Sunday, September 20, 2009

Of Lakes, Tunnels and Bluffs

While caching in the Okanagon, we kept coming across the Kettle Valley Railway or what is left of it, which is not much. At one time this railway ran from the Kettle Valley to Hope. It became famous for the obstacles it had to overcome before it was in place. Numerous tressles were built and ever so many tunnels were bored.

We have been in the tunnels near Hope, and we walked on a tressle near Okanagon Falls a few days ago. It was basically just a bridge, but maybe some of you are familiar with the spectacular tressles this area was famous for. Unfortunately, a number of those, all wooden, structures have been destroyed by fires so that few remain.

Little, if anything, remains of the rails. They have been taken out and today the railway beds have been turned into trails, much to the delight of those that like to bike, hike and/or cache.

What is true for the KVR is to a degree also the case with the Dewdney Trail. Dewdney was the engineer in charge of building a wagon road from Rock Creek to Hope to enable miners to ship their wares, often gold or other prescious metals, by wagon train through Canada instead of having to go down into the States. The road was to be 4 feet wide and had to find the easiest way through the hills and the mountains. We walked a bit of that trail near Manning Park and near Princeton. My, it is hardly wide enough for a trail, never mind a team of oxen pulling a cart...and never mind the men who had to pick-axe it out of the sides of mountain and hill. One wonders how many lives were lost while that went on.

The hills in this area are of a peculiar nature. I know little of rock formations or types of rock, but it is obvious that at one time volcanoes were active in this region. One can see the slabs of lava piled on top of each other as well as the different materials in that lava. Today I drove out to one such dormant volcano in the Marron Valley near Penticton. I was unable to get very close as it is on private land, but I was able to take a good picture. If I had not known it is a volcano I would probably have missed it. But thanks to caching our attention was drawn to it and we are happy with this bit of local knowledge.

Similar to this volcano is the McIntire Bluff, also an Earthcache. I will not go into specifics about it but if you want to know more about it you can do a google on it and it will tell you more than you want to know.

Another interesting Earthcache we were drawn to was Mahoney Lake, also way out there in them thar hills. When you drive along Highway 97, the major north-south artery through this area, you have no idea what lives and happens beyond the hills that you can see. When you follow some of the roads into them, you find for instance beautiful vineyards way up there, ranches, irrigated fields, and a whole lot of nature.

Mahoney Lake is unique in the world probably. Again, I will not go into great detail, partly because I do not understand it all. The lake's major feature is probably the 20 cm thick layer of purple sulphur bacteria that stays in place because the lake only partly circulates...whatever that means exactly.

We did not see much of the sulphur because it is at a depth of about 7 or 8 m. usually. But because the water is lower than usual, we could see a purple ring at the shore in places. It looks more brown than purple in the picture, but believe me, it is purple...even I could see that.

We love discovering interesting places like I have talked about in this blog. It makes one stand in awe of our God who created it all. I have more questions than answers in a lot of cases, but that does not take away that I am moved by what I am allowed to see and witness.

A Little Manning

As I write this, it is Sunday, and we are in Penticton. I hope to spend some part of this day on writing a little about our experiences in the past week.

We left on Monday direction Manning Park.

Normally that is just a two hour drive, but we stopped a few times along the road once we were past Hope. I am sure you can all guess why.
One stop, of course, was the Hope Landslide where there is an Earth Cache as well as two others. We were kind of enveloped by low cloud so we did not have much of a view of the mountain that lost part of its face. But we both had seen that before.

I don't know how often we have driven through Manning Park seeing all the signs like Beaver Pond and others and thinking, 'We should really take the time to find out what this is all about.' But always we were trying to get places and didn't want to loose any time, or we were on the way home and wanted to get there as fast as possible.

Well, this time we stopped, setting up in Lightning Lake Provincial Campground, a nice park with good sites and all the amenities.

So we walked the trails and walked the trails. I read somewhere how many kilometers of trails there are in this park, but I forget the number. All I know is that it is quite amazing.

There aren't really all that many caches in the park, so it was not hard to 'clean up' in a day except the ones that required long, steep hikes which mom did not feel like doing.

One interesting(?) one we did is driving up to the Cascade Lookout.
You know of my fondness of heights and steep roads and heartstopping cliffsides and all that. But there was a cache up did I really have a choice?
Now I am glad to say that my fears are not nearly as panicky as they used to be, but before you run up the stairs to proclaim that off the rooftops, know that I am still a whimpering baby compared to 'the one that has no fear'. In spite of that, I drove part of the way up. I believe that I believe that if I drive we are safer because I am in control. It does not matter that my hands are a sweaty mess, that my face is a stony mask, that my mouth twitches, that my eyes are at least a quarter inch more forward than normal, that the person beside me is praying even harder than I am, for safety and for me coming to my senses and hand over the I said, it does not matter because I am in control and that makes us safe(r). When I give up control, I need to let go and trust and pray...and only the praying part is easy when the engine roars up the steep road hillside where the government ran out of money to put concrete barriers along the edge, when we are heading for a turn where you have two choices: make the turn safely or go down a couple thousand feet...

