Reflections on 2013 – Part II (People)

One of the most oft-stated benefits of geocaching is making new friends. I can truly say that you who are a part of my regular geocaching adventures have become welcome friends. If not for geocaching we may never have met – a sad thought!

Group at Trail head

Group at Trail head

Group geocache outings are usually the most memorable excursions of each year. From 2013, the standouts are hikes at Upper Table Rock, Humbug Mtn., and Golden and Silver Falls – kayaking events at Eel And Cleawox lakes – a geo-tour in Florence – and many impromptu group hunts after our weekly geo-breakfast.

group

Speaking of our weekly gatherings, as I write this post we are approaching the sixth anniversary of our weekly geo-coffee! The group size has ebbed and flowed over time but early in 2013 it seemed to bust out! Lately, it seems to have shrunk a little but I attribute much of the long term unity of the south coast cachers to the camaraderie built over these six years of regular visiting.

Steve & Nancy long ago coined a phrase we use a great deal around here – You Meet The Nicest People Geocaching!

Amen to that!

Looking forward to more group fun in 2014 – bring it on!

Reflections on 2013 – Part I (by the numbers)

This year’s “Reflections” post will take on a little different format. I have so much to say about 2013 that I will break it up into three or four separate posts.

For starters, I will get all the statistics out of the way. The remaining posts will be about People, Places and Personal Accomplishments.

 

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Total Finds: As I approach ten years of geocaching, I found over 1000 in a calendar year for the first time. I’m not into huge geocache power trails. I will take a five mile hike for a single cache over film canisters placed every tenth of a mile on a desert highway any day! That said, I will most likely attempt one of these geo-art power trails one day, but it will be on day excursions from our RV and only ten at a time! Maybe……

Days Caching: Another “best-ever” accomplishment, not because of the actual number but because of what it represents……getting out on some form of geo-adventure 191 days in the year!

The map below represents where I went geocaching this year. Not much outside of my home state but that will change as Patricia and I start full-time RV’ing in a couple of years.

I only missed four of Oregon’s thirty-six counties, primarily due to a late May excursion through eastern Oregon (see posts from this time frame)

Map of counties where I found geocaches in 2013

Map of counties where I found geocaches in 2013

Days in a row with a find: Broke an old record from 2008 when I found caches 26 days in a row in August.

Placed year: Found caches placed in every year since 2001. Those caches placed in 2000 when geocaching began are getting harder and harder to find! It’s always cool finding those older caches.

Well-rounded caching: Found 69 of 81 D/T combos – a well rounded year!

Goals for 2014: I don’t really have any, other than just getting out as often as I can and enjoy the outdoors! Trying to get 200 days caching would help accomplish that! I would also like to complete the Oregon History challenge (22 Oregon caches placed during the first year of geocaching).

Northwest Trails Project

One of my older posts from 2011 makes reference to the Northwest Trails Project. I didn’t explain it nor did I provide any link. Today, I remedy that…..

From the Project’s website:  Northwest Trails is a mapset of trails designed for upload to any map-enabled Garmin GPS receiver. It is more than just a mapset, though; it is also a community effort initiated to record and collect GPS data for trails in the Northwest (Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, British Columbia and Alberta) and provide that data for general public use.

It’s such a great fit for one of my favorite activities….hiking. I get a feeling of satisfaction knowing my GPS tracks help others enjoy the outdoors.

I have hiked and recorded 60+ miles of trails for this project in the last five years. All of these tracks are now incorporated into the current version of the map.

Below is the result of nearly 12 miles hiking in the sand dunes and dune forest of Coos Bay’s north spit:

North Spit Hiking/Horse Trails

North Spit Hiking/Horse Trails

Sometimes the trails already in the mapset need correcting. The author of this product obtained his initial data from publicly accessible datasets provided by state and federal land management agencies such as the USFS, BLM and state parks. I have found much of their trail maps in dire need of adjusting. One of my next projects is to correct the Coast Horse Trail system at Cape Mountain north of Florence. As you can see below, I’ve just begun walking this large trail system……good hiking fun ahead!!

Coast Horse Trail System - Cape Mountain

Coast Horse Trail System – Cape Mountain

Screenshot (below) from my Garmin Montana 650T handheld gps receiver showing a recent hike on the Sutton Creek trail system north of Florence. The heavier solid red line is my track and the dashed red line is the current version of NW Trails.

 

Sutton Creek Trails - gps screenshot

Sutton Creek Trails – gps screenshot