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Everything posted by soup

  1. Wild Canyon Games takes place on property that is not readily available to the public. I am also a part of the "Geocache Masters" team, and I am currently designing a system to help decrease the time it takes to locate people in the field. As an added note, we are currently working with the Wild Canyon Organizers to have a Geocaching event in September. It would be listed as an event on Geocaching.com. Currently, we are working on specifics now, so we will keep Geocachers up to date on our plan, and make it a fantabulous event to attend. Seriously, the place is amazing! -soup (edit: I just read Pablo's post, and it looks like I restated some of his info. The more the merrier)
  2. I now have two little kiddos who are very excited to cache so it is possible we will meet! Thanks to everyone on the video kudos. There were many excellent videos done by geocachers. Check them out here http://filmfest.moonrize.com/ Many excellent submissions and we are always looking for more. I have done some other ones that borderline insanity.. just check my youtube channel. WHOO HOO 2 you!! Congrats to another Ol timer. You should write up all your memories from the last decade. It was a fun endeavor to dredge up all those wonderful memories. Funny you should ask... there is something brewing.. >
  3. I know this story is a little long, but after 10 years, you tend to collect many memories. I started writing this last night about 11pm.. and finished at 2am. I cut out so many stories because I did not want to write a novel. I did post a little link to my personal blog that may be easier to read. http://www.forkpilot.com/ Also, as a fun side bonus, I wanted to post my two movies I made for our geocaching film fest here: We are taking submissions for our 3rd geocaching filmfest and hopefully this provides inspiration:
  4. All hyperlinks to caches/events listed here: http://www.forkpilot.com/2011/02/10-years-geocaching.html On Feb 14, 2001, I picked up my first GPS and went on a crazy hunt for a hidden container in the woods, which eventually turned into a 10 year saga filled with amazing adventures, mind-blowing events, and many lifelong friends. I could not have guessed that once I picked up my Garmin12, I would embark on a series of incredible life experiences based around an idea that the outdoors could be fun again. I was introduced to geo-stashing when I read a 3 sentence article in Outside Magazine. The article was a little unsure of this new activity, but it published the Geocaching.com webpage and mentioned the potential of new outdoor activities. I was rabid for something new, and this fit the bill. I remember laughing while trying to explain this new hunting game to my roommate. “Im gunna go look for something weird, don’t know what I will find, but I am sure it will be strange”. It turns out it was a ammo box with a white golf ball inside, but it was enough to get me hooked. At this time there were about 150 caches in Oregon, and geocachers were a ragtag group of funny avatar names. I came to know many people through the early GC forums; however we interacted mostly through the log sheets inside the containers. You could always tell a popular cache by the number of names and descriptions found in those data sheets, and it was a great deal of pride to be able to put your name before any of your GC friends. I placed my first cache, and it was pretty popular. So popular that a trail developed toward the container and I removed it to avoid further damage. It is then I created one of the earlier multi-caches. Requiring hunters to find 3 different locations, and identify a unique aspect of each site got hunters to the final cache, where I hid a camera and goodies. Oh boy, do I remember that camera. I would get many great pictures of successful hunters, then the occasional rude picture from a non-cacher person.. Then more rude pictures.. then more. So much that I stopped placing cameras inside caches due the high probability of lewd pictures located within. I didn’t really meet another geocacher in the field until 6 months later at the cache called “Raiders of the lost cache”. At that time my method for finding caches was to forgo trails and head directly to the cache. As I bashed through brush and sticker bushes, I emerged into a clearing, visibly startling “Oregone”. As we exchanged friendly banter, tiny LED lights suddenly flashed in some bushes, indicating the cache location. This technical genius by “wit Camp” originally got me thinking that Geocaches could be so much more than simple coordinates to simple containers. I started placing caches that required unusual behavior to solve. I wanted my caches to be unique, and I also noticed other people doing cool unique things as well. However it was not enough for me. I found too many “drive-by” caches. Little effort by the placer, made the hunt very un-fulfilling. I became uninterested in “normal” caches and my finds stagnated to about 160. I started to heavily gravitate toward geocaching based events. There was a group of geocachers that started to form in the Portland Oregon region. We all realized early on that our group of friends was unlike normal friendships. We were a very adventurous group where were up for adventures in and around our area. We passed around a “Golden Spike” with the understanding that whoever had possession of the spike was responsible for the next adventure. To my memory, we went bowling, night caching go-karting, videogaming, bonfires and underground ghost hunts. Eventually we had a big campout and service project at the local state park called Champoeg. The success of that first Champoeg event was a harbinger of amazing events the future had in store. Portland geocachers wanted to have another