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- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 196
The holidays that bookend the close of one year and the beginning of the next have come and gone, but not without some fanfare from the SLAGA family.
Beginning with the Twelve Days of Cachemas on December 13, SLAGA celebrated with new caches and several events. Twelve lucky (and persistent) geocachers obtained not only smileys but the coveted annual Cachemas ornament, created by L Frank. The bonus cache, released on Christmas Day, was FTFed by SWASeeker. Congratulations to all who braved the cold, venturing out before sunrise in some cases.
In the middle of the Cachemas fever, Nan-D1955 hosted the SLAGA Christmas Party at Kirkwood Station Restaurant on December 17. In spite of freezing temperatures and icy conditions, about thirty-five party animals showed up, bearing canned goods and toys to be donated to charity. Nan collected ninety-one cans of food for Circle of Concern in Valley Park, while Spiritwolf922 carted out four large bags of gifts for Toys for Kids.
On Christmas Day, for the fourth year in a row, Strider and Crowesfeat30 hosted Cachemas Day with Friends at the Hibachi Grill Supreme Buffet in Ballwin, with about eighteen cachers logging for their Attended smileys.
Team_State brought the celebration to a close with two same-day events: SLAGA New Years Brunch and SLAGA New Years Day Hike 2017. The group effectively took over the Eureka Culver’s restaurant with over thirty attendees, filling the main dining area. The hike drew a few more with nearly forty Attended logs posted.
The hike consisted of two teams – Strider’s and L Frank’s – hiking in opposite directions on the loop trail (which wasn’t nearly as flat as advertised), picking up the few ‘resident caches’, but also collecting twenty-two temporary caches which contained two Scrabble-style letters in each, intended to spell out a secret message at the end. L Frank’s team arrived at the parking lot first, but Spiritwolf922 made everybody wait until all the hikers had returned before she opened her gallon-sized bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies to share.
Both New Year’s Day events were great successes, with the weather cooperating beautifully. What was expected to be gray and chilly turned out to be sunny and upper forties, allowing many of the hikers to leave their heavier coats in their cars.
The holidays may have come to an end, but there are still many SLAGA events yet to come in 2017, including two in January: The Ninth Annual Slurpin’ Soup and Watchin’ Eagles (GC6XK93) in the Village of the Blue Rose, between Clarksville and Louisiana, MO; and The SLAGA Winter Potluck & Cabin Fever – 2017 (GC6X1ZQ), in The Pavilion at Lemay, in Jefferson Barracks Park, St. Louis County, MO. Be sure to check out the upcoming events in the panel on the right side of the screen on the SLAGA.org webpage.
- Written by Team_State (on behalf of Hobbit Taz)
- Hits: 410
Final Race States: Jan 21, 2017
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 371
A few weeks ago, SLAGA was contacted by Girl Scout troop leader Katherine Meirink, inquiring if we had anyone willing to teach a dozen fifth-grade girls how to geocache. Of course, the answer was a resounding YES!
On October 5, Nancy Gelb (walkingstic-stl), Nan Fritschle (nan-d1955), Evelyn Fenter (arabbit, of arabbit&ubuck), Bill Lange (How-D) and Patricia Hutchison (spiritwolf922) showed up at the Dog Museum entrance of Queeny Park to introduce 12 students and three adults to geocaching.
Walkingstic-stl had already been busily setting out her gear, which included samples of caches, trackables and swag, as well as four temporary caches interspersed among ‘live’ caches for the kids to find.
At about 3:30 pm, members of Troop 1247 of St. Clement’s arrived with their leaders and gathered at the picnic tab-2-2le where walkingstic-stl began with introductions of the other SLAGA members who were assisting her, then engaged her students by asking what they already knew about geocaching and GPS units. The kids enthusiastically responded and asked their own questions.
The presentation was brief due to time constraints, but walkingstic-stl and her supporters were able to explain geocaching etiquette and what to expect with searching for caches, such as sizes of containers and signing logs. She also introduced them to some geocaching terms such as ‘muggle’ – which the students all knew from Harry Potter – swag and CITO. Several of the volunteers reinforced the idea that cachers are eco-friendly and that to keep our game board clean and fun for everyone, it is a good practice to pick up trash whenever we see it.
Walkingstick-stl also stressed safety, reminding the students that they would be in an active parking lot and crossing the entrance to the park. “Watch out for elephants!” was her mantra for this lesson – and one which was repeated throughout the next hour, as volunteers reminded the students to look up from their GPS units periodically to make sure they weren’t walking in front of a car.
Each student was provided a small bag of swag to trade at the temporary caches – the ‘live’ caches were all too small for swag – and, splitting into three groups, they were off to find their first hides.
ETrexes in hand, walkingstic-stl led one set of girls with the troop leader, nan-d1955 took off with another lot and How-D and arabbit headed off with the last group. How-D’s and arabbit’s charges headed toward their first location, zeroing out quickly and beginning to look around. It took a few minutes for them to spot the hide, with How-D suggesting that they fan out a little, reminding them of the title of the cache – a temporary called Cave Dweller – and explaining that geocachers used more than their eyes to puzzle out where something could be hidden. In this case, the cache was stowed in a crevice between two large boulders and had a slim stone covering the entryway.
