We were caching along the Tamiami Trail near sunset when we suddenly being stalked by a drone. It was clearly following us at very close range and there was no one else around. At Ali's request I held back from my desired reaction of taking the drone down with a hefty thrown rock, but still feel the behavior was intrusive. It was on a public trail so there was no question of our trespassing. I hope this isn't some new strange form of stalking. The next time, I will take the privacy invading machine out of existence.
Despite the privacy invading jerk, we found the cache and enjoyed the super bright snow moon rise on the last evening of our Florida vacation.
We started our 12th year of geocaching at Hatch Run in Pennsylvania. Phineas the Geobeagle started the new year by slipping his leash at Hatch Run and sending us on a multi-mile chase through the woods and across icy cold streams.
Phin came home after a neighbor to Hatch Run called us about 2am. His condition was much less worse than his blood covered coat his kind rescuer found him wearing. Life is never boring, or quiet, with a beagle.
After Phin had time to rest and recover, we took advantage of a very mild winter to begin the Stark Parks GeoTour. It was relatively easy winter caching with plenty of trail time and finds.
The mild winter continued into February and allowed us the opportunity to visit some nice rock caches while I was burning a personal day I was about to lose at the office.
I made my first trip of the year to Spokane and was able to find a few Spokane GeoTour caches after work. The winter in Eastern Washington was also mild.
The March caching in Tulsa was easy with spring blossoms on the trees during my visit.
We found our 14,000th cache in Elk County Pennsylvania.
In April, we cached through some of the season's deepest snow in the ANF.
I finished the Spokane GeoTour at the end of the month and made a first longer hike at Iller Rocks on a spring evening.
In May, we spent a very wet day with friends at the ASP GeoBash in New York.
We spent back-to-back days exploring Medina County as we completed the county's GeoTrail.
I took advantage of the latest sunsets of the year on a business trip to hike for an old cache at Keystone Lake near Tulsa.
We spent the 4th of July holiday time with visits to Sinnemahoning State Park and Shaggers Inn Pond where we were treated to seeing a nesting pair of ospreys on the water.
We spent a surprisingly enjoyable vacation exploring southern Ohio. Despite more than a little rain we enjoyed the sights and the areas and spotted our first five-lined skinks and their blue tales.
The trip was also filled with butterflies.
We also made a return visit to Mound City. It had been years since we last visited. This time there are geocaches there. :)
August was one of our most non-caching months ever as Ali spent the month managing the crews brought in to restore the exterior of our 1850 home. In car terms it was more of a resto-mod with some modern upgrades, but her efforts were well worth a nearly month-long hiatus from geocaching.
We were a little more active on the geocaching trails in September enjoying a late summer return to Hatch Run. Phineas stayed on his leash for this visit.
Sunsets were still late enough for me to hunt a few older Ranger Rick caches after work on my last business trip to Spokane.
Ali joined me in October for a business trip to Tulsa. We drove over the weekend through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and used my travel day to make the last of the journey through Kansas and into Oklahoma. Our return trip home included brief visits to Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
While in Missouri, we visited our third section of the Berlin Wall while geocaching.
Sunset was fading as we stopped by the Kansas homestead of the Ingalls family. Ali hoped for a return visit when the buildings were open, but they have limited days. Hopefully we can reverse the trip on another journey
We stopped for a cache and a visit to this attractive old mill in Arkansas.
Our last big stop was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. It was a super way to top the trip.
We didn't really expect to make a trip to Arizona in November. I try to have a member of my team visit a safety conference for molten aluminum every other year since many of our employees are on site at these locations each year. This year's conference was in Phoenix so I made time to make the trip. Ali joined me.
Phoenix was hot which made me very happy. Two visits to South Mountain Park gave me the opportunity to warm my bones and prepare for the inevitable Great Lakes cold. We were lucky to be in the desert at South Mountain as the Super Moon rose for the evening.
As much as I enjoyed the heat and the hiking at South Mountain, our visit to the Grand Canyon was awesome. Words and pictures cannot describe the sights of three days on the trail.
Winter weather and short days returned to the Great Lakes in force by December. Our caching was restricted to quicker finds until we reached the holidays.
