Friday, April 26, 2013

Hyde County, North Carolina

If you find yourself tiring of the urban caches and have nothing better to do this (or any other) weekend.  Take a very nice country drive down to the area surrounding Hyde County NC.  Hyde County is just over 1400 sq miles and includes Ocracoke Island.  You can knock Hyde county off your NC checklist though by grabbing two really nice caches near Englehard NC.

GC381EG - PorkChop's Rest Stop is located in the heart of Englehard

GC3TBJF - Dixie Invincibles is a really nice historic cache located just south of Englehard

Just north of the Hyde County line is a series of caches by ScouterHal.  This CO has gone out of his way to take you on a driving tour of the Gum Neck area.  A series of seven caches awaits you.  Some are located on dirt roads but take it from us - those dirt roads are much smoother than the average paved road in Virginia!!!  The cache page promises you all sorts of scenery and for the most part - the area delivered.  We just happened to hit this area during planting season so we got to see a lot of dirt fields!!!  There was a particular cache we were heading to that took us through a Wildlife Management area.  We were traveling down this dirt road at about 35 mph when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpses of two turkeys.  The male had all of his tail feathers on display!  I immediately slowed down and told the others I was backing up and to get the cameras ready.  As I slowly backed the SNAP-mobile up, they opened their doors, cameras in hand.  All of the sudden we heard laughing!   "Don't bother.  They are decoys!" said a voice from the woods.  So much for a great picture!  Look up GC1CZX6 - Welcome to Gum Neck, the page explains how all four of the seven caches are interconnected and a quick look on the map around that area will reveal the other three caches in the series.

On the west side of Hyde County is a little town called Belhaven, NC.   The small town contains 5 caches (as well as the emergency room I visited due to the ammo can bite I received from the above caches).  Note:  If someone reads this and makes the trip - please give me a hint on "The Bells of Belhaven" cache that we couldn't find!.

There are numerous other caches in the area, most in small towns while driving to Hyde County.   The weekend we went down to this area proved to be a very good geocaching day!

As always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Another great geocaching trip

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on how sometimes, the best geocaching trips are the last minute trips, with no planned agenda other than to stay gone for a weekend and go geocaching.  On the other hand, we just completed a geocaching trip that had been on the calendar for months.

Several months ago we found out that one of our sons who geocaches under the name of GeoChef74 had several of his caches nominated for a local award for Best Geocahcing Series in the Northern Virginia area.  There was an event planned to name the winners of the awards and Nana & I figured it would be a big surprise if we showed up.

While planning this trip we noticed there were quite a few different types of caches in the area.  Once you have been geocaching for a while, you will begin to hear about Geocaching Challenges or Challenge Caches.  One of the different types of Challenge Caches is City/County – where you must find at least one cache in every County and Independent City in Virginia.  Another type is Types of Geocaches (sometimes called Busy Day Challenges) – where in order to claim a find on the cache you must find 5, 6 or 7 different types of caches in a single day.  We had been working on the County/City challenge for quite some time but while looking at the map of the area we realized there was a pretty good chance we could qualify for the Busy Day challenge if we were lucky.

We got up early and found a nearby Traditional cache but then ran into a problem at an Earthcache.  To claim the find at the Earthcache we needed to be able to get inside a local spot but the hours of operation had changed and the place no longer opened at 8AM.  We hung our heads and moved on to a nearby Virtual and grabbed the needed information for that find.

We then proceeded over to Claude Moore Park and assisted the NoVaGo geocachers clean up around the park for their CITO event.  After turning in our trash bag we then grabbed a very nice and well laid out Puzzle cache in the park.

The next few hours we hung out with the NoVaGo cachers at the award event and got some directions to another nearby Earthcache.

Our son did not win the award for Best Series but as the event wrapped up we all piled in the vehicles and headed over to a quick Multi-cache nearby.

We followed the directions the local cachers had given us and then walked part of a fantastic biking trail to claim our Earthcache for the day.

As we made our way back to our son’s house for what ended up being a very nice dinner and visit, we grabbed a few more caches in the area but ended up grabbing a very nice Puzzle box in downtown Fairfax to qualify for our Busy day Challenge with 8 different Types of caches found on a single day!!!

Traditional Cache - GC29RY1 – A Tiny TB Hotel

Virtual Cache – GCFB0E - Cold War Echoes: Nike Site W-83C

CITO – GC45MBZ - NoVAGO 2013 CITO at Claud Moore

Puzzle Cache – GC2RVB3 – A Walk Along Vestal’s Gap

Event Cache – GC45VT8 – 2013 NoVAGO … Celebrate Spring At Claud Moore

Multi-Cache – GCGPWG – Virginia Trains and Roads

Earth Cache – GC2AJ1D – Quarry Overlook Earth Cache

Letterbox – GC3P481 – Independence Day

As Nana & I were driving home the next day we stopped in each city and county we needed for the Virginia County and City Challenges.  By the end of the trip we had found caches in 11 different Counties and/or Cities, filled in 3 more Delorme pages and had a total of 30 finds added to our total.

Yes, sometimes the best geocaching trips are those last minute – just take off – trips, but you can have quite a lot of fun on the planned trips also!!!

As always – Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Monday, April 15, 2013

We found out the hard way – we need to add some items to our first aid kit!

One standard item most geocachers carry with them while out and about is a first aid kit.  Our kit contains the standard bandages, ointments, poison ivy pens, wipes, etc.  We found out the hard way this last weekend, we need a better stocked kit!  Compounding the need for a better kit was the fact we were at least an hour away from the nearest Emergency Room!!!

