Journeys


This afternoon found an aging geek/hipster on bicycle. Geocaching and meditation in the park. Both of these endeavors are journeys, seeking hidden caches. Some internal, others hidden in public.

Didn’t find too many answers or caches. But give me time.

I’m (om) still here,
Pearce

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Geocaching on 10/10/10

Geocaching 10/10/10


A great event brought a good majority of the saskatoon geocachers (and a few from out of town) to Gabriel Dumount Park. A riverside park that has some excellent walkways, a kids playground, and some really good caches. Check this view. Homemade by C at GC2C70M, was a nice change of pace, as so many other Geocachers in Saskatoon have mentioned – It’s nice to find something larger than a nano or micro. I have to agree. The park is an excellent place to go, it goes from groomed to the wild grasses that a lot of the dog parks have. There are little high spots on the riverbank that you can see the construction on the new south bridge as well. Like this spot.

Geocachers on the trail

Geocachers on the trail

The event put on by Houlagans also had a great game that showed how much your gps can actually lie to you. For most GPS units, you can actually get the zero point where the cache should be hidden. But it’s nowhere near the actual cache. So how does that work? The accuracy and calculations of the GPS units are dependent upon several factors, including how many of them can actually get information to your unit. So don’t always depend on your GPS, use your brain, think like a cacher. Check your accuracy and overhead. Trees, overhead high power lines, buildings can block the signal.

The 10/10/10 date marks the 10 year anniversary that geocaching and groundspeak got off the ground… so to speak. The request for everyone to log 1 cache was to see if they could set a new record. After everyone was done entering and updating their finds, the total number of accounts logging one cache was 78,313. It’s a fun hobby… er sport. It’s a weird mix of the two. Gets me out on the trail and occasionally I get to take a really good photo.

Geocaching on 10/10/10

A Boy and his Dog

I’m hoping it will be a slightly milder winter, at least on the weekends. I’m going to try and get some winter gear together, see if I can get some caches done in the winter. I tried a couple last year, but wasn’t really prepared for it. Either way, it gets me out of the house, and as the infamous BennyKidd has on his signature for his geocaches…

‘You Never Know When You Will Find Your Last Cache SO Enjoy Today And Cache On”

I’m still here,
Pearce

P.S. This was supposed to be posted on Oct.11… curse you fingers for not scheduling right.

Headed South


By 5 pm Friday, I hope the view is something like this.


Picture is over a year old, from my south dakota trip, the first picture of the trek.

Took Friday off, and time once again to do one of those things that ‘We keep meaning to do’. Killing off another one of those ‘One of these years we should do this.’ Intentions to do things without actually intending to do them is wishful dreaming. Not living.

I’m headed to the Big Muddy, Saskatchewan Badlands for Outlaw days. Fun in small border town Saskatchewan. My Uncle and my Cousin are appearing in a play. Will try and geocache while there, there is an Earthcache nearby (GC1FGVM) . I will definitely take photos, or get kid to. But for now, I’m packing stuff up, charging batteries, iPood is loaded up with podcasts and doing that usual thing with bags and stuff… Do I need this?

For now, I’m going to stick to simple rules for travel.
1 – Pack 1 set for hot weather
2 – Pack 1 set for cold wet weather
1a2a – One good formal shirt
3 – Bring Book, don’t need batteries for those
4 – Have fun
5 – One extra pair of underwear and socks, for comfort.
6 – Insomnia Man needs to bring own pillows.

Oh yeah. A couple other things, Outlaws would use the caves nearby to hideout. There is a brutal bloody history in the area, but given enough research, any place has this. I’ve heard the area be called God’s country. Is it religious? No, it’s because no man wants that land. Grim and true.

I’m still here,
soon to be there,
and then back again,
stay tuned,
Pearce

Diefenbaker Park – My Geocaching Waterloo!


Still gorgeous out there, mosquitos surprisingly not as bad as they were earlier this summer. Had to get out and enjoy it as the amount of daylight keeps dropping 3 minutes every day. Plus with the overnight temperatures of 3 degrees, I think that was old man winters postcard. Fall may come a little early this year, and hopefully not full of rain. Just remember, minus 40 is damn cold compared to what we’re having now.

Was on the lookout again for Sask First Residents (GCV3GN), Diefenbaker Park (GC23AW5), Saskatoon Geo-Post Office (GCX13P)… 3 more DNF’s, got scratches. Dief park is my waterloo, I don’t know if its the frisbee golf or what. Can’t seem to find those 3, must try again one of these times, but not solo. The MVA trail was closed, but some people were still using it.

Here’s a few shots that I took.

Beaver Shot!

3 adult geese, and one almost adult gosling.

Sunset over train bridge

About 4.5 inches across, really big print.


Path by the river

All of the above shots were taken within 20m of each other. There really is a lot of great places to explore in Saskatoon. Take the time, get out there, while it’s still (relatively) warm.

I’m still here,
Pearce

Outdoor Nostalgia


The more I geocache, the more I start to remember summer afternoons of my youth on the farm. There were places and gullies explored. Occasionally I could pick up the odd game trail, and there was signs here and there of life. Racoon tracks, rabbit burrows, and even the one year, a pair of owls that took roost near the farm house.

The inconveniences of my youth have definitely brought me to strive for a higher technological lifestyle. Running water at the age of 6, hot running water age 7, the year without electricity, finally in my teens where I could adjust the heat of the house by pushing a little switch and not having to haul firewood. Trust me when I say this, when using firewood for your main and only source of warmth in Canadian winters, it kills the romance of having a fireplace.  And if I think about it, killed both rotator cuffs in my shoulders. Heating up buckets of water on the firestove to have standup baths. It was pretty much camping. Indoors. A pioneer youth for me.

It wasn’t all bad though. Riding my bike around the countryside, exploring small marshlands, finding clearings and old rusted farm equipment. I didn’t have internet, I had books. I didn’t text people, I phoned them or wrote letters. That’s another rant for another time…

Why the nostalgia? Geocaches have basically brought me back to those places that I would have explored if I was a kid again. Getting in touch back with nature? From some scratches and cuts and bush rash, I’d say nature was getting back in touch with me. Hard. It’s a great way for me to exercise as well. Sunday I went out to Martensville and had my best solo day out yet. 5 caches in 2.5 hours. Two of them were in the off leash dog park on the east side of town. The Monkey Hills is what the local kids used to call them. Great little valleys, cresting hills tall enough to hide in. Trails for the more adventurous ATV or mountain bike. Marsh lands and a lot of ducks in the ponds looking at the Its a great little community.

So it’s Tuesday, I’ve got my weekly dose of KFC into me, as I’ve been eating way too healthy lately.

I’ve got new inspiration to write.

And most of all, Blue Jay. I haven’t seen one in years.

Guess who also was looking for Geocaches?

I’m still here,
Pearce

Geocaching : Dry Spell over!


Finally broke the dry spell! Let it reign! That’s right, lately I’ve had a dry spell for geocaching, it’s been DNF after DNF. That’s Did Not Find for those of you who do not geocache.

Just outside of Saskatoon in the hamlet of Furdale, (N 52° 04.526 W 106° 43.071) is a dog park, great trails and a whole lot of people who bring their dogs for free walks and runs.

Don't worry, people looking out for each other

And people looking out for each other. If you lost your keys, check with the main post. Nice area too, lots of smiling people, happy dogs.

Typical Trail

It's right there, can you see it?

The geocache is in the photo. Really.  There are two ridges where the river used to be before the top ridge. It’s in there. You just need to find it. And take lots of photos of the locals, so you get the odd decent photo, such as….

Not my dog, named Harley, found ball. Happy.

There is some serious trees and bushes in the area. Reminds me of the stories my grandmother would tell me. Apparently at one point and time, the farm houses in Saskatchewan would have flag poles so you could actually point out which way to go. That’s some serious tree growth.

Finally made it to the river, and its gorgeous. Sun is beating down, reminding me that I’m a geek and that my melanin has been replaced with useless pop culture knowledge. Even the boys and their dogs agree.

Their dogs are running around, the boys conference

I headed north to find another geocache in the area, and found some interesting tracks. Definitely part of the river when the water gets high enough. But lucky for me, it was wide open to the other paths further north.

About the size of a small grapefruit, if my calculations are correct, that makes for a very large duck. I couldn’t stop there. It was very large duck country.

Beaver lodge or giant duck nest?

By this point, I deduced that Tolkein had to do a lot of walking through swampy places, as I saw the factory from a distance, I had the feeling that I still had a long way to go to Mordor.

Ominous, the geek walked on.

Tricky little squirrel, I almost got a shot of him.

But in this mess somewhere. Squirrel. Didnt think they were this far north. But I saw one. I waited ten minutes perfectly still, but still no sign of it. Then I remembered… Dog park. Squirrel hears sound, dives for cover. It was at this point things started to get dark. Luckily with my GPS, I have updated times for sundown, and did a quick calculation for how far I had to go back.

Moon over treetop

Then ooh, pretty sunset through the trees. It’s photos like these that my mother would love to paint.

Quick drive back into town, and rewarded myself again. With a chocolate malt.

Homestead Ice Cream

There is going to be another post about Ice Cream, and how Homestead is the pinnacle of all ice-cream-dom…empire… There will be another blog post in future.

Got a lot of walking in, pushed bush, learned some lessons. Long sleeve shirts and pants for the area. Need to outfit my geocaching tools with flashlight, extra batteries for gps, and some extra trash bags for finding trash along the way.

