Wednesday, December 02, 2009

'View3' series of Caches

I recently had the fortune to have a go at the new series of caches that is sweeping the upper Blue Mountains area. The cacher, Rogerw3 has hidden 20+ caches around Lithgow, which offer some spectacular views of various vistas.

The series is called ‘View3’ plus a sequential number and is predominantly located on the Lithgow plateau. The caches are hidden so they offer great views over the township of Lithgow or out over the pagoda country of the Wolgan Valley.

Nearly all the caches are less than 100m from where you park the car and with a bit of care all of them are geokid friendly.

Congratulations to Roger for providing such a great series of caches and I thoroughly recommend them to anyone who is in the area.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Adelaide Invasion - One day record attempt

Our invasions on major cities had been getting bigger and bigger with each assault so it was only natural that we’d have a crack at another capital city. It just so happened that Adelaide has the highest caching density in Australia and with this in mind we started to plan for an attempt on the one-day caching record.

Our planning started some six months ago as we slowly worked through solving various cache puzzles, optimising different routes, transport, accommodation & meals were all discussed. No stone was left unturned.

In mid October with all our planning complete, we flew into Adelaide for a 5-day caching blitz. In the back of my mind I was sceptical to whether we could amass 195+ finds and thus beat the old record, time would tell. On our arrival we quickly settled in before heading out in search of our first cache. Adelaide has a few remaining old Webcam and Virtual caches so these were a must!

Our first few days were spent finding caches that one or more us had previously found, as these couldn’t be part of our record attempt. In the darkness of Saturday 17th Oct we set off on what would be a memorable 24hr-caching blitz. At 3.30am we found our first of many many finds for the day. From that point on the day flowed along surprisingly smoothly. We found our caches in regulation and those that presented a problem we simply moved on. The rule was that if we hadn’t found it with 5min we had to move. To have a shot at ‘the record’ we would have to find a cache every 7min for the entire 24hr period, which no easy task.
By daylight, things were progressing well. We’d had our 5min break for coffee and food and as the sun got higher so did our find count. We were actually in front of the desired numbers, but no sooner did we seem to be cruising then we’d have a few DNF’s which reminded us of the task still ahead. While I wont elaborate too much on our route I will say that we got to see most of Adelaide and it’s surrounding suburbs.

As the day progressed there were some memorable finds, along with a few mini-series that had us laughing. Tennis courts, rail stations and parks seemed to be popular hiding spots as we headed round the traps. At one point we got a glimpse of the views from the Adelaide hills but were soon back watching the waves roll in as we hugged the coastline. Lunch and dinner came and went very quickly and so did the sunlight, it was time to grab the torches once again.

Fatigue came in waves, one minute you were full of energy and the next your teammates were dragging you along. No sooner did we see someone struggling it was a timely reminder to recharge energy levels, which we did with countless amounts of muesli bars and savoury biscuits.

As Saturday drew to a close and Sunday dawned it became apparent that we’d reach the record and at 1.35am on Sunday morning, 22hrs after we started our record attempt we found our 196th find. The one-day record was ours and it was back in the hands of the Australian’s. While we took time to celebrate it was short lived, there were still more caches to be found. We wanted to raise the bar to a new level, but in doing so fatigue was becoming a real issue. On the go for 24hrs takes it toll on the body and mind and eventually we decided to pull the pin some 30min shy of the 24hr mark. We’d amassed 210 finds, some 30+ DNF’s, had travelled over 300km in the car and walked more than 20km in our record day.

Needless to say we headed straight home to bed where we had some well overdue sleep. We could have slept all day but there was more caching to be done. Like kids addicted to chocolate we were addicted to caching and once again were out finding caches just after lunch. On the Sunday evening we attended a meet and greet event with local cachers where we basked in the spoils of our achievements. There was plenty of food and drink enjoyed while sharing much laughter and stories with those who attended.

Like everything, our invasion was coming to an end but that wasn’t before we headed out for a Monday morning blitz of the northern suburbs. By this time of the invasion, bodies are functioning on autopilot, one find seems to blend into then next and so do the suburbs, but alas that’s what an invasion is all about “big numbers in a short amount of time”. Late on Monday our 5-day invasion came to an end with us all heading in our separate directions. I’d amassed 380 finds in 96 hours.

I’d like to thank my fellow caching buddies. Big Matt & Shell, Steeba and Farmer Frentzen, along with my family who were very supportive throughout this event.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Watagans 4x4 caching Weekend

It couldn’t get any better, caching, camping and 4Wdriving. That was what happened last weekend when the Rats hosted an event in the Watagans State Forest (west of Morisset). Between 10-12 vehicles made the trip to the Turpentine Campground, some making an extra long-weekend while most of us only stayed one night.

After meeting at the F3 Roadhouse (near Wyong) we made our way up into the mountains where we met up with the rest of the caching clan. After setting up camp and some friendly chat we headed out in search of the local caches. After a few hours driving we’d collected the 4 caches in close proximity to camp. It was then that we had a bit of fun exploring the numerous tracks that head off into the bush.

As the sunset, a cozzie fire was started which drew everyone like magnets to steel. We spent the night around the fire, swapping tales, tips and laughs.

