Wednesday, October 28, 2009


There's a new word in the caching's "geotourism" and you know what? I'm loving it!!

This last weekend we decided that, before the snow started flying, we'd try to do a little sticker collecting and find some Gold Country caches. What a great time we had! While Carol drove and I attempted to navigate, Joan read to us from the Gold Country cache book. Every story was so interesting, well written and just brought our province's colourful past and each cache location to life! We learned some pretty cool new things and took in some amazing views. So far we've found 10 Gold caches. My favourites so far? The Pit House and the Old Bridge in Lilloet for the history and Hat Creek Coal for the view. Can't wait to do the rest!

We also did a few "Pathways to Gold" caches. I picked up the Pathways book at the Tourist Info Centre in Lillooet and Joan read it to us. I especially loved hearing the excerpts from Harriet's journal as she followed her lost love to Barkerville. My favourite Pathways cache is 23 Camels. What an amazing bit of BC trivia.

And now there's the Blue Sky Caches put out by the BCGA in conjunction with the Provincial Government. I've read that some provinces have completely banned caching in their provincial parks and our government is supporting us & encouraging us to get out there?! Very cool!

I've always known what a great place British Columbia is but, thanks to great programs like these, those who come visiting, let's call them "geo-tourists," will know too.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This is How We Celebrate!

About 3 months before Tony's 50th birthday I asked him if he wanted to do anything special to celebrate. I already knew that a party was out of the question (I tried that for his 30th.... it wasn't pretty) and so I suggested maybe a trip somewhere special. Cancun? Hawaii maybe? He said, "I just want to go fishing." (deep sigh...) "OK, it's your birthday."

As our trip got closer I realized that we were going to reach another milestone while were away. I was going to find my 1000th geocache! Now that may not seem exciting to you, but to anyone who is a serious geocacher this is a big deal. My 1000th... it had to be a good one.

So the planning began. We never travel anywhere without a plan. After doing a little bit of research (and seeing the massive Lake Trout that were hauled out of there) Tony decided we should rent a cabin on Echo Lake. Vernon is only about 45 minutes from Echo Lake so I started looking at all the caches there. I wanted my 1000th find to have all the qualities of what I love in a good cache....a hike, a view, a good hide and a special place. It seemed impossible but I found it in a cache called "Stones Throw." On top of all those things there were even some pictographs on the cliffs above it that we hadn't found yet. Perfect.

(click on the balloon for photo descriptions)
Echo Lake is beautiful, set in the Creighton Valley, and just remote enough to make Tony happy. The cabin we rented was rustic (ala Jed Clampett) but right on the lake... just perfect for a redneck type celebration. The next morning Tony was up with the birds (actually I think he was up before the birds) and was positive this was the trip he was going to catch "the big one." Hours went by and nothing, barely a nibble. He did catch a few little Kokanee but he didn't even deem those worthy of mentioning. After a day and a half he was getting so discouraged. And then, while I was making breakfast the 2nd morning, I heard him whistle from his boat. I looked out the cabin windows and there he was, standing up in the boat, holding the biggest Lake Trout I have ever seen! For a man who lives to hunt & fish, I couldn't have given him anything better to commemorate his big 5-0!

So, now that the mega fish is caught it was time for me! We headed to Vernon right after breakfast. Now, I still had 11 caches to go before my 1000th. No problem, I thought, but it didn't take long to see that maybe it was going to be a problem. We barely had started and already I had 5 DNFs!! Now it was my turn to be discouraged. I was ready to call it quits... it was hot and muggy and I had lost heart. But my wonderful hubby, who was still on his mega-fish high, encouraged me. "Let's do this" he said. And we did. Finally we were off to find my 1000th cache.

The cache I picked (Stones Throw - GC1AEFH) is on the East side of Okanagan Lake. Starting off at Tronson Road, high above the lake, we first made our way down to the pictographs. Wow! That was quite the descent and a little scary but we finally found them hidden away on a cliff. After the requisite photos, oohing and aahing, we continued down to the beach below and to the cache. It didn't take long and we came out at the most beautiful rocky beach, completely deserted, and ready for the search. A little bit of hunting, poking and prodding and there it was! 1000! What a perfect day.... for both of us.

