hope you had a great time also.  Hope to see everyone back here next year!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 2013 - What a fantastic month!!!

August 1st - the first day of the Geocaching.com 31 days of August.  Attended an local afternoon AACC event.  our only find on the day but then again, it was a weekday!!!

August 2nd - Attended another afternoon AACC event and grabbed a nearby cache.  Those would have been our only two but we were lucky enough because of some much need cache maintenance to grab one more for a total of 3 caches.

August 3rd - 11 finds on a beautiful Saturday and we named GC41RZ1 - Mysterious Marsh as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award.

August 4th -  15 finds on a beautiful Sunday caching with alara.  We named GC4ERGE - Ivy Back as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award.

August 5th -  Back to work today and the only cache we earned was an quick AACC event.

August 6th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 7th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 8th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 9th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  (I think I see a pattern here!)

August 10th -  NOT!!! a  work day but alas, the SNAP-mobile is getting a face lift so we use Papa's car and only get 6 finds!!!

August 11th -  Sunday - Teamed up with jtmlam59, checked on some newly adopted caches and then made a quick run up to Charles City.  16 finds total.

August 12th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 13th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

14th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 15th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 16th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 17th -  Saturday - only 8 finds today but they involved quite a lot of hiking so we recovered by attending a Gloucester Meet n Greet!!

August 18th -  Sunday - 7 finds today and loved the Meet n Greet down in Elizabeth City!!!  Bypassed Find #5300 today and named GC4HJYY - Hide a Key as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!

August 19th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 20th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 21th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 22th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

23th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 24th -  Time for a weekend geocaching trip.  Teamed up with jtmlam59 once again and made a run in and around Rocky Mount NC.  87 finds on the day and named GC3D61T - Am I still Lion? Is it under the LPC? as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!

August 25th -  Finished up our weekend geocaching trip with 49 finds and surpassed the #5400 found mark.  Named GC41K12 - Pasturized - as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!!

August 26th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 27th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  But this was a special event as today was SNAP's 35th wedding anniversary.  So the winner of the day for the best excuse as to why I was not at home was........ mbbaumann.  Congrats!!!

August 28th -  Another work day so one afternoon AACC event find and two finds on nearby caches!!!

August 29th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  This was the last of the AACC events and thanks to everyone that attended.

30th -  Friday night we attended the pre-event for the picnic.  Great crowd and just knew that the picnic was going to be great by the size of the crowd at the Friday event!!!

August 31st -  August 31 is my birthday and believe it our not GCHR is throwing me a great big party - they named it the 11th GCHR picnic but that was just so I wouldn't know about all the plans.  The turn out was fantastic and it is not every year when over 500 people sing you Happy Birthday!!!  There will be another blog specifically for the picnic but thanks to everyone who attended!!!

Till next time - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa