Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cruising Mount Baker

Video and our route are at the end of the story. You can click on the video to watch now, or you can click on the link for EveryTrail to go to my EveryTrail page and see the actual tracks of our trip. You can also view elevation gains and mileage: you can even "play" our trip route by clicking on the arrow just below the graphs!


On Saturday Oct 24 Ken and I headed south into the U.S. to meet a group from PNW Adventures group. This group is into exploring back roads and off road areas in the Pacific North West.

We met up with the group in Lyman on Hwy #20 a few miles east of Sedro-Wooley, arriving with only 3 minutes to spare before the official departure time. Not bad timing considering we drove down from Maple Ridge BC to be there for 9.00 AM!

We piled into our 4X4's, 6 vehicles in all, and headed further east on Hwy #20 looking for Baker Road which would take us into the Mt Baker National Forest. As it turned out, we wouldn't have any use of the 4X4 side of our vehicles today, as the roads we chose were either paved or well groomed, moderately inclined gravel forest service roads.

We explored several roads that ended in mountain bowls; we checked out a snow mobile area, and drove up to a small parking area that provided an excellent view of a nearby glacier. At least that's what we think we did. The pockets of low hanging clouds obscured our view of the glacier, which, according to Mark, the trip leader, is something quite beautiful to see.

Down the mountain road we went, back to the main paved road that ran north along side Baker Lake, and followed the road past the end of the paved section until it too turned into a groomed FSR. We went as far as the end of Baker lake, were we spent some time enjoying a late lunch, the scenery, and some good company.

By the time we got back on the road it was nearing 3.00 PM, time for Ken and I to say good bye to the group and start our journey back north.

Ken and I geocached as we headed back west along Hwy #20 to Sedro-Wolley, then cached north along Hwy #9 as we headed for the border town of Sumas. It was near 7.00 PM by the time we crossed back into Canada; a few more caches in the Abbotsford area finished off our geocaching for the day.

We got back home around 8.30 PM, an early day compared to some of my recent road trips! :)
Time enough to have a late dinner, log our caches, and get to bed at a reasonable time.

Mt Baker - Tour Of South Baker & Baker Lake at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Share GPS Tracks

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Meandering Around Merritt

ABOVE: The Quilchena Hotel established 1908

Videos and my GPS tracks at the end of the trip report.........

Stu and I decided to take advantage of one of the last remaining good weekends of the year and set our sites on the Merritt area. It would be one of those long day trips where we would log 764KMs, 13.5 hours in the saddle and only 10 caches to show for it, but we got a months worth of enjoyment on the day.

Stu (geocaching name "Scruffster") and I (geocaching name "tjguy98") met up in Maple Ridge, just outside of Vancouver BC, loaded up the Jeep with the necessary survival items (2 GPS, a sandwich and a credit card) and took off down the road at 6.00 AM, lots of time for a day of caching and back road driving.

I wanted to drive a few roads in the Merritt area that I liked so much one more time before the weather changed for the worse; Stu was quite happy to come along and see some of the historic areas around Merritt, and of course we had to throw in a few caches here and there just to keep up the pace.

Our first stop was at Bridal Falls Provincial Park, just east of Chilliwack. The sixth highest falls in Canada drain the north slope of Mt. Cheam, which rises almost 7,000 feet above the Fraser Valley. In the park were two caches we planned to find; one was a cache placed last year in conjunction with B.C. Parks, this one was called "BC Parks GeoRush 2008 - Bridal Falls". The second cache we had in mind was part of this years version of the BC Parks program to encourage people to come visit the parks; this one was called "Bluesky - Bridal Falls Provincial Park". The term BlueSky is in reference to the Parks Ministry encouraging the public to think about "going green" in how they get to a cache location, as well as going green in their every day life.

Caches found, we jumped back in the Jeep and continued our eastward trek, turning north just after Hope as we followed the Coquihalla Highway, provincial hwy #5. As soon as we did this, we were on a historic path; we were now following the path of the old railway known as the Kettle Valley Railway. The railway originally ran from Hope up the Coquihalla Canyon to Brookmere, then through the Interior to Kelowna, then headed south crossing the border at Midway.

Our next stop was along the KVR rail bed just west of Brookmere; the rail bed is now part of the Trans Canada Trails system and in some parts is driveable or rideable on quads and motor bikes. This section was for quads only, as a nearby old train trestle was blocked by a post not allowing cars any further. As it was, we did not need to go any further either, the cache being located along side a quiet section of the the Coldwater River. "BlueSky - Coldwater River "S" Bend" cache was tucked away just down the trail in a picturesque location.

The railbed ran straight through this section, and you could see where the cliff was sliced to allow the tracks to pass. The river itself was a great area where small pools formed in the "S" shape of the river, making me think some fisherman would have good luck here.

From the Coldwater River we we shot north on the Coquihalla Highway through the Great Bear Shed and on past Zopkios Ridge, which is made up of huge granite slabs and soars bare of trees high above the highway. We went as far north as Merritt, and turned east along highway 97C for a few miles till we reached a roadside information kiosk explaining all about the surrounding grasslands. "Grasslands" you say? Why yes, we had left the Pacific West Coast bio zone, transited the Alpine area of the Coquihalla Summit, and were now in the Interior Dry Lands of south central BC.

The kiosk and the surrounding park area was dedicated to Laurie Guichon, a member of the pioneer farming family of the Merritt area. Laurie Guichon spent much of his life as a guardian of the grasslands and gave back to the community in many ways. The park was a way of recognizing his contributions, and to help pull in people to the area was a cache placed here as part of the Gold Country series. This series highlights historical areas near 6 communities in the southern interior of the province; this series is also funded by the BC government through its community funds to help revive the economies of hard hit cities.

This cache was also the start of what we would be exposed to most of the day; wide open spaces where your vision can stretch for miles or only as far as the next gentle rolling hill. A big change for us city folks from the West Coast where forests of cedars are the norm.

Our next cache was on the outskirts of Merritt, at the edge of the Merritt airport. "Ranchlands Cache" was accessed by a dirt road that ran along the airport, then turned the corner at the end of the runway and dead ended into a small parking area. From here were were treated to a view that extended in all directions; we could see the dry grasslands across the valley, we could watch the flow of traffic heading north along Hwy #5 to Kamloops, or another stream of traffic heading north-east along Hwy# 5A also towards Kamloops. Hwy# 5A was the main road to Kamloops before the new 4 lane super-highway opened, taking over the title of Hwy #5.

Back in the Jeep we also took the older route of Hwy 5A on our way to our next destination, the Quilchena Hotel. The hotel was built in 1908 in hopes that the KVR would be built through Merrit, traversing the east side of Nicola Lake and then up to Kamloops. Well, that didn't happen, instead the KVR only came as far north as Brookmere in the Coquihalla Valley, then turned south to Hope. The Guichon family (remember that name from the earlier Guichon Grasslands cache?) missed out on the railway traffic, but were able to capitilize on the stage coach traffic, and the tourist trade, as Nicola Lake was a popular destination. Poor economic times forced the hotel to close in 1917, but re-opened again in 1958 much to the delight of generations to come. You can read about the Quilchena Hotel here.

