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Monday, June 30th, 2014

6:04 pm - Ambler, Montgomeryville, and also a bit of Cecil County
On Saturday, I started with a few geocaches in Flourtown. I wasn't doing so well there, so I decided I might as well return to my town to take care of an oil change, so I won't have to get that done Monday or Tuesday evening just before leaving for Anthrocon, when there might not be time. After that, I spend the rest of the afternoon going for a few geocaches here and there in Perryville, Port Deposit, and Rising Sun in Cecil County, Maryland. It's not a cache-dense area, so I save a few geocaches there for times when I don't want to travel too far. There were some interesting sites, like the little chapel in Brookview Cemetery, Rising Sun. The 3 geocaches in Funk's Pond, on the other hand, required some of the toughest hiking in recent memory. I'm guessing this hike is best done in the winter when there isn't as much vegetation, but I got to the end of the trail and still had to step across a creek and climb up a hill to get to the cache, while another cache was on top of a different hill with no trails.

On Sunday, I continued where I left off in Ambler. This day was mostly about mhornbaker, who I believe only started placing geocaches since my last trip to the Ambler area, but has since filled the area really well. I also took the opportunity to tackle some of the multi-caches and longer hikes that I couldn't do during the winter because of temperature and lack of daylight. In the summer, on the other hand, there are bugs and humidity, so it's really a trade-off. In addition, I cleared a few DNFs, "Lowe Seas II" and "Hollowed be thy name", although I had to wonder if those caches had been altered. Both were in fairly obvious hiding spots that I'm sure I checked the last time too.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

12:48 am - Northeast Philadelphia, Bensalem, Langhorne, Newtown
Both days this weekend, I went geocaching in Northeast Philadelphia, Bensalem, and Langhorne. On Sunday, I added Newtown. I wanted to tackle the tougher geocaches and get those done once and for all. Not all were as difficult as rated but there were a few that I really had to skip because there were no visible trails from the woods edge. So much of the wooded area in this part of Pennsylvania is just a dense wall of vegetation.

Of the ones I attempted, "Mount Pleasant Path" in Clark Nature Center was probably the hardest. It was only about 40 feet from the trail but that was a really tough 40 feet. There was a thick wall of brush, then a drop down to a creek, and then a climb up the other side of the creek into another thicket. I brought hedge clippers so with some patience, I was able to cut a hole through the bushes and punch my way through. Thank goodness it wasn't a difficult cache hide because I didn't think I'd be able to wander around much in the bushes on the other side of the creek! I was informed by the cache owner that there's a footbridge (although I didn't see it at all) and there used to be a trail on the other side of the creek, which is now overgrown because the township didn't maintain it.

Aside from the challenging stuff, there was also time to look at old buildings, the Cobra King, and chicory, plus a dinner trip to Philadelphia Chinatown on Sunday night.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

12:55 am - Bucks County
Just finishing off more of the dense swarm of geocaches that is Bucks County this weekend. On Saturday, I started in Warminster and continued through Jamison, Buckingham, Holicong, and Solebury. On Sunday, I covered Warminster again, and Huntingdon Valley, Feasterville, Bensalem, and Northeast Philadelphia.

This time, I attempted some of the higher-terrain geocaches because it wasn't right to keep passing those by without even taking a look. Those were as I expected. Generally, anything rated 3 stars and above was in a dense tangle of vegetation in the summer. Still, with a bit of patience and a pair of hedge clippers, I was able to get to and find most of them. Some wooded areas weren't so bad once I broke through the weeds at the tree line. However, I didn't attempt the set of geocaches in Dark Hollow Park because I couldn't even see the trail!

Nicest geocache this weekend was "Season's Greetings". It's a box that looks like a Christmas present. It was placed for Christmas 2012, so I was actually nearly a year and a half late but it's still in good condition and well-stocked with holiday decorations. Also notable was "Cathedral Studio & Shops Cache", which is near the Bryn Athyn Cathedral. I got the impression that the cathedral is quite a landmark in Northern Philadelphia but until Sunday, I hadn't seen it.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

1:30 am - WWFM XI, Doylestown, Bensalem, Newtown
On Saturday, I went to "WWFM XI: Flagger Force in Warrington, PA". It was one of over 700 world-wide flash mob geocaching events happening around the world. The instructions for this flash mob said to bring a flag. I still had a New Jersey state flag from back when I got it for the Anthrocon 2009 fursuit parade, so I brought that. Anyway, at around 1pm, we gathered by the strip mall parking lot in Warrington. There were about 130 of us with a variety of flags: lots of USA flags, some state flags, some sports team flags, and a few geocaching logo flags. Then we took our flags and paraded around Chick-Fil-A. It was a fun event. For the rest of the day, I geocached around Warrington and Doylestown. I didn't see any more big clusters of geocaches on the map but I still got quite a number in one afternoon.

