The silence has been deafening! But the LANMonkeys are back on the Interwebs after another brief hiatus. The good news is that we have been busy caching & filming so there's a bunch of great adventures coming, starting with our recent trip to the Interior of BC.
One of the goals of this trip was to collect the three Backroad Mapbook geotour caches for the Thompson Okanagan region, and the bonus cache north of Shuswap.
This was tied in with a MVGeocacher trip to Penticton BC where a group of us got together to walk a section of the Kettle Valley Railway trail in Naramata, and find the caches that make up the "Wine Glass" geoart. But more about that trip in a near-future blog entry. For this posting, we'll talk about our adventure in finding those BRMB caches.
The first one we found was west of Hedley, BC, on Old Hedley Road. As we pulled up to the logical place to park and hike to ground zero, we saw another car there and thought "perhaps other cachers?" Our thoughts were confirmed as we headed up the trail and met the nonchalant acting Maya Bee and Red Alert, just coming back from making that find themselves. We stopped for a brief chat, and knew we'd be seeing them the next day on the Wine Glass hike.
That was our Good Friday, and a really good Friday it was. The weather was beautiful, and we truly enjoyed the magnificence of God's creation along Hwy 3, as we made our way through Manning Park (with active snow at Allison Pass), stopped to cache in Princeton, stopped for more caching in and around Hedley then made our way (with several more caching stops) to Penticton for the evening.
Saturday, after a morning meet & greet event in Penticton, then the "Wine Glass" hike in Naramata, we headed off up the west side of Lake Okanagan stopping for only a couple of caches on our way to
the next cache in the series - BRMB - Thompson Okanagan BC - On the Water (GC4KJQK) at the Everly Recreation Site.
On our way to that cache we passed a herd of Big Horn Sheep on the road - very cool!
After that steep little hike & find, we were off again to try and get to BRMB TOBC - 20th Anniversary Bonus Cache (GC4KKAA) on the north side of Shuswap Lake, past the little town of Celista, BC.
That's where we had one of the bigger adventures of the trip!
When we finally got to the trail head, we knew it wasn't long until dusk. So we armed ourselves with headlamps & flashlights, and off we went along the trail. Well, very quickly the trail disappeared on us. There's an exceptional amount of blowdown on the trail, and while our Northwest Trails actually did have the Onyx Falls Trail on it, it was a challenge to find that trail. So we kept trying to stay as close as we safely could to the trail as noted on the GPSr, and kept finding/losing the trail.
At one point, we ended up working our way through snow up to our hips (on April 20th), but pressed on regardless, with our daylight fading on us. By the time we got ourselves through the bush and to the last 100m, we faced a steep decent down what seemed about a 10m embankment. The top part was muddy and a bit slippery, but the last couple of metres was a sheet of ice! Surprise!
Safely at the bottom, we found that it was completely dark at this point. Using the cache hint, our geosenses, and the GPSr (which was wandering bit in the deep tree cover along the creekside) Mrs. LANMonkey eventually made the find. At this point, we took a breather and recorded a bit of content for our vlog. Of course, we still had to get back to the truck, and it was completely dark now.
We made our way up the embankment, and bushwacked our way to where Northwest trails said there should be a trail. And what do you know, we found the trail. On our way back, we did lose it a couple of times, but actually found better luck following the trail out than in - I know, typical cachers!
Once back to the truck, we strapped in and headed our way back to Kamloops to spend the night before searching for the last of the BRMB caches for this trip, at Duffy Lake.
As we cleared Celista, the RCMP had a roadblock, and we had a nice chat with a constable who had been based in Walnut Grove (Langley, BC) not long ago. She had no problem with our story that we weren't drinking but actually heading out after finding a geocache. We looked pretty tired and "bushed." Literally!
The next morning, we headed nice and early west out of Kamloops, and followed the Duffy Lake FSR to Duffy Lake, hitting snow on the road for the last kilometre. Once at Duffy Lake, finding the final cache in the trio of Thompson Okanagan BRMB caches was pretty easy - at least compared to the previous day! That cache was well stocked with swag still! We considered continuing west on the FSR but found it quickly impassable for anything except a quad or narrow 4x4, so back the way we came.
Well folks, thanks for sticking with me through that story. We sure hope you enjoy the video of the adventure, and trust me, there's lots more to come from that same Easter weekend adventure!
Cache safely, and cache often.