I did surrender the wheel, not because I almost fainted (because I didn't) but because I knew it was the sensible thing to do. So she whom I referred to as 'the one who knows no fear', took over and drove us safely to the parking area where the lookout and the cache shared location.
The cache was on the safe side of the area so I went to retrieve it while the 'gone' part of us went to the edge and took the necessary pictures to prove that we were actually there. My proof-ibution was signing the log.

Then we discovered that another 8 or 9 km up, waaay up, was another cache. Guess what: we did not do that one! It was not even a tie vote ... if it had been, one of us would have put himself in charge of guarding the parking lot while the other could go waaaay up (that is actually what the cache was called). Instead, we coursed down the mountain to level ground where level-headed people belong and thrive.

One other interesting thing we did was a night cache. The cache was not hard, they never are, and we started it while it was still quite light ('she who has no fear' does not like to be in the forest in the dark...) but dark enough for the flashlight to pick up the little reflectors. For a picture of that go to mom's picture blog ( As we were walking the trail, we saw another couple approaching. As we were about to pass each other, exchanging the customary friendly 'hello's', she says, 'Look, they are...' Anyway, we had run into kindred spirits. The remarkable thing was that we had come accross them before a number of times during the day when we signed logs and saw their names. They were a couple from Holland! Anyway, together we finished the cache and then agreed to spend the rest of our evening at our campfire. Of course, that was 'gezellig' was sad that we were not kindred spirits spiritually...

My last picture is of the sign we did during our first year as's still there and we went to say hi.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Are we hot or what?

Day two of our cachouting into the Fraser Canyon was a hot beat the previous day by a full degree...39C... but it felt much hotter, probably because it was hot earlier and therefore we had to deal with it for a longer period of time. But we managed, I better than mom because I seem to deal with heat better. So some of the caches were attended by just me while she stayed in AC'd comfort.

Our day started cool: pleasant! Really! Ideal weather to have breakfast on the deck of the motel instead of inside.

Our first cache was a visit to the one we could not find the night before. It proved to be something I had touched but not examined closely enough to recognize it as a cache. It was part of a Gold Country series, and several were identical...we did about 7 or 8 of them...our total for the day was 30...not bad eh?

We were very happy that we were led to the Thompson River a few times. It gave mom a chance to take off her shoes and find refreshment for her feet and face. I was foolish enough to do that too, but only once...I hate wet feet in sandals...

We visited Ashcroft, a city neither of us had ever been. It is off HWY 1 into the hills. It is the town where most of the Fraser Valley ships its garbage...fortunately we saw or smelled no evidence of that. It is a pleasant little town, prosperous too by the looks of it, possibly because of the large (Bethlehem) copper mine nearby, and perhaps a bit because of our garbage...

For one cache we had to walk up a hill that had a flourishing population of cacti(usses...take your pick). It was a different feeling to discover how easily these little creatures change hosts...

At one of the caches we found the log before we saw the cache - in the hand of a fellow cacher who was busily signing it...they were from Prince George. It is always neat to meet a fellow cacher.

As we traveled south we continued to do the Gold Country series which brought us to a number of interesting old churches...for some reason all Anglican...with names like St. Alban's the Martyr, St. Aidan's of Pokeist, Church of St. Mary and St. Paul (I guess if one saint is good two must be better...). I admit shamefully that I have not done my research on how those names came to be so I had better not make fun of a name...sorry St. Mary and St. Paul...:(

During the two days we did a number of BC Spirit Quest caches. They are there to draw attention to old cemeteries and the pioneers that were buried there. Although the actual cache is never in the cemetery proper (unlike in the States where every, and I mean every cemetery has a cache on the grounds) but usually we go to have a look at some of the old tombstones anyway. Often they are hard to read because of their age, and neglect, but it is still interesting. This day we did not do any of that...too hot...get back to the off...

A very interesting experience was a trip on the Lytton Reaction Ferry which took us across the Fraser River. It is a vessel without an engine. It is attached to a cable strung across the river by four cables. The current moves the vessel, and I guess the operation of the cables brings it to the other side. Being on it, and sitting on a bench positioned on a grate (here we go again! but this time the openings were rather small! and we were only one foot above the water so no need to fear heights here except for perhaps the lack of same) we got a very good feeling for the speed and force of the current. Very good feeling! Very good speed! Very good current! Both ways! But not scary...

