Sunday, November 30, 2008

Searryl's Cave Cache

I've been looking around for a memorable cache to land my 2000th GC find on. This one I've looked at before and never knew just why I hadn't gone after it yet. Well, I thought this looked like a fun one to make my 2000th find. Searryl's cave cache was quite a fun cache. The parking cords are listed on the cache page and it's a good thing. This little preserve in Iowa is well hidden away back behind a corn field. When you pull up there nothing more than a gate with a sign on it saying it's a preserve.

At first you start walking along a trail that goes threw a corn field. As I walked along I spotted a group of about 8 large turkey's. I tried to get a good picture of them but as I got closer they started running off so I took a few photo's. When I got close to the cache I started wondering around a bit. I stumbled upon a benchmark survey disc. This was kind of neat so I took some picture's of it and marked the cords. Then I started looking around for the cache. This cache had been nearly a year since it was last found and I was surprised to see it was by two people in the past couple of days.

Once there the cave was still about 600 feet away. I should of paid more attention to the trail but I never stick to those anyways. So I started following the fence line till I was getting further away. I noticed that no getting to the cave was going to be quite a trick. Since it was snow out and the ground wasn't froze yet it was very slippery out. So walking around the bluffs really took some careful walking. But I was able to get around and work my way back up to the cave.

The cave is closed this time of year to protect the bat's hibernating this time of year. But I was able to get up to the cave opening. I took some picture's of the cave and some of the view's of the area. It was really neat with the snow coming down. You could really hear the nearby stream water flowing. After check out the cave I found the easy way out. I took the trail all the way back.

This was quite a fun hike out today. I wish I could have explored the cave but really didn't want to come face to face with a bunch of bat's. This is one I'm all ready planning on taking the boy back to after the cave is open to the public again after April 1st. And it was find number 2000. This was a really neat place tucked away in behind some corn fields. I also found another benchmark survey disc near the parking area. Both of the one's I found today don't show up on I'm not all that familiar with how those work but I thought it was pretty neat to stumble upon them.

Anyone who hasn't done this cache I highly recommend doing it and don't short change yourself and take the little further walk down to the cave. It's really neat to see.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A elephant hidden in a haystack

Here a little while ago I was working this two stage geo-cache near the Cedar Rapids, Ia area. The first stage took me down a nice hike along a biking/walking trail. It was a very nice hike. It was one of those evening's where I should of had my flashlight with me but I really thought I'd be able to find this and get back to the car before it got dark.

I had a little trouble with finding the first stage. The cords landing right in the middle of the trail, so using the clue's provided on the cache page I was able to narrow down that it was on a fence. But which side. It took some time but I was able to find it. So back down the trail I went looking for the final.

I got to ground zero and there wasn't many spot's to hide a 30 cal ammo can. So I though maybe the cords where off just a bit or I wrote down the wrong one's or something. After looking back at my camera that I had snapped a picture I was able to confirm that I had written down the info correctly.

Well, I had sat down on this log while I looked everything over again. Just then I noticed something. There was a hollow out log, the log I had been sitting on. This was a very nice surprise. I thought to myself wow a container that big and it was hidden so well. You could tell there was some work and planning that really went into this hide.

After swapping some trackable item's I headed back down the trail back to the car. About half way back I found I had some company. there was a little dog out on the trail. I think he belonged to one of the nearby houses. He walked along with me for a bit and then took off. I made it back to the car just as it was dark out.

It was very nice to see this hide. I was so impressed they where able to hide an ammo can so well, and also thinking to myself I should have been able to find it much sooner.

This was a very nicely made cache that I really enjoyed. Again I was just very impressed how this was hidden, a very nice cache to do.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A cache hunt in Decora, Ia

Here recently I was lucky enough to be in Decora, Ia. This is always a neat place and town to explore. Every time I visit there, I find out something new about the history of the town. There's this really cool Ice cave there that I had seen last summer that was cold inside and still had ice in it even though it was 70 degree's outside.

Then there's the spring with the waterfall that is just amazing. I have yet to go up the stair's and explore the source of the spring but hope to yet.

Well, I found myself going after a couple of caches in a park which I think is called Peterson park but don't think I have the name of the park quite right. I know it started with a P. I had to park at the beginning of the park due to the gate's where closed and I'm guessing cause the road in the park are in pretty bad shape.

I crossed path's with a few people out jogging and enjoying the great weather. The terrain in the park I don't know how they where able to jog it but I did noticed they where staying to the road. As I wonder threw the park head towards a cache I noticed that if I stuck to the road this was going to be a very long hike in. There where some bluffs that I'll bet where 120 feet tall. I was looking and was able to find a way to climb up the rock where rain had carved a I guess for lack of anything better to call it a trail. It wasn't a hiking trail by any means, but I was able to climb it.