Time to take a step backwards a few miles as I almost forgot to mention the town of Upper Nicola.
Before the ranching town of Merritt came into being, the First Nations people in the area lived in two communities, Upper Nicola and Lower Nicola, the names coined from where the villages were located on the Nicola River.

Our first stop in Upper Nicola was at the historic Nicola Cemetery; framed by a lovely old fashioned entrance, the gate to the cemetery was chained shut. Rather than just jump the fence, we respected the communities wishes and viewed the old grave and their tombstones from the outside.

Just up the road was Upper Nicola itself, a small town that at one time was the capital of the valley. The area consisted of a sizeable population, as evidenced by the court house that still stands today. Just next door is historic Murrary United Church, built in 1876. As with many small town churches, there is an old grave yard on the church property. Here we found many graves dating from the late 1800's. The church itself was beautiful in its plainness, a small working ranch land church serving a blue collar congregation. Small wooden doors were chosen to secure the threshold, and a large bell in the belfry still had it's rope attached that the minister would pull to summon the congregation to worship.

OK folks, stay with me, we're jumping forward again a ways up the road.....

At this point we switched gears, so to speak. We moved from a caching mindset, to a more wordly mindset of looking at the land with an historical eye. We put away the caching papers, and headed north to Douglas Lake Road, a dirt road that would take us into the heart of cattle country. And you can't get much closer to cattle country than this - The Douglas Lake Ranch. The ranch is the largest working cattle ranch in BC; in it's past it supplied all the beef for the workers who built the CPR across Canada. We toured the local ranch "town" which consisted of a couple of dirt roads and employee housing. I call it a "town"as it really was a town unto itself. For the hundreds of staff and their families, this was the town they came to; the town contained a school, a church, a general store, and even had it's own Canada post office! You can see a web cam of the ranch here and read about the history of the ranch as it works through it's second century of operations, 120 years and counting.

From the Douglas Lake Ranch we retraced our steps along Douglas Lake Road until we came to a small First Nations settlement. Officially the area is known as "Douglas Lake Indian Reserve #3", the local natives know this area as "Spahomin", the word to describe the reeds in Douglas Lake that the natives used for weaving to make baskets to carry their goods.

This was also the location of the intersection of Minnie Lake Road and Douglas Lake Road; this time we were headed south along Minnie Lake Road. The new road was picturesque in its own way; instead of giving us views of wide open valleys, we were now on a bit of a roller coaster ride as we went over hill and through the dales as the road wend its way through the old bed of what once was a glacial lake. The entire area known as the Douglas Plateau, gets it's topography as a result of glaciers that flowed north to south through the valley, creating the long shallow Douglas Lake surrounded by glacial features that an amateur geologist would love. Lateral morraines, end morraines, terminal morraines, drumlins, eskers, kettle lakes and glacial erratics were all evident in our drive through the open country side.

We wound our way south as far as Minnie Lake, where we intersected with the Pennask Lake Road and followed it westward towards Nicola Lake and Hwy 5A. Try as we might, we could not make good time through here as we were continually stopping to get out and enjoy the vista that surrounded us. From the occasional cattle guard to the open range pen stocks, everything let us know we were in cowboy country, where real life was played out on the open range lands.

Eventually we made it back to Hwy 5A, leaving us on the edge of Nicola Lake. We headed back south to the town of Merritt and, switching back to caching mode, did a few in-town caches. The one we liked the best was another Gold Country cache called "Merritt View Point", and that's exactly what this one was. Located high atop a hill on the north-east corner of Merritt, a short scramble up from the parking lot gave you an eagle eye view of the city of Merritt.

The golf course was directly below us, the city lay at our feet, across the valley the open range lands started their run north back up Nicola Lake towards the vast holdings of the Douglas Lake Ranch, to the south-east the 4 lane super highway known as the Coquihalla started its run south to the alpine area of the Coquihalla Summit before it plunged down to Hope, and to the east was the green land of a well irrigated farmer's field that seemed to be have one foot in the grasslands bio zone and one foot in the montaine terraine bio zone. Quite the view point indeed; from this one sight we could view 3 different climates that help shape the BC landscape into what it is today.

Back down the hill, we turned west out of Merritt along Hwy #8 as we headed for Lower Nicola, one of the older townsites that existed before Merritt came into its own. Here we stopped at a small country intersection for an easy micro cache; but more importantly, we were back on the pathway of the old KVR at a small whistle stop known as Coyle. Today there is nothing here to advise that there was once a mighty train that came through here on its way to tackle the rugged mountains on its journey to the far end of the line. Too bad really, it would be neat if all these small forgotten places has historical signs to remind us of what once was.

We shot up Hwy 97C for a few miles as we went in search of another Gold Country cache called "Craigmont Mines". This cache was placed across the road from Craigmont Mines, a large producer of copper in its prime. It has all but ceased operations, the only activity being the recovery of media grade magnetite from the mine tailings to be used in the creation of steel or as an abrasive added to cleaning products.

Cache found, stickers retrieved for our Gold Country book to mark which caches we have found, we headed back down Hwy# 97C to Hwy #8, turned west again, and went up the next road heading for the top of Promontory Mountain, a wind swept bare peak at 7,000 feet high.

The black top road quickly turned into a forest service road, complete with uneven gravel, the occasional trench dug cross ways on the road to minimize water damage, and even a downed tree or two edging you off the FSR and making you squeeze past them. 6K later, after many switch backs, we arrived at the top of the mountain to find ourselves back in winter. Down on the Coast, my wife was enjoying a nice sunny day in out backyard in 18 degree sunshine; Here on top of the mountain, we were in a cold wind, temperature down to 6 degrees C or so, and patches of snow on the ground. Even the picnic table had snow on it, with one large icicle melting and dripping it's liquid life blood onto the cold ground.

What made up for the trip up the mountain road and the cold, wind was a cache, of course, and a great view back down the Nicola Valley to the town of Merritt some 10 K away. The cache we came for was another Gold Country cache highlighting the significant geological and biological nature of the area. Some of the flora on the mountain have specifically adapted to grow in the harsh mountain climate, and are rarely found else where.

The geological foundation of the mountain stretches back to the Upper Triassic period with intrusions dating from the Lower Jurrasic period. Many formations and rock types associated with volcanic activity can also be found on the mountain; buried amongst the rock formations are marine fossils from when the mountain top was once part of an ocean floor. That type of vision is hard to wrap your head around; how could the bottom of an ocean, thousands of feet beneath the sea, become the top of a 7,000 foot mountain? Our small human minds have difficulty grasping the enormity of our world.

Cache found, pictures taken, back in the Jeep we go to warm up and start our descent back down to the floor of the Nicola Valley. The trip down always seems so much quicker than the trip up for some reason.

This was the last cache of the day, as we were running out of daylight and nearby caches. We headed into Merritt to gas up the Jeep and gas up our tummys for the long haul back to the Lower Mainland.

We only found 10 caches on the day, but as much as we enjoyed the caching, the history and the views of the Merritt area far outweighed the caching fun.

My thanks to Stu for being such a fun shotgun partner, and for his excellent "live" video shooting taken from a bouncy Jeep on grass land roads.

My Merritt trip on; download my route to retrace my path or click on the map to zoom in on the trip.

Meandering Around Merritt at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: GPS Trip Sharing with Google Maps

Monday, September 28, 2009

Janelle Shows Us The Fun Again

I've been caching for 5 years now, (doesn't seem that long ago that I found my first cache), and the thrill of the search isn't as strong as it once was.