On Sunday, I tackled the Bensalem and Newtown area. This is a much tougher area to go geocaching in than Doylestown. It appears that many of the geocaches here were placed during the winter. Well, in the summer, what used to be open woods and meadows are now dense thickets of vegetation. SOCDAF XII, XI, and X, in particular, were the toughest in that regard. I had to wade through knee-high weeds and bramble across a meadow to get to those geocaches, although remarkably, I didn't get any ticks.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

2:13 am - Upper Bucks County
It was a fine weekend to close out May and begin June. Both days, I went geocaching around Franconia, Salford, Perkasie, Sellersville, and Quakertown in Upper Bucks County. On Saturday, I finished off the suburban and urban geocaches and on Sunday, I hiked the parks and state gamelands for a more rustic experience. It was an interesting two days. There were creative geocaches, weird found objects, and unusual sculptures. I was surprised that the Perkasie locals knew about geocaches around town. I talked to two of them and they said they'd seen other geocachers find those. They also told me about the history of the trolley tunnel and Liberty Bell trolley line near the "Slow Train" cache site.

"Perkasie in Plane Sight" was the real treat on Sunday. It's a Wherigo, a kind of outdoor adventure game. Some GPS models support Wherigo directly but I just use an app on my phone. Basically, there is a story in the game and you have to complete various tasks by navigating to specific coordinates, picking up and dropping virtual items, making decisions, and answering questions. What's nice about this particular Wherigo is it integrates the other 8 geocaches in Markey Park, so including the Wherigo cache itself, it's essentially a 9-geocache loop hike of the park! As a bonus, during this hike, I was finally able to find "Art's Imports", a geocache that I could not find 10 years ago. It's not the original cache container though. I read the cache logs over the past decade and saw that it had been replaced a few times and relocated once. In fact, I now know that the reason I could not find it previously was it was actually missing that day. Closure is beautiful!

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

5:15 pm - Memorial Day Weekend, Bucks/Montgomery Cache Factory
It was a hot weekend with little rain. I decided not to travel too far, which of course, still left hundreds of geocaches in the densely-packed Bucks/Montgomery County area. However, I decided to get out to some of the larger parks too to hike out to geocaches. On Saturday, I started in Upper Gwynedd and Lansdale. I knew "Willow street park cache" was owned by @ellotherefox, so after finding the cache, I tweeted him. Right away, he came over to see me. Turns out he was right nearby, so that was a quick meetup! Then I went to the Trooper area and Evansburg State Park. The terrain was a bit more challenging there and the hardest one of all was "Music on Little Silver Discs". The cache was placed in such a way that I had to make my way downhill to the bottom of a gully and climb up to the cache site. Any other approach would've been too steep with too much loose dirt. It's funny that I think of this as challenging now. Back when I lived in North Jersey, there were a lot more geocaches around this kind of hilly terrain.

On Sunday, I headed over to Benjamin Rush State Park in Northeast Philadelphia. There have been a number of changes to this park since my last visit years ago. I don't remember too much from back then but the most obvious change to me is the park entrance is now on a quieter street instead of US-1. Some of the geocaches in this park were very difficult. The main problem was those caches were placed during the fall and winter when the vegetation was sparse. Now that the bushes are thick and leafy, it's hard to see what's inside. Many areas around Northeast Philly and Bensalem are rather trashy too, so in making my way through the overgrowth, I had to be careful about that too. At "Boundary Creek View Cache" in particular, there was an iron spike, just a few feet from the geocache, sticking out of a pile of concrete blocks. I thought was a particularly dangerous trip/impale hazard.