May 1st is the CITO event in Saskatoon. That’s Cache In Trash Out. Which while you are geocaching, or just out walking your dog, you see some trash, pick it up. It’s the only planet we’ve got, lets take care of our home.

I’m still here,

Pearce

For more details visit http://www.geocaching.com

Still haven’t found


… What I’m looking for.

My skills as a geocacher are really novice. Until I actually get good at this, I am going to be logging a lot of DNF’s. In muggle speak, that’s Did Not Find.

I don’t think I’ll call them that.

I’m thinking I’ll be calling the whole exercise ‘Muggleproofing’ a lot of geocaches. I can’t find them. Good, they’ve been muggle proofed. They will be safe for the geocachers.

Yes, the term muggle is in honor of JK Rowlings Harry Potter series. Those who do not geocache or in the know of the worlds fastest growing sport, are called muggles. Sometimes an entire cache can go missing. Somebody decides to take it for their own, and spoiling it for everyone else. The phrase ‘cache has been muggled’ is sometimes reported.

Last evenings venture took me down to Diefenbaker Park. There were 3 geocaches I was trying to find.

A geocache can be a container of all sorts of shapes and sizes. One of my first ones was smaller than a dime and magnetic. When I spotted it, I signed a teeny tiny rolled up log inside. On a really dark night. Some of these have certain themes to them, so bring appropriate swag to trade. Trade even, or replace with better. Some are larger, but from what I’ve learned in Saskatoon, there is a lot of Micro in a Spruce Tree. (MIST is the acronym, I swear I’m going to find the 1920’s cipher telegraph book and use it for … possibly a story.) I can’t find the origin of the phrase, but ‘I use multimillion dollar satellites to find tupperware in the woods’ comes to mind.

I’m in it for the hunt… but so far, the geocache has become the most elusive prey.

The first is in Pioneer Cemetery. This grave site was first setup in 1884, a year after the community of Nutana was established. Even with the age of the plots, it has a certain feel to the place. Interesting seeing the old names and dates on the remaining gravestones as I stalked out where I thought was the geocache. No luck there, time to head over to the next one.

I decided to walk over, as it had been a while since I have gone for a longer walk. You can drive around the Diefenbaker park and stop at the various parking spots. Or do the healthy thing like I did. The second was one close to the public bathrooms. With people nearby training their dog, I broke out the battery drained camera and tried to look like I was going for some interesting upwards shots of the pine tree. When in actuality, I was looking for the cache with little success.

The other part of geocaching is making it look like you belong there. It’s a little suspicious for someone to go digging around a highly public area, looking for a hidden box. It smacks of… ‘well this is where my gun/drug/saffron/toner dealer has hidden my stash.’ I’ve also been known to carry a clipboard and make a few measurements on trees, noting time, staring intently at my GPS. I’ve looked official enough for people not to question what I’m doing. Which is quite strange, considering I’ve never felt like I’ve fit into any crowd.

The third is a Geo-Post Office cache. The idea is to have your postcards move between caches closest to the address. Geocachers from other cities come in, check it out, pick up postcards where they will be next and move them along. Why not use the post office? Because, you are actually getting your fellow Geocachers to move your treasure from one cache to another. How long will it take? Who cares! It’s all part of the fun.

So my plan was just to find this cache. I didn’t have any postcards to drop off, but I could at least log the cache, and then come back later with some kick ass postcard to cousins in the states just to try it out.

If I could find it.

3 in a row for the night. 3 DNF’s. The streak continues.

Main part, it got me out of the house, I walked for a good hour and a halfish. I got to see some of the new path constructions down by the river, which I will return once it dries up some down there. I got to see where the disc golf park is. Maybe I’ll pick that up as well, and suck at it equally as geocaching.

I’m still here, those geocaches are still out there, waiting…
Pearce

For more information…
Geocaching
Pioneer Cemetary, Saskatoon
Okay, they don’t call it Diefenbaker Park

Maybe next post about Geocaching will be all about the acronyms… Comments?

Fun. Not just for kids.


One of the joys of being a highly creative person is the extreme silliness that comes up in every day life. Its enjoyable, adding in random fun, much like asking random people for cookies. (Learn more!) I’ll let you know how my thousand margarita pitcher theory does at the end of the year.

I first heard about laughter yoga when watching the BBC documentary The Human Face with the incredibly talented John Cleese. In it, he first experiences and goes to a Laughter Yoga club, and learns that just by laughing as an exercise, you can help boost your immune system. Long term benefits include better cancer treatments, reduce overall stress without medication. (Click here for a laugh, organized.) Check your local area for laughter clubs. I myself, have found that when I get a cold or sinus bug, comedies do help. Just keep watching them, the laughing is good for lung exercise, and the natural endorphin boost is really good for you.

Fun of imagination, put on a paper hat, pretend to be a pirate, or turn it sideways and make people call you Commodore. Wear birdcage liners for hats! Wonder what is going to happen in the digital age. Will we be able to fold motherboards or retired iPads into fun fashion?

The age of video games, something like over 2 billion dollars per year. Destroyed by a piece of reinforced cardboard and some dice, some small plastic figures. You got it, there has been a resurgence into board games as entertainment. there is something satisfying in letting your hands determine the random rolls as you shake the dice. There is something more about the strategy of winning a game, by reading the person who is right across the table. Plus its also lots of fun. Call it a need for going back to your youth. Plus now we’re at the age (some of us) where we have the income to get the really cool games. Find your own gaming group in your local area. Use the internet, don’t let it use you. What? I’m not going to do all the fun for you…

But there are ways that allow minor parts of fun in everyday life that actually enhance everyday life. The Fun Theory is a group of people that are out to change peoples behaviour for the better, by making mundane things fun. Even as simple as going up a flight of stairs. My personal favorite for their experiments is adding the sound and sensor to trash can, so when you throw something into it, the cartoon sound of something falling is heard. Result? More litter into those trashcans.

But Pearce, what’s with the pants? you ask. I reply, they are comfortable.

There is also fun in one of the biggest growing sports on the planet. It’s part puzzle, part hike, part hide and seek, and all fun. Geocaching. The simple joy of going for a walk may not always be enough for motivation to get outside. Yeah, you’d rather catch up on Tivo or the like. Or you can get your GPS and look for hidden caches around the planet. It appeals to the little kid for a sense of adventure, it appeals to the puzzle sense, it also can bring you to places that you’ve never been to before. Geocaching It has gone mainstream as well, with a recent episode of Law and Order. Always thought they would feature it on CSI first. The rules of geocaching are pretty simple. You find trash along the way, pick it up. This is known as Cache In, Trash Out. You can take something from the cache as long as you replace it with something of equal or greater value. There are also a lot of different types of caches, some involving puzzles that you need to figure out first to get the LAT/LONG coordinates. It is a lot of fun, especially when you find the cache. Besides as the t-shirt says, I use billion dollar satellites to find tupperware in the woods. What’s your hobby?

Fun. Not just for kids. It’s more complex and multi-layered. And a lot cooler now that we’re older.

I’m still here, having fun where I can at every opportunity,
Pearce

Nov.11


I’m going to have to find my grandfathers memoir, he has a few war stories from the time he served with the Canadian Navy. I’ll have to post them up here, along with a few other gems from his dictation. In the year leading up to his death, he kept telling me that I would be ‘okay’. Sometimes I miss him a lot, being one of few male role models in my life.  He made it interesting the one year for the kids in Invermay school on Remembrance by telling them the real thing, what actually happened, what it was like. The most impressive part of what he did was that he made it relevant to that generation. It was no longer just a time away from the classroom during the ceremony, it was real, he was there and it happened. I know the time he served still affected him even decades later, he would jump a little too much when there was a sudden large noise. And he always wouldn’t be able to sleep well that same night.  Sometimes, that shellshock never does go away, and it’s those sacrifices that they gave which makes it possible for free people as ourselves to write about such things.

Never forget.

So it has been a somber mood all day today, got my word count up for NaNoWriMo up to 18k putting in another scene leading up to the next third of the novel. Or at least as far as I can tell this is going. I have a fear that I may write myself into a corner, yes that can happen even with fantasy.

I’ve also got a serious amount of exercise in, thinking about the times my Grandfather would have coffee with Sid back in Invermay. Got to 3 geocaches, 2 found, 1 did not find.  It would never be a GC hike without at least 1 DNF. The one I did not find is called ‘Recipe Exchange’, basic idea is to swap recipes and leave recipe cards there. It is located very close to a golf course, but I brought along my camera. Nothing says suspicious than a guy poking around bushes looking under branches for a hidden container. Taking out my camera, I actually got the muse going for a little bit, gnarled trees and yellowed dried grasses stomped down by small game. Actually thinking that if I can photoshop in some pixie or fairy characters, wouldn’t make a bad cover to some creative commons novel. So with camera in hand, I’m actually looking for a camoflauged container, and a couple of golfers slowed down walking taking a look at me. Conversation follows, and is as exactly as I remember it.

Them : Hello (in suspicious tone)
Me : Hello, nice day for it. (Holding camera, smiling to them.)
Them : Yes it is. (They walk on to pursue their balls.)

I’m still here,

Pearce

P.S. Found the chickadee and a golfball when I was looking for the Recipe Exchange Geocache. Best picture I got all day. And it’s times like this, when my camera cooperates, and I get photos like this, it doesn’t matter if I get to the cache or not.

Chickadee

Nov.11 Chickadee