Category Archives: Geocaching

Three Thousand Finds

I found my 3000th geocache today. Geocaching is where the name of this blog comes from; I started it around the time I found my 1000th geocache. Back then I was behind in logging and wasn’t keeping very careful track in the first place. I had taken over the account that we made for my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, renamed it, and was catching up the caches I had found before I had my own account. So I didn’t know exactly when it happened. I still like the idea of geocaching as metaphor, of looking for something according to the instructions and then finding something else, maybe something more.

The coin I gave my husband in 2012 for his 3000th find
The coin I gave my husband in 2012 for his 3000th find

Geocaching became a way to discover my new home after moving to California. My “Mundane Monday” and “Thursday Doors” posts are both full of pictures I took while out caching: Newt. Rock Wall. Pinecones. Branches. Broken Path. Bicycle. Milpitas. I posted the pictures for UULent, and I played around with them on the Prisma app.

Walkway between Sunnyvale streets
Where the Silly Creature Lurks

And then, two years ago, my husband and I started a daily geocaching streak. I am now on day 744 of that streak, and it has been made easier by all the fun lunch events that local geocachers keep hosting. That streak is the biggest reason it took me much less time to get to 3000 finds from 1000 than it did to get from 0 to 1000. Unlike many geocachers, I’m not that big on statistics, goals, and achievements, save this one.

Today’s find was called “Where the Silly Creature Lurks,” and it was lurking in a walkway between two suburban streets in Sunnyvale. There are a lot of these walkways here on the peninsula, and usually I have no idea that they exist prior to my finding a geocache there. The fences and walls on either side provide ample nooks and crannies in which to stash a cache. In this case, when I finally found the pouch containing the cache, the “silly creature” in question was the one I saw in the mirror!

InTheMirror

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Thursday Doors: Tallac Historic Site

Usually when people think about Lake Tahoe they think skiing. And that was true for us too this year around Christmas time. But on the way home we wanted to find some geocaches in the area, and that took us to some other places that skiers might not know about. For this week’s Thursday doors, I am showing my pictures from one such place, the Tallac Historic Site.

Cabin

A century ago the Tallac Historic Site was a resort and retreat for wealthy families on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Now, during the summer, it is a museum. The buildings are closed during the winter, but it is still a snowshoeing and hiking destination, and you can walk around and see all the aqua-colored doors.

Baldwin

These buildings are nestled among some really tall trees on the shores of the lake. To me they seem rustic rather than luxurious. But the scenery is spectacular.

TallTrees

This was the best-looking door:

AquaDoor

Whereas this Washoe structure didn’t have a door at all:

Doorway

Not much snow yet this year.

And this sign, matter-of-factly placed on one of the interpretive bulletin boards, was a little scary. Plague!

Plague

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.

Thursday Doors: Steve Jobs’ Garage

Earlier in the year I started a series of blogs about the “Geekiest Hot Spots” in Silicon Valley, with the first one being the HP Garage in Palo Alto–where two Stanford students, David Packard and Bill Hewlett, started building the audio oscillators that would be the foundation of Hewlett-Packard. That garage is informally known as “The Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Continue reading Thursday Doors: Steve Jobs’ Garage

Mundane Monday: Madrone

This is a time of year in the United States that people like to complain about the light. Basically, there isn’t enough of it. I sympathize: I have a devil of a time getting up in the morning when it’s dark outside. But what light there is, and the angle in which it falls on the landscape, can create startlingly beautiful images.  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Madrone

Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

CoinFrontLast weekend my husband and I went to a Geocaching mega-event called Geocoinfest. If you don’t know what a Geocoin is, the header at the top of my blog is actually taken from one: the 1000 finds Geocoin. I bought it several years ago when I started this blog, in honor of my thousandth find (I am currently at 2881 finds, but who’s counting?) Continue reading Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

Layers of October

As we head into fall, days get shorter and the light changes. It’s also time for seasonal CITO (Cache-In-Trash-Out) events. We go for walks in the Baylands and instead of looking for geocaches, we look for trash. As I’ve written before about this park, it’s pretty clean. We never get enough trash to fill our bag, and end up taking the trash bag home to use it for household garbage so as not to waste it and defeat the purpose of the event. Continue reading Layers of October

Thursday Doors: Hutong

Beijing Hutong with scooter
Beijing Hutong with scooter rider

Before our trip to Asia, I read Paul French’s Midnight in Peking, about the unsolved murder of a young British woman in prewar Peking. Much of the shadier action in that book takes place in the city’s hutongs, a type of narrow street or alley commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, especially Beijing.

Our first afternoon in Beijing my husband got an alert about an “FTF” (first to find) opportunity. A new geocache had been published in the city, but not found yet. Geocaches are relatively rare in China in the first place, and this author makes the point that you are trying to find those few caches amidst a billion muggles.

Another problem with geocaching in China is the “great firewall.” Google maps, Apple maps, and the geocaching apps that are based on them, do not work there. If you try to use one of these internet maps, it has an offset. For example, my app, Cachly, showed the cache almost 0.3 miles from its true location.

The door is closed?
The door is closed?

Fortunately, when the subject is geocaching, my husband is prepared. Before we left he did some research, and found that OpenStreetMaps, with user-created data, would still work in China. See this discussion thread for more details about the problems with using online maps in China. No matter what map we were using, however, we were directed around the main train station, and that meant hutongs! We set off. This would be a feather in our cap: two Anglos from California get an FTF in Beijing!

The first doors as we approached the station did look a little sketchy. The air wasn’t too bad, we could see blue sky, but the weather was still very hot and dusty. Many people were riding scooters and they could be seen parked outside.

People were friendly and one tried to help but didn’t speak English. They seemed bemused more than anything else by foreigners wandering around outside the station looking at their phones. They were less amused when we tried to buy water with a 100-Yuan note. And I don’t think we wanted to see what this public bathroom looked like on the inside.

Public bathroom in Beijing hutong
Public bathroom in Beijing hutong

As we went on, we started to see more welcoming storefronts and doors.

Eventually, all our water already gone, we did get to the park where the cache was to be found. More doors next week!

This post is for Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. I’ll be sharing doors from my recent trip to East Asia for the next several Thursdays. 

 

 

Mundane Monday: Platform

This week was the start of a busy end-of-school-year time. From my son’s birthday in late May onward, it usually doesn’t let up until we go on vacation. My son turned 14 this year, and I took him and some friends to see Guardians of the Galaxy II. I’d already seen it, so I went to find a geocache nearby behind the Googleplex.  Continue reading Mundane Monday: Platform