event at Champoeg and so another was planned. Huge potluck, great friends interacting, and a humbling ivy pulling project for the park. It is also where I unveiled my very unusual kinetic cache called “The APPARATUS”. I built it from my sprinkler system and a timing device. I had everyone meet me by the bonfire, where my device dangled a little paper box over the fire. The device would release the box (and final solution) into the fire if the participants did not retrieve the clues within the hour and stop the device. Reading the reports that everyone wrote after the event indicated everyone had the time of their lives. It was very encouraging to see so many people enjoy my creation. I went on to create APPARATUS2 and APPARATUS3 in the series that became increasingly abnormal. This made me happy. It also became evident that another creative cacher “fractal’ and I should work together on a combined event. He had created some amazing geocaches and events at the same time as me. We both realized the amount of joy we received from our friends solving our puzzles far outpaced our efforts needed to create them. So we began to design the first of our greatest events called “Broken Arrow”. We had clandestine meetings, top secret plans, and covert signals to help us plan this event in complete secrecy. We wanted to create a device that would need to be solved in a very James Bond method. 5 wires needed to be cut in the correct order or the device would give a very audible detonation. We hid very technical mini puzzles throughout the park that each needed their own solution. Geiger counters, pagers, exploding chest die pack and awesome artwork. Probably best of all was our costumes. We each had our persona and became that person for the duration of the event. Silly accents and all. When our friends were cheering our names at the conclusion of the event we felt on top of the world. Fractal and I decided to create more events even more insane than the previous event. During our event “Warlords” we witnessed friends teaming up assemble trebuchets and fling balloons at human targets. Our event “Blood Bath and Beyond” had a incredible 6 month buildup, amazing props and a alien autopsy with a chainsaw!! ROWR! The events “Icarus” and “Holiday Bizarre” made me laugh along with the successes and failures. We even teamed up with a trio of creative cachers to create our own secret society and cult cache event called “C5”. Other events emerged including our own FILM FEST, Iron Chef Competition, and Gong Show. The participants would look forward to Champoeg event all year, and as a result, the entire park would be reserved a full 8 months in advance. However the popularity of Champoeg began to outstrip our capacity to improve upon years past. We the organizers made the heart wrenching decision to pull the plug on Champoeg after its 8th year. As the years press on, and popularity of the sport expands exponentially, I started the anarchy gnome and anarchy geocache series that broke every rule created by the now popular geocaching authorities. I am proud to say there were many fellow hunters who were far more twisted than I could dream of. I launched a geocache to the edge of space and have a couple of travel bugs that would get kicked out of any respectable home or office. So, as I have now reached this 10 year milestone of this weird little game, I am currently involved with a hybrid geocache multisport event as well as continued thoughts of crazy and unique cache ideas. My friendships made through geocaching will last a lifetime, as well as all the scrapes, cuts, and bruises I receive when searching for those elusive containers. What will the next 10 years have in store for me I do not know? I am only sure that it will be crazy and fun surrounded by friends and technology. I may even be able to break 200 finds!! Thanks everyone. I hope to see you on the trail soon. Your pal, soup
  5. Just now trying to line some of these adventures up. Thanks again everyone for your excellent ideas.!
  6. Thanks everyone for your timely and excellent suggestions. I feel I can look toward my enforced time off with a spring in my step and a grin to make the Cheshire cat jealous. You guys have given me some great things to think about, epically since thinking is not my strong suit. I plan on tracking, updating and trying your suggestions. Thank you friends. I promise I will not go silent for so long again. Cheers to you!
  7. I have begun to plan my sabbatical and was thinking about what to do. I love the northwest and have completed many amusing and fun adventures in the region. However, now that I have about a 2.5 month free time available (in the summer months), I find that it is rather difficult to come up with new and exciting adventures. It is then I realized I have a great big group of extended friends here who may know about some cache or locational activities that they find excellent. So I will give some details then beg the GC group for their input as to what I might find adventurous, amusing, or amazing. So here are my details: I will have 2.5 months available. I don't have exact dates (I can choose them when I am ready). The usual activities I do are caching, biking, kayaking, hiking.. and some unusual activities as well. I will either be solo, or with my family (wife and 2 children), or with a group if I can join one. The areas I am interested in playing around are the Northwest, including parts of Canada if necessary. I am not interested in returning to work 2 months later being well rested and clean cut. I want to return smoldering, covered in muck, with a strange limp while speaking a foreign dialect and swatting at imaginary bats. At least that is mostly my goal. Do you know of any caching and/or adventures out there that you think would be excellent for me to attempt?