So that was our Celebration trip! We made some awesome memories, travelled where we had never been before, reached a couple of milestones and logged another trip to remember.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Exploring Marble Canyon

There aren't too many things I enjoy more than camping with friends. Every year we have our annual camping trip with the Klassens and the Veers and every year we choose somewhere new to explore. This year we chose Marble Canyon.

Marble Canyon has always intrigued me...from the incredible limestone cliffs to the ancient rock paintings to the three beautiful lakes in the canyon...we just had to take some time to check it out. We were not disappointed.

(click on the balloon for captions)

Our first evening there we were just in awe of the cliffs all around us. The turquoise lakes were incredible and we knew there were caches in the area just waiting for us to find.

The next morning we hit the ground running. The boys decided to go fishing (big surprise) while the girls and I decided to go pictographing and geocaching. Imagine our excitement when we realized that the first cache we decided to find was called "Ancient Art." We anticipated a find near some rock paintings and we were right. Wow... they never cease to amaze me....oh, and we found the cache too! My two favourite things together in one place! What could be better? We continued caching all the way to Lillooet and Seton Lake. The caches in the town of Lillooet are so well done, most of them teaching a history lesson or some geography. We learned about the Hanging Tree, Judge Begbie, the Bridge of 23 Camels and Chinese Rock Pilings. It was a great day for caching. Meanwhile our guys had a great day too, catching some awesome fish and anxious for more "lake time" the next day!

On our 2nd day we decided to hike around the two smaller lakes by our campsite: Crown and Turquoise. Turquoise Lake was an easy walk but when we started around Crown Lake we got a little more than we bargained for. High above the lake on a little goat trail was somewhat disconcerting to say the least but we perservered. We knew that we were heading towards a waterfall, where they do 'ice-climbing' in the winter, but we weren't sure if we were on the right trail. Little by little we heard the unmistakable sounds of rushing water. As we went up a little side trail and through the forest we were shocked to see the forest floor strewn with massive ice boulders! Broken off as the waterfall melts, they reminded us of the power of nature and that just maybe we shouldn't linger too long! We took our photos and marvelled at how cold it was there under the half frozen falls...even though everywhere else it was 20 degrees and sunny. It was awesome and well worth the hike.

Late that afternoon we decided to take some photos of the marmots that lived in the cliffs across from our campsite. The sun was setting and the lighting was perfect. While we were watching them perform unbelievable feats of climbing Joan said to me, "Am I crazy or does that look like a pictograph." Sure enough, just below the crevasse where a marmot had hidden was a painting! Not recorded in any documents that I've read, we were pretty excited about our unexpected discovery!

All too soon it was time to go home. Tony & I decided to take the scenic route and went home on Highway 12. It sure was scenic too...we saw an amazing herd of Bighorn Sheep and one more set of paintings that we hadn't yet seen.

And that was our trip to Marble Canyon. We're definitely going back!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Little Caching on the Prairie

I know this Blog is supposed to be about our travels around BC but I just couldn't resist throwing this entry into mix. My latest trip (sans hubby) took me to visit my great friend in Burr, Saskatchewan. Having found most of my caches exclusively on the West Coast I was really looking forward to seeing how caching on the flat, dry, scrubby landscape of the Prairies measured up to caching in the wet, thick forests of the Coast.

It sure was different but was it ever awesome!

My very first Cache in SK was called Christ Church. A tiny little church by Patience Lake with a wonderful history lesson, it was a perfect, easy find to start my geocaching vacation on the right note.

The morning after I arrived we were greeted with about 4 inches of new snow!! We were going to go caching today! Well the first thing that I learned about Prairie people... a little snow stops nobody. We found 5 caches that day and it didn't quit snowing once! Pretty darn proud of myself!

Our next caching day took us to Lanigan, Jansen and Guernsey. I am embarrassed to admit that I thought all prairie caches would be easy to find...really how hard could it be? Was I ever wrong. After I spent 1/2 hour searching in the scrub bushes (and DNFed I might add) I have to admit that there are some pretty creative ways to hide a cache that I hadn't even thought of before this. No rotting logs or stumps for these cachers! And no geo-trails! I had no idea how much I relied on spotting that tell-tale trail. That's probably not a good thing.

