Friday, June 03, 2005

Whoa! It's been a while...

We must have been busy!

Yep, as it happens we were. A lot of our free time was taken up:
Yep, busy... Gotta update this page quicker ;-)


Source: GeoCachingEdmonton.com
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Monday, May 16, 2005

The Century Mark!

Yep, yesterday, in a fit of GeoCaching frenzy, we reached our 100th GeoCache.

We started out the day hooking up with our good friends and neighbours Time & Space. The plan was to try something new for us -- Brass Caps. These are also know as Survey Markers and sometimes called Benchmarks.

It's tougher than you'd think...they can be easily covered by debris, buried under shrubs, or lawn! Anyway, we didn't get our first one. We went off to grab a traditional cache (to sooth our bruised egos). On our way our, we passed a group of four GeoCachers, visiting from Calgary. They were very determined to get this cap..they brought a metal detector :-)

After returning, from our successful traditional, we decided to give the elusive cap another shot. Yeah, it was there...the afore-mentioned cachers kindly left it marked with survey tape. We had been right over it..just not able to find it. Well done!

Then, after being so inspired...we went of to find 2 more caps, and a few more traditionals...our 100th being X Marks the Spot...a very clever and challenging hide!



Source: GeoCachingEdmonton.com
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Friday, April 22, 2005

GeoCachingEdmonton.com - Techincal Difficulties

Do not adjust your set...*UPDATE* IT'S UP AGAIN (which is why you're here, right?? [May 16/05] *UPDATE*

Heh...moving right along...

Just when we think we have it all under control, the folks hosting GeoCachingEdmonton.com have a technical issue with a drive upon-which GeoCachingEdmonton.com lives. They have backups, we have backups...it's just a matter of time until the site comes back on line though.

Sigh.

Stay Tuned...and do not adjust your set.


Source: GeoCachingEdmonton.com
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Saturday, April 16, 2005

What's in a cache?

Wow, what a very cool day. We spent it with about 30 of our closest (brand-new) friends....a bunch of GeoCachers from the Edmonton area.

This was a special day for more than one reason; First, it was our first CITO (Cache In, Trash Out) event. We cleaned up a small portion of Emily Murphey Park.

Second, it was the birthday of one of the coolest GeoCachers in the city...a guy with extensive bush knowledge and experience (goes by the moniker of Bush Creatures).

Third, we were able to meet up with some cool folk that we'd only bumped into online...now we have 'social/face time' with them.

All in all, a great day. Check out a more detailed report on the GeoCaching Edmonton community website at http://GeoCachingEdmonton.com.

Source: GeoCaching Edmonton
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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Almost there...

geocachingedmonton.comA lot of our free time of late has been taken up by the creation of a new community website for GeoCaching in Edmonton.

GeoCachingEdmonton.com fills the need for a community based website and forum system for GeoCachers in Edmonton.

Due to the ever-present rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary, and since Calgary GeoCachers already have a very nice and robust communty forum, we felt it was time to step up.

Now, the site is, as ever, under construction...community interest as well as other external factors conspired to have us launch it a bit before we were ready, but hey, we're a friendly lot and are happy to share. So, check it out, http://www.geocachingedmonton.com. Log into the forums and let us know what you think.

...now to finish this puppy off and get back out and GeoCaching!



Source: GeoCachingEdmonton.com
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Google Maps - now with more coolness!

You must admit, Google has produced a very cool tool with Google Maps. Well now they've just upped the value again - by allowing you to view satellite images of your map. This means that when you plot a route, you can switch to a satellite view and have the route overlaid on the satellite map!

Image resolution is rather spotty - Edmonton doesn't have high resolution maps yet, whist Kelowna does - go figure. But given the speed with which Google upgraded the Edmonton street map, I'm sure we can expect it pretty soon.


Source: Google Maps
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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

There's a New Cache in town - Part 2

Photo by Roger ErikssonChickadee Hangout is the name of the new Micro cache we've placed along the Edmonton river valley.

The terrain is somewhat challenging at this location, but the scenery is spectacular (especially during a very heavy snowfall!)

You're bound to run into these feathered friends while approaching the cache. I can't take credit for the awesome photo here, that belongs to Roger Eriksson.