I was standing behind the large tree in amongst the vines and briars in Hyde County North Carolina.  My intent was to pick up the nice big ammo can we had just located and pass it to another member of our caching team so it could be opened, inventoried, signed and returned to me to re-hide.  What happened, quite by mistake, put a big hole in our caching day!  As I lifted the can, preparing to pass it out, the can popped open on one side.  This resulted in the bottom of the can swinging open, pinching the palm of my right hand at the pivot point.  OUCH!

I, of course, dropped the can and noticed the missing chuck of meat from my palm.  After passing the can to my team, I extricated myself from the vines and thorns and then proceeded to clean my wound, apply a sorta-clean bandage and apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding.  We shortly realized we needed more gauze and bandages than we had available.  My intent, at the time, was to get the bleeding to stop and then bandage the wound good enough to continue caching till we got back home and then and only then access the need for further assistance. 

We finished with that cache and then decided to keep on caching.

Several caches later I slowly came to the realization that the bleeding, although it had slowed, was not going to stop.  A quick check of the SNAP-mobile’s Nuvi showed the closest medical facilities to be at least 40 miles away, or, in caching terms, at least 3 or 4 more caches down the road.

We continued westward towards Belhaven, North Carolina, grabbing a few caches along the way.

Belhaven is a cute little coastal town in Beaufort county North Carolina.  Their claim to fame, at least as far as I was concerned on Saturday, was the fact that the town not only contained 5 caches but also contained a very nice Emergency room.  45 minutes after checking in I was released.  My hand was now wrapped, the bleeding had stopped, and as I found my caching team mates waiting for me, I had only one question for them.  “Where’s the next cache!”

Nana & I have decided to restock our first aid kit so it will be of a little more use.  Hopefully it will be a long time before we have to use it again!

Special thanks to the Belhaven Hospital and the doctors, nurses and staff of the Emergency Room .  They were all extremely nice and helpful, pleasant to deal with and I am extremely thankful that they were on duty Saturday!

As always, Stay Safe & Keep Caching!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Monday, April 8, 2013

Last minute geocaching trips are sometimes “THE BEST”

As I pulled into the driveway from work Friday evening, Nana met me at the door (oh-oh!!!).   She pulls me aside and says she had an idea - "Let's take off and go geocaching!  I’ve had a week full of kids and it’s time to go off by ourselves!  The car is full of gas and I have everything ready to pack, let’s go caching!"  (Whew!)
After talking about it for a few minutes, we decided to leave early in the morning and head to the Eastern Shore.  I think she had her heart set on Greensville, NC but by the end of the weekend I think she was more than happy with our quick weekend trip up to Assateague and then into Maryland and back home again.  We ended up finding 34 caches on Saturday including and 25 on Sunday!!!

It had been almost 3 years since we had cached on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and I was anxious to go back and see some more of the history of the area.

Some of the highlights of our trip were:

Cape Charles, VA - 2 nice caches right on the waterfront.  One of them is an earthcache:  Chesapeake Bay Bolide

Indiantown Recreation Park - a beautiful little park located just east of Eastville, VA - we found 5 of the even caches in the park!

Onacock, VA has a series of six caches which tour the quaint old town and visit some of the historic sights

Makemie Monument Park, located on the Chesapeake side of the Eastern shore is a little park way out in the middle of no-where-ville.  Unfortunately we were unable to make the find here but the park sure had some great scenery.

Chincoteague has plenty of caches spread around the fishing community and nearby Assateague Island has an Earthcache and a Virtual.

Favorite points were awarded to the following caches over the two days of Caching:

GC3FTT1 – The Bunker – hidden by Banshee74 - located in the Virginia Eastern Shore Wildlife Refuge the cache is located at the site of old Fort John Custis.  The bunker used to house 16 inch guns used to protect the naval bases and shipyards located in the Hampton Roads area. There were about 800 soldiers stationed to defend the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay.

GC3CGX9 – CJS – Cape Charles Historic Dictrict – part of the Captain John Smith series.

GC38V65 – What a wreck! – hidden by Kivotos – located down a small trail there was apparently a meteorological tower here long ago.

GC33T6B – Another bank in the red – hidden by Kivotos – lovely scenery near a public boat ramp

GC3PQK5 – Nursery Keeper (Micro) – hidden by TeamMedlock – located in a small park which was commemorated to a local Nursery owner.

GC2YRB8 – The Healing Garden – hidden by Banshee74 – a tricky little cache in a lovely memorial garden

GC3CGZ8 – CJS – Onancock #2 Ker Place – another of the Captain John Smith series – a beautiful old house and garden.

GCHN4C – guard the beach – hidden by volks-man – a very nice stroll down the beach and then inland a little – guarantee you will remember this location for quite some time!

GC39Z63 – Farewell to Sassy – hidden by Run&Hike – antoher scenic location and a great story to go with the cache.

GC1BPNK – Chincoteague Bay Earthcache – hidden by Run&Hike – located near the above cache, the scenery here is to be remembered.

GC17D0C – Crossing the Wagram – this cache had been on our DNF list since the last time we were up this way.  Almost three years later we redeem ourselves by making the find!  Hope the cache owner doesn’t mind if I steal this idea for our own version.

GC16XED – You get a line, I’ll get a pole! – hidden by Run&Hike – another great cache idea we might steal for our own version!

Winners of the “COVETED” SNAP!!! Cache of the Day were:

Saturday – GCBBF7 – Assateague Lighthouse – hidden by lidar0101 – A virtual cache full of history!

Sunday – GC2WVGV – Ahoy Mate, Curtis Merritt Harbor – the location was great but the cache container was even better.  Nana & I have almost 5000 finds and had never seen this before!!!
The view from our room!

When we made it back home late Sunday we totaled up the finds.  1 Virtual, 1 Puzzle, 1 Letterbox, 4 Earthcaches and 52 Traditional caches – plus I got to do them all with my great caching partner – NANA - not bad for a last minute trip!!!!

As Always – Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa