- Hits: 2691
POTOSI, Missouri. Travis and Cindy were on a mission.
After parking their minivan in front of Mark Twain National Forest's Potosi Ranger Station, they turned on their GPS unit and stepped out of their vehicle.
They weren't there to purchase a map, or to inquire about camping, or to buy a firewood permit. They were searching for something…something that they knew was very close by. And if they found it, it would be momentous because never yet had they been the "First To Find."
Time was of the essence, and even the damp and chilly air of that October 2011 morning was not enough to deter them. They had to find it, and find it first.
They walked down the sidewalk, past the Pollinator Garden, across the parking lot, and headed into the woods. As they approached a small vernal pool, they suddenly stopped. Did they see something? Maybe a bird flushing from a bush? Or a frog jumping into the pool? No, they saw something much less obvious.
Travis walked a few steps further, stopped again, turned around, then kicked some leaves and exclaimed "I found it!" Pulling an old ammo box out from behind a tree, they both grinned from ear to ear. This was what they were looking for. This was the geocache!
Travis and Cindy represent hundreds of people who participate in geocaching, or treasure hunting on Mark Twain National Forest.
This particular geocache was put there by Mark Twain National Forest Employee Marge VanPraag.
A geocacher herself, Marge has enjoyed encouraging others to participate in this recreational pastime.
- Written by Denmother
- Hits: 3943
With the mild winter we had in SLAGA territory, we expect the ticks to be out in force this year! As a public service, we're reprinting part of a great article that Brawny Bear wrote a few years ago about ticks and how to avoid them. L Frank and I follow Brawny's advice and treat our caching clothes with Permethrin every year, and we swear by it. The brand we use is Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea & Tick Home Spray. Here is an excerpt from Brawny's article:
So that some of the people new to caching and the outdoors understand the reality behind ticks, I have put together a primer to help you out. There is a great article in Backpacker magazine that covers ticks and how to avoid them.
When a tick buries its head into your skin, it forms a cement bond that keeps it in place while it excretes a chemical that breaks down tissue and allows them to absorb the blood and fluids they desire. There really isn't any documented length of time a tick can wait for a host. Some ticks will have several hosts as they morph from a nymph to an adult and others will have one host. Ticks have been known to live over 3 years, even through the dormant Winter, without ever attaching to a host.
A quick overview of the cycle of a tick is as follows...
Female lays eggs, Eggs become Larvae, Larvae attaches to birds or small mammals, Tick becomes a nymph, Nymph attaches to a host, Tick feeds until it becomes an adult, adult males detach and look for females usually on the host, male breeds and then drops and dies, female continues to feed, eventually dropping off and laying eggs. In some cases, the female will lay eggs on the host.
In Missouri, we have all 3 species of ticks.
1) Deer Tick - often called seed ticks and are very small. Females are bigger and often are 2 tone brown with the head and back being darker than the legs.
2) Lone Star Tick - Most common in Missouri. Females have a white dot on their back. This is where they get their name. A big misconception is the males have a spot too. This is not true. Males are the most common tick and often called a dog tick or brown tick. These ticks are more round than oval. Almost all ticks here in Missouri are Lone Stars.
3) The American Dog Tick - These are the largest ticks and they are more oval than the other ticks. The male and female are almost the same size. They are brown with darker brown spots on their backs. The adults are usually the ones
that feed on us and dogs.
Lone Star and Deer Ticks carry Lyme. Dog ticks do not but they can carry other diseases.
Wear Light Clothes when in the field. I can't stress this enough. People who head out into a field with dark clothes are going to get skin buried ticks. Light clothes has them show up easier and you can pick them off.
Tuck your pants into your socks and tape them with some duct tape if possible. This keeps them on the outside. Also wear shirts tucked in and make sure they are light colored as well. Some people talk about ticks dropping from trees overhead. While this may be possible, it is highly unlikely. These critters are ground dwellers that usually get no higher that a weed. Birds love to eat ticks so climbing a tree would be like marching into the oven.