On Saturday night we went to an Earth Day supper in the Burr Hall. It was a very appropriate celebration considering that we had been spending most of our time enjoying the outdoors and while we were there I was fortunate to visit a little with "Mac5." An avid cacher, who owns the local Health Food Store, she was more than willing to talk with us and dish out more than enough hints for some caches we just couldn't seem to track down. It was so awesome to talk caching with someone I hadn't met before! If you're reading this it was so nice to meet you and thanks for the help!

All too soon my holiday was over. I left behind a few travelbugs and coins, made a few new friends & converts, hid a new cache and gained a new appreciation for cachers on the Prairie.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Caching our Way to Cache Creek

I love the Fraser Canyon and I love the beautiful simplicity of the towns along the way. So when Tony asked me if I wanted to take a little road trip to Cache Creek I didn't even need to think about my answer. "When do we leave" was the only thing I was thinking.

A few days later with the 4Runner packed, a hotel room booked and the GPS loaded we were on our way.

We got an early start and by 8am we were finding our first two caches in Bridal Falls. It sure is nice to cache when there is no one around!

We continued caching through Hope and Yale and by 9:30am we were in Lytton. We had previously grabbed the two caches on the highway above Lytton, but we never seemed to have the time to go into the town itself. I was so glad we did this time. The sun was shining and, being a Sunday morning, there was no one around. It was so peaceful and tranquil. I don't know what it is about towns like this... for me it seems like the past is almost palpable and the history is in the air. I want to soak it all in.

The first cache we got was "Going Postal"... OK, that was wierd, but fun! After that we did a Earthcache called "Lytton Jelly Roll." This is why I love earthcaching. It was so interesting and there's no way we would have ever seen this without another geocacher to point it out to us. Very cool. I should mention that while we were finding the Lytton caches we were also finding clues to solve the puzzle cache "Nlaka'pamux." What a great puzzle (I love learning new things)! After we found the final we ended up spending another 1/2 hour there watching a large sheep herd on the side hill across from us. It was incredible.

When we got to Cache Creek we had some time to kill before we checked in so we decided to drive above the garbage dump. I know it sounds wierd but if you want wildlife photos this is often the place to go. We weren't disappointed. I have never seen so many eagles in one place and before I knew it we had taken over 50 pictures!

The next morning we decided to grab the cache by Hat Creek Ranch called "Boo!" I won't spoil it for you but this one gave me the biggest laugh all weekend. Well done... I love it when cachers use their imaginations!

All too soon it was time to go home. We saved a couple of caches in Boston Bar for the next day but it sure was sad to realize that there are almost no caches left in the Canyon for us to find.

So for all of you who are Canyon Cachers I'd like to say, "Thank you so much and whenever you're ready... I'm ready for more!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

It's Just a Number....Isn't it?

I've been geocaching for just over 2 years now. This hobby has taken me to places I never knew existed, on hikes I never would have attempted and trips I never would have considered. Soon I will be closing in on that 1000 mark and I gotta admit... I think that's pretty amazing.

I know - it's just a number.....

A couple of weeks ago I spent the day caching with goinggone in Bellingham. First of all let me just say that that is the most organized cacher I have ever met in my life! Between the palm pilot, the GPS and his notebook with hand-written notes on which streets to take, I was kept busy! There was no "I'll just come along for the drive" on this caching day. And don't forget to stamp the cache notes with the "Found" stamp! By 3 that afternoon I had broke my record of 17 caches in one day. Thanks goinggone! What an awesome day and now my record is 26!I know - it's just a number....

The very next day I went to Deep Cove to hike the Baden Powell trail with my friend Carol. With our lunches packed and caches loaded in the GPS we set off in the pouring rain. I wouldn't even consider going to the mall if it was raining but I'll hike for 5 kms if it means I might find one more cache. The hide (GC323A Deep Down Below) proved to be a bit tricky but in the end Carol said those three little words that have come to mean so much to me... "I found it!" One more find.

I know - it's just a number....

Isn't it?