What is still there is the love of the drive to the cache location, the walk to the cache along some forested path or along the edge of a hidden stretch of seawall along Burrard Inlet, or a gravel path along the wide open expanse of a dyke running along a river's edge which offers a panoramic vista that surrounds us.

However, the real FUN and THRILL of the hunt can only be seen through a child's eyes. Recently I've been given the privilege of sharing that long lost feeling with a very young lady I know named Janelle. She is all of 8 years old, wide eyed and excited as can be to go out and find the treasures that only special people know about.

Her mom and I met at a couple of local caches just to give her a taste of what it's like to look for hidden treasures in the woods. And darned if it wasn't a good thing we did, as she found a well hidden cache that this veteran cacher was having trouble finding.

Her mom and dad do not have a GPS yet, but that doesn't stop Janelle from wanting to go out to find more. As a way of saying "thanks" to her for showing me what's it's like to feel the intensity of a fun day that only a child can, I placed a cache near her house for her to be the FTF on, as well as for her to maintain. Janelle's FTF prize was a small keychain flashlight for checking those dark crevasses in the forest, as well as a small note book for keeping track of her cache notes while she is on the trail. The ownership of the cache I hope will instill a feeling of being a guardian of treasures for another people to enjoy; a way for her to have fun by way of allowing others to have fun finding her cache.

The cache is named "Janelle's Cache" GC1YR1Z located in Coquitlam BC not far from the Coquitlam Centre Shopping Mall. If you have a chance, stop by, find the cache, and take a minute to remember how exciting everything was when you were a child. Those moments are long gone for us adults; we can only reclaim fleeting glimpses of them when we look through the eyes of a child.

Friday, August 14, 2009

8,000 Visitors !

After writing trip reports for various web groups I belonged to, such as the Full Size Jeep club and the BackRoads Driver group, both on, I decided that I wanted to have my own site where I could post trip reports and stories that crossed multiple interests.

I was originally thinking of having my own web site, but decided that a blog was easier to do and would fill the need. On Oct 2 2006 I launched my blog and added some trip reports and pictures from my "archives".

Here we are, not quite 3 years later, and I now have 74 entries on my blog, and have had over 8,000 visitors! WOW, that's more that ever thought would be honest I don't know how many I was expecting to visit when I entered the online world.

Things I did foresee; my still writing of trip reports and putting pictures up on my Flickr site so every one could "come" along the trip with me, in the virtual world if not in the real world.
I expected some family members and a few close friends and a few 'Net friends to visit over time.

Things I did not foresee? I certainly did not envision having people from around the world take an interest in my site; I did not foresee hits from over 40 countries on my counter; I did not foresee myself getting into video and making short films about geocaching, off-road exploring and other exploits I get myself into.

What really amazes me is how my simple plan of having a web presence has morphed into a larger world of videos, pictures, and stories supported through various media such as a Video editing tool, a Web blog, two web sites to store pictures, and an account on a video web site.

Not to mention the various web groups I belong to and have posted messages to and uploaded my media presentations to. I have even had one of my pictures of England used on This is a web site that is a combination map and picture site...

So here's to the next milestone of 10,000; which now doesn't seem that far away...

PS If you want to know how far back I go with my trip reports on the web, here's a clue. I found one of my original stories archived on a friend's web site; the date I wrote the story is May 26, 1997. Have a look at the early web days of Ed at

Thanks for visiting, and if you've enjoyed the site, please leave a comment at the bottom of this article or any other article you've enjoyed.

Ed Pedersen AKA tjguy98

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver

ABOVE: Lonsdale Quay

Annette and I spent a sunny afternoon wandering around Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver as a way of enjoying a slow day of holidays. The weather was perfect, nice sunshine, just a little bit of clouds, and not too hot.

The Quay is a great place to visit as it has many food shops located on the lower floor where you may buy fresh ingredients for tonight's dinner. If you want to take home your dinner, or enjoy a lunch now, there are plenty of kiosks in the Food Fair area. As well, there are two levels upstairs that offer higher end stores stocked full of cute and unique gifts, games, and clothes. They even have a "Kid's Alley" devoted to shops just for the rug rats.

We have a family friend who's daughter just had a little boy a month or so ago, and Annette is going to the baby shower in a couple of days; we picked up a cute little jumper in Baby Blue with writing on the front. The writing states: "All Mommy Wanted Was a Back Rub"!

When we seen that, we couldn't stop laughing and just had to buy it as the perfect baby shower gift!

ABOVE: The yacht Attessa owned by Dennis Washington

We went outside to meander the Quay dockside and walk the Burrard Dry Dock pier. We opened the door to go outside and the first thing that filled our vision was this HUGE yacht!
This thing was massive, and we could only begin to dream about what it must be like to cruise on this vessel.

We walked over to the Burrard Dry Dock pier, which was the old grounds of the Burrard Shipyards were over 450 vessels were made, many of the BC Ferries came from here as well.
The pier runs for 700 feet out into the waters of Burrard Inlet, giving you an excellent view of the Vancouver waterfront on the south shore of the inlet. It also gave us an unobstructed view of the Attessa, in all it's glory.

We walked back towards the Quay just as a twin prop 10 passenger float plane came in for a landing and taxied towards the Attessa. We waited for a few minutes and snapped off some shots of the plane landing and then docking next to the Attessa. It was no coincidence that the plane's colourings matched the Attessa, it was also from the Washington group.

We watched as two older gentlemen and one younger man deplaned and headed up the ramp towards the street. We managed to come around and meet them out on the street; we were very interested to see if we recognized anyone.

Well, we didn't, but Annette managed to snap a couple of photos of them anyways just in case. The young fellow looked like he should be a hockey player; about 6'2' with a good build ready to play the position of a tough defenceman. The older gentlemen we did not recognize, sad to say.

We finished up our walk around the piers and shops in the quay, then joined the rush hour crowd back to Maple Ridge. When we got home, the first thing we did was download the pictures, and then start googling the's what we found out.

First, one of the older gentlemen we passed was Dennis Washington himself, presumably just back from the island resort.
The Attessa is 225 feet long, the 16th biggest yacht in the world; it is owned by Dennis Washington out of Seattle. The billionaire owns, among others, the following enterprises: The Washington Marine Group, (who owned the Fast Cat ferries and just sold them to a Middle Eastern buyer), he owns Seaspan Tugs, which was why he was docked there, and he owns a private island on the BC coast complete with a golf course and guest resort. He also owns several airplanes, one which mainly flies in BC ferrying guests and owner from Vancouver to the island resort and back.

The man loves to live in the luxury he can afford, all the power to him!
With dreams of yachts and private islands dancing like sugar plum fairies in our heads, we uploaded a few pictures to our web sites, looked at each other, and sighed....."ahhhhh, if only".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Crazy Canyon Caching

ABOVE: Somewhere on the Thompson River

Crazy Canyon Caching is an excellent name for this trip report as the whole day fits into the category - just crazy!

Here's the stats on the day; 22 hours on the road, 770K, 12 Gold Country Caches for Cookie Cacher, 12 more for me to obtain my 24 caches required for the Gold coin, a total of 60 caches for me and 66 for Cookie Cacher!

