Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Steps, Streaks, and Naked Friends

Thanks for your patience folks, it's been a bit of a tough season to be focusing on getting content together, but we're back with some more for you all.

Future Blogs & Vlogs

We've talked about the idea of trying to get a new blog & vlog episode out for each Tuesday. It would be awesome if we can, but we've decided that we'll only be putting content out when that content features a geocaching adventure, per the promise of our title. As you all know, some weeks the caches are... well... average. Some weeks we're not going anywhere interesting, nor do we see or experience anything particularly interesting, and for those weeks we don't see a huge value in putting an episode & blog together. We value your time in reading and watching, and want to make sure we only ask for your attention when there's something interesting to share.

Caching Streaks


We sure hope you've all made it through winter and got some outdoor activities in - a little geocaching maybe? The LANMonkeys have managed to keep things going with getting at least one cache per day, and we just cleared 365 days of continuous geocaching. We know it's not the longest streak around, and we'd be interested in hearing from any of you about your geocaching streaks - long or short.

And if you are currently attempting a caching streak, what's your goal? 

364 Steps


This past week when we hit day #364 we made the opportunity (thanks to the longer evenings) to head to UBC and trek down to Wreck Beach to figure out how to find "364 Steps" (GC49C66).

Check out our latest episode of LMGA for a brief view of the beauty of that location and the fun of claiming a cache on our 364th day of caching in a row.

Wow, that was a lot of steps, and a very cool cache! Thanks very much to our caching friend Cuddlefish for creating that fun mystery cache, and giving us the "thumbs up" to use our experience at the cache in  that video.

Naked Friends

While we're talking about streaking and friends, here's the newest episode of LMGA, where Mr. LANMonkey finds the geocache "Naked Friends" (GC3CEVB) just out past the the starting coordinates for the "364 Steps" cache.

This was a tough find - the cache has a bit of a trick to it so read the description, hint, and logs carefully. Also be aware of the tides for this cache - here's an important website for investigating Vancouver area tides so you can be safe on your tidal caching adventures!

Friend-Caching

Speaking of caching friends, you've probably seen our good friends Catapult Jeff & Iron Maiden in some of our videos before, and we've decided that it might be fun to share some more about them. We've placed a new geocache on Mount Seymour as a "tribute cache" to them, and created the first of our "Friend-Caching" videos - an interview with these fun cachers while out on a geocaching adventure with them.

We're looking forward to following this pattern with other cachers who've become our friends - and we're open to any feedback, ideas, and suggestions. Who will be the next to go "Friend-Caching" with the LANMonkeys?



Tuesday, 4 February 2014

I "Heart" Geocaching, Geocaching Adventures, and Lab Caches

Good morning, and welcome back to our blog, geocachers!
If this is your first visit, welcome, and thanks for checking us out.

I Heart Hucka... Geocaching!

There's been some excitement (in many senses of that word) since news broke last Sunday on The Podcacher Geocaching Podcast and other channels about "I Heart Geocaching" and yesterday (Monday, Feb 3) was the official release of those Geocaching Adventures lab caches for premium members to try out.

http://www.geocaching.com/iheartgeocaching/

In an attempt to help folks understand what this is all about, we've put together a short, information laden video on our vlog and are adding this blog entry to supplement that.

As a starting point, official content from Geocaching.com (the good people formerly known as Groundspeak) has moved from forum chatter to an official and helpful FAQ. That's probably the best place to go, although many of my fellow bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters are all trying to make sure you have the pertinent info at your finger tips!

In that commitment to be helpful, we've created this short video to explain to you in three minutes what lab caches are, how Geocaching Adventures caches work, and what are the "rules" for "I Heart Geocaching" lab caches.

So in short:
  • You must be  premium member to participate.
  • You get to create 1 "I Heart Geocaching" Geocaching Adventures lab cache
  • That cache can only be found once, by one person 
  • The Geocaching Adventure is best played in the field on a smart phone
  • The 161 metre rule does NOT apply (these don't show up on the maps)

Thirsty for More Geocaching Adventures?

