Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Geocaching - Bathurst Endurance weekend

I think the name says it all, the Bathurst Cachers recently hosted a caching event with the theme being endurance. This seemed to attract alot of interest from other cachers all over the state (including the ACT).

Along with myself, a few other Wollongong cachers formed the 'Gong Gangsters' in attempt to find as many caches as possible within the 24hr period. As the weekend drew near our excitment was heightened with the idea of a big weekend.

Friday afternoon we headed off to Bathurst via Goulburn, Taralga & Oberon. Obviously not the most direct route for us but this way gave us more caching opportunities. We quickly had 1, then 2 & 3 & 4 caches. By the time we got to Oberon we already had 10 finds. A quick loop around Oberon and we departed with another 10 or so finds. The weather leading up to the weekend hadn't been too good and as we gained altitude we were reminded how cold it can be on the central tablelands as rain and wind belted us at times. As the night went on, up went our count. We passed through some pretty small towns picking up caches here and there. At about 2am we decided to camp for the night next to the Fish River, just outside of Bathurst.

The few hours sleep went someway to recharging the batteries, but not fully as it was only 6.30am and we already had our first find for the day. As the morning went on we kept our tally ticking over and on que we arrived at the event cache where we mingled with fellow cachers, caught up on some caching tales and took in the atmosphere.

We'd decided not to play the event game, instead we chose to do local caches and as everyone set off so did we. Our plan was a clockwise arc around the southern and western region of Bathurst coupled with a trip out to Orange. This went extremely well and our route was pushed out further to include Blayney and Carcoar. Here we stopped in to check-out the impressive wind farm.

As night fell we headed back into Bathurst for a well deserved meal and more urban type caches. While the locals enjoyed a night on the town we quickly blended in and snapped up the inner town caches. A short loop around the outskirts bagged us a few more finds before our lack of sleep finally caught up with us and we returned to the event hideout for a well earned sleep.

Sunday dawned with more blue skies and the prospect of more finds. After sharing the hospitality of the Bathurst crew we were back at it again. This time with larger loops of the town planned. By now the caching had turned into a blur, but the scenery always seemed to change. If we weren't down on the river we were up in the hills or visiting an historic home or church or even getting a lap or 2 in around the race track.

Eventually with the weekend coming to an end and still the long drive ahead of us we chose to complete our chapter on Bathurst caches and head for home. Not that this was the end of our caching as we still had some highway caches to get as headed over the mountains. Another half dozen finds along the highway completed our trip. We'd been gone for 48hrs, had amassed some 1300kms and found personally 132 caches. Hoojar found 141 and Steeba 143.

Thanks to my caching buddies for a great weekend. I can't wait to do it again at the next big town.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Caching in Canberra

With the APEC summit giving some of us a day off last week I took the opportunity to do a bit of geocaching. After chatting with another local cacher (Hoojar) a plan was made to head down to Canberra and grab some of their local caches.

We left Thursday (6th Sept) afternoon for what was built as a 24hr caching stint around the northern suburbs of Canberra. Hoojar had previously done some caches around Canberra so our cache selection was made to ensure optimuin count for both of us. We knabbed our first cache at 3.30pm on the outskirts of Goulburn. Quickly our count grew, 1 then 2, 3 and and so on. Before we knew it we were up in double figures and it wasn't even sunset.

Night caching has always appealed to me, it throws a whole new dimmension into this crazy sport and caching around Canberra of a night was no different. Theres always the obvious differences, like harder to find and the unwanted and sometimes hostile muggles but overall the experience is very rewarding. With most of Canberra's caches on hills, the night views were very rewarding.

Just after midnight we opted for a few hours sleep, the 30 caches we'd already found was catching up with us and we needed to recharge our batteries.... A cool start to Friday but we were quickly back into finding caches, our first find being 6.30am. As people headed to work, we headed to our next cache and so on and our cache count quickly rose. Throughout the day the weather had taken a turn for the worse, showers had become more constant rain but this didn't stop us.

We found one of Canberra's earth caches on our travels. This involved identifying some very interesting fossils. I also got to release my latest geocoin in Canberra. Late on Friday afternoon I got to do my very first letterbox cache, this an interesting twist on geocaching and after 6 years of caching I pleased to have found my first one.

As the day come to an end we headed for home very pleased with our caching efforts. Hoojar had found 65 caches while I'd managed to bag 74 caches. All this in 24 hours.