Spray your clothes with Permethrin. You can buy Cutter's and other brands of this but I use Equate brand Bedding Spray from Wal-Mart. Same stuff only a buck cheaper. Spray clothes until moist and allow them to dry completely. Spray shoes, socks, pants, shirt, undies, etc... It will last a couple of washings and a few rainy days.
Carry a spare set of shoes, socks and pants in the vehicle. If you can, change clothes and place your clothes into a plastic bag and put them in the trunk. When you get home, pop them in the dryer on high for 10 minutes. This will ensure all hitchhikers are incinerated.
Do a tick check often. When you get home, have your significant other check for all sizes of ticks. Remember, some may be smaller then a pinhead. If you do not have someone that can check, use a mirror.
Obviously, avoiding high grass and marshy fields would be the way to go...
- Hits: 2382
Written by Hilary Korabik
On Saturday, Feb. 25, Clare Conner and Katie Newman, both juniors at Saint Louis University, found themselves corralling chickens in Tower Grove Park. Were they fully engaged in learning where their food comes from? Not exactly; this is just one of the many adventures a person might come across while geocaching.
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt that was started in 2000 by a group of Global Positioning System enthusiasts, after a major upgrade in the civilian GPS system. This upgrade allowed GPS users to pinpoint locations as much as 10 times more accurately than they had previously been able to, according to former president George Bush’s press release on May 1, 2000.Read entire article at unewsonline.com.
- Written by Denmother
- Hits: 3091
Now in its 9th year, MOGA (the Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure) is headed north to the land between the rivers, Io-way! They say Iowa has a time zone all of its own. Well, they might be lightin’ up the tilt sign, but we’ll have a blast with it anyway – so set your clocks back 50 or 60 years and get ready to Rock Around the Clock Cache!
MOGA has teamed up with the Iowa Geocachers Organization, the US Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, Honey Creek Resort State Park, and of course, Groundspeak to make your cruise back in time hit the top of the charts! The date has been set – April 27, 28, and 29, 2012. The playing field has been identified – Rathbun Lake, Centerville, Iowa. The headquarters has been secured – Honey Creek Resort State Park, Moravia, Iowa.
You cool cats know that MOGA is an action-packed weekend, where participants race from waypoint to waypoint on foot in search of competition punches. But MOGA isn't just for competitors -- there are also activities geared towards families and the laid-back cacher. There will be around 150 permanent caches of all styles – hikers to park-n-grabs, ammo cans to nanos, and special hides just for the kiddos. You’ll be on Cloud 9 with the poker run and other sister events. You can geocache at your own pace, or you can enter the individual or team competitions for a chance to win a custom-made trackable award coin!
Go to www.mogageo.com to sign up now! There are registration packages for every budget, including a FREE registration, as well as packages that include swag, t-shirts, and meals. Remember, pre-registering is the only way to purchase meals for this event. So put it on your calendar before you get too much smog in the noggin. Iron your threads and poodle skirt, brush out your nest, and polish your saddle shoes. Let’s get Rockin’ ‘Round the Cache!
- Written by Denmother
- Hits: 3434
One of our favorite things about geocaching is that it takes us to some wonderfully obscure locations. Another thing we love is that geocaching allows us to learn a lot about plants and animals along the way. Although our most recent adventure was not geocaching-related, it still had the elements of going somewhere the average person doesn’t get to see and learning something new that opened our eyes.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Tyson Research Center along Highway 44 at Antire Hill, I've always pictured two-headed Tyson chickens running around behind that high-security fence. What you may not know is that, nestled in the middle of the Tyson Research area, are 63 acres devoted to the Endangered Wolf Center (formerly known as the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center) founded by Marlin Perkins. (You know, the guy from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and former director of the St. Louis Zoo.)
