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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 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.