Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Munzee

image

What in the world is a Munzee. Well it is some “new” Hitec treasure hunt played with your cell phone. There seems to be a problem though, there is no treasure.

The object of the game is to seek out stickers with a QR code that you scan into the Munzee app. The ones I have found look similar to the picture below.

image

You gain points for every Munzee found. Great idea but I have yet to see treasure at a Munzee site. Just a sticker. Folks don’t even write “TFTM” in the logs, their
generally blank.

Are we gonna seek these stickers out? Not actively we aren’t. If I am bored and early for an appointment I would rather seek a microtrash than a sticker.

Does the game have a future? Possibly, but the Hkrs won’t be playing it. We’ll stick to geocaching, thank you very much.

It Lives

To be honest I had all but forgotten about this blog. Perhaps I can remember it now and find some time to work on it. Time will tell.

Hkrs out!

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 ! !

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 ! !

This is how we do it!!

I thought that we would explain to our followers (if we have any) how we use GSAK to accomplish our geocaching goals.

For those that don’t know, GSAK stands for Geocaching Swiss Army Knife. Because we are premium members with Geocaching.com we are able to download Pocket Queries (PQ’s) every day if we wish, for a total of 5 PQ’s per day. We run most of our PQ’s during the middle of the week, with one last PQ on Friday for the most recent caches in our state, Arizona.

We take these PQ’s and run them into a database in GSAK of all the caches in the state of Arizona that we wish to hunt, currently close to 5,000 caches. Most every cache with a terrain rating of 2 or higher is in our PQ’s. The reason we pick two or higher, this was a tip from a friend, is that it seems to weed out most of the Micro caches. We also have a special PQ that includes all event caches, earthcaches, virtual caches, and Wherigo caches as well. The Littlest_Hkr doesn’t want to hunt for Micros anymore, as there are no trade opportunities for him. Since he is my partner, it works for me too because I am able to actually go for a walk while caching. We both seem to enjoy events, virtuals, and earthcaches so we include these in our hunts no matter what their ratings are.

Once we have these all loaded up in our AllAZ database we can then manipulate them in many ways using GSAK. At the moment we have put in polygons (geographic areas using coordinates) of both the counties in Arizona, and of the DGP Regions as well. If you don’t know about the DGP then you might want to check it out.

In this way we are able to fine tune our uploads to both our old Palm I705 and our Garmin Etrex Vista Hcx using only the areas that we will be hunting geocaches, as well as with only the caches we want to hunt for the weekend. This means no more PQ’s of the areas we are heading to in advance, and no more Caches along a Route either. We can now more easily upload only a few hundred caches in each device instead of the 1,000 limit for our GPSr.

I have been using GSAK for roughly three and a half years now. I haven’t really been using it to its full potential until the last month or so. It has really helped us fine tune our planning and hunting to specific areas and caches. I can easily look up what caches I need to complete the Arizona Well Rounded Cacher (Fizzy Challenge), or what caches I can grab for our last two pages of the Arizona DeLorme Challenge. We can see the caches to pick up in Lake Havasu City when we visit family just by picking the Mohave County polygon. We already have a list of the 200 closest caches to the A.J.A.C.S Campout this year, making our planning much easier. It has made caching much less time consuming now that all of this has been set up. It does take some time to set up, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but no computer coding is involved.

If you are using GSAK, good for you as it is a wonderful resource. If you are really using GSAK, even better for you because now you have more time to cache and less time in the planning stages. We learned how we use GSAK the way we do from reading the GSAK forums, they are a very good resource and everyone is very eager to answer questions when they are asked. We learned how to grab the information we neede in PQ’s from a friend who will remain nameless, but they have helped immensly. We were able to get help on our DGP polygons from Corfman Clan and the Admin of the DGP, for which we will always be grateful for the hard work they put in making the DGP polygons much more GSAK friendly.

Geocachers are some of the brightest and friendlest people. We have found that if you ask questions, someone is almost always more than willing to help. At least here in Arizona. Other regions or states may vary.

Until Next time,

Mark & Johnny
Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Just Cache It! !

Summer on the Way

It has been two weeks since our last post. We have been a little busy getting school wrapped up for the end of the year.

Of course, we have been running around grabbing caches as well, just not to the extent we would like. In the last two weeks or so we have grabbed 23 finds and one DNF, of the 23 finds 7 were FTFs. I think that is about 30% for FTFs which is a good couple of weeks for us.