I kept thinking I'm glad no one was following me cause I was knocking down rocks as I climbed up. Once I reached the top I was just in shock over the view of the town. It was gorgeous. I found a spot where the park had built a neat spot to sit and relax over looking the bluff. I got out my camera and took ton's of pictures of the town. After resting a bit I made my way along the little trail next to the edge of the bluff on ward's to this cache.


As I zeroed in on the cache I was able to spot it on approach. It was laying out in the open and had fallen from it hiding spot. It was just inches away from taking the plunge over the edge of the cliff. I was able to grab it without knocking it down. I was so worried about hitting it wrong and it going over. I was a bit closer to the edge than I cared to be and found myself laying on the ground to retrieve it.

When I opened it I at first thought I was the next millionaire in Iowa. But after a little closer look it was a gag item. It made for a great laugh.

I signed the log book and took a very close look at the cache page and the hint and was able to figure out where the cache was supposed to be at. It was still a bit closer to the edge than I cared to be but I sucked it up and got it back where it was supposed to be at. And I should note here height's don't bother me very often but when looking down over 100 feet which just a rocky floor below and no kind of safety gear, well it's a bit hairy.

Still thoughts where rolling threw my head about it I dropped it and had to try to climb down to get it and bring it back up. Much more than I was up for that day. Luckily I was able to get it back and got it placed back so there's no way it could pop out of it's spot again with out someone pulling it out.

As I started back I took a little different route. I found the road up top and followed that back for a while. My attention was pulled to one of the trails near the road. There was a fellow on a mountain bike going down one of the trails and he had a leaf blower attached to the handle bar's of his bike. He was going around and blowing the leaves off the mountain bike trails. I thought that's a pretty neat idea.

After watching him for a bit I made my way over to the overlook again. Then down to the spot I had climbed up. It sure didn't look that steep climbing up. So I put everything in my pack again so I had both hands free and climbed back down.

All in all it was about a hour and a half trip but well worth it. I so hope to get back to the area to do some more of the caches in the area and there's an earthcache there that looks really neat. In fact I had been thinking of making one there when I was up in the area last but someone had beat me to it. I'm just glad someone else is able to share this cool area that you just don't find anywhere else in Iowa.

Here's a photo of the bluff from a distance. Yup the cache is on top of there.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The S.S. Minnow

After talking all summer long about going and hunting this Terra-cache called the S.S. Minnow, we finally where able to get the plans made for the hunt.

The S.S. Minnow was a cache placed by mmdals over two years ago and had only been found twice since it was placed. It was hidden on an island out in the Mississippi near the town of Cassville, WI. Wugo II was able to put together a boat trip and 8nut's provided the boat and some great driving as well. We where joined by leaderdog as well. The four of us met up at a boat ramp in Cassville. 8nut's had his boat in the water all ready to go when I got there.

It was quite a journey to the island. With the floods we have over the summer we didn't even know if the boat (the minnow) would still be there. It was just over 4 and a half miles from the boat ramp to the cache. It had rained a bit on my drive up to Cassville but had stopped by the time I got there. The weather other than the rain was perfect.

The trip along the Mississippi in the boat was a lot of fun. We got to see some barge's and one full of coal that was on the bank being unloaded by a crane. There's a car ferry there as well that will transport your vechile across to Iowa if you didn't want to make the drive around. I'm sure this cuts a lot of travel time down. But I got to see a car on board the ferry.

As we neared the island I could tell all of us where getting anxious to see if we could find this one. We drug the boat ashore about a quarter mile away from our destination. From there we found some nice ground to hike in the rest of the way in. As we walked along very shortly after pulling the boat in I heard Wugo say there it is. I could feel the excitement growing but still couldn't see it.

Sure enough we got there and there she was. This was just amazing to find. I can't image how someone found this abbonaded boat on the island. It was about ten feet long and about 4 foot deep. currently with the water level being down the boat was on land but as some of the picture's on the cache page indicate it does float when the water level comes up.

The wooded boat had about two inches of dirt and plant's growing in it. The hull of the boat was in pretty bad shape and a lot of the wood was roting away. We spent some time there at the "Minnow" talking about this and that and enjoying the day. This was quite a fun trip. I was glad to share this with the other's. It was great to have some great company along the journey. But as all things do this cache hunt was at it's end.

We all left the "Minnow" and headed back to our boat. We got rained on just a little on our way back but really it could have poured and I don't think anyone would have cared. We pasted a couple of other boats on the river on our way towards the dock where just a couple of hours earlier our journey had started. We spotted a couple of Bald Eagles flying over the river as well.

Once we docked we sat around for a little while and visited a bit about our other caching adventure's. This will be yet another one that will be talked about for quite some time to come.

It was great to meet the famous 8nut's who I seen the name but had never meet in person. And as always is was great to join Wugo and leaderdog for a cache hunt.