On Memorial Day, I started in Hatfield (where I have yet to see a field of hats :) ) and continued the caching trip to Dublin and Peace Valley Park. I did not get to do as many geocaches in Peace Valley Park as I planned because the place was crowded! So I only went for a few geocaches on the periphery of the park, saving the rest for another time. Landis Park in Plumstead Township was a lot quieter, so that's where my hike, which was shorter but still good, ended up being. "Storybook Weaver" in Landis Park is an interesting idea. In addition to the log book, there is another book with a story in it and each visitor can write a paragraph or two to add to the story. The snag was some folks have poor handwriting, so it was hard to read the story. My handwriting was admittedly not that great either, but I did write a bit.

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, May 19th, 2014

3:58 pm - Bucks County (Doylestown North), CFF Great Strides Point Pleasant Beach
On Saturday, I started out the geocaching spree in Fort Washington, Upper Dublin, and Horsham before heading way north to Plumsteadville, Ottsville, and Nockamixon State Park. As usual, for this area, most of the caches I found that day were by Taxman, who is now the top cache owner in my finds, as you can see in the chart below. He has placed over 940 geocaches, so far, and is still putting out new ones almost every day (apparently it's his new full-time occupation after retiring from the IRS :) ), so I'm a long way from finishing those.

Top cache owners of my finds


While taking a side trail to "Past the Kohler Park dogs", I happened on a little fawn. I had no idea where its mother was and I was surprised it let me get within 15 feet and stood still long enough for me to shoot a few photos.

Fawn


On Sunday, I went to Point Pleasant Beach to do a mascot gig with jbadger and Damian for CFF Great Strides. Just as it was in previous years, this is a good event with a good crowd. Also, it wasn't raining like it was last year. Damian had to leave a bit early, but JBadger and I continued with the gig, had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant afterwards, and geocached along the Edgar Felix Bike Path. (EFBP cache series)

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

12:12 am - Montgomery-Bucks
I'd nearly run out of Jersey Shore after the last weekend, so this weekend, I returned to areas closer to home. I centered a pocket query on Doylestown and just used it both on Saturday and Sunday. So it was basically Doylestown South, the cache factory annex.

On Saturday, I went to Warminster, Hatboro, Huntingdon Valley, Southampton, and Richboro. The longer daylight meant I actually had time to hike the Pennypack Parkway Trail and parts of Tamanend Park. I also had time to tackle some of the more difficult cache hides that I had to pass by during the winter. The "Old R8" series was tricky but those just took patience and a good eye. In the evening, I had the opportunity to revisit the Tanner Dairy cows.

Sunday's trip was to the same area, just somewhat to the west. I was in Warrington, Chalfont, and Doylestown. It was a relatively warm day but I hiked Lower Nike Park anyway since the caches weren't that far down the path. I spent most of the afternoon in Turk Park though because for some reason, that park escaped my notice for years and there's now a ring of geocaches around the ballfields. In the evening, I quickly finished a bunch of geocaches along the Route 611 corridor before leaving the area.

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, May 5th, 2014

4:25 pm - Keyport/Middletown, Lawrenceville Jubilee
On Saturday, I'd planned to attend a geocaching event in Cheesequake State Park but I was late because of bad traffic delays around the Old Bridge area. So I decided to just go ahead and get to the other geocaches on my list for the area. I found most of the "BC Mania" series of geocaches. Each one is a bottle cap micro cache, hence the name. These caches themselves took hardly any time compared to the U-turns and traffic lights on the way from one to the next. However, I can recall a few of them that were placed in interesting ways. I also took a little detour to Cliffwood Beach to get away from the high traffic areas for a short while during the afternoon. Poricy Park was another place I visited on Saturday with good hiking trails. In that park, "The Most Fantabulous Person in Middletown" is an amusing cache that asks you to open a box to reveal the most fantabulous person in Middletown. It's actually a mirror. :)

On Sunday, I went to Lawrenceville to do a mascot gig with jbadger and Damian for the Lawrenceville Jubilee. It's a good event with a good crowd, although perhaps it wasn't as busy as in previous years because of drizzly/cloudy weather early in the afternoon. Unfortunately, people were a bit messy and dropped pies (among other things) on the pavement, making public fursuiting a bit hazardous. But by then, we were ready to stop and pack up anyway. I didn't take any pictures myself since I was in fursuit the whole time I was out but here are some photos and two videos from JBadger's phone.