  8. After 2 hours sleep, I woke up at 3am last night and chased this tombstone down. I am still groggy, but the details are that I spend far too long looking for a decent flashlight. I ultimately decided to carry 3 flashlights tied together to provide enough light to light up any reflective surfaces (learned from previous experience) After the flashlight search, it was about 12:30 am, when I, unfamiliar with the little park, became convinced it was filled with hobos and winos. (very active imagination). So I decided to hit it at 4am when they were likely all passed out and no longer menacing the park. The drive time was about 40 minutes and I arrived without incident. Starting from the coordinates, I used the "flashlight matrix" to unevenly illuminate the reflectors. Excellent path, and I was bouncing from site to site, when I realized somebody was watching me from a window of a nearby home. Why were they awake? What fool is awake at this hour? I hurriedly extinguished my lights and paused for a bit. The man in the window went away and I became convinced of his eventual 911 call about my nefarious activities. Not wanting to meet any fine police officers, I took my search to high gear! Running from site to site, using one underpowered flashlight shining through my hand (to keep my position secret from the menacing man in the window), I became lost multiple times and retraced my path often. This is how I usually geocache, just not as frantic, and not as successful, as I eventually found the little tombstone neatly hidden in the belly of some tree type plant. I poked it with a stick to be sure its origin. Then, realizing that I had 40 minutes to be back home before my wife went to work. So, I ran back through the park and waved goodbye to my friend in the window (I don't think he ever saw me), and did a Dukes of Hazzard slide across my truck hood (not really). Started it up and lurched into the night with my ill gotten gains. I didn't see one hobo or wino. That was a relief. I made it home and fell asleep on the couch in all my cloths, just in time for the wife and kids to wake up. Mission accomplished, and soup now is the proud owner of #10. The soup family will see everyone at Geoboo. We cant wait!!
  9. We set it up as time based pix. Next go around, I think altitude based pix, with GPS coords on camera display would be a fun addition. Its time to start working on projects for the next flight..
  10. In addition to this flight, we have worked with the local college that does experiments with middle schools. This first flight, we just wanted pictures and be able to recover the package as cheaply as possible. For our next flight, I am planning on some new experiments that geocachers can help out with. I really wanted the geocache hanging out in front of the camera with the earth as a backdrop. Some other fun ideas are in the works as well. I send you a PM message. Let me know what you think..
  11. I called in a "NOTAM" or Notice to Air Men. It is a service (in my case Lockheed Martin) that keeps all the information I provide about Launch time, Predicted Path, burst altitude..etc, and makes it available to the flying community. We kept the package under the FAA weight/strength restrictions in order to launch w/o problems or permission necessary. You are correct. We used low density foam on the inside, and at altitude, the trapped air bubbles expanded and expelled from the foam. When the package returned to earth, the foam shrank because the air did not return. Look at the last picture at the little foam cover... it used to be as big as the opening. We used a Cannon A590 I think, due to the fact it was really easy to hack its ability. No concerns, as we stayed under the FAA restrictions, and I filed a NOTAM to CMY. heh I REALLY wanted to put my coordinates into Google Earth for this exact type of picture.. but I am having problems with the .KML conversion. Any tips you can provide me? Beautiful map you got there.. and isnt chasing just the best experience?? So fun! Thanks again everyone!!
  12. I never planned on making the final landing site the cache site because of uncertanity of final location. I want to have as many people find the cache in order to participate in the continued experiment, and know of a "very appropriate" location for the cache, so I did a real simple offset. And.. yeah the UFO was a little unsettling at first, but it turns out they Geocache too.. on Mars! (marscache?)
  13. We used a helium filled latex weather balloon rated for altitude of about 100k feet. If you look on Google earth of the Landing coordinates, you can see that rounded clearcut. Neat! Thanks for the nice comments. We had a blast working on it.
  14. I have dreamed about it for 2 years, and finally on 7/27/08 we accomplished the task... To launch a Geocache into Space, or as close as possible. We got close at 99,715 feet!! Woot!! I wasnt sure where to post this in the GC forums: GPS in education? GPS and Ham Radio? the Unusual/Hunt? This cache was the combination of multiple technologies and efforts of Speedur, Alterdstate and myself (soup). It was so fun, and by design, Geocachers get to participate in the continued experiment. Plus, we got some Amazing pictures (example below: Mt Adams, Mt Rainer, and the top of Mt. St. Helens) For our "Near Space Cache" we used Ham Radio frequencies, GPS, and even FRS. People were able to follow the balloon "tracks" live from the comfort of their computer screen (and call us if we got off track). During the last morning of our Champoeg 08 event, we launched our custom electronics package and Geocache, and chased it to its landing spot. The flight path was crazy, and the final landing site just north of Mount Hood. The Geocache also had a scientific experiment that needs the help from the Geocaching community to complete. Interested? All the information, including the experiment, the story, and a link to all the pictures captured by the flight camera can be found at the actual Geocache page... GC1G3H2 I cant wait to launch another one!