It's really important to Geocaching.com that they get your feedback if you do try this out. There's a few ways to get your constructive feedback to them. They seem to be soliciting this information via replies to this blog posting which first announced the I Heart Geocaching experiment for February. Of course, you can always use the forums also, but I'm in the process of reaching out to the good folks at Geocaching.com to find out how they want to hear your feedback, and share some of the stories they are hearing from you.

Our goal is to record the experience of creating and the subsequent finding of our lab cache (we're going to try it out on a muggle who is curious about geocaching) in an upcoming episode of LMGA, and try to round that out with some feedback from Geocaching.com themselves on how the field beta-test of Geocaching Adventures went.

But most importantly, we want to hear from YOU - are you interested in trying this out? Have you tried creating/finding an "I Heart Geocaching" adventure? What did you think? Would you do it again? Do you have any ideas on how to use these potential new cache types? Write to us via our email, Facebook page (like us! like us!), via Google+, or post comments on our videos. We love hearing from you guys and will be sure to include your feedback as we continue to review "I Heart Geocaching" and other geocaching topics.

Lab Caches Messed With My Stats!

The one criticism we hear most frequently about lab caches is that thy don't count in your stats like any other regular cache type. In fact, between lab caches and US benchmarks, we've found that things can get a bit hairy if you like tracking your stats. And although we're not *just about the numbers* cachers, we do like our stats to be accurate, and that is helpful if you want to tackle challenge caches.

So, the question remains, "if I create/find an "I Heart Geocaching" cache, does it count in my stats?

Well, here's the best answers we could find:
  • You will earn a "smilie" for finding any lab cache (you'll get  "lab cache" icon seen above)
  • Lab cache finds do not yet affect your statistics page on Geoccaching.com
  • Lab cache creation will not yet result in an increase in your "caches placed" statistics
  • Geocaching.com is promising to address these concerns in the future

Thanks for sticking through and reading this - we hope it's been helpful, and really appreciate any feedback you may have - did we miss anything important? Did we make any errors? Was this awesome and helpful? Let us know.

And until next time, please remember to cache safely, and cache often!
The LANMonkeys.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Cave Caching Along the Chilliwack River

This past week, the LANMonkeys called up their caching friends and said "We've got an idea for an adventure..." After a phone call and a couple of emails plans were set and the first Saturday of 2014 was spent on a caching adventure along the Chilliwack River. So today's blog post is going to be about caches in the Earth, and about the Earth.

In the course of a very full day we discovered four EarthCaches, explored two caves for geocaches, found two of the "Back Roads Map Book GeoTour" caches, enjoyed some amazing scenery along the Chilliwack River, and had a fantastic time with great friends. In the end we made a total of 19 cache finds in an area that you could spend days caching in with all the different spots to go geocaching or just exploring.

Our caching location for the day was primarily the North side of the Chilliwack River, along the Foley Creek Forest Service Road, approximately 25 km's down Chilliwack Lake Road. Almost all of the area is accessible by pretty much any vehicle with decent clearance, but we went in Catapult Jeff & Iron Maiden's 4x4 Jeep, and were thankful we did. Plenty of spots on the roads and especially the wood bridge decks were icy.

Caching in the Caves

As part of our shared goals to try and complete our D/T grids, we were all happy to tackle caches with difficulties of 5 and 4.5 and a terrain of 5 - but mostly the guys were "psyched" to go spelunking in search of geocaches in both Hands and Feet caches (GC2X9HP & GC2X9H1).


As the cache descriptions indicate, it is very important to not go alone when exploring caves, and to bring the proper gear. Catapult Jeff & Mr. LANMonkey ensured we were equipped with coveralls, helmets, headlamps, radios, extra light, a long climbing rope, gloves, and of course, a video camera.