Now that the S.S. Minnow has been found I don't know what will be the next great adventure. I guess I need to hit the web-site's to see what else it out there waiting for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A cache has been recovered

I got an e-mail on about a missing cache that I was the last person to log it as "found" on This cache was in one of the flooded out area's in Linn county. The trick to this cache was it had one stage that you went to, to find the cord's for the final. When you made it to the final you got to pick it up and move it within the park boundaries and then return to the first stage and leave the cords for where you moved the cache to.

It was a fun cache to do, the involvement in moving the cache was a lot of fun and I thought it was a really cool idea. But I got an e-mail from the owner wondering if I still had the cord's for where I had move it to. The first stage had floated away during the flood's and he was wondering if I had the info so the final could be looked for and retrieved if possible.

Well, it's been since March when I did the cache and the cord's I had for it were long gone. But I was thinking about it and though well I kind of remember which direction I went and where I had hid the cache. So tonight I got the time to head out and take a look for it. I first went to the first stage and on my way there I spotted the deer trail I had took to hid the cache. I still went on to the first stage and sure enough it was AWOL. So back off I headed to the deer trail and start going.

As I walked to threw the area some of the feature's of the area looked kind of similar of my last visit to the area. All this of course still seemed different due to the flooding that had taken place. But on-ward I pressed. As I neared in on the area I thought I was in when I hid the ammo can, I spotted a tree that I kind of remember as the one that I had hid it in.

The tree I had picked to hid the cache in half of it was downed and I had found a nice little spot in the crack left with the fallen part of the tree to place the ammo can in and had covered it up with some bark and branches. Well, when I find this tree it was much different as the downed part of it was gone. Now this was a huge log that had been half resting on the ground and it was just gone. I can't believe the force it would take to move such a log. As I started looking around and thinking to myself this my be a hopeless cause, I did find the fallen part of the tree had been moved about 50 to 60 feet away and had swung a full 90 degree's.

I went over and kind of poked around but didn't see anything. At this point I didn't think there was going to be much left to do but assume it was gone. So I started looking and wandering all around. I found the barbwire fence that I had gotten to when I had moved the cache and had turn around to make sure I kept the hide within the boundaries of the area. Once I got there I turned around and looked again back in the direction of that tree, just to make sure I had the right tree.

So I headed back over towards the tree and as I was walking I noticed something a little out of place. It looked like a small cardboard box from a distance mostly covered in leaf's that where just a slightly different color. I made my way over to it and was shocked to find out there it was. The ammo can was found. I had to dig it out of the dried mud a bit but when I kicked it up, I saw that word on it. GEOCACHE. I picked it up and looked back towards the tree. The cache was about 60 feet from where I had place it 8 month's ago.

I sat down on a log and unclipped the latch and popped open the lid. Everything inside was dry. I sat there for a little while skimming the logbook and come to find out I wasn't the last person to find it but thankfully the last finder that never logged it on-line didn't move it. But I read back on my log I left in the book, laughing a bit as it had taken me two tries to find it. I thought about the snow I waded threw when I did make the find and all the sketter's that where in the area the time I was looking for it before that.

I took a photo of my log and the finder after my log. Then I took it over to what was left of the tree and tried to place it like I had 8 months ago. I took a couple of photo's of it. Then it was time to decide what to do with it.

I hadn't asked the owner about what he would like me to do cause I really didn't think I would have very good luck in locating the ammo can. So I headed back towards where stage one was at. I thought well, I could help him out if I just placed it where the first stage was so when he comes out to fix it he could just grab it and move it to where he likes and get the cache up and running again.

I didn't like how the can would sit in the tree that stage was in, so I started looking at nearby stuff and spotted a couple of log's on the ground. I walked over and found a nice little spot I could slip the can in so a muggle wouldn't find it till the owner could get to it. I shot the cords for it and took some photo's so I could help him out as much as I could so he could easily find his ammo can.

Then I headed back out of the area. It was a very nice day out and the temps were perfect for a late fall day. I was just in a t-shirt and jeans. So I walked around the park a bit more just enjoying the walk and "site-seeing". I spotted a couple out fishing there in the marsh. I decided I didn't want to disturb them and head on back to the parking lot.

I just thought this was a pretty cool story to share. Hopefully the cache will be able to get his cache up and running again. I hope so cause it sure was a fun one to do. I had a lot of fun looking for the stages and then getting to participate by moving the final. I had thought this was a clever concept for a cache. I'm so glad I was able to recover the contain as I did feel a little guilty about not hanging on to the cords till someone else found it and moved it and log it on-line.

I've left the cacher's name and the hide nameless out of respect for him and don't wish to call any kind of unneeded attention to the problem that did come out of it, but in the end it's all worked out ok.

I must say to the hider thanks for place this hide I had a lot of fun with it and even though the recovery effort's where due to a unforeseen flooding issue (as the whole area flooded not just where I moved the cache too). But I sure did have a lot of fun going out and recovering the cache.