For L Frank's birthday, I signed us up for one of the Wolf Center's monthly Wolf Howls. We were given a 15-minute window to be at the Tyson Research Center gate, where someone would let us in and give us instructions on where to go. Pulling up to the gate after dark, we were surprised by the number of cars waiting to go in. We took our place in line, and eventually the gates opened and the cars were allowed in one by one.
The woods were pitch-black on either side of us as we drove about a mile and a half, where we were directed to park along the side of the road. Then we got out of our cars and walked to a World War II-era munitions bunker where the event was to begin. The inside of the bunker was set up with a presentation screen, chairs, information on the animals at the Wolf Center, and even a little gift shop. We were served wine and cheese before taking a seat.
The event began with a Wolf Center employee giving a presentation on the wolves and other endangered species living there. The red wolf, we were told, used to roam Missouri but was almost completely exterminated in the 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1930s, only two packs remained in the wild.
The mission of the Wolf Center (www.endangeredwolfcenter.org) is to provide an “alternative to extinction” for hundreds of wolves and other endangered canids through education, behavioral and reproductive research and carefully managed breeding. The work done there has been responsible for successful reintroduction programs for the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf.
After the presentation, our group was invited to walk down a gravel road with our flashlights and call to the wolves to see if they would answer. We had walked a few hundred feet when we all stopped in our tracks at the sound of the wolves starting to howl in the distance. We listened to the sound for a few minutes, trying to imagine the terror that early settlers in Missouri said they felt when they heard the wolves’ cry all around them. How could those early accounts be referring to the beautiful, soulful sound we were hearing?
The wolves quieted as suddenly as they had started. One of our guides stayed with us, and the other continued down the road. They were going to each try to howl as if they were lost wolves searching for the pack. First one, then the other guide gave their best rendition of a Mexican grey wolf. I guess the pack wasn’t fooled, because only one wolf felt sorry for us and answered. Then our whole group howled on cue, but the wolves must have been laughing at us at that point, since the only answer we got when we listened for a reply was a train whistle in the distance. We felt lucky to have heard them earlier, and left wanting to return for a daylight tour so we could actually get to see them in their habitats. All in all, a fun, educational experience in an area that I would have otherwise never been able to see. What more could a geocacher wish for? Maybe next time I’ll spot one of those two-headed chickens.
- Hits: 2773
by Eric Schudiske, Groundspeak Lackey
In the 11 years and 9 months since the first geocache was placed, there is single date on which only a small fraction of geocachers have ever logged a cache. We suspect that’s because this particular date has only happened twice in geocaching history; it’s February 29, also known as leap day.
Given our penchant for all things that leap (frogs, horses, excited geocachers), we wanted to mark the third leap day in geocaching history — February 29, 2012 — by seeing how many accounts can log a cache that day.
Last February 29, way back in 2008, 36,696 distinct accounts logged an “Attended” or “Found it” on a cache. Given the growth of the geocaching community since then, we think we can double that number this year. But 73,392 distinct accounts logging a cache is a lofty goal; it’s the second highest number of accounts to log a cache in a single day. The current record, 78,313, was set on 10/10/10. Considering that 10/10/10 was a Sunday and February 29 will be a Wednesday, it is going to require a huge push to reach our goal.
So, talk to your fellow geocachers, your friends, and your co-workers about going geocaching (and logging their find) on February 29. In order to count toward the goal, people only have to log a single cache.
Everyone who logs a “Found it” or “Attended” this February 29 will receive the Leap Day Souvenir on their profile. As an added bonus, Premium Members who love to look at their “finds by date” statistics most likely see a blank square on the calendar on February 29. This is your chance to fill in the square —the 366th day of geocaching!
Local Leap Day Events:
GC3BY21 Leap Day (City Folk Edition) - St. Louis MO
GC3BXVT Happy (hour) Leap Day! - St. Charles MO
GC3C98C Meet, Greet, Eat and Leap - Salem MO
GC3B5X3 Leap Day in Columbia - Columbia MO
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