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Everything posted by scoutsout

  1. One of the best things in life that is actually FREE! http://www.irfanview.com/ I don't use this because I'm a Photoshop user... but I read about everywhere. It's regarded as a very respectable image viewing program with more features than most people will ever need, but sure to have the ones that most people actually do need. If you are using MS Word for anything besides text, you are probably doing things the hard way... same goes for MS Paint - download this program today, will be happily working with web images in no time!
  2. I get out of the Army and they start issuing everyone a Leatherman & a Camelback... 2 things I always said would be nice and never thought it would happen! I was turned off by the old Leatherman that had no locks and were very prone to pinching, so I carried a Gerber for a few years. I now have a new style Gerber that blows the older ones away, so I haven't had a need to look at the Leatherman lately - just like Garmin/Magellan or Ford/Chevy, don't matter what'cha got, just how 'ya use it! Even if you don't use it, it's nice to know it's there and ready to do so many different jobs, just in case.
  3. Because helmets aren't cool... and either am I, so I can ALWAYS be found wearing a helmet whenever I'm on either of my bikes. I've had 2 close calls where I hit my head (encased in styrofoam & plastic) and was pretty shaken up... don't like to think about what would have happened if I wasn't wearing it. Once was on a road, once was in the woods, neither time did I think anything was going to happen to me... there's no valid excuse for not wearing one. I'll try to find a picture of my bike to post later... can't seem to find a button to attach a pic right now.
  4. I had a shirt with this quote on it, I actually "earned it" while in the Army and always kinda thought it was true to an extent. Now, 15 years later (and 5 years after getting out of the Army) I'm paying for that pain. I'm an inch shorter and suddenly started having back pain, thanks to arthritis says the doctor, all because of that "weakness" I so gladly allowed to "leave my body." Celebrex really helped take the edge off a recent muscle spasm in my back, but I refuse to take it daily... if the pain continues I will be looking deeper into the cause. I can't blame this new hobby of mine for any pain so far, and I hope it never becomes an issue... I've got too many other more dangerous things to be blaming for pain!
  5. Me too, sometimes I'll put on a pair of shoes if I know what to expect from the terrain, but sandals are the norm (today I got bitten on the heel by a cactus though.) I spend a lot of time riding my mountain bike in the woods, so my legs are always already cut up from that. I also shave my legs (cycling thing), so it's really easy to see & feel ticks crawling on them.
  6. Maybe proper pronunciation isn't their forte. Usage Note: The word forte, coming from French fort, should properly be pronounced with one syllable, like the English word fort. Common usage, however, prefers the two-syllable pronunciation, (fôrt), which has been influenced possibly by the music term forte borrowed from Italian. In a recent survey a strong majority of the Usage Panel, 74 percent, preferred the two-syllable pronunciation. The result is a delicate situation; speakers who are aware of the origin of the word may wish to continue to pronounce it as one syllable but at an increasing risk of puzzling their listeners.
  7. One new thing I learned last weekend about having kids along - the younger they are the more you get to see on a longer hike. My wife & 2 year-old daughter went along for the first time, and moving at the pace the youngest one set sure did mean we spent a long time on the trail! I know that if I was alone I'd have been in & out in a matter of minutes, but it took us over an hour. Besides finding things to keep my slightly faster son occupied with while we were waiting for the little one to catch up (this happens every 2 minutes or so) we were treated to her sharing her own finds with us along the way. I know I would have never noticed most of the details we stopped to talk about along the way if it weren't for the kids. Sometimes I like to get things done fast, but there is definitely something exciting about taking the time appreciate all the little things along the way. I guess that's something that we forget as we get older.
  8. Army, 7 years as a Scout... '89-'92, got out, '95-'97, out for good now... they were the best of times, they were the worst of times! Ft. Knox, KY Mannheim Germany Ft. Hood, TX Ft. Riley, KS
  9. The whole reason for carrying the batteries was to be able to have people ask what they are for... it worked!
  10. I went for the "little yellow VW" as my first GPSr, and so far I think I've done fine. I made the choice based on a tight budget, and the notion that I don't want or need a map display, I just want to verify that I'm where I think I am (or where I should be.) If I need a map, I'll do it the old-fashioned way, or do a quick recon online before heading out. I only have a need for entering a half-dozen locations or so at the most, just what I think I can find in a single outing, and I can spend a couple minutes entering them by hand. All this might change as I get more involved with this, but I think I made a good choice based on my current needs. I also went through the frustration of realizing that there's no logical way of entering a new location from scratch. Editing your current location just isn't the intuitive way to do things for a total newbie, though it might be common knowledge if you've done this before. I was sure that I found 2 downloadable .pdf manuals out there... but I can only find the basic one right now, so I must have found the advanced manual while at work. Have a look around the 'net, there are some good sites out there that cover the Etrex yellow.