There’s nothing quite like the cry of “Found it!” by the first-time cacher, and the smiles on the faces of the SLAGA members showed the same delight, pleased at having passed that excitement along to their students, and hopefully, future geocachers.
Throughout the lesson, the SLAGA volunteers answered questions, offered their insights on caching as well as emphasizing the need to stay together and work together – no cacher left behind! – while walking between hides. The students loved finding the larger containers, eagerly spilling the contents and making their trades, then signing in and putting the cache back in its hiding space for the next bunch to find.
How-D’s and arabbit’s group were at one cache when walkingstic-stl’s students approached. The kids at the cache began hurriedly signing the log while some of the others worked to distract the newcomers so the cache could be replaced for them to experience the same fun finding it.
All too soon, the session came to an end and the Girl Scouts had to gather in the parking lot to leave for their next activities for the evening. The leaders appeared to be quite pleased with the results and profusely thanked walkingstic-stl and her supporters. Before they left, the SLAGA representatives suggested to the Girl Scouts that if they had any further questions or just wanted to learn more about geocaching, to contact SLAGA through its website, and to consider looking for and attending events to meet other cachers.
Groups such as Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts looking for assistance with the geocaching merit badge are encouraged to contact SLAGA via the local website. Because these sessions are provided by volunteers, it is best to inquire as early as possible to ensure that someone is available during the timeframe requested.
- Written by korriaan
- Hits: 407
- Written by Patricia Hutchison
- Hits: 487
Tuesday, August 30, 2016, found Richard Janssen – also known as baldeagle45 – completing the epic task of traveling to and finding a cache in each of the fifty states in the union.
But not just any caches. These are the Cache Across America caches: fifty caches placed across the United States, including the final in Washington, D.C. This particular challenge has been completed by fewer than thirty cachers worldwide.
Baldeagle45, from Chester, Illinois, was visiting his niece and family on the island of Kauai when he was introduced to this series. After a visit to tour the Arizona Memorial on Oahu, he convinced his family to let him try to find some caches on the island. They agreed and he made the CAA-Hawaii his target. Making the find, he determined that he would take on the mission to complete the challenge.
During the summer of 2013, Baldeagle45 found sixteen more CAA caches – an achievement in itself for just a few short months of hunting. Because of his job – a Transportation Specialist – he waited until the following summer to pick up on his quest, adding twenty-three more caches to his count. By 2015, he was slowing down a little, due to distance and time availability, picking up an additional two to add to his tally, for a total of forty-two finds. With only eight to go, however, he wasn’t going to give up.
On June 16, 2016, baldeagle45 directed his attention to the southwest, grabbing Oklahoma on his way to New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. After attending GeoWoodstock in Colorado, he headed home. The next step was Montana, followed by Alaska. He now needed to head east to complete his odyessy.
On August 26, 2016, he headed to Vermont, Maine and Delaware, finding the necessary containers on the 27th, 28th and 29th, respectively. The final was now within reach! After receiving a little help from Lorriebird & ZSteve, on August 30, 2016, at 10:07 am, baldeagle45 completed the series by obtaining the final cache in Washington, D.C., bringing an end to his multi-year, multi-state adventure.
There was one more thing to wrap up this amazing journey, however. To those elite few who have completed this series, there is a prize beyond the caches and bragging rights: An exclusive coin, created solely for this challenge, the Cache Across America Finishers Coin.
Cache Across America Finishers Coin
In addition, finishers are honored with their photos on the cache page, so that everyone who accepts this challenge can see who has attained this exciting goal.
So, what does this cacher have to say about his success? The first thing is that you have to like traveling. Baldeagle45 likes driving, so the tens of thousands of miles he traversed didn’t bother him, though he did have to keep in touch with his sisters during his trips because he claimed all of these caches by himself.
The most difficult cache in the series for him was in Montana due to the one-hundred-foot elevation terrain change in a short distance. Taking his time, he was able to make the find and continue on.
While he found the cache series to be a challenge, he didn’t find it to be a “difficult” challenge. The caches took him to what he described as a large variety of “ordinary and special places”.
“Each state and the placement of the cache was a new experience. I didn\'t know exactly what I was going to find, or if I could get to it. I just kept trying. That\'s the excitement of Geocaching: the thrill of the hunt. Whether it\'s in the woods, mountains, deserts, rural, or cities, you follow your GPS and try to find the cache. It is an electronic treasure hunt. The goal and satisfaction that you get out of it is determined by what you put into it. You have to love it and I DO.”
Asked if he preferred challenge caches over other kinds of caches, he responded, “I don\'t prefer challenge caches over other types. I like any cache that gets me to a new place to visit and explore. The challenge is to try to think like the CO that hid the cache. The excitement of finding the cache is the reward for the effort you put into it.”
SLAGA extends its heartiest congratulations to baldeagle45 for this remarkable accomplishment!
Cache Across America Series Final
Cache Across America Bookmark List of Caches
Cache Across America – Missouri
Cache Across America – Illinois
- Written by Korriaan
- Hits: 480