Videos and the GPS route of the day's trip, uploaded to, can be found at the end of the write up.


I had been up the Fraser Canyon two weeks ago with Stu, AKA Scruffster, as we blasted our way through the canyon one early morning on our way to Cache Creek to arrive just in time for the official late morning kick off of the Gold Country Geotourism event. The event was being held in 6 cities, Cache Creek, Clinton, Lillooet, Lytton, Merritt and Logan Lake, all in an effort to promote tourism in the area.

All that morning, we kept on passing caches that just begged us to pull over and find them; with broken hearts we passed them by, knowing full well we would be back here soon answering their call. This Saturday we were back, only instead of Scruffster being in the shotgun seat, it was Jeanine AKA Cookie Cacher.

Cookie Cacher had been asking to go caching with me for quite a while, and today seemed like the right time for me to make good on my promise of a day of caching together.

We met up in Maple Ridge at 6.00 AM, me almost sleeping in and waking up only 20 minutes before we had to meet. We met up, both of us semi-awake, loaded Jeanine's stuff into the Jeep, and cruised east out of Maple Ridge aiming for the Fraser Canyon.

We did a couple of caches just north of Hope as a way of warming up on the day, then made our way to Emory Creek area where 4 caches awaited us.

One of the caches highlighted the Emory Creek area, explaining how there was a townsite here in the 1880s; it boasted of 13 streets, two hotels, nine saloons, a brewery, blacksmiths, a general store, and residences. It soon became evident that the CPR would make Yale the terminus of the railroad, and by the 1890s no sign was to be found of Emory City.

Also in the area is a Provincial historic signpost explaining the significant contribution of the Chinese in building the original Cariboo Road, and later the railroads.

We found the 4 caches in the area, then moved on to Yale to look for caches there.
In Yale there are several historic places, suchs as the oldest church in BC still on it's original foundation, Lady Franklin Rock, named after Lady Franklin who toured the world while her husband was on his expedition to the Artic.

Another little know fact is that, in 1868 there was a meeting of 26 delegates from all over the colony of BC who were dissatisfied with the colonial government. This convention did much to stimulate popular support for the idea of the Colony of BC uniting with Canada to become a province of Canada.

We finished up in the Yale area, then moved north on our journey, grabbing various roadside caches that highlighted the best scenic viewpoints in the Fraser Canyon, or otherwise little mentioned historic areas.

Another of the more historic spots was highlighted with a cache placed on a trail; not just any trail, but an HBC Fur Brigade Trail.

This one was placed a short ways up the trail next to Alexandra House. Alexandra House was a road house on the original Cariboo Wagon Road, and the fur brigade trail predates the road house. The original road house was torn down and the current one built, supposedly using one or two of the original road house walls. Hard to determine which ones were used, but even so, the current building is pretty old as is.

The cache was located about a 5 minute walk up the trail from the noisy canyon road, but you might has well been 100 miles from anywhere. The trail leads over the mountains into the Coquihalla Valley, on through the Voight Valley, then cuts across the Douglas Lake Ranch holdings on it's way to Fort Kamloops.

In it's heyday, the pack trains of horses were an incredible site; 500 horses packed with large 80 pound bales of fur on each side, requiring 150 men to run the pack. The First Nations people would watch this procession go by in amazement; never had they seen so many "English" men at one time.

In the Gold Rush days, there were two kinds of white man; those that came from America were called "Boston men", as many of the gold seekers came from Boston. Every one else was called an "English men", as most of the non-Americans were English.

This was a great chance to stretch our legs and provided the wonderful experience of allowing us to step back in time, if just for a few minutes, and imagine the sound of many hooves from labouring horses, intermingled with the voices of the packers encouraging their charges to keep moving.

Northward we continued, stopping at more viewpoints and scenic waterfalls till we got to Boston Bar, the site of a bar in the river first worked by American miners, hence the name "Boston Bar". Here we did a couple of caches aimed at highlighting the old suspended cable car that use to run over the Fraser River from Boston Bar on the east side, to North Bend on the west side.

Many an old folks have used this cable car, and can still vividly recall their trips. Years ago the cable car was replaced with a high level bridge to provide more permanent and improved access for the residents on the west side of the river.

In Lytton we came across our first Gold Country caches, where we started collecting stickers to place in our books. We visited a historic church, The Church of St. Mary and St. Paul, and the Lytton cemetery; we also stopped at the Lytton Jelly Roll, so called because, looks like a giant jelly roll. The roll was created in an ice bound lake during the last glaciation period when an underwater landslide caused the sediment layers to slump away. Rather than breaking up and dispersing, the layers rolled up instead to look like a jelly roll.

With jelly rolls on our minds, we scoured Lytton for as many more caches as time would allow, before we headed north once again.

Next stop, beautiful Nicomen Falls; get ready for a great view of a tall waterfall seemingly coming out of a crack in the hill, and a steep short hike to find the cache. This one I looked forward to doing, and I didn't.....I'm no so good on uphills... :(

But, there was no way I was going to pass on this cache just because I had to huff and puff a little bit; besides, I was hedging my bets......I had Cookie Cacher along to perform CPR in case I over exerted myself... :)

As it was, a short, 2 minute hike brought us to the cache location...."well, that was easy"!
"What was I whining about"? With cache in hand and cameras going, we took a few minutes to enjoy the area, before the calls of the caches up the road begged us to continue.

Into Spences Bridge we went, criss crossing the small town while we searched for caches at a cemetery, at the oldest Inn in BC, at a small camp ground on the banks of the Thompson River, and at a small cafe called The Packing House.

Caches found, it was time for a "time check"; it was 5.30 PM-ish.....oh boy, so many more caches to do, so much more ground to cover.

We raced towards Ashcroft picking off caches as we went, taking the time at each cache to enjoy the scenery. As much as we wanted to to the "dash and grab" thing, the vistas where just so beautiful we couldn't help but stop to admire the land and think of what it was like over 100 years ago. It might not be all that different now; the clear blue Thompson River cutting it's way through the surrounding lowlands of glacial till, vast morraines of gravel and sand left by the retreating glaciers 10,000 years ago. The low rainfall, hot sun, and poor soil combine to make this the land of sage brush and rattlesnakes.

We arrived in Ashcroft around 7.30 PM, knowing that we had two, maybe three hours of daylight left before we would have to make a decision; whether to quit at night fall, or break out the flash lights.

We did the Ashcroft caches as quick as we could, then moved up to Cache Creek to pick up the ones there. By now it was around 8.30 PM....what to do, what to do.....we still had a few more caches to do, and I was getting caught up in the Gold Country quest as I only needed 4 more caches to get my 24.

We made the daring decision to push through to Clinton to pick off the caches we could, specifically the Gold Country caches. It was after 9.00 PM by the time we got into Clinton, and we needed to break out the mini mag lights to find the caches around town, all the while trying to not be too suspicious waving flashlights around in a small town.

We grabbed the Gold Country cache at the historic St Peter The Apostle church by the light of the flash lights and got away from the church lest we looked like we were up to no good.

Back in the Jeep, we counted the Gold Country caches, I now had 23, I needed one more! ARRRGGHH.......

Oh well, by now it was after 10.00 PM and it was time to start heading south for the long drive.
Visions of completing my Gold Country quest were fading as I realized it was not to be this day, and that I would just have to do another tour to the area.