As Sunday dawned we all slowly packed up, a stiff breeze had picked and after deciding to head north for a few more caches we said goodbye to a few that had opted for an alternate route.
We took in the cache at the northern end of the Watagans before dropping off the mountain and heading towards Morisset. It was here we feasted on a few more caches, some which included the caches in the disbanded Morisset mental home…. what a weird place this is!.

As it approached lunchtime it was time to bid farewell to all and head for home. Another great 4x4 caching was coming to an end. Thanks to all who made the weekend so much fun.

Monday, August 17, 2009

3000 Finds

As always ‘The Rats’ try to make a milestone cache something we’ll always remember. Having been beatin’ by the elements the last time we attempted ‘Along the Stony Towers’ it was only natural that we’d have another attempt at it for our 3000th find.

I’d assembled a few close friends to accompany me for this potential find. Once again plenty of planning went into assuring we were properly prepared. As we set out from the Kanangra Walls carpark it was a welcome relief to have clear skies.

After a pleasant walk out along the plateau we headed down to Kanangra Ck, a recent fire had stripped the undergrown, which made our descent somewhat slippery. Soon enough we were crossing the creek and starting the arduous climb up Thurat Spires. The climb up to the 1st spire is almost 500m high and about 1km long, often the ridgeline is less than 2m wide with loose boulders to negotiate.
As we neared the top the climb became very steep with some exposed rock climbing/scrambling required. Often we had to scout out a new line as the direct approach wasn’t the best. Eventually and ever so slowly we finally reached the top of the 1st spire. Looking ahead, the route became more exposed and with our safety as a priority we decided to abandon our assault on the 2nd spire.

Dejected, we turned and headed for the car, which were still some hours away. Once again I had been foiled in attempt to reach ‘Along the stony towers’.

Back at the car there was no time to ponder lost opportunities I still hadn’t found my 3000th cache. One likely idea was to head back to Jenolan Caves to see if we could seek out ‘Wish you were here’. As daylight faded we arrived at the Jenolan caves top carpark. After restocking our packs we headed off for a leisurely stroll up into McKeown’s Valley. While the light faded to complete darkness we were still pleasantly surprised at how beautiful this valley was, it was flat walk in an area that is dotted with steep hills. The wildlife was in abundance and we shared the walk with many a kangaroo, possum and wombats.

After a 3km walk we arrived at the remains of the old homestead. Obviously in yester-year this was home of the landowners. Nowadays the wildlife has the run of the area with the chimney the only thing that remains. The cache was quickly found followed by some rejoicing and congratulations from Steeba. I had found my 3000th cache and only the second person in NSW to achieve this milestone. I left my achievement coin in the cache for all future finders.

After returning to the car I had time to reflect on the day’s events. I’d walked approx’ 12km round trip to Thurat Spires, I’d walked up and down the equivalent of 2.2km in elevation and then I walked another 6km to finally find my 3000th cache. Its no wonder I slept well that night.

Thanks to everyone who has a part of my 3000 cache finds.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Victorian Caching Blitz

With the success of our previous caching blitz’s it was only a matter of time before we spread our wings to our next interstate expedition. Big Matt and Steeba once again joined me as we made an assault on Victoria. Our plan was simple, drive down to Victoria and cache for 3-days around the heart of Melbourne.

We headed off late Friday afternoon, making good time down the highway. With very few caches to grab along the highway it wasn’t long before we were in Albury. After another couple of caches along the Hume Hwy we were soon turning off the highway towards Sunbury. It was 3am Saturday morning when we headed into the suburbs for our first real cache for the weekend. The day rolled on without too much trouble, our biggest problem was fatigue and by mid afternoon we chose to call the day quits. That said, it was an impressive 75 finds.
After a good night sleep we were once again into it early, this was planned as our ‘big’ day. We found our first few caches before the sun was up and on past history we knew this was the best time to be in the city, thus we made quick work of the inner city caches. Moving out into the suburbs the finds quickly added up, the weather was great and plenty of people were out enjoying it. Once again by mid afternoon we seemed to slow down and our cache count ever slowly increased. A good feed and recharged energy levels soon fixed this and we once again hit the finds with repetition.

Just on midnight an incident occurred that I can laugh about now but at the time was quite serious. An encounter with the ‘boys in blue’ had us explaining our actions, which is very difficult when you choose to run from them. After our brief distraction we were once again on our blitz and by nights end we had amassed an impressive 108 finds for the day.
With us having a big day on Sunday it was understandable that we had a late start to our Monday’s adventure, however it wasn’t long before we were back in our stride. Our day took us down the western side of the city before heading down to Geelong. This was an enjoyable run around Port Phillip Bay, which culminated in a BBQ on the Geelong foreshore. Eventually our night ended after a few more local finds.

Tuesday dawned with the prospect of us heading for home, but that wasn’t without a few more local finds. Alas by 10.30am we were on the highway heading north, grabbing a few highway caches in rural Victoria. Our 3-day Victorian caching spree concluded with a massive 255 finds, a new one-day record and some great ideas for new cache containers.

Thanks to my caching buddy’s, Big Matt and Steeba.