  11. Stetson is a beautiful little campus, and a good school too... you'll both have a great time. You ARE going to sign up for that class right?!
  12. See my previous comment for my recommendation on a pair of sandals, don't let the reasonable price fool you - they are extremely comfortable, and I've had just one pair that has been getting me around for a few years. I won't claim these to be "hiking sandals" that have seen a recent thread topic here already... that just defies the logic of having specific footwear for hiking. These will definitely be comfortable walking sandals, if you are in a seriously rocky area or plan on multi-mile treks, you might not want sandals for that. My Reef Squishies have served me well, and since the only caching I've done so far is a few easy ones here in Florida, the walking has been pretty easy. The worst I've had to deal with is sand in the sandals, but that just comes with the territory, and if it's soft sand, just take 'em off & go barefoot. These don't have anything between the toes, and have a simple strap across the back - bonus, the back strrap can be removed (though I've never done it.) The Squishy soles will quickly conform to the contours of your feet, all this time and mine still have plenty of "squish" to them, not all hard & compressed like you might expect. With my "deformed" heels these sandals have been a lifesaver, if I could wear them to work everyday I would. It even hurts to drive a car without cruise control just because of the pressure that I must place on my right heel, and it's the worse of the two. Get a comfortable pair of sandals and you will wonder why you never wore them before!
  13. I won't bore anyone with the details, but something else to look into if you have heel pain is Haglund's Deformity. I was told that I have this by an Army podiatrist after repeatedly being treated for bursitis. That was nearly 10 years ago, and I opted not to have the surgery to "correct" it. I'm very picky about what shoes I buy, and I now wear sandals 95% of the time that I'm not at work. All of my shoes are worn through whatever layers of padding are inside the heel area, the bone in my heels just slowly tears apart the inside of any shoe that otherwise fits properly. The sandals I wear are made by "Reef", and they have the "Squishy" sole, they conform to the shape of your soles (these are the convertible model, they have a removable back strap, and nothing up front between your toes)... about 3 years and still going strong. Great sandals!
  14. Recently I found a micro that seemed to be obviously out of place. I figured it was either somehow discovered by a muggle and just dropped back on the ground in the general area, or an animal dislodged it from it's hiding place while digging around for some food. I took it upon myself to put it where I thought it should be, and camouflaged it as I would have expected to find it. Did I overstep my bounds as a finder? I'd like to think I did the right thing, since immediately after picking it up a family came by to have a look at the spot where it was hidden and I had to move out in order to sign the log. If I hadn't come by when I did, I'm sure it would have been picked up by someone and quite possibly plundered to some degree. I can only hope that I replaced it as it should have been when I found it. Should I contact the owner & recommend that they check up on it?
  15. I learned to really appreciate the plastic taste when I lived in a house with only well water, I couldn't stand the taste of the water at all, but in the camelback most of the sulfur & iron flavors were covered up. Now I live in an area with heavily processed tap water, you can't really tell the difference between the water & the plastic taste of the camelback. This may be why some people don't notice the taste, they are so accustomed to the treatments & additives to their water. On the topic of cooling your water, I've always filled the bladder with as many ice cubes as it can possibly hold, then top it off with water. You get instant cold water for drinking right away, and over time the ice will melt about as fast as you need to drink it. This seems to work out well for my while bicycling anyway, even in long summer rides in extreme heat. I'd worry that actually freezing the plastic bladder itself might do some damage, especially if you try to fil lit completely.