Heading back to Cache Creek, Cookie Cacher says to me, "you know, there is another Gold Country cache called Hat Creek just 26K west of Cache Creek on Hwy #99"

I ran the logistics through my head, guesstimating how long it would take to drive out west, find the cache, drive back, and then dead head all the way back to Vancouver. I came to the conclusion that it was better to say "enough's enough", and head home.

Cookie Cacher gave me one more assurance that if I wanted to go grab the cache, she was willing......tempting, but nahhh....time to turn towards home.
As we approached the turn off for Hwy #99, I was content to know that one more cache was waiting for me some where down that highway.

"Wait, what's this".....that adrenaline rush was starting in the brain and moving down my arms, and then into my hands....and then a 'force' over came me and I turned the wheel hard so that the Jeep's grill was now pointed west ward towards the last remaining cache.

I couldn't see Cookie Cacher in the darkened cab of the Jeep, but I swear she was smiling, knowing that I had felt the irrestible pull of "just one more cache"!

Down the highway we ran, highbeams picking up the curves of the road as it meandered through what I remember is a lovely small valley with farm houses filling in the loneliness of the land.

We arrived at a fork in the road, one sign saying Hat Creek Road....Cookie Cacher says "thaddaway 4K" we go on the gravel road, the Jeep's tires hugging the gravel around the corners keeping us safe. We come to one more fork in the road, Cookie Cacher says "Left" on Upper Hat Road, just one more K and then "STOP"!

We park the Jeep on the side of the road, leave the parking lights on to help us find our way back in the dark, break out the BFLs and plunge off into the bush counting down to the treasure 30 metres away. We end up going in circles for a few minutes before Cookie Cacher leads us to a suspicious looking wood pile; we grab the wood off the pile and YES, YES, YES!! there it is!!
Number 24 of the Gold Country caches found, the day is now complete!

We sign the log, ensuring we grab the required stickers, I do a little bit of the "Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah" dance singing "uh huh, uh huh, oh yeah, oh yeah, complete with the arms and hip movements! Cookie Cacher is not impressed....actually I think she was trying hard not to laugh at me......

Back in the Jeep, back down Upper Hat Creek Road , then down Hat Creek Road as Cookie Cacher reads about the coal deposits found in the area, back down Hwy #99 to the turn off for Cache Creek, then into Cache Creek for a tank full of gas for the Jeep, and a stomach full of Momma and Sirloin Burgers for us.

We looked back on the day, thinking how 6.00 AM was so long ago, it seemed like yesterday, and it almost was. Stomachs full, we started back through town when I said to Cookie Cacher, "wait, there's one right there you can get".

So, here we are, in downtown Cache Creek, in the middle of the busiest intersection in town, right by the Dairy Queen, at midnight, finding our last cache.

OK, OK, that's really enough now!! Let's put away the GPS' and start home.
And we did, back down along the Thompson River, through Spences Bridge, through the Thompson River Canyon, entering back into familiar territory when we once again joined the Fraser River at Lytton.

Down on through the Fraser Canyon we travelled, past caches that we found oh so long ago....
We spit out of the Canyon at Hope, now on flat land, and hightailed it back to where Cookie Cacher had left her car in Maple Ridge.

It was just before 3.30 AM that I dropped her off, I'm sure she didn't get home till after 4.00 AM. 22 hours on the road, a whole day come and gone in the search for little tupper ware containers in the bush...some how it all seems so normal to me! :)

It took me hours to go through and log the caches, and I'm sure it was the same for Jeanine, not to mention the pictures to download.

Still, if you asked me to go up country this weekend and do it again, I'd say sure! That is, if I'm allowed.... LOL

Videos below, as well as the GPS Route I made of the day and uploaded to

You can click on the map to go to and see more details. You can also change the map type be selecting a different map style from the drop down menu in the upper right.

Fraser Canyon Caching at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail: Geotagging Community

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gold Country Caching - Cache Creek

Had the good fortune to do a road trip to Cache Creek for the kick off of the Gold Rush Event on this past Saturday. Cache Creek is one of 6 B.C. Interior cities that have benefited from government funds to help the local economy recover during this economic downturn.

Cache Creek, Lillooet, Lytton, Clinton, Logan Lake and Merritt were all part of the Gold Rush Geocaching program designed to bring tourism dollars into the cities.

Aprrox 72 caches were placed between the cities and surrounding areas, highlighting the historical locations and at the same time, bringing in a new wave of tourists, in this case geocachers.

I had the pleasure of sharing the day's journey with Scruffster, also known in real life as Stu. I have travelled a fair amount in BC, as have many other cachers, and know the lower part of BC fairly well. Spending a day with Stu is always a treat, first because he's just basically a great guy; second, sharing a road trip with a person who doesn't see this part of the world very often reminds myself of why I like travelling as much as I do. Stu's excitement is contagious, and it leads me into enjoying the trip that much more.

The gawd awful time of 6.00 AM was the pre-arranged meet time in Maple Ridge where Stu would leave his car and jump in the Jeep. That meant I had to get up around 5.00 AM, and Stu was up even earlier....I think Stu was up at 4.00 AM !

We met up, loaded Stu's things into the Jeep, and then set off eastbound and down on the Lougheed Hwy.

We did a cache in Chilliwack just to warm up, but we should have taken this as an omen; it was a real, simple hide, that took Stu and I the better part of 15 minutes! Sadly, our caching skills would not improve much on the day.

We then travelled up the Fraser Canyon, with Stu shooting video for me where possible and firing off his own camera when ever he could. We stopped at the old Alexandra Bridge, then stopped just up the road at the Alexandra Lodge where we took some more shots of the old building and made note of the start of the First Brigade Trail, a Hudsons Bay Brigade Trail that wound over the mountains into the Coquihalla Valley.

Back on the road we stopped again at Hell's Gate to have a look over the edge at the river and building complex down below. While filming here, the gondola cars moved; one went down and one came up; on the one coming up, a woman was sitting out on the structure of the large arm that attached the car to the cable. She was obviously a tech checking the cable for wear and tear; if you think it's scary enough inside the car suspended over the canyon, try sitting outside above the car in a seat barely big enough for your bum! Didn't seem to faze her though....

From there we basically made a bee line for Cache Creek to make it in time for the 11.00 AM dead line where they would hand out the locations of the caches. We arrived at 10.30, which gave us time to sign in, put our name in for door prizes, and eat some of the large geocaching cake made especially for the kick off festivities.

At 11.00 AM precisely, a book was handed out to the cachers; the book contained not just the caches for Cache Creek, but for the other cities as well. Each cache had two pages dedicated to tell the historical significance of the area so that we may appreciate the history presented to us as we looked for the cache.

The cache pages also had parking co-ordinates, and the actual cache co-ordinates, it even gives the cache co-ordinates in UTM. Plus, as an added incentive to those non-cachers, the cache is also designed as a letterbox type. That means, rather than being provided with GPS co-ordinates, you are supplied with a set of instructions such as "walk 10 feet past the last fence post, then turn right and count 20 steps till you reach a large boulder". This way, even non-cachers can still be drawn to the local historical locations and have a chance to re-live the past.

Having this book is a great idea; you can pick up the book from the local tourism office, then as you travel through the Interior of BC following the Gold Rush Trail, you can pick and choose which caches to do, at the same time be educated about the history of the province.