The video in this episode was primarily shot in Hands & Feet #2 as it was a deeper and slightly larger caving experience than #1. Quarters were tight in much of the cave and of course, the only light source was our headlamps, which made it challenging for shooting an episode, but we really wanted you to be able to join the experience of looking for caches in naturally formed, small underground areas.  It was most certainly a unique and awesome caching experience, but it likely wasn't for everyone - consider carefully if you'll be able to do this one both physically and mentally before attempting, and PLEASE do not try it alone!

EarthCaching in 2014

We are also grateful to Catapult Jeff & Iron Maiden for being willing to stop at four different EarthCaches in the area that they had all ready completed so that the LANMonkeys could discover them and learn as well. If you're not familiar with EarthCaches, they are a form of "virtual" geocache where you are not looking for a container with a log sheet to sign, but going to specific coordinates and stepping through a brief field-lesson in geology.  Watch this older episode of LMGA we filmed last fall when we were placing our first EarthCache to get an overview on EarthCaching.

In addition, check out the resources at the Geological Society of America's website EarthCache.org for the most comprehensive source of information about discovering and creating EarthCaches.


Speaking of EarthCaches, did you know that Friday, January 10th is the 10th anniversary of the first EarthCache? Educational and fun events are taking place world-wide to celebrate this anniversary on the 10th, 11th, and 12th. For a complete listing of those events, check here.  If you are in the Greater Vancouver area, it's not too late to sign up and come join us at the MetroVan Geocaching EarthCaching event at 7:30pm on Friday, January 10th.



Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Good evening geocachers and readers, we hope that you've had a wonderful holiday season, and that your New Years is filled with joy and peace.

We had a great time with family and geocaching on Vancouver Island and are looking forward to seeing some of you at the upcoming events on January 1st (The Early Cacher gets the Smilie (GC4THJK)) and January 10th (10 Years of EarthCaching - Learn & Celebrate (GC4V35V)). If you can't make it out, hopefully we'll get a chance to see you on the trails soon!


 In addition to family time & some caching, Mr. LANMonkey made another co-hosting appearance on Caching in the Northwest with The Bad Cop & WitzEnd. In Episode 24 we talked about caching plans and goals for 2014. What are your goals for 2014?


In our upcoming episodes, we'll share some feedback on questions we've been asked over the past couple of months, and share a video that covers a week full of geocaching highlights in December.

Until then, remember to always cache safely, and cache often!
The LANMonkeys.

Monday, 30 December 2013

The LANMonkeys are back - in Bowser!

It's been a long stretch since our last episode and we've missed sharing with you all. But work & life have been a *little* hectic. Finally, we're back to share and thought we'd take you along the Lighthouse Trails in Bowser, BC. Just 60kms North of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, these trails are easy to access, and easy to hike - they are quite level, extremely well groomed, and wheel-chair accessible for at least the first 2.5km loop.

We had a fantastic time there with Manta Rayz and Piggy and would highly recommend the caches and trails to anyone heading, staying, or living in the area. Of particular interest were the wood carvings we took some photos and video of in Episode 37.  They seem to be chainsaw carved in the ends of felled logs and stumps all along the trail.


We hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and area about to launch into your New Year with all the excitement of a FTF.

Over the next week or so we'll get caught up on content we've missed with a few episodes and blog entries that we've been behind in getting out and shared with you all.

Thanks for watching & reading this past year, and we hope to see you all in 2014!

Cache safely, and cache often!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Baby, it's Cold Outside; So Geocache Indoors!

I didn't think you could geocache indoors, but this fall we discovered library geocaches; the perfect companion to December! Check out our latest FYI episode right here for a two minute crash-course on finding geocaches in your local library.

Well, as I said in the video, you'll need to search the Geocaching.com website to see if there are any puzzle or multi icons at or near your local libraries, and then read through the cache descriptions. Generally, library or any indoor geocaches won't be a traditional cache type as you can't really put the coordinates in the exact spot in the building where the cache is located.

Of course, now that I've asserted that so strongly, I'll be proved wrong. But I'm OK with that!

