Archive for July, 2009

Sunday Disaster?

Sunday was the first day myself and the Littlest_Hkr, now known as AJ_Hkr, were able to get out in a long time. We had our planned route, caches loaded, and were heading out early. All seemed well. So what happened?

I think due to the excitement of getting out of Hkr_Central for the first time in nearly a moon to cache I had become crazed. We ended up leaving a little late. I thought I had everything but we were 7 miles or so away and I realized I had forgotten our food. Back to the Hkr_Central to grab the food, camera.

I walk in the door, chat up the wife, grab batteries and left. You got it, hairbrainedness leaves me once again with no food or camera. Geesh. We didn’t realize this until we arrived at the location of the planned Hk and cache placement. It wouldn’t matter much as black clouds

Brewing Blackness

Brewing Blackness

were brewing above our location. We played in a meadow and just explored for awhile.

Ferns as big as AJ_Hkr

Ferns as big as AJ_Hkr

Butterflies

Butterflies

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

So we played and frolicked for close to an hour just learning and loving being outside.

I had two coins in my posession that I had for way to long. We were very close to our own cache Chapel of the Holy Dove Redux (GC1064F) and decided we would place the coins there, check on the cache, and visit one of our favorite places. I would love to explain the cache location to y’all if I could, but really can’t. You can read the logs but they don’t ever give the location justice either, you have to experience the cache and the location. Nuff said.

We head back to Hkr_Central to get our lunch and change plans. We sit and eat our lunch chatting up the wife and Rosie and figure we would head out Woody Mtn Rd and grab some caches from a friend. Plan set and off we go.

The AJ_Hkr loves this kind of drive because I throw all caution to the wind and let him move his booster upfront and ride w/ the big boy once we hit dirt. We chew up sunflower seeds, discuss care of pets, and just shoot the breeze. We are coming close to starting to see where the caches are located and they aren’t on the GPSr or the Palm. I guess these caches fall below our 2 terrain or higher requirements. We do have a rule that if we have met and know the cachers we will break the micro rule or the 2 terrain below requirement. I had just assumed (diagram of assume – ass out of u and me) they were in the system since they were 20+ miles out of town in the WOODS.

Anyway we drove around and explored. Spooked a trio of Bull Elk, spied a few small groups of deer, watched a thunderstorm off in the distance, found fields of flowers, and generally had a wonderful father son outing.

After dinner we did decide to grab a cache that posted close to Hkr_Central so we could get one cache on the day. It was a great day despite everything. Did the day go as planned, of course not. But it was far from a disaster after looking at the shared time that will be remembered for years into the future.

Until Next Time

Mark & Johnny
The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Food N Hydration

Food and Hydration.  It is important to survival. It is even more important to Geocaching. It can mean the difference between a fun time and a rather dull and whining filled outing. We have been asked at events by local cachers how we cache, and my reply is always that we bring along food. They always seem a little confused when I mention food because it is often the afterthought of planning for geocaching. It is a major part of ours and here is why. Without food and water, if you are stuck in the woods or desert overnight you will be miserable.

PRE CACHING DINNER

Pasta Dinner

Pasta Dinner

Without food we will not have the energy to go and grab the caches we like to get. The ones that require a little physical effort. Your body requires energy to go walking and hiking and it also requires replenishment during and after some foot travel. We like to fuel up the night before a big caching day with the traditional pasta dinner. Spaghetti, ravioli, or some spinach lasagna. We have friends that are big bike riders and they are always talking of the benefits of pasta and rice before big competitions. They say it gives them the extra fuel they need to perform and walking and hiking are no different. You have to have fuel in the tank.

Breakfast Jack

Breakfast Jack

BREAKFAST

If we are leaving from home for a big day we like to stop and grab Breakfast Jacks from Jack in the Box for breakfast. It is easy food to eat while driving. If you get extra it can sometimes be kept and eaten for lunch. Throw in some fries and a drink and we are already rolling and down the road by 6:30 munching our way to the first planned cache. If your a FTF hound eating and rolling is always a plus.

If we are camping we always take Pop-Tarts along. They are always found inexpensively at BigLots. The boxes can be thrown out and the packages can be placed in ZipLocs (also found at BigLots for cheap) for smaller storage. The best part is we don’t have to build a fire for Pop-Tarts. We can just eat them in the car with some milk or a soda on the way to the first cache of the day. We sometimes throw in some fruit as well. Usually whatever is on sale at the market closest to where we are camping.

