I found a Geocache this weekend – GC2K765

I find a lot of Geocaches, but this one is a big deal. It has plagued me and my close friends since 2013. It made me cry. Here is what a wrote in the internet about it for the community to read:

GC 2K765 – LOST81 (4.5/4.5) Walk Don’t Run

“I hugged and kissed my wife goodbye, possibly for the very last time. It was well known that I was going out to search for this geocache, and I would die in those woods before I came back without my name on the log. I packed up Friday afternoon after playing hooky from a half day of work. I put on my geocaching in the woods costume, brought 3 liters of water, a bag of nuts, a pen, and a morbid attitude. This geocache owns at least 5 hours of my life dating back to the very beginning of my Geocaching hobby. I have searched stage 1 at least 6 or 7 times, going back to 2013, and 2 dogs ago in my life. Most times it was with my best, well-seasoned, geocaching pals JoshInChains & Cinnamon. Other times my old best pal Charlie the Dog was with us. To this day I believe it is our failures at stage 1 that led to my old dogs cancer, he just couldn’t take the disappointment. None of us ever found it. I have also been here alone, and most recently with MyWifeTheMuggle. After that last failure, I had enough. All stages had been found very recently for the first time in years. So I knew (like I always did) that it was definitely there and ready to be found.

So I headed out onto the road with my gear, ready for the end of my world if it came to that. Once at the parking lot I left a note in my car and the car unlocked. Just in case it sat there overnight a ranger would know who to contact to come and retrieve the car. Out on the trail I found myself at a very familiar stage 1, I didn’t even turn my GPS machine on until I reached stage 1, it’s location was burnt like a middle-finger-shaped brand onto my brain. Surprisingly I only spent about 10-15 minutes at stage 1 this time. I arrived at stage 1 with a corn on the cob mentality. I was going to search this area the way I eat a piece of corn on the cob, start at the top, work to the side like a typewriter, and then press the carriage return button.

I was off to stage 2. Having done this hike numerous times my GPS machine has this trail well defined, so I knew basically where I would end up. Sure enough, that is where I ended up.

After a mid-day costume change I was off to find stage 2. I spent about 20-30 minutes here, I was very pleased with the time. Once I focused on the proper area I was rewarded fairly quickly. I spent a lot of time in the wrong places looking for the wrong things.

After my final costume change of the day I was off to stage 3. Again, the trail on my GPS machine showed me where I would end up. I got there fairly quickly, my body pulsing with adrenaline. Once very close to centering in on the coordinates I got a little discouraged. Not that I would not find it, just that I was all alone. When I do stupid things I usually have someone else nearby, or at least on standby with a 9 and a 1 already punched into a telephone. I saw where I might need to end up and then remembered the ratings of the adventure. No problem. I made my way to GZ the hardest way possible (in hindsight). I was getting close, I felt like the ozone levels in the air change as my head swirled with the ideas of how I was going to tell this story to my friends, enemies, and every stranger I encountered. I saw some obvious GZ spots. I set down my GPS machine to let it settle in on a signal. I walked over to a spot. Wide-eyed, mouth gaping, I poked my head in quickly, like I was entering a surprise party in my honor that I had gained advanced knowledge of. My head quickly dropped and hung like ripe, ready to be picked and eaten Pawpaw fruit, the Appalachian Banana. As my eyes gazed down and sideways I saw another spot, just like this spot a few feet away. I walked over with my fingers crossed and praying to other people’s imaginary Gods. I looked and saw nothing. I got down on my knees and looked further and wouldn’t you know it….WOOOOO FREAKING HOOOOOO!!

TSTF (twenty sixth to find)

I sat all the way down, reached for the container and pulled it out. I imagine the way I removed this container is the inspiration for the tree stump, wood monster scene in Flash Gordon. I opened up the container and basked in the smell that was released. It smelled like cotton candy infused with redemption. I can’t lie, a single tear rolled down my face when I first laid eyes on the container. I sat there, delighted with my day and savored the find for about 10 minutes. I read every log in the log book dating back to 2011. I don’t think I have ever done this. Never has an original log book, so old, been in such perfect condition. I was honored to scribble my nonsense in there and replace as found.

Thanks for the great hide and amazing adventure.

Thank you to everyone that has anything to do with these hides. Thank you to those that came before me and gave me the strength and encouragement to never give up. This one is for you Charlie the Dog.”

Prelude to an adventure

Last weekend Charlie the Dog and I went to Frostburg, Maryland for an overnight. We camped in a park and hiked both days. In the morning we woke up to completely frost covered ground, in Frostburg, how ironic (yuk). It was mostly a successful adventure. We had a great time with some fun people. I dropped my fancy camera and pack into moving water on Sunday. I panicked, but quickly realized I can’t travel in time, so there is nothing I can do. Thankfully I think only 1 thing is ruined, and it is one of the less expensive things. This weekend a few of us are going to adventure along the Appalachian Trail through the state of Maryland. I doubt I will make it alive. Wish me luck. How about these few great pictures from last weekend?!?