Since geocaching is now all about the numbers, souvenirs.... I guess this post should include a few of them as well. We were hoping for 15,000 finds by the end of the year. We won't make that goal. I have no idea of how many we will still need because I am still logging July finds, but it seems we are around 14,850. A few years ago we had decided we had seen enough light posts and guard rails and began restricting our micro hunts. It worked as we now have many more regulars than micros and will soon have more smalls.
Being more selective continues to boost our difficulty and terrain ratings. We are up to 1.82 for terrain. We missed our double fizzy this year with two open squares remaining. We have six spots remaining for a triple fizzy.
We are now at 37 states with caches found. Alaska and Hawaii are looming nearer. The good thing as we get closer to finds in 50 states is all the amazing states still waiting for visits. New Mexico, Utah, the Dakotas, and Colorado are still there for visits. Nevada brings the promise of maybe a trip to the northern rim of the Grand Canyon. Louisiana and Mississippi are waiting as possible birding adventures along the Gulf Coast. It's been years since I visited Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. There's so much to see still and ever fewer years...
2017 will be a decision point for me as a reviewer. I'm in my tenth year of reviewing and starting to wish for the chance to garden again. My career is busier than ever and I find myself reviewing more and more geocaches which hold no interest for me as a reviewer. I also can't remember the last time we got out of the house on the weekend or a holiday or left the motel on a vacation day before noon or later when the reviewing was done. I've met all the reviewing goals I had with the exception of reviewing ten years. The next few months will see. If the end is near, I will mostly miss the reviewer panels and getting to know so many great people.
Go out and find a cache to toast the new year. They are out there waiting for you. Try turning off the micros and maybe even the smalls and go for a walk to hunt a nearby ammo can or tupperware. Better yet, head out with a snap lock or a clean peanut butter container and place a new hide for others to find.
Happy New Year! May your geocaching memories in the coming year be many and may your DNF's be few.
Everyone who caches has found a container with a small opening and a huge log inside which doesn't want to come out of the container. A cacher owner in SW Ohio has found a solution to retrieving the log without making a mess.
The cache owner takes a section of a wide drinking straw like the ones provided for frozen sodas. The cache hider cut a section as long as the width of the log roll and sliced the straw along the length.
The log is the inserted into the opened straw section.
Presto, the wrapped log now passes in and out of the container with no damage to the log.
There's plenty of time to shop and limited time to hunt caches. We spent the day after the holidays in the Allegheny National Forest walking the trails and finding caches. The days are shorter, but the caches are still plenitful.
Our geodogs Lizzie and Phineas were happy to be out for the afternoon.
We really enjoy finding caches which have been sitting unfound for six months or more. In the current urban micro and power trail game geocaching has become, caches in the woods can sit for months without finders. Lonely cache challenges encouraging cachers to leave the norm and find lightly found caches are one of the challenge cache types that died when the new, stringent challenge rules were released.
Tupperware lonely for 23 months in southwest Ohio.
So head off into the woods; walk a trail; and let one of these lonely caches know it is still valued. You never know what other experiences you might find while you are there.
We left for vacation with finds in 86 of the Ohio 88 Counties.
Our first find in Lawrence County was a fun cache at the library in Ironton. The staff at the library were very friendly and helpful. Ali took the opportunity of being in their geneology area to look for information. She found quite a bit of usefeul information.
We're also looking toward qualifying the Great 880 Challenge which requires ten finds in each county. We enjoyed a variety of caches in Lawrence including a number of cemeteries and and an unexpected find at a rock face. I know it's only a rock but I like it, Yes I do will certainly get a favorite vote from us.
We finished our 88 county quest and added another completed county to our Great 880 Quest with a visit to Gallia County. Like Lawrence County, we relied on many cemetery caches including a very nice multi in Mound Hill Cemetery overlooking Galipolis.
With Ohio counties now all green, we now have five states (New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio) with caches found in each county. We've looked out to see other states where we could enjoy a chase for all the counties. New Hampshire and Connecticut are waiting for return visits. Vermont, New York, Maine, Arizona, and Washington are five states which would be much more difficult to complete, but are calling out as wonderful journeys. For now, we will enjoy completing this challenge.