Did I mention that it was hot...we have the proof right here...The picture is not too says "Canada's Hot Spot - Lytton BC"...It does not mention a temperature. That way it stays current...?

I think that wave means, 'Bye for now'.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oh, Alexandra...

This week we had a chance to break out of it for a couple of days. Gerry and Alice VandeBurgt had offered to be here to feed the dogs and attend to whatever might need attention.
A couple of weeks ago we had dreams of going to Oregon for two weeks but that never happened...not a good time, too many things to do...

Seeing that G. & A. were planning to come here anyway so Gerry could do some carpentry stuff, we asked them to stay for a couple of nights.

On Wednesday we took off for the Fraser Canyon. A lot of new caches had been placed there so it looked like we could easily spend two or three days there.

The Fraser Canyon never stops to fill me with awe and wonder for all its beauty...not necessarily 'nice' beauty but often brute forces, unstoppable currents, mountains shaken by the hand of God and dropped down again so that all the seams run any which way...

It is hard to catch depth in pictures...this lady, below, is a few feet away from a 100 meter drop into the makes me uneasy in my stomach just to look at the picture...but she has no fear...

On our way along the river near Yale, we came across this interesting structure...

We have had a lot of very large and destructive forest fires this summer but fortunately that did not affect this area. We did see smoke, probably from the fires that are still burning near Lilloet.

A pretty picture of a sand castle?

One spot that always intrigued me as we drove through the canyon was the reference to the Alexandra bridge, the first bridge across the Fraser in that area to accommodate the Cariboo Wagon Road which was built during and after the gold rush(es). I had seen glimpses of the bridge but never been close to it. This time we had no choice for there was a cache across the bridge so down the very good trail we went, across the railroad, of course, because they are just everywhere, and suddenly, there was the bridge. Not a ramshackle, ready to drop-into-the-river structure of rotting wood but a solid steel bridge with a solid deck.

But alas...the deck is of the kind that is in my bad is a metal grate so that when you walk on it you are at all times aware of how high you are above the rushing escaping that...
Look ahead and up as you go, you say? Don't work, I am eyes are inexorably drawn to where I need to walk, and the spot I am about to set my foot is on see-through grate...step after step after step...

I have to give myself credit that I ventured out out onto the bridge...just like the little doggie that just could not stay behind but had to follow its owners...but its poor feet were too small for the sizeable openings of the grate so it had to place its feet on the get the made it back safely...and so did I after turning around after about 30 or 40 feet. It just was no go...

It helped to know that I did not really have to make it to the other side because I was not there just by myself but accompanied by my faithful caching partner who is either going or gone depending on the situation. This time she had no problem being the going one so there she went.

It is unfortunate that we did not take any pictures there, choosing instead to do a bit of a running commetary on the video camera. However, since I do not know whether you can attach that to a blog or how to get you to look at it in one way or another, you may never see it...too bad because I found myself to be quite capable of keeping the chatter going, much better than my feet a little earlier. Instead of the bridge, here is the Alexandra Lodge along the TC...

Mrs. Going made it safely to the other side which put her out of view because the bridge has a bit of a hump like most of their now it was waiting and watching other people cross the bridge. Quite a variety of nationalities...I heard French, German, Dutch and what not all...

I was mightily comforted in my soul when one member of a party decided that he was not the graty type either. I endeavoured to draw him into a conversation about being kindred spirits and all that, but he declined because he did not understand me. Briefly I entertained the idea of conveying my thoughts to him by means of mime but it was beyond me...well, if you think it is so easy you try it...

Make the graty shapes with your two hands...yes you need two hands, that's how big the holes were...than try to step on your hands and walk at the same time...and while doing that show well camouflaged fear...note that little something that is camouflaged? try it sometimes...all the while being in extreme agony, of course, because my hands are not made to walk on...So, in spite of the fact that I had it all figured out, I had to give it a pass. I let him go to pick blackberries...

In the meantime, time was a-moving right along. The estimated time of return by Mrs. G. passed and passed some more...quite some more became somewhat uncomfortable to be honest...I knew she had to go downslope toward the river somewhat and I was beginning to worry whether she had slipped and hurt herself or what...mind you, I was not too greatly worried...there were enough people at the other side to be there to help her should she need it, saving me from having to cross after all...

All is well that ends well...she did return, rejoicing at having found the cache at the fourth maple she visited...maple was the hint, you see...
However, when she had arrived safely on the safe side, the exertion combined with the heat got to her (I have not had time so far to mention the heat...38C!)...she became very uncomfortable, red, and nauseous...perhaps a light case of heat stroke...
It did not last too long, and our way back up to the car was mostly in the shade (shadow for those who get the wink...:)) so by the time we got to the jeep she was okay again.

