Up, Up and Away at the Skyline Flyers Radio Control Club

Sunny Saturday at Skyline Flyers Radio Control Club

Gordon’s Hobby Lobby Telemaster 40 just after landing

Last weekend I went searching for a pair of geocaches near Culpeper, Virginia, Little Up-Up and Away #s 1 and 2 (GC1 V34N and GC1V35T) located at the Skyline Flyers Radio Control Club (SFRC).  I was hoping to grab myself a couple of moments of fun between one weekend chore and the next.  I received a lot more goodness than I’d hoped for.

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Ground Zero Takes Wing

Looking north into a songbird’s meadow

It’s a cool spring morning, low cloud crowned by high cirrus moving through pale blue as I step into the southern end of the meadow.  May’s coming but isn’t quite here yet.  April still has one more day to give, and this is it:  sky high and fine, breezes dry and easy, open-throated songbirds on the wing as the sun continues to climb.

Somewhere near the northern end of this meadow is Joshua’s Cache (GC1M422), my sole geocaching objective for the day here in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park.   Finding the hide is only part of what’s so satisfying about geocaching, though.  You never know what interesting discoveries you’ll make along the way.  Winding my way down to the north end of this green space brought another world into clear focus for me, a world I hadn’t paid close attention to for a long time.   Two of its emissaries were just around the bend.

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The Return of Bear’s Lodge

Walney Pond at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Walney Pond at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park

Last  Sunday afternoon in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park I found a geocache I’d first gone looking for in March, Bear’s Lodge (GC18HZ8).

This is the first time I’ve watched the park move from winter into spring.  Walney Pond is transformed from frozen gray into an explosion of life, including  lily pads, yellow irises, mallards, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds and all of us humans who flock to be in the presence of all this beauty.  Walney Pond is a worthy destination and the perfect point of departure for the trails that lead up and away into the woods beyond.

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Between Two Worlds

Near Knot Me! (GC2AN9T)

I like caches on the edge, in this case between the noisy chaos of I-66 and large, quiet green space. In the few seconds it took me to walk up to the hide I might have been seen by scores of people rushing by at 70 mph but they might as well have been in another county, another state.   They could briefly knock on the glass but they couldn’t step through.

Two For A Dozen

Leaving koz’s reinkarnated klifton kache, GCZW0WY…

On Sunday, April 17th, a clear, sunny day after a long period of soaking rains, apc9296 and I went geocaching  in Clifton and Burke Lake Park.  We found twelve geocaches altogether, a single-day record for both of us; dropped off seven toys in seven different caches; and found some scenic places we might not have seen otherwise.

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Friday Night, First “First To Find”

Parking area near Tiny Toys – Nachos (GC2V83N)

Geocachers know how good it feels to find a geocache, sign the log and leave the cache as unknown to the larger muggle world as they found it. There may be endorphins involved. Adrenalin definitely seems to play a role.

For me, bagging my first First To Find (FTF)  (being the first to log a geocache after it’s been placed by the cache owner) last night for Tiny Toys – Nachos (GC2CV83N) felt a tiny bit like I imagine an adrenalin shot to the heart might feel.  You know,  like that scene from Pulp Fiction.

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My Time With December 7th…

December 7th Travel Bug

…a travel bug I acquired from 12E Daily, a local commuter lot cache, on March 11th.  My goal was to move December 7th a good ways south since the TB owner wants it to travel as much as possible and I head south quite often on the weekends. I took a few shots of this TB in situ during our time together.

I found a home for December 7th on the 26th — Bird Sanctuary, in Orange County, 42.74 miles south of 12E Daily.  It’s a small cache, big enough for a few trackables and some toys.  I liked the cache a lot and made it one of my favorites.

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“Well of Decay” and the Civil War’s 150th Anniversary

Stone House, near GC184C "Well of Decay"

Stone House

I found virtual geocache GC184C, “Well of Decay,” earlier this afternoon.  I had to make an unexpected trip down through Manassas Battlefield Park, a place I’d driven through hundreds and hundreds of times over the last three and a half years.   “Well of Decay” asks you to stop and consider just a bit of the history and sacrifices made made on and around ground zero.

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  As a relatively new geocacher I’ve now found a pastime that compelled me to do something I should have done long ago — appreciate this battlefield for what it is, sacred and hallowed ground.

The Geocacher-Muggle Interface

Yes, I’m aware there’s not really supposed to be a Geocacher-Muggle Interface.  Stuff happens, though.

I’m rather inexperienced at geocaching.  As I write this I don’t even have a third of a hundred caches found to my credit.  Even so, I know there are  some basic rules all geocachers are supposed to follow.  Some of these rules are good for the hobby, some of them are good for the planet, and some of them are just plain good, common sense.

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A Geocaching Moment In Time

Proof of life at ground zero

Everything’s in motion at ground zero.  Folks are chowing down at nearby eateries and running their weekend errands. Muggles in motion all over the place.

One of the things I love about geocaching is it slows me down and connects me with the world — the immediate environment of the cache I’m seeking at this moment.

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A First Cache to Remember

GC2NKKD

GC2NKKD

(WARNING: spoilers below.)

Finding GC2NKKD  (My First Cache) was a blast.  The GPS coordinates looked to be right-on — the imagery on my iPhone Geocaching app didn’t have the cache out in the middle of the parking lot — so I figured it had to be on or around a certain power pole or the signposts near the power pole.

I arrived at GZ around 8:15 a.m.   It took me a few minutes to figure out the hide.  What a beautifully done cache, and it’s even more impressive because it was this geocacher’s first placed cache.

As I was driving away it occurred to me that the whole outer construct was the cache.  The CO probably had to show up at GZ in the middle of the night to do this hide.   It really does look like it belongs there until afterward when you realize that nah, that thing doesn’t do anything but hide the cache.

The whole thing is in fact a cache-in-plain-sight.

We’re just so used to seeing all manner of tubing strapped to telephone and power poles.  We have no idea what any of it does, and so all that stuff looks perfectly natural, especially when it’s next to other tubing that actually appears to serve a function.  Ingenious.

That’s the beauty of that cache on one level, using our natural perceptions of things we don’t really understand too deeply to fool us.

On another level the construction and concept of the actual hide within the cache-in-plain-sight is so very well done.

Thanks, DangerPayne, for a fanatastic first cache.