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, April 28th, 2014

11:53 pm - Jersey Shore, near the end
Continued geocaching up the Jersey Shore this weekend. This time, I went to Long Beach Island (LBI) and Seaside Heights. I think this will be the last daytrip targeting the Jersey Shore because it's about as far as I'd like to go. I'm saving the next stop, Point Pleasant Beach, for when I do a mascot gig there in May.

On Saturday, I got a bunch of geocaches in Manahawkin and Stafford Township before taking the causeway to LBI. LBI was chock full of geocaches because those were mostly placed for an event last November. I was surprised so many of those caches survived too because they were all regular-sized plastic boxes and ammo boxes and all placed in really obvious spots. Most of LBI is private property, so it was good that the caches were placed with permission of the various businesses. I got to talk to one of the business owners (the cache was sitting among one of many furniture/yard items outside his store) and he showed me his spinning wheel of swimmers. The exception was the bicycle store owner, who for some reason, didn't know about the geocache. Strangely though, he just let it sit by his fence all those months without even trying to find out what it was! Island living must put folks under some kind of spell. Anyway, I had a great time and went all the way to both ends of LBI, a 40-mile round trip just on the island alone.

On Sunday, I went to Seaside Heights, Lavallette, and Seaside Park. There weren't as many geocaches in that section of the beach, so I spent more time in Toms River and Island Heights before and Beachwood and Bayville afterwards. Seaside Heights, unfortunately, looked like a disaster zone. Although some parts of the boardwalk had been rebuilt, many streets and some parks were still closed for construction. I was able to detour around the closed roads to get to some of the geocaches, but I think the others are gone or inaccessible. Later in the day, I got to see Virginia, the Bayville Dinosaur. It's one of those roadside oddities you come across when traveling local roads.

The caches...Collapse )

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Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

1:11 am - South Jersey and Jersey Shore, continued
This weekend was yet another step towards finishing the Jersey Shore geocaches before beach season starts. I didn't get to Atlantic City until Sunday because Saturday was mostly working my way along the Route 322 corridor through Glassboro, Clayton, and Williamstown, getting some new geocaches placed since my last caching spree down that way. There were a few sites of interest, like the ruins of a dugout / pit house and Unexpected Road. When I reached Hammonton and started looking for "Just log the DNF now", I met the cache owner, jct.jr. That was an extremely tricky 5-star geocache and I was glad he supplied the hint and the required tool for that one. Then he was nice enough to take me on a tour of some of his geocaches around Hammonton, which were a lot of fun. And finally, I grabbed a few geocaches farther southeast in Mays Landing before dinner.

On Sunday, after a few geocaches in Mays Landing, I finally hit the seaside area, from Longport, through Margate and Ventnor to Atlantic City. I didn't think this stretch was as good as the beach areas to the south but there were some things to see, such as Lucy the Elephant and King Neptune. The downtown part of Atlantic City, aside from the casinos and outlet mall, was a bit sketchy so I didn't stay there too long. But there were only a few caches there anyway.

The final stretch of this tour will be Long Beach Island. And beyond that, I'll save Point Pleasant Beach for when I have to travel there anyway to do a charity mascot gig. So I should be done before Summer, easily.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

1:15 am - Lancaster LXI, 38 Mack Fire Engine, Jersey Shore continued
On Saturday, I went to Lancaster to attend the "38 Mack Fire Engine" flash mob geocaching event. Yes, we actually had a 1938 Mack firetruck to gather around. As with almost every Lancaster County trip, this one was interesting for the variety of caches. For "1.6 Away", I waded across a creek to the island where the cache was. The water temperature was perfect that morning and it was fun to dip into. Plus, the view of the dam under the bridge upstream was picturesque. "Thar She Blows!" was another interesting one. To retrieve the cache, one has to blow on one end of a U-shaped pipe to make it pop out the other end. "Eyes are on you" brought me to a creepy mural on the side of a bowling alley.

For Sunday, I decided to continue my cache marathon up the Jersey Shore in order to finish most of it before beach season begins. I got up to Avalon on my previous trip, so this time, I did Sea Isle City and Ocean City. This is one stretch that is chock-full of caches. Nearly every block in Ocean City had one. There were some interesting things to see too, like the pirate ("end of the road"), the stone turtle ("SEE THE ISLE"), and the sandal tree. ("Christmas tree...Ocean City style")

One thing I had no idea about was that the Doo Dah Parade was this weekend. Most of the beach areas looked rather quiet and there was no indication that anything major was going on. I have no interest in attending Doo Dah, but had I known it was this weekend, I would've stopped by the central boardwalk area on my way up Ocean City to see if any of my friends were hanging out. Oh well. Maybe next time.