What a handsome fella

What a handsome fella

You don't see this in the part of Maryland I live

You don’t see this in the part of Maryland I live

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Some days it is hard to be me

The luckiest boy in the world strikes again. Last weekend I won a hot air balloon ride at a 2015-03-21-CAM-2015-geocaching-Western-MD-19charity event. Fresh off that victory, yesterday was the picnic to celebrate the end of CAM 2015, cache across Maryland. Like the last few years it was more fun than should be legally allowed. Driving hundreds of miles over 4 days just to walk in the woods, make fun of my friends, hang out with Charlie the Dog, and write my name on hidden pieces of paper. There is a photo contest each year at the picnic. Last year I did fairly well in the photo contest, even came in first in a category. I decided 2015-04-25-CAM2015-day-4-59that was my cue to go pro, and upgrade my equipment. Yesterday I took 1st in two categories, and 2nd in a third category. I could not believe it. What a fun thing to have happen to me. Fun things rarely happen to me…sike. That makes me an award-winning photographer 2 years in row. That is definitely making it to my resume. If you are reading this (doubtful) I am available for hire.

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Maybe my new favorite picture

This might be my new favorite picture I have ever taken. This past weekend was the PAWS for People Easter Bone Hunt. It was so much fun. Charlie the Dog, my family, and everyone’s family had a blast. I was the roving photographer, HERE are some of the pictures I took. Warning, these will only be interesting if you like dogs.

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Slacktivism at it’s finest

I had plans to go for a nice hike on Sunday with my pals Josh and Cinnamon (still not a peeler). The general consensus was that Charlie the Dog should come, after all it was 2014-06-22-Free-Charlie-Sunday-5hiking, climbing mountains, not going to be too hot, maybe we should bring him. Wifey had put her foot down that Charlie’s season was over. I could not do much to argue that fact…but decided to argue anyway. We were going to be in the woods, in the shade, he could get in the water anytime he wanted, the weather was going to be cool for the end of June. I had excuse after excuse, but I don’t think Wifey was budging, justifiably so. The most amazing thing happened, the Internet became aware of the situation and people from all around the globe 2014-06-22-Free-Charlie-Sunday-2united in support of Charlie the Dog. It was amazing, the response was overwhelming. So much so that Wifey had to buckle under the pressure of all the eyes around the world tuned in to her decision. She both has all my respect for allowing Charlie out to play, and none of my respect for crumbling like a stale cracker (meant in both the snack treat and racist way).

It goes without saying that we had a great time, found a handful of geocaches, laughed, did some shirtless wrestling and tackling, and almost died of dehydration. To sum up, another amazing day to be alive and be me. HERE are a few pictures from the hiking trip and the Slacktivism campaign that took over the world this weekend.

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Shenandoah National Park May 2014

Pictures are HERE, boring diatribe is below.

2014-05-Shenandoah-358Last weekend Charlie and I spent a boys-only, long weekend camping in Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive. Wifey was heading out of town to scuba dive, and I wanted to find something fun for Charlie and I. He had never been camping, or even slept outside. Pretty lame for a supposed wild animal. I wasn’t sure how it would go, or if Charlie would hate me for this, but all went fairly smooth. A secondary purpose to this trip was to test out and break in my new camera.

2014-05-Shenandoah-99We packed up and headed out from home at 3am. We were inside the park by 6am, the booths were not even open yet. There was a sign in the windows that said, “Welcome, please pay when you leave”. By 7:30am we were geared up and out for our first hike. The weather on Friday was a bit rainy and very cloudy and foggy. There was no sunrise to speak of. Most people would have been unhappy not to be able to see anything from the vista points. Where Charlie and I were, in the woods, walking along the river, the mist and fog added to the overall ambiance and experience. The first hike was amazing and mind blowing. I couldn’t believe how nice this park was. After the first hike we had a nice breakfast and went to find our campground. In short time we had our tent set up and completely modeled our new home for the next couple nights.

Later that afternoon we did another circuit hike to a beautiful vista. After dinner we drove out to a pull off on Skyline Drive to watch the sunset. After being mesmerized by the campfire for a while it was time to see how sleeping in a tent with Charlie was going to work out. It went OK, he was a bit tentative, but realized that I would never do anything to hurt him.

The next morning we were up for the sunrise and then off to a waterfall that we discovered the day before. I wanted to get there before the sun came up and try to get photos of the waterfall in action. A total of 3 hikes this day. On the second hike at the summit we ran into a young couple from Harford County. I told him I lived near him, from Cecil. His response blew my mind. He said, “I figured you were close to me, I saw the Hillside on your car.” 200 miles from home. We finished the evening by hiking out to the edge of the park to watch the sunset. After the sunset we hiked back in the dark with only the light of a headlamp and keen canine sense of smell possessed by my pack leader.

The next morning we woke, made breakfast, and headed home. At the park exit I needed to stop and pay my fee, since they were not open when we entered. The ranger was shocked that I actually stop to pay, said they do not have this happen very often. It was an amazing, rejuvenating, refreshing, perfect life resetting weekend. I can’t wait to go back, I forgot how much I enjoy camping. Pictures HERE.

The time has come, I’m going pro

ribbonsI am going to work tomorrow and put in my resignation. The work-a-day routine is for suckers, I’m going to be a professional photographer. Yesterday I placed first in a category and second in another category of a photo contest at the CAM 2014 pic-a-nic. I would not have even entered any photos if it was not for the encouragement and harassment of my loving family and friends. They all saw potential genius where I did not. It probably helped that I taped a $10 bill to the back of each of my photos, the judges must have loved that. National Geographic, if you are reading this, I am currently taking offers and will accept a job for the highest bidder. I cannot get over how tickled these silly ribbons are making me feel.

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