  16. I just started, and so far my 5 year old son has gone with all 3 times, I'm sure he will be my fulltime assistant based on his enthusiasm so far. Last weekend we were at our second cache of the day and found a very well hidden cache in a very open public area crawling with muggles... after finding it my son wanted the hang around and play for a while, so I let him. I pulled the GPS back out of my pocket to quickly delete the just found site and get the next one ready to Goto. I noticed a young couple nearby who I think saw what I was doing, and I recall hearing them say something to each other about my activity - but I didn't even think about it at the moment. A couple minutes later I noticed the same couple a few feet away, trying to be discreet about the GPS in hand, we looked at each other and broke into huge smiles. I said that I'd already "found it" and the said it was their first cache ever. A little small talk about the hide encouraged them to keep looking without giving too much away, and my son continued to play. I talked to him for a second, pointing out the others that were in on the game, I also said to be sure to keep it a secret from them too. A couple minutes later I hear "DADDY DADDY - THEY"RE ABOUT TO FIND IT!" as he comes running to me. He was playing in the area of the cache, caught up in being a kid anf completely forgetting where he was and who the grownups were that were nearby... but it quickly dawned on him, and he couldn't control his excitement! The fellow cachers laughed and concentrated in that area, finding it a little bit quicker thanks to my kid. I had to remind him of the rules of the game, keeping our activities a secret... we go with a few different scenarios that we play out, and I explained that if he wants to be a good spy he has to keep quiet about the mission. Having a kid along can make the whole experience so much more fun, things will happen that would never happen without them. If it weren't for my son I would have been on my way to the next cache already, and I never would have met those other new local cachers... and they might have gotten discouraged on their first cache and given up on a pretty difficult hide. I just hope we can both stay safe, because we've run into 2 different poisonous snakes in our walks through the woods before we started caching, the second time a rattlesnake could have easily bitten my son if I hadn't reacted quickly enough. It's a great learning opportunity for both of us, many lessons can be learned when you are out and about in the wild.
  17. Not really a lurker, just very new! I've been checking out the forum for about a week now as I get enthused about getting over this tonsillitus and getting into the woods! My son (5 years old) is very exited too, this is going to be something that will get both of us out of the house and having fun together. We'll have my wife converted soon I'm sure, and it's only a matter of time before the little girl (nearly 2) will insist on joining all the adventures. I'm glad my local paper ran a big story on Geocaching recently, I'd heard of all this before but I must have been too busy at the moment to really let the concept sink in because I had forgotten all about it until I saw the article a couple weeks ago.
  18. Thanks for the replies so far, I have a plain old yellow eTrex, I'll look into switching between the 2 coordinate systems with it... I recall it being possible but I don't think I have the Primary/Seconday option, that would be nice! Thanks for that tip wildearth2001, I'll have a look around... I've seen that there's a pretty active Geocacher community in my neck of the woods (NE Florida), if I hook up with them maybe I'll find my way into the orienteering thing too, that sounds very interesting. Any links that you know of, feel free to pass them on. I see you must be a cyclist too... here's a great Armstrong quote: "This is my body. And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my a** six hours a day. What are you on?"
  19. Hello everyone, new guy here, first post, haven't even gone out looking for my first cache yet. I'd like to ask RangerLump a few things based on his reply... since I spent 7 years in the Army and had plenty of time to get used to using a map & compass the Army way (and only using a GPS during one exercise) I strongly agree with what he has recommended. Knowing how to read a map & use a compass along with understanding the terrain you are navigating will make life so much easier. Following a little arrow on an electronic gizmo is only going to teach you how to follow a little arrow, it can't teach you how to really understand "where on earth" you are, which is what you need to know if you ever get lost (or need to find the enemy, whichever situation applies to you most often). I fear that I'll be extremely frustrated if I try to use a GPS using anything other than the UTM/MGRS format, I fully understand a good old-fashioned 6-digit grid. I can look at a map with my destination plotted and find the (hopefully) best route before ever taking a single step. I can stop along my route and find my location based on terrain association, and I can tell how far I am away from my destination just by looking at the 6-digit grid. If I try to navigate with the coordinates I see on my GPS I can't make heads or tails of where I am, nor can I use those numbers to judge distance. I don't use the metric system most of the time, but I know what a "click" or a "K" is, and it's easy to figure out distance on properly marked up map when given a 6-digit grid... the coordinates on my GPS may as well be written in a foreign language. My question to RangerLump (and anyone familiar with land navigation "the military way") is this - should I try to forget what I already know & just go with this new coordinate system, or should I jump through some hoops to make conversions and keep using a map & compass to get me around? I think the only benefit of using a GPS is to verify my current location, that's all I ever used it for that one time (actually a 2 week period, multiple times, but I kept it turned off 99% of the time I was navigating and never got lost, and always got where I need to go - alive). For caches in areas I'm familiar with I probably won't need a map & compass, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable finding remote sites reading a map & compass the way I'm used to. Are there any suggestions on software to make the conversions easy, methods of switching systems on the GPS to input one way & read another, places to buy maps like I used in the Army? Anything will be helpful, thanks!
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