The benefit to the communities is that they have now created themselves as a destination point, rather than a drive-through town. This will pay dividends in time for the local business owners; here's an example I over heard from just one couple this weekend; they arrived Friday night, head a few drinks in one of the local pubs, went over to a restaurant and had dinner, then stayed at a motel. In the morning they got up, had breakfast, started caching, had lunch, gassed up the car, had dinner and then headed home to Vancouver. Each one of those businesses benefitted from the Gold Rush campaign as, more than likely, they would have not even stopped and would have carried on to another destination like Kamloops.

Scruffster and I cached the morning away in Ashcroft and Cache Creek meeting up with several other cachers at various cache locations as we all searched for the elusive treasure hidden by the local Gold Rush group. The morning passed quickly and soon it was after lunch before we knew it.

We met up with another set of Vancouver area cachers called MSthebrain and Pinky, and decided to travel together as we started thinking about a route home. We decided by heading south-east we could hit Logan Lake and Merritt, two other participating cities in the Gold Rush event. This enabled us to pick up 12 event caches on the day; 12 more and we can send away for a special prize which I understand is a gold nugget... ""

We had a great day doing the road trip, we had a ton of fun doing the Gold Rush caches and learning the history of the areas, and we had absolute blast spending time with MSthe brain and Pinky, they made the long trip home seem so much shorter.

AND, we got to share their finding of their 3,000th cache...only we didn't know it at the time and I'm not sure if they did either! :)

The road trip ended up being 750 K and 17 hours long, but I would do it again in a heart beat if I could. It was the two things combined that make up the core of a geocacher; exploring the open road and exploring new areas and finding new caches. In other words, just exploring is what drives a lot of us; that curiosity to see and find something new!

A big thanks to the Gold Rush staff who put this event together, and congrats to their cities for having the foresight to look at a new form of low impact tourism.

I have split the day's journey into two videos loaded up to YouTube. You can see them watch here or by going to my YouTube page here to view them and other geocaching videos I have done.

Cache On!

Monday, June 08, 2009

A long day of Caching in Burnaby, North Delta, Surrey

ABOVE: New fountain at the corner of Kingsway and Edmonds in Burnaby; sybolic as Byrne Creek starts under the roadways in this area

Spent a very full day with MrTJ on the roads of Burnaby, North Delta, North Surrey and Fort Langley before catching the Fort Langley ferry back home to Maple Ridge.

Not much news to talk about in terms of the caches found; more to show in pictures really.
Have a look at some of the pictures posted on my Flickr site here

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Surrey Caching

ABOVE: Darts Hill Garden Park in South Surrey

Ken and I had a great day of caching in the South Surrey area today, visiting some neat places we had been previously, and some we had not.

One of the places we always enjoy going to is Redwood Park; there you can see not just redwoods that the South Coast is well known for, you can also see many imported trees planted by brothers Peter and David Brown when they owned the land in the early years. They cleared the land and planted over 30 exotic species not seen before in BC.

Another place that Ken and I had not known about before, were the Darts Hill Gardens left to the City of Surrey, by owners Edwin and Fransisca Darts. They lovingly worked their large property for over 60 years turning it into an oasis, and now the citizens of Surrey benefit from their passion. Visit the web site for Darts Hill Garden Park here.

The other highlight of the day was visiting historic Hazelmere Church and reading the informational sign describing the age of the building and how the building served multi denominations of worshippers. These were the types of places that we really appreciate cache owners sharing with us...

I have a dozen or so photos from the day's trip listed on my Flickr site which you can view here.

TIPS: Right click on the link and say "Open in New Tab" so you can keep the blog page open _and_ view the write up at the same time.

Don't forget to start the slide show, (upper right corner of the screen) and remember to click on "Show Info" to see the captions with the photos.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Great Coal Rush Event in Tulameen - a Geocaching Adventure

ABOVE: Original timbers shoring up KVR tunnel in Princeton

This May Long Weekend was when the Great Coal Rush geocaching event was hosted by the Tulameen Turtles in their home town of Tulameen.

The event area was in a radius of 50 kilometres from Tulameen itself; caches were placed as far south as Princeton and as far north as old railway town site of Brookmere between Hwy 5A and the Coquihalla Highway. A total of 55 caches were on the list of ones to find over the course of the 3 day event.

MrTJ and I did not have the good fortune to be able to attend all 3 days, however we were fortunate enough to be able to attend on Sunday to do some leisurely caching during the day. Our goal was to cache in the Princeton area, then arrive and check in at the Tulameen Turtle lair in the early afternoon. Well, that was our goal....we can now where close with our timing.

We grabbed a few caches on the way to Princeton, then aimed for our first cache at an old Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) tunnel just on the edge of town. Here we met up with some local Vancouver-area cachers in the form of Catapult Jeff and Iron Maiden, Pollywogg, the Wild Wiggly Beanz, the 911Turbos, Scruffster, and Goaliegirl38.

They were just walking back to their vehicles after doing the two caches in the area; we planned on only doing the closest one and then carrying on. We said our "hello's" and said TTYL as they continued on and we went for the cache.

We found the cache quick enough, then headed to the next one on our list; and who did we run into again just as we arrived, and they were leaving? Yep, the "crowd" again..

For the next couple of caches we were a few minutes behind them, and they eventually waited for us to catch up so we could all travel together.

We headed south of Princeton to do 3 caches in the area of the old Allenby mining town; not much is there now but a few old concrete structures of the mill and concentrator. At one time this was a booming town, but like so many mining towns, you would be hard pressed to find much left with a casual look.

The good thing to happen from all this, is that there are indeed many mining areas in the region, and if you look hard enough, you will find many structures still standing, especially in the Blakeburn area in the hills above Coalmont.

The whole idea of this event was to highlight the mining history in this part of the province, and to share the history with fellow cachers. The Tulameen Turtles did an excellent job of that this weekend.....

Back in Allenby, we found the first two caches soon enough, then continued onto the next one down the hill. This one was called "Standing Wall Sinking Shaft" and it was located at the base of a wall of volcanic rock that had extruded from the earth. All around this wall were several mine shafts that were beginning to cave in, making the area a bit dangerous to search in. The shafts just looked like large holes in the ground, but I'm sure there was a lot more of the "hole" beneath the layer of earth that we seen.

ABOVE; wall of volcanic rock

We finished off with these caches, did a couple more in Princeton, then headed for Tulameen while working on a multi cache called "Meet the Cachers". This was a Turtles cache that brought you to cacher's neighbourhoods in Princeton, Coalmont, and ended in Tulameen.

We met several of the cachers along the way, and stopped and had pleasant conversations with them. The final was located on the edge of the Tulameen River, a pretty spot indeed.

Back in Tulameen it was now almost 6.00 PM, and at 6.30 PM the group was scheduled to meet in front of the web cam in beautiful downtown Tulameen to have a group photo done.

Not all cachers were able to make the photo op due to time constraints, but we had a good representation of the weekend gang.

Right next door to the web cam location was the hall were we met to have a pot luck dinner, and man was the food good, and plenty of it. Don't know how all these people staying in tents or pop up campers managed to make such good food, but they did...