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

12:36 am - Harford County, Reading, and Maker Madness
I missed out on getting the Maker Madness souvenir last weekend, so this weekend, I planned my trips around two Maker Madness events. I was actually able to make it to both events, so the second one was gravy but both were pretty good and definitely worth attending.

On Saturday, I went to Cedar Lane Regional Park in Bel Air, MD, for the "HCGP Makers Madness Event". It was a simple event, just a table set up in an unused section of the parking lot. But it was pretty nice and I got to see some of the Maryland geocachers whose caches I'd been finding on previous trips to Harford County. Only real problem was it was a windy morning so stuff kept flying off of the table. After that, I went geocaching around Bel Air and Fallston, including a short hike on the Ma & Pa Trail, which is actually the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Trail, not the Mama and Papa Trail as I originally thought. :) I know I've complained a lot about Maryland in the past but this trip was quite enjoyable. There was a lot of variety in the area in terms of cache hides and terrain.

I planned Sunday around the "Maker Madness Easter Flash Mob-Bison Tube Exchange" event. It was an Easter-themed geocaching event in the food court of Fairgrounds Mall in Reading, PA. I actually knew more people at this event than at the Maryland event because apparently, the folks going to Berks County events are the same ones who go to Bucks County and Lehigh Valley events. After the event, I headed out a bit northwest to do the "I Love Lucy" series of geocaches. These are all puzzles based on Lucille Ball's TV, movie, and radio career. I skipped part of this series because the terrain in the eastern section looked unbelievably hard, but the western section was a nice hike across a ridge and some dust bowl areas. I ran into a bunch of people doing target practice in the woods but I talked to them and they stopped (for a beer break) so I could find the cache. They'd been firing in that direction the whole day without knowing it!

The caches...Collapse )

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Monday, March 31st, 2014

10:29 pm - Rainy Weekend, Ambler/Chalfont, Ephrata/Reading
This weekend, it rained continuously for two days. I avoided taking any long hikes because I'd have to carry an umbrella around the whole time. Still, there were plenty of geocaches that weren't far from parking areas and roadsides. On Saturday, I went geocaching in the Montgomery/Bucks area in the towns of Ambler, Lower Gwynedd, Horsham, and Chalfont. As is usual for that area, most of the caches were by Taxman. Two of those, "This Is Goodbye" and "My Farewell Cache", were "goodbye" caches, in which he announced his retirement from placing caches. I think it's a running gag because he was still putting those out as of a few days ago.

On Sunday, I was planning to attend a geocaching event in Collegeville but by the end of the day, I changed my mind because I was wet and muddy, and perhaps a bit too messy for Wegmans. Anyway, I went to Ephrata for the "Well Trained Monkey" series. These caches were mostly puzzles but I knew the solutions all led to easy park & grab cache sites. This cache series was a bit spread out, so I went from Ephrata to Denver, Adamstown, Sinking Spring, Spring Ridge, and Bern, up by Reading. While in those areas, I got whatever other caches that I figured were easy to get to in the rain, and some that weren't so easy. After finishing the monkey series, I hung around Wyomissing and Kenhorst and actually finished a bunch of other geocaches that I couldn't find on previous trips. These caches were the kind that were hidden by vegetation, which fortunately was still sparse after the long winter. In particular, "Three Little Pigs: Straw" was really obvious now that the bush is bare!

The caches...Collapse )

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Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

1:10 am - Jersey Shore continuation, Doylestown
On Saturday, I continued geocaching farther up the Jersey Shore, with an eye towards completing that stretch before the summer crowds arrive. This time, I started in Avalon and Stone Harbor and ended in Wildwood. I actually do prefer the beach this time of the year, when the boardwalk is not crowded at all.

On Sunday, since the snow up north was nearly all gone, I went to Doylestown and New Britain. Also nipped at the edges of Peace Valley Park since I hadn't geocached there in a long time. I'll have to continue that next weekend as this park is quite packed with new caches. Headed to Philly Chinatown in the evening to try two more items from the Xi'an Sizzling Woks menu.

The caches...Collapse )

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