SNACKS

Trail Mix

Trail Mix

For snacks on the trail we do enjoy the granola bars. They fit in the pack easily and you just open them up and they make a nice little rest stop on the trail. You sit and talk and eat your granola bar, check the map, have some water and after five minutes you are up and rolling again.

We like to take bananas and apples as well. The lowly banana has its own packaging and the remnants can be tossed in the woods and not brought back. Apples as well can be eaten and the cores tossed. The only down side of an apple is the sticky hands. No littering here just adding to the nutrients of the desert or forest with one toss.

Don’t forget the Gorp (Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts) or Trail Mix. We like this at times as well. Except here in AZ you have to watch for the mixes with M&M’s in them. They have a tenancy to melt in your pack and make a horrible mess. We like the types with more dried fruit in them as they don’t melt and give us the same amount of sugar boost.

LUNCH

PB&J Sandwich

PB&J Sandwich

We tend to take good old PB&J for lunch. It has quick sugar, slower sugar and protein to slow it all down. It tends to get mushy and gross at times but we are usually so hungry after humping up and down a couple of hills that it doesn’t matter. PB&J tends to do well whether it is hot or cold and we are used to it. We sometimes add a salty snack like some of those sourdough pretzels. Something with a bit of salt helps us to drink more water and replace some of the salt we have already lost through sweat.

Dried Fruit

Dried Fruit

DRIVE HOME

For the drive home we usually have some dried fruit. Apricots, figs, cherries, or pineapple. We have a local farmers market down the street who package up their own dried fruit. This dried fruit gives us a burst of sugar when we are beat down from the day and need to finish our trip back to Hkrs Central or Hkr Basecamp. A bigger plus is that you don’t have to worry about this fruit becoming bruised or mushed. We keep it light on the trip home so that we have some room for dinner when we do make it back to Hkr Central.

HYDRATION
Here in AZ we live in a very dry environment, whether you are in the deserts or the forest you are dry. Your body loses water very quickly and before you even realize it your in trouble. We like to stay hydrated. Water is our main hydration. We usually take the CamelBak with 3L of water when full. We also take along two more Nalgene bottles which are 1L a piece full of water. In addition to this we keep 1gal of water in the Pot_Bellied pig at all times.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk

We also carry an ice chest in the Pot_Bellied Pig. This ice chest has some frozen ice packs and some cold Lemon/Lime Gatorade as well as some Buttermilk. I hear you already, buttermilk? Well it is one of the quickest ways to get rid of heat cramps for me anyway. You drink a quart or so and just relax and due to the fact that buttermilk has so much sodium and potassium, as well as calcium you are quickly replenished and ready to go.

That is how we tend to take care of food and hydration on the trail or the road. We hope this helps you come up with your own ideas on how to be prepared for long caching days, or the possible car trouble in the outback.

Until next time.

Mark & Johnny
The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Just Cache It!!

The Hkrs Do 12 of 12

Today was Sunday the 12th. I don’t know if you folks have ever heard of the 12 of 12 that was started by Chad Darnell. The concept is simple take 12 pictures on the 12 of the month. It is a way to keep track of your life, and the 12th was picked because it is generally an arbitrary date (no holidays in the US).

We have tried this before but dropped the ball many times. Today was different though, we took pictures all day. I have whittled them down to the following.

The time I actually woke up today.

The time I actually woke up today.

Yes believe it or not I woke up and rolled over after sleeping and this was the time. I grabbed my phone and snapped a photo.

Took my daugter out plinking

Took my daugter out plinking

It is tough sometimes for a father to hang out with his daughter when she gets older. For some reason my daughter wanted to go shooting. Who am I to say no. Off I went and we plinked for a few hours. She and her boyfriend had fun.

I come home and my son reads me a story.

I come home and my son reads me a story.

The Littlest_Hkr loves to read. He just started doing it about a year ago. Now he devours books. Who am I to complain. He read me a book.

I worked on a Geocaching Puzzle

I worked on a Geocaching Puzzle

Before lunch I had a little time and worked on a Geocaching puzzle. Once I realized what was needed to solve it I went to work and completed it.

Loaded up some Caches

Loaded up some Caches

Yes you are looking at old technology you IPod listening youth. This is an old Palm I705 I have had for four years now. It has served me very well. Only a $25 dollar investment and it has helped me log and keep track of over 1000 finds in that time.

Tough Ground Conditions

Tough Ground Conditions

On the mesas around Flagstaff the ground is a bit rough to say the least. This is typically some of the patches you run across up here in the highlands. Bring some good boots.

A Lake on a Mesa

A Lake on a Mesa

This is called a lake but it is much more like a marsh. There were ducks on the water in the middle and grass growing around the edges. Water is an amazing thing in AZ, there just never is enough.