Kris and Jordy, AKA the Tulameen Turtles, presided over the night's affair as door prizes were given out, and the poker players in the cacher group turned in their best hand from the envelopes they had picked up at various caches. Each envelope contained playing cards to make up your poker hand.

The prizes were awarded, the night wound down, and the folks in the hall gave Kris and Jordy a very, very well deserved round of applause saying "thanks" for all your hard work on an event that was beyond belief. Every one has been raving about the good time they had searching for caches and learning the rich history of the area.

This event has set a very high bar for any caching events to follow - again congrats to Kris and Jordy on a fantastic event that came off without a hitch.

After the event MrTJ and I said our goodbyes to our caching friends, then began the long haul back down to the Lower Mainland. The trip would take longer going back then coming up, as the mountain roads are not as safe to drive fast in the dark as they are in the day. One of the reasons I was in no rush as the number of deer in the area is high and they all seem to come out at night.

Between Tulameen and Princeton, as space of 18 miles, we counted 55 Mule deer, many wandering on the highway. Wouldn't want to bump into one of those on a blind turn...

We arrived back in Maple Ridge around 1.00 AM; I dropped off MrTJ, then drove home and dropped myself off into bed....the Jeep can wait till morning to get unpacked....

This event did live up to its name...."The GREAT Coal Rush"

A two part video can be viewed on my YouTube channel here

The cache page for the Great Coal Rush Event can be found here
Below is a map from showing the waypoints for the day.
Click on the link at the top of the map to go to my page on to see a full size version.
Change map views from the drop down menu to see a satellite version of the map

Tulameen Geocaching Event - The Great Coal Rush at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Snapping Shots of Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows

ABOVE: floats for fishermen's nets await their turn to bob in the Fraser River

Annette and I took advantage of a nice sunny day and the later daylight hours to take a few photos in the Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows areas alongside the Fraser River.

One of the places we went was a working dock for fishermen; small fishing boats tied up at the rivers edge and no frills marine shops on the surrounding roads let you know this was a blue collar area.

The second was a new subdivision at the end of Bonson Road in Pitt Meadows; this was the site of an old lumber mill. The site has been reclaimed and the contaminated fill trucked away, to be replaced with cleaner land. Many new smaller homes and townhouses have filled in the landscape; a walking trail at the river's edge, along with an open grassy area provides the families access to the Fraser River to sit and view the working boats go buy. A great view of the new Golden Ears Bridge can be had here as well....

You may view the photos by clicking here to go to my Flickr account.......ensure you click on "slideshow" in the upper right corner to start the show................if you want to see the captions for each picture, move your mouse to the upper right of the picture area and click on "Show Info"

Monday, March 23, 2009

New West & Surrey Caching

ABOVE: Caboose at Carre Heritage Square in Mallairdville

Had a fun filled day of caching with Bowser98, TRWFAN, and MrTJ in the New Westminister and Surrey areas on this past Sunday, a glorious sunny day on one of the first days of Spring.

We met up in New West at Moody Park to look for a couple of caches there, then we moved through New West picking off several more caches before we headed over the bridge to Surrey.

One of the nicer places we visited was earlier in the morning while MrTJ and I were on our way in from Maple Ridge. We stopped off in Coquitlam in the Mallairdville area so I could grab a cache at the Carre Heritage Square, the centre piece of Mallairdville celebrating the French heritage of the area.

You can find a good write up on the history of the area here

This is a living museum, with several original buildings on site, such as Mackin House and the CPR railway station. The local community have done a wonderful job of presenting the history of the area through means such as informative sign boards on the grounds, plus they have various activities through out the year.

Let's zoom back over to New West where we continued picking off caches around the Royal City, then we caravanned over the Patullo Bridge to continue caching along the Scott Road corridor.

On the trail in a wooded area on our way to the cache called "Hmscherlic Speaks" we came across a male Pileated Woodpecker who let us get very close to him; I took the opportunity to shoot some good close up video of him pecking at a small stump. As for the cache Hmscherlic Speaks, well, that's a whole story to have to read the log write ups from the various cachers; go to GCZV20 and view the stories written about this cache!

Another of my favourite places to visit during the day was Burns Bog; there are two caches there we had not yet done. And being no fools, we knew it was a lot better to go in the cool weather, than in the warm summer months. The last cache we did here was called "Plasma Bandits", and they lived up to their name. We were swarmed as we searched for that cache, so today was the day we picked to find this one before the little pests awoke from their winter slumber.

On the day we searched for a total of 21 caches, with 19 found and two DNFs where the caches had been muggled...not bad for the amount of driving involved....

As usual, it was more fun to get out and stretch our legs than it was to add up the numbers to our creds; having said that, I was glad to finally get to the 1600 mark. With the poor weather and the snowy winter, I had been hovering around the 1580'ish mark for what seems like forever. Glad to get that minor milestone out of the felt like a little hump I just couldn't get over...not irritating or annoying, but still satisfying to get past it nonetheless....

Video can be viewed by clicking in the centre of the image below: enjoy!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Fear Caching 101

Hate sticking your hands into dark crevasses looking for a cache and instead find something gooey and warm? EWWW!!

Well then, you would have hated this caching event - it was all about bugs and goo and dead things and squirming live things - some which may have been edible!

The twisted genius of a cacher known as Pearlwind, backed up by his equally sick compatriots The Tulameen Turtles held a caching event called "Fear Caching - 101"!

The event was all about conquering your fears of wiggly, gooey things by making you stick your hand into ammo boxes filled with all kinds of things from broken glass to squiggly worms, and some other substances that defined identification, (I hope it wasn't pureed bug guts)

This was all in an effort to find 10 clues that would lead you ultimately to a cache hidden on the grounds of the hotel where the event was held. In the cache was the secret combo to the small safe back in the meeting room.

Part of the search involved going up to room 239 where a suicide had taken place; a desparate cacher had gone mad from his last DNF and drowned himself in the in-suite jacuzzi. Not sure when he had done this, as all that was left was just his bones. Of course some sick individual had stuck some tags on the poor fellow and made a TB out of him!

Many cachers trooped up to the room to search for clues; once there you had to A) read the suicide note, and B) phone the room's voicemail box to retrieve another clue.

If that wasn't enough for you, there was a scavenger hunt to be done; pretty sure it involved sticking your hand into a small hole in an 8 foot stump; inside the hole was bugs, lots and lots of bugs, all squirming in their own juices.... cough, cough, haaaack....sorry, must have been a bug in my throat.

Not real bugs of course, but those brave enough to try were rewarded with slimy hands that took for ever to wash off...that part was real!

There was a great turn out for this event, as it seemed to strike a chord with all cachers who could honestly say "been there - done that" when it came to the icky, unidentifiable stuff on your hand after you have reached under a rock or in between tree roots.

Of course, the ones that had the most fun were the kids - all that yucky stuff was pure heaven for them, and they were the bravest of the lot.

It was a momentous undertaking by Pearlwind to stage the event, and one had to slow down on the hunt to really appreciate the attention to detail both in the main event room, and up in room 239. That's not to mention the other clues hidden around the hotel in various public areas.

Every one raved about the fun they had in their Attended logs on the cache page, and all agreed that it was one of the most fun events they have been to. Caching is a family sport, and this event was made in heaven...err..hell just for the little ones.