Source: Chickadee Hangout, GeoCaching.com
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Friday, March 18, 2005

Premium v.s. Basic?

MSN Geocaching Group ThumbA question was posed over at the GeoCaching Alberta MSN Group last night. Part of the post caught my attention and prompted a reply ;-)
I woul just like to kown if you have 100 plus find why you are not willing to pay for a premium member ship. After 50 to 100 finds I think you would know if you like it or not. So give me reasons not to support geocaching.com. I would like to know..

Well, Testy and I have discussed this in the past, so I was comfortable with our (longer than usual) response. I won't excerpt it all here, but my key point was:
...and I think the premise of the question is flawed. Simply by playing the game, placing caches, participating in discussions like this one, encouraging others at Meetup.com or events, and posting to GeoCaching blogs...participants in GeoCaching *are* supporting GeoCaching.com...by adding value to the GeoCaching community. That value is what makes GeoCaching playable - the quantity and quality of it's participants. And I bet the business model that Groundspeak/GeoCaching.com is using *depends* on a very high level of community involvement - at the basic level.

This should get some discussion going...

Source: GeoCaching-Alberta MSN Group
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Thursday, March 17, 2005

Everything old is new again...

EarthCaching LogoI'm told that GeoCaching.com has re-introduced a previously-suspended cache type -- the EarthCache.

So, what's all the fuss? Well, this type of cache aligns with one of the reasons many of us use to help convince non-cachers of the credibility of our activity...it's educational:

Earthcaches are developed by geocachers, geologist, paleontologist, or people that have an interesting and unique earth feature near them and would like to share it with the world. All you need to get started is a GPS receiver and a good idea.

To develop your own Earthcache and share it’s educational value with others, follow the simple Earthcache guidelines and submit the GSA Earthcache Submittal Form for review and approval. Once your site had met the guidelines and is approved by GSA, you can view comments by people who have visited your Earthcache and benefited from it.

Curioiusly, EarthCaches are NOT listed on GeoCaching.com's Cache Type page...though if you do a keyword search you can pull up a listing.

Special criteria are used to evaluate EarthCache submissions:
Because of the nature of Earthcaches, they go through a special approval process in where the language and appropriateness of the cache are tested by the Earthcache team. The Team uses a set of guidelines as well as their own earth science experience to ensure that the quality of Earthcaches is maintained. The Earthcache team is also expanding to make sure that caches in languages other than English are not excluded from the project.
EarthCache.org's cache listing page shows fewer caches...but has more detail as to the creation and approval of qualifying caches. After parusing the list, it appears that some of these would be quite challenging...and fun!

Source: EarthCache.org, Today's Cacher Article
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Sunday, March 13, 2005

Weekend GeoCaching Blowout!!!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhat a wunnerful weekend for GeoCaching in the Great White North.

First up, was the afore-pictured GeoCaching get-together. Officially called the Hot Dog Cache (see below) - it was a great gathering of GeoCachers from the Alberta capital region - though some Calgary folk (pictured) managed to make the 300+km trek north to enjoy the festivities (and we enjoyed their company too!).

For this special event, a new birthday-themed cache was placed ~350 metres from ground zero -- and our CowTown guests garnered the FTF! Well done!

Door Prizes, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate (nice!), Hot Dogs (double-fine!) and Hot Comaradarie were the order of the day - especially when the day was a very blustery +3C.

I know we (Brat&Testy) enjoyed the company, as well as meeting some new (to us) Edmonton area GeoCachers...and it appears that the 20+ attendees had a good time as well. It sure inspired us to go do more caching...we bagged three more today ;-)

As for the Hot Dog Cache...check out the photos below!


Source: Hot Dog Cache, Happy Birthday ..., Photos on Flickr

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Snoring babies and Altoids?