We used the AZ Trail

We used the AZ Trail

We used a portion of the AZ Trail to try and find the puzzle cache I thought I solved. A trail we want to work on some day. From Mexico to Utah or vice versa.

A Habitate Crossing

A Habitate Crossing

You find these all over the Coconino National Forest. They are ways for animals to get around fence lines. Elk jump over, Pronghorn Antelope crawl under (they are poor jumpers). We do both.

Do you see the geocache?

Do you see the geocache?

You have to be kidding. No we aren’t. The cache is hidden on the bouy that you barely see in Upper Lake Mary. I didn’t bring anything to swim in so we will have to come back. 0 for 2 on the geocaching today.

That's right $2.72 a gallon

That's right $2.72 a gallon

Living in Flagstaff isn’t cheap. Everything has to be trucked in, up hill to 7000′. That costs money and we pay for it everyday. People aren’t kidding when they say Flagstaff, AZ is poverty with a view.

Chuckrosie

Chuckrosie

We came back home during a rain and played with Rosie. She is the newest addition to the Hkr family. She is so quick she blurs. She is as fast as lightening.

Well that was our day in 12 pictures. We hope you enjoyed our 12 of 12. Maybe we can remember to do it again in August. Time will only tell.

Until next time,

The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs
Just Cache It ! !

A New Geocaching Contest

Here @ Hkr Central we were alerted to a cool new geocaching contest.

It is located on the blog Erika Jean. We follower her geocaching escapades and have for some time now using Google Reader. Erika Jean is not only an accomplished geocacher, with over 200 finds, but also a darn good photographer. She has a very keen eye and it is easy to tell she enjoys taking photographs. She is also pretty funny and extremely creative, we like that. 🙂

By the way, Google Reader is free and doesn’t require the downloading and installation of software on your computer. You only need to have a GMail account to use Google Reader. This is why we use it here at Hkr Central. Using Google Reader is as simple as opening the page up in your favorite browser. It is an easy way to follow this blog as well. Just add us to your Google Reader and whenever we have an update it will be waiting for you when you check your account at Google Reader.

We though we would bring both of these together in a quick update. We here @ Hkr Central are now on a late Sunday evening publishing schedule. Occasionally we will shoot out a quick update like this, so add us to your feed today and catch all the happenings.

So go and check out Erika Jean and her great blog site and wonderful contest. While your at it set up Google Reader and add us both to your feed.  Erika Jeans feed and the Flag_Mtn_Hkrs feed.

Good bye for now from Hkrs Central.

Mark & Johnny
The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Just Cache It ! !

Where have you gone Flag_Mtn_Hkrs?

In this issue:

Where have you gone Flag_Mtn_Hkrs?

We really haven’t gone anywhere. That is the problem. On the Geocaching front we have hit a slow period. This is not a bad thing but a normal cycle in life, we always embrace these. Things ebb and flow and for us Geocaching is one exercise that does exactly that.

Life here @ Hkr Central is going through changes. Some of them seasonal and others are lifestyle changes. Seasonally the team is off for the summer. Generally this means that we are out camping and hiking and Geocaching. The Littlest_Hkr and I are out placing caches, and checking on the ones we have. More importantly though we are hunting them and enjoying Northern Arizona in its best season, Summer. We are planning a one week long trip this Summer and will update you all on that as the plans crystallize. We are still trying to head out on day trips but are finding those a bit difficult to fit in as well. The reason being?

The Life changes. Our lives have changed here at Hkr Central dramatically. We were chosen to foster/adopt a beautiful little girl. Her name is Rosie. For those of you that follow us on Twitter (thank you by the way) you are already aware of this life transforming event. For those that follow only on the blog, you have not yet been notified, now you have. We picked up Rosie from a receiving home in Tucson on May 31st with only ten days to get ready for her. Most new parents have nine months to get ready for such events. Foster/adopt parents on the other hand do not. Mind you we are not complaining in the slightest, on the other hand we are embracing this wholly. This embracing is what is keeping us out of the field at the moment. We are working on getting out at the moment in unique ways and will update you on that as we continue this very enjoyable life change.

We will also try to post more regularly. If we don’t cache we will explain how we cache. If we do go out and Geocache we will give you the experience like we have in the past and in new ways as well. As we add technology we will update you on that as well. New gear and you will go along with us to test it out and see if it meets Hkr standards.

We hope you understand our absence. Thank you again for all who follow us on this Blog and on Twitter. Look for more changes as we evolve. We hope you will enjoy the fun.

Mark & Johnny
The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Just Cache It ! !