You can view the video by clicking on the image below...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Geocaching 101 Coquitlam - 2009

Over the past couple of weekends, the British Columbia Geocaching Association (BCGA) held several meet and greets around the province to welcome, and educate, the newer members of the sport.

MrTJ and myself attended the event in Coquitlam as these events draw not just the new folks, but the long time cachers as well. It's always a good time catching up with the friends you have made through the sport, as well as meeting the new members just coming on board.

The BCGA did a good job of gearing this to the new members as most of the day's events centered around ideas like; how to use your GPSr, what are the different types of caches, what does a cache look like, etc. Plus, there were 10 caches hidden around the area where cachers of all skill level could get some practice on different hides, especially the ones that encouraged you to "think outside the box".

Plenty of people attended the event, but as most of them were outside either looking for the caches or on a learning walk-about with a BCGA member, the first impression was of a poor turnout. Not so....everyone was outside having fun! As it should be....

There were also door prizes to give away, as well as an opportunity to sign up for a membership in the BCGA. Being a member adds your voice to other cacher's voices as we deal with various levels of government on issues that affect our sport.

The laughs for the day came when two keep-away TBs showed up; a keep-away TB is travel bug that's specific mission is to be kept away from another cacher. In this case, the two TBs were required to stay away from the cachers known as "Best Red" and "The Tulameen Turtles".

Best Red's TB is a huge Panda Bear that she had chosen as a door prize at a Christmas event. Unfortunately for her, the Panda Bear was quickly absconded and made a keep-away TB of which she has only had fleeting glimpses since.

Today she got within arms length of her bear, but the poor panda was sternly protected by the current TB holder, and Best Red never had a chance to hold her baby... :)

The other keep-away TB is called RainForest Rudy; Rudy is a small cuddly bear reminiscent of a Paddington Bear. Rudy is outfitted for a safari, sporting appropriate safari clothes, hat, and a tag-along green tree frog that sits on his head.

Rudy was in my posession for a few weeks, and he had the good fortune of spending a day of caching with myself, MrTJ and Bowser98, three brothers whom enjoy a good day's worth of caching. I took along my camcorder and made Rudy the star of the day; his face was in every cache hunt I recorded; of course, I had to tell Kris (Mrs Tulameen Turtle) all about the video!

I don't know how well that went over, as I never heard from her....hmmmm....

Come time for Geocaching 101, it was also time for Rudy to move on and stay with another friend. The cacher known as Scruffster thought he would love to adopt Rudy and carry on the tradition of keeping Rudy away from The Tulameen Turtles.

Well, where I was subtle in the way I went about pointing out the fact that I had Rainforest Rudy and Mrs. TT did not, Scruffster had all the savoir faire of a backwoods hillbilly. A couple of times Scruffster waved Rudy in Mrs. TTs face, and twice Scruffster was forced to run for the hills to avoid a whupping.

By the end of the event Scruffster still had Rainforest Rudy in his posession, locked safely in his car. Rudy went home with Scruffster, and, since then, a mini-Scruffster has been added to Rudy's entourage.

You can view the video of the event by clicking in the centre of the image below:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Surrey Bend Cache Tracks on

I uploaded my track from the day of caching in the Surrey Bend area to the web site called

This is where you can view all sorts of GPS routes from skiing to walking to 4X4 trips in many parts of the world. You should check it, you might pick up some future trips for yourself!

You can view the full map and story on the website here

TIP: When the map draws in, choose a different view from the drop down menu in the upper right corner. I like the "Hybrid" view myself.
Then ZOOM in on the map to see the region better....................................

Surrey Bend & North Surrey Caching at EveryTrail

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Caching in Surrey Bend Regional Park

Had the pleasure of getting out and caching today with Bowser98 and MrTJ in the North Surrey area. We tackled the overgrown riverside trail in Surrey Bend Regional Park as we aimed to knock off the four caches along the trail while the weather was somewhat good and the bushes and brambles had fallen back for the winter.

The Surrey Bend Park is accessed from the parking lot of the Barnston Island ferry near the north foot of 176 Street. There are a couple of caches on the small island (to drive around the island is approx 11K), but there is no public parking allowed on the island. These two caches are best done as a bike ride on a warm summer day.

The first two caches we hit were Festive Tree and The Bridge; these caches are in the main part of the park and the trail to the cache areas is flat and more or less maintained. Except for today, the snow on the ground made it a bit of a chore as we walked along the path, slip sliding around on the snow.

After these caches, there is a small creek that empties into the Fraser River and you have to dip down into the creek bed to cross the creek. Sounds easy, except as the creek bed is at river level; when the tide is high, the creek bed is under 3 feet of water. You would need hip waders to get across!

"Tide" you say? "This is a river, there's no tide here"!

Oh, but there is....the Fraser River water levels are affected by the tides all the way up river to the town of Mission; approx 60 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

To help you plan your visit, here is a web site for local Vancouver area tide levels. Click here to go to the web site.

After you cross the creek, the trail is unattended and at best is described as overgrown and unmaintained. In sections the trail can be indiscernable from the surrounding bush, and where the trail skirts the river edge, is eroded away with just the slimmest bits of land for you to walk along. Not a place for the kiddies; in the summer the bushes overgrow the trail making it hard to even see your feet as you stumble along. Ensure you keep your mouth closed, as the spiders just love to build webs across the trail in the dense overgrowth.

Cache #3 is called "Happy New Year", and we were very happy to find this one as it apparently had been moved from it's original location by approx 100'. After we gave up looking for it, Bower98 noticed it further down the trail sitting out in the open; on our return from cache #4 we picked up the cache and took it back to it's original hide.

Cache #4 is called Rivershore by the hider named Fungi (a made up name); there are two large cottonwood trees on the bank of the river that have large fungi growing out from the trunks. It was neat to see how the fungi had colonized the trees.

With #4 found, we retreated our steps the mile back to the cars by the Barnston Island ferry dock, and continued on caching in North Surrey.

Watch the Surrey Bend video by clicking on the image below;

For the rest of the day we were mostly in the Tynehead Park area where the snow was still on the ground; between the snow and the boggy grounds we managed to get our feet wet and they stayed that way for the rest of the day.

Watch the the Surrey - Tynehead video by clicking on the image below:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Abbotsford Meet & Greet

The Chilliwack Caching group held a mid-winter meet and greet in a local restaurant as a way of keeping cachers in touch with each other. Not many folks have been out for the past few weeks with all the snow and freezing temperatures, so this was a good chance to say "hello" again to old friends and meet some new ones.

They meet was held in Abbotsford to make it a bit more central to Chillwack cachers coming from the east, and Lower Fraser Valley cachers coming from the west.

It was good to see familiar faces again, and it was also good to see some new faces; some folks were just starting out in the sport, and others hadn't attended past events as they were too far away from home.

Oh, if you are wondering why some folks are walking around with towels around their neck, it's part of a challenge cache where you have to find 42 caches in one day, have your picture taken with 42 cachers, find 42 geocoins, etc, and the towel around your neck is part of the challenge..

I made a short video of the day and you can see it by clicking on the arrow in the screen below.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

Snow...And Lots of It !!

ABOVE: my house in the snow

Made a short video about all the snow we have here in Maple Ridge; it started Dec 22 and pretty well kept coming until today, Jan 3 2009.
You can watch the video by clicking in the centre of the image below...