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIn order to truly enjoy the small things in life I believe one must take at least one walk with a snoring baby. Although he didn't snore loud or a lot every so often a little chortle would drift out from behind his dad's ear to give us a chuckle.
NOTE: Did you know that according to the US government's patent office there are hundreds of anti-snoring devices on the market. Some of them startle you awake when they sense you are snoring. Unfortunately, they may only work because they keep you awake!
But I digress, Little Spud of the Time&Space crew, wasn't exactly in a great sleeping position, just happily stuffed into his too small Michelin man snowsuit perched on his dad's back in a backpack while the rest of us and big spud splooshed and slipped our way hunting for three caches downtown.

The N. Sask. river was still frozen over and there were lots of tracks on the snow still covering the ice. You know even in the dead of winter I'm not sure I'd walk on any river its just too creepy. We saw the stupid Edmonton Queen frozen to her perch on the southside of the river and what looked like a hovercraft type vehicle skim down the middle of the river. I had a flash of airboats in the Everglades, until the glare of snow and ice brought me back to reality, although I did see a really big squirrel...you know the 'gator kind waiting to drag you down a tree stump and gnaw on your pinky finger.

The caches were a bit challenging especially one of them, having never seen an Altoids container it was a challenge before we looked up the clue. When I first heard of Altoids I wondered what the heck an Altoid was as it sounded like something you got like a hemroid and certainly not anything I wanted to find out in a forest, at any rate I'm glad cache containers are not all like this!

The walkways were icy when we started out but by the time we got back to the north side of the river around noon we were all doing much more splooshing than slipping. And splooshing in a big puddle is much more enjoyable especially when you're, uh ... older ... yeah your boots are higher :)

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Friday, March 04, 2005

GeoCaching Article in this month's Canadian Geographic

This month's issue has a rather good introductory article on GeoCaching - titled "Geocaching in the Eastern Townships". The article deals with a newbies pursuit of the ubiquitous tupperware container. A pretty good read - Canadian Geographic also has an online site where an excerpt is posted, along with some Geocaching links.

Source: Canadian Geographic
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Saturday, February 19, 2005

There's a New Cache in town - Part 1

Ok, it's not really just one cache. Testy and I have been placing caches for the last few days...and we have four out in the wild (so to speak). The first three are a linked series of caches...remember to grab clues from the first two, and check the text for the third to derive the coords for the third on GC.com.

The fourth is a micro...[insert evil laugh here].

Source: The First Homes in Edmonton, Underneath the Lamppost,
Knot What Yew Expect, Argentum Baca
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Friday, February 11, 2005

So THAT'S how you use those poles!

Back when Testy and I decided that we were committed to GeoCaching, we invested in a pair of collapseable hiking poles, and boy, were they a good investment.

We split up the pair, so we each have one, but the added stability on trails is great, as is the ability to use them as bush-whacking/snow-removal tools.

But should you need more information as to how you can use these in your daily GeoCaching experience, check this little sidebar, and pole review from BackPacker.com.

Planting Pointers
How to make sure you stay upright.
By Annette McGivney, BACKPACKER Southwest Editor, December 2000

First position:
For flat trails, adjust your poles so your elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle.

Going up:
Shorten your trekking poles to compensate for the incline.

[...more at the links below.]

Source: Trekking Poles Review, How-to stay upright sidebar
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

New Maps On The Block ...but not for Canada.

Well, it looks like Google is jumping into the online-mapping pond. Google Maps (in beta, of course), is now live. It's got a funky 'live-scrolling-zooming' interface, but the data is somewhat coarse...the image to the left is as close as you can zoom in to Edmonton.

Still, it's a neat advance in web/mapping technology.

Source: maps.google.com
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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Prepping to place the prize...

While surfing for hints, help, directions, guidance to place our first cache, I stumbled upon this cool site that helps ensure consistancy in rating GeoCaches. Well Done ClayJar!

Source: ClayJar's GeoCache Rating System
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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

There's a New Cache in town - Part 0

So, we've found a few caches now - it's our turn to place one or two. This past weekend we took the trip to the local WalMart to check out containers. Finding a good, weather-proof container is important for our caches - we're in North-western Canada so it has to survive the ravages of winter.

It wasn't an easy task - most containers are designed for cupboards, not shrubbery - and at a reasonable price too! We did find a couple, but they would be most obvious in any hide, so I thought I'd do a bit of research on GeoCaching's forums - wow, talk about a great source of information.