Three of the FTFs were at a location that we had already placed a cache, so we knew the area. We rushed out to grab our old cache up and snag the new ones. It moved us up to 8th in AZ on FTFs which puts a smile on our faces.

The most memorable caches of the last two weeks were:

Twisted Laws of Nature as it is at a wonderful historic location that used to be on the Beale Wagon Road. Cool place for sure.

Wild Bill Hill which was a butt kicking hill with wonderful views of the San Francisco Peaks.

Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend as we have looked for this booger a few times (4 or 5) and finally found it. The funny part is that it was where we had looked once before. Go figure.

Hogans Hotel which was the location of the murder of Bob Crane which was sort of creepy, but also memorable as it was #1100 for us.


We are planning on working on the AZ DeLorme Challenge this summer. We are planning on grabbing the squares we have left in the high country of AZ and then work on the hot desert caches in the fall and winter of next year.

There is some sad news at Hkr central, as the Middlest_Hkr had decided to hang up his boots and move on. We wish him well in his future.

Well enough for now. Probably post again in a couple of weeks again. You can always follow our quick posts that we do on Twitter and Utterz. We have also figured out how to post to Blogger using our cell phone and text messaging the posts in, with pictures.

See you on the trail,
Mark
Flag_Mtn_Hkrs

Well summers here and the time is right for dancing in the streets

Well we haven’t been dancing but we have been caching. I have a couple more FTF’s since the last post. We snagged Ro(x)anne Cache (GC13HBD), Tower in Sight (GC13K3V), and Top of the Rocks (GC13M3K). These were all on separate days and relatively easy caches to grab. We always like the feeling you get from opening that log and being the first one to sign it.

We were also able to acquire another 2007 Arizona Ranger Team Geocoin, now we have two, numbers 009 and 022. These are wonderful coins and not for travel. These are never located in easy to get to caches and require a little bushwhacking to get to, but always well worth it. If you ever check out Deepsouthwest Geocaching Project you will see that the Arizona Ranger Team is rather prolific AZ cachers and have grabbed the hardest caches in the state for the most part. No LPC caches for these kind of stats. I am only the top dog in Coconino Region but probably won’t be there for long with the Arizona Ranger Team around.

Well since I have been off of work for the summer I have been playing around with Google Earth and finding that the layers options are pretty powerful tools. I have only been playing with the free version, I can only imagine what the full version ($400 for one year) gets you. Like I mentioned the layers features are pretty incredible. There are layers for both Geocaching and Waymarking. After you have downloaded the appropriate kml file you just turn them on and they work pretty flawlessly.These layers will show you the caches or waymarks that are in the area you are looking at. Another company that does kml files for Google Earth is GPS Visualizer overlay “plugin” for Google Earth. The good thing about these overlays is that you can view really detailed views as well as topographical maps. These topographical maps look to be the exact same ones that I payed nearly $100 to get in National Geographic TOPO Map (Arizona Windows) just 2 years ago. The other thing about Google Earth is the fact that if you are a Premium Member of Geocaching you are able to download routes from Google Earth right into Geocaching. com and create pocket queries.

The other big news for us this week is a local event happening in July. The event is Pow Wow in the Pines #2 (GC12DB0) and is sponsored by Northern Arizona Geocachers and dreamed up by flgAZ. He is a local cacher that has very high quality geocaches and multicaches that are laid out very well. If you are ever in the Flagstaff, AZ area I highly recommend them. Anyways we said we would be there and are going to mostly help out as opposed to cache. We can grab the caches for the event after everyone goes home. I figure we might just put out a few tricky caches near the event area to give the visiting geocachers something to look for.

In other news we have decided to go to our first Mega-Event. We decided that since GeoWoodstock VI is on our side of the country for the first time that we would make a week of it and attend. I figure that we can save up some money, rent a minivan and cache our way to and from the event. I really want to acquire a few more Earthcaches in other states so that I can apply to become an Earthcache Master. I really enjoy Earthcaching and the only thing that is holding me back from becoming an Earthcache Master is the fact that I have only found Earthcaches in AZ. If I can find Earthcaches in 4 more states I can apply for Platinum and get a patch for the ole caching backpack.

Well that pretty much covers what we have been doing in the geocaching world. Hope all your geocaching are finds and your hides are never muggled.