  15. Rothstafari and Hydee informed me of the Wherigo platform during our Champoeg Geocaching event. I have a Windows Mobile pocket PC (HP Traveler) that I will use first. However, the Colorado400 has me intrigued. Before I purchase a Colorado400, can anyone tell me if it has NMEA in/out capabilities? I cant find a definitive answer on Garmin or elsewhere. aTdHvAaNnKcSe soup.
  16. As its been mentioned before, you can ask attendees if they have extra room. We are friendly folks. And to further fuel the fire.. this years activities will be ...epic.. Sorry, I cant tell you what they are.. but I am sure you wont be dissappointed Muahahaha..
  17. You shouldnt go worrying about us... just try to ignore the screaming and chainsaws. I suggest using a set of earplugs, they work great.
  18. That is hilarious. Now if you can give the little guy a leather jacket and a Fonzie thumbs up.. it would be perfect!
  19. You get out what you put into it. I have been caching for 6 or so years, have around 150 finds. I would say that I burned out a few years ago. Not for immersion factor.. but for my other interestes. The cache "uniqueness" had worn off, and I lost interest. I felt I didnt have a unique interest in the game. Then one day I was pulling my sprinkler system from my yard, and wondering what to do with all the PVC I had laying around. I then had a weird idea for a new type of cache hunt using this PVC. It would be a 1 day cache, where I would make people do insane things to solve this weird device I made from the PVC piping. I called it the APPARATUS. It was weird, crazy, and totally fun. I got TONS of good feedback in my event logs. Check it out in my archived events... the people were stoked. Suddenly, it was like I was re-geoborn. If that is a word. I immediately saw that there was a HUGE need for ultra creative, ultra weird, fun events. I loved getting everyone together and just to see their joy.. I was hooked again, but for a different reason all together. I learned that another local cacher (fractal) had just as much creative energy and we immediately became pals. Since then, we have put on some VERY creative events for our caching friends. We spend 8-9 months working on a 1 day event. It sounds like a lot of work, but to hear every one cheer for you, and to see your friends have a blast is worth every late nite I spend working on this stuff. Also, check out fractals archived events or search for fractalsoup for details. Geocaching has come a long way, and I have taken a turn for the fun. I put into it what I want to get out of it, Fun. I now see that I can enjoy the sport again by adding my own special touch. Now, everything from our fractalSoup events, to my newest travelbugs, to our unique, brand new shiny decoder-geocoin (check out www.champoeg.com for details), I have reinvigorated my enthusiasum for this sport. I wouldnt say caching has "jumped the shark", but that does sound like a fun cache event to create.. Hmmmm..
  20. That sir, has caused me to expel audible laughter. Well played.
  21. Ok. I am a okee-fanokee from quaint lil orygun. I dont know big city life. Are you suggesting I bring heavy weaponry? Nunchucks? maybe a whiteflag? I will have spare wallets that I can give to the nice folks who want em. /JOKE
  22. You guys have provided me LOTS of options. I thank you for your time and efforts! I will take your suggestions and put it into the ol GPS for my stay. And.. if your ever in Oregon, give me a hollar at pdxgeocaching.com or champoeg.com. We have some serious GPS fun here as well. Ok, now off to pack my bags.
  23. My employer is sending me to Mt. Olive from 3/5 - 3/17 for some training. I would like to get some Geocaching in, and was wondering if there were any in that area that were a "must see". Unique, Beauty, or Weird caches are very acceptable. I will check out the North and South NJ cache websites as well as the WeirdNJ website. If you can suggest something cool, I would be most appreciative. Thanks in advance. - soup.
  24. A couple years ago I ran a geocache event that deployed a frightening cache container.. A sort of hybrid capture the flag game where the end result would be to open the locked cache container and take what is inside to the finishline. I thought it would be a quiet game, so I rigged the container to ignite several 4th of July "Flashers".. in addition I put a screamer alarm in a mug inside, which they had to grab and take to the finish. It was chaotic, but really fun. I still feel bad for mini-Wanderlost. That picture if him makes me feel awful...
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