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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Soaring Over Hope - Birds Eye View of Geocaching Country

This past Sunday Mrs. LANMonkey sprung a surprise on me - it was one of those "bucket list" items for me that it turns out she's been arranging for about a year, and she was able to turn it into a Father's Day gift that I'll never forget.

Sunday morning we got up bright and early, and headed East up the Fraser Valley. As we neared the town of Hope, she routed me off the highway and eventually we ended up at the quaint Hope Regional Airpark. Now my curiosity was really up!

Well, then we walked into the clubhouse for the Vancouver Soaring Association and I knew what was going on - and my excitement continued to grow!

The folks who run the association are friendly and professional - they take the safety of their hobby very seriously, but are so welcoming to anyone who wants to learn more about gliding (or soaring, choose your term!) and go for a birds-eye tour of the area.

After the safety briefing, and some orientation, we helped get the gliders down to the end of the field, and folks started getting pulled up by the tow plane.

After waiting patiently for a chance, it was finally my turn!

Into the cockpit I climbed with my expert pilot who had cinched me up safely with the parachute and then down snugly into the front seat of the cockpit. A few quick photos, and before you know it we were being pulled along the grass airfield and we were aloft!

The tow plane climbed us up to ~2,500 feet at which point we released, and then circled around above Hope before heading East to check out the entrance to the Coquihalla area, and catch some updrafts and gain more altitude. 

The sensation of gently spiraling upwards in such a tiny aircraft is at once exhilarating and just a little unnerving, but the confidence and expertise of the pilot helped me relax and enjoy it.


Here are some of the photos I took during the amazing ride, before we glided back in for a landing. If you are interested in trying out gliding/soaring, I strongly recommend you check out the Vancouver Soaring Association's Intro Flight - a reasonable price for an unforgettable experience.

And once we wrapped up at the VSA clubhouse, we checked out some of the Geocaching around Hope. Turns out, the town loves encouraging the hobby - check out the Geocaching section on their website

An amazing day, and I am so thankful to Mrs. LANMonkey and the great people at the VSA for an awesome day!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

#GeocacheRoadTrip Contest

This summer, from July 01, 2015 to July 31, 2015, Geocachers* have an opportunity to win cool prizes by submitting photos of themselves out geocaching and tagging them creatively with #GeocacheRoadTrip.

What do we mean by “tagging them creatively?” We want you to incorporate the #GeocacheRoadTrip hashtag into your photo, in whatever manner you deem best. Perhaps holding up a sign with the hashtag on it? Maybe photoshopping it in afterwards? Be creative, and have fun!

Submit up to three photos per Geocaching username, each including the hashtag #GeocacheRoadTrip by email to: and ask everyone you know to vote online by “liking” the photos as we post them up on the CachingNW Facebook page. Be sure to include your user name, return email address, and any story you wish to share about your photo in the body of the email.

The photo with the most votes by 9:00pm Pacific time August 12, 2015 will be the Best Overall #GeocacheRoadTrip Photo winner and have first choice of prizes from our awesome prize sponsors!

But if you don’t win that category, there’s even more chances to win! Ten other finalists will be chosen by our panel of celebrity judges for selection of three more winners on August 15, 2015 by Lackeys live at the 2015 Geocaching Block Party.  

Online voting starts from July 1 (or whenever we get the first entry) and closes on Aug 12.

The top prizes will be for:
  • Best Overall #GeocacheRoadTrip Photo - This will be the “audience favourite” and the one with the most Facebook votes. Whatever really got everyone’s attention.
  • Most Creative Use of the Hashtag - how did you incorporate #GeocacheRoadTrip into your photo? Permanent marker on your forehead? Arranging your family into a “pound” sign?
  • Most Aesthetically Pleasing - just the nicest most appealing photo overall; landscape, still life, chickens, whatever turns your crank.
  • Wildest Adventure - however you determine what makes a wild #GeocacheRoadTrip share it with us; toddlers loaded up in the station wagon? T5 geocache success? Scuba gear power trail? Just cache safely, and cache often!

Prize Sponsors:

  • This contest is open to anyone in (meaning legal residents of) the USA or Canada, to a maximum of 3 photo submissions per contestant/geocaching username.
  • Canadian winners will have to answer a (simple) skill testing question so that we don’t get in any trouble.
  • Photos without the #GeocacheRoadTrip hashtag will not be eligible to win.
  • Submissions will be accepted from July 01, 2015 to July 31, 2015
  • Online voting starts from 08:00AM Pacific July 1, 2015 and closes at 9:00PM Pacific August 12, 2015
  • Entries submitted without the username and preferred return email address in the body of the email will not be possible to include in the contest.
  • The on-line voted Best Overall #GeocacheRoadTrip Photo winner will not be elligible to compete in the August 15, 2015 selection by Lackeys for the reamining three categories.
  • One prize will be awarded for each winner of the four categories. Prizes will be selected by the winners on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Winners will be announced on the “Caching in the Northwest” podcast & website, “Only Googlebot Reads This Blog”, and related Social Media channels.
  • Physical prizes selected will require the winner to provide their physical mailing address to Caching in the Northwest or our prize sponsor in order to be able to send it to you. Your name/address will not be used for any other marketing purpose.
  • The remaining three categories (Most Creative Use of the Hashtag, Most Aesthetically Pleasing, Wildest Adventure) will be judged by Lackeys from the ten finalist photos provided to them by the CachingNW celebrity panel of judges, based on their personal opinions, on or during August 15, 2015 at the 2015 Block Party event.
  • Judges decisions for the ten finalists and top three overall winners are final.
  • All photos submitted will be considered “public domain” (Creative Commons attribution) and must not be copyrighted or otherwise legally unable to be shared freely on the Internet.
  • Any/all photo submissions may be kept online indefinitely. Winners will be posted on the website for 1 year after the close of the contest.
  • Prize sponsors will be entitled to promote the contest, winners, entrants, and their photos during the contest and for 1 year after the close of the contest.
  • Caching in the Northwest and Dave DeBaermaker reserve the right to reject any submissions deemed offensive or otherwise inappropriate representations of the values of the show and hosts, and the principles of geocaching.