Now if you've had enough of the cold and are seeking warmer climes, check out LMGA Epsisode 36 - Geocaching in Las Vegas. After we returned to Las Vegas from completing our adventures in the Mojave Desert, Mrs. LANMonkey & I spent a day checking out the many virtual and traditional caches along the Las Vegas Boulevarde strip. We took a little break from the caching to enjoy a romantic gondola ride through the canals of Venice, and then later that same evening caught up with Catapult Jeff & Iron Maiden (yes, them *again*) to watch the Bellagio Fountains from the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower replica at the Paris Hotel, and then went to find a LPC (Lamp Post Cache) on the top of a parkade that had a surprisingly awesome view of the neighbourhood.

I don't often recommend LPCs, but this one I would - not for the cache itself, but for the remarkable view near it.


Before we close out this Geocaching Tuesday, let me also share with you that our friends at
Podcacher shared a "field report" we recorded for their podcast episode #447 at about the 30 minute mark.   It was pretty neat to get an email from local caching friend brightblades this past Monday letting us know he heard us on there. Thanks for the heads-up brightblades!

I hope you're all keeping warm and caching safely, and caching often!
The LANMonkeys. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Friends on Podcacher & Christmas Cacher Gifts

Happy Friday geocachers and outdoor enthusiasts.

It seems we're blessed with another sunny & crisp  weekend ahead, so I hope you all have some great plans lined up. If you do, make sure to drop us a line via our new and amazingly awesome Facebook page and let us know what you're planning, or what you got up to - we love to hear and share your stories!

Police Dogs and Mustard Containers
This morning while walking Piggy I was listening to a recent episode of Sonny, Sandy, and Sean on Podcacher. About halfway through ( 30 minute mark of Episode 445) the hosts read some listener feedback, as they frequently do. As it turns out, the listener feedback today was from local geocacher dora_mor, sharing a story about geocaching & law enforcement run-ins from the logs of the Mustard Container Cache in Surrey.


Turns out, the logs are from local caching friends Professor P & Groovy Owl - yup, of WorldCaching fame - and detail their adventures at this geocache that clearly made for an unforgettable night out caching. It's worth a listen to the story!

Christmas is Just Around the Corner...
"Actually, it's down the hall, third door on the left." - Howie Mandell.  Perhaps you've noticed that Christmas shopping season starts earlier each year? Well, perhaps it doesn't, but it sure feels that way! If you've got a Geocacher on your shopping list, or you're putting together your own wish list, we'd love to hear what ideas you have and share them.

Here's a short list of things we at LMGA HQ can think of to help get things started.

Ogio Flight Vest
Almost ever event or caching trip we do, I (Mr. LANMonkey) will be decked out in my signature "geocaching vest." I've had many people ask about it, and frankly, it really is much handier than having a backpack, and carries at least as much as most day packs.  The vest I have is the Ogio Flight Vest. It's kind of hard to find, but check at motorcycling shops, as technically Ogio markets this as a motocross or snowmobiling vest. The variety of pockets is amazing, and it comes with a removable hydration system as well, so it truly is the all-round awesome caching accessory. It runs about $140 US, so it's not cheap, but I've had mine since 2009 and it holds up amazingly well through some pretty extreme conditions.

 FRS Radio Set
Really a core piece of outdoor safety equipment, but these have proved extremely useful not only for geocaching, but for many other functions. In the current days of cellular phones being omnipresent, the FRS radios have fallen out of vogue somewhat, but this is to the advantage of FRS users - there's fewer people clogging up the channels, and the range on the devices has only gotten better. In a perfect situation, you'll have a cell phone & FRS, but it's worth the investment. We use the Motorola MH230TPR which can run around $100, but there's less expensive options available.



If you have other ideas for awesome geocaching gifts of a technical  (or perhaps more "practical") nature, please share them through comments or feedback to our Facebook page or this blog.  Thanks for reading, and remember -

"Cache safely, and cache often!"
The LANMonkeys