The best tip, Camotape - from the hunting/painting sections of WalMart or Canadian Tire. One roll should do us fine. Now some of those other folk, now they have more time on their hands...

Part 1 will have more info on the upcoming cache.


Source: Camo discussion at GeoCaching.com, Cool Cache Containers
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Sunday, January 23, 2005

Awesome day for a few GeoCaches!

After a week or so of -20 (C) temps here in the wild west of Northern Alberta, we are the recipients of a few +3 (C) days...and that means Caching!

Snagged three of them today, with our best buds the Time&Space team - yeah, they're our neighbours too ;-)

On a Tech Note, I've been playing with flickr of late - and will have some snaps of today's expedition posted there (linked here) shortly...if all goes well.

Here's what we scored today:
Fun Fun Fun!





Sites: http://www.geocaching.com, http://flickr.com

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A New Home

Yep, Brat&Testy have a new home here on blogger.com. We've changed ISPs and that means that we're losing the ability to host our own blogs on our own servers - hence we're using blogger/blogspot.

What this means - I'll be slowly porting over the old blog content, but the comments will be lost.
We're not sure exactly when the cut-over will occur, so you can view the original blog at http://bratandtesty.homeip.net for a short time longer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

First 2nd-to-find :-)

Yep, another trek up Knox Mountain in Kelowna found us finding a NEW cache, The Christmas Knox Mountain Cache.

Check the log for more details but this was a first for us too - our first Travel Bug, now to get the little bugger on his way…

Yesterday we bagged to others, the ever elusive Mom’s Easter Cache - we tried this one in the summer but the lush foliage thwarted us. This time there appears to have been extensive logging, much sawdust, many stumps and logs, that made it easier. I hope the location survives…this is a fun one.

The second we found (actually the first of the day) was another in the same park - Kelowna. a good find in a neat area.

Out for more tomorrow.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Another cool concept in caching...moving caches! What a feast!

You never know what you’ll find while surfing caching sites. Here’s a great concept I can’t wait to see developed in the Edmonton area; Moving Caches!

Are you never first to find at a cache? Well that all ends now! If you?re fast enough you will be FTF on our caches! Yes it?s true that you may not be quite as fast as you thought, and find only some flagging tape where a cache should be, but sure enough, a day or two later it will show up somewhere again ready for you to discover its secret location.

Game, Set, Cache! is a moving cache for the Eastern Fraser Valley area. It is a 350ml Lock’n’Lock container with a roll of flagging tape, log book, sharpener, and pencil (and perhaps something special for the FTF!). There are no trading items in this cache. When you find it, tear off a piece of flagging tape from the roll and fix it to something where the cache was located. Remove the cache, post the find here, rehide it elsewhere, and then update the new location. The rules for the cache can be found by clicking on the link below and under the “General Rules” for the Moving Cache Game.



[source: MovingCache.com]

Geo/Terra/Earth/WhateverCaching online magazine

Just caught this month’s issue of Today’s Cacher - heh…nice cover and a great idea, a monthly magazine for cachers…yep, it’s another online resource, but it has articles not just blog posts and the like.
Added to my monthly reading list.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Local Edmonton Caches - sample export from GeoToad

Brilliant Brat has devised another cool scheme to display all the Caches within 50 miles of home base:

  1. set up GeoToad to build both, .html and .gpx files at a particular frequency. This is accomplished by calling GeoToad from a batch file with the native ms scheduler in Win2k.
  2. I’ve actually got two batch files, one for grabbing HTML, the other for GPX. I just add another line for each region (based on postal codes - also very cool) I want to update.
  3. also have the batch file copy the resulting files to my shared webserver space - enabling me to grab these files while away from the home computer.
  4. Load the resulting GPX file into GSAK. Then use GSAK to create a file for Mapsource. GSAK is great at managing all those waypoints you collect over time.

This is almost like magic :-) Gotta love technology.

[UPDATE] I just found this AWESOME overview of GeoToad.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Links to other Geocaching sites of interest

Terracaching - an alternative (splinter group) of cachers that are rabid about rating…could be a good thing!
Brat&Testy Caching Forums - currently in beta…children at play
Utopia Caching Software