At one of our caches we were forced to search for's necklace broke spilling the two pendants into the gravel...fortunately, her sharp eyes quickly located them among the rocks...

We had booked a room in Cache Creek because we could not really find anything that appealed to us in the closer-by towns so when we had enough of caching for a day (we had done 26 by then) we drove an hour to get to CC...

Wave to the old Indian if you wish...

We went for dinner to a small restaurant and found that their AC had broken down...why we did not turn around and go somewhere else we will never know so I cannot tell you...but we made it through our meal and went back to our AC'd room...

Seeing that it was not yet totally dark we went out again to do one last cache but we failed to find it...which was a good motivation for doing more caching the next see you then.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On the Road Again...

We have had very little time to do any caching since we moved to Deroche. Just two days is all we managed, once a whole day with another couple, and once part of a day when there were all of a sudden five new caches in our immediate area. Of course, that meant 'Boots On' to go after the FTF's, and small miracle, we got them all. Talking about people wanting us back into caching to go to all the trouble of placing these caches just for us! It isn't that only we went after them, but we were just too close to give anyone else a chance.

These past four weeks were very busy with Stepping Stones going on. Perhaps I will write about that in a new blog I have wanted to start for quite some time but so far never got around to. But now those four hectic weeks are behind us, and we have a chance to catch our breath, we want to get back into caching to a degree.

Yesterday saw us make that desire the first reality. We went into Mission, but mostly into Abbotsford where enough new caches had been placed since we moved that they easily kept us busy for a day. We did not really have any spectacular things happen to warrant a special post to this blog, but I figured that if I do not start writing again it will not is that for logic...must be all the sunshine we have been having...sunshine and some extreme heat!

So beside the fact that we did 17 caches, four of them multis which always take more time, there is not really anything to report. So I will insert some pictures to liven this one up a bit, and that will have to be it for this time.

One cache was just a monster as far as weight was concerned, but it had a cache in it so it had to be lifted to get at the bottom...

But then some people just laugh at the pull of gravity...

Caching always brings you to interesting, historical places...

A mother and her children beside Stoney Creek in Bateman park...

And with this one we wave you goodbye for now...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Just in case anyone had even the slightest temptation to think that I was making up what I wrote in the previous post, here is the proof...

Picture taken off the computer screen by no other than our prize winning photographer!

So there!

First Place Twice Over

Tonight the BC Geocaching Association published the results of the photo contest they have been running for the last couple of months.

It won't surprise you to hear that Mom shot about two million pictures of which she submitted about ten.

Voting was to be done by members of the BCGA; each account had only one vote, not like in the NHL where...

Erica and Alice did the voting for us, and I think they voted for one of Mom's pictures. Talk about overdoing the 'we're not biased!'. (How's that for punctuation, Thelma?)

Tonight the results were published...I said that already. Want to know the result?

She won first place in two categories, to wit Urban and Wild Life.

The pictures speak for themselves.

She is rather beside herself with this result, and justifiably so! I have already congratulated her quite abundantly. Why don't you join me?!

Sunday, March 1, 2009


We woke up on Thursday with even more snow on the ground than what we had come home to the day before. Any plans of going caching went out of the proverbial window.

But wait, oh my...BOOTS ON!!!

BOOTS ON!!! in our house is the equivalent of the 'Whoopee!!!' cry of our first nations in times gone, of 'Action Stations' over the intercom on a warship, and of 'Supper is served' in many homes...
That is not to say that any of these can come close to the urgency in the voice that cries BOOTS ON!!! But then...oh well...

Our computer screens were full of evidence that mountainman had been a busy man indeed. But that was a few hours earlier and we had slept right through it. Six new caches had come out in our immediate area. Hopes of getting to any of them first were slim, looking at the time that had already elapsed since they came out.
However, Erica had been hoping so much for being part of an FTF adventure that we climbed in our boots and hit the snowy road, the Jeep purring contentedly as we went.

Arriving at the first one, we saw to our surprise no tracks in the snow near where we thought the cache had to be. We found the cache. Our first FTF of the day, PelikanKru's first FTF ever! Happy days are here again!

On to the next one, but that one never made it into the Garmin so we skipped it...

Arriving at the next closest one we were again surprised to see virgin snow in the area of the cache. Second FTF of the day. Snow is good!

Just when we were ready to put the cache back, someone pulled up into the parking spot next to it. Wait. Wait some more. She is in no hurry to come out of her car. Let's walk around with note books in hand as if we are inspecting. Never a look came our way. But look, she is getting busy's on the floor back... in place... and she never even looked up once. Floor is good!

Expedition continued! Arriving...oh unmarred snow...the stuff poetry is written about...another FTF...PelikanKru rules! Rules is good!

Home, picking up coords for number four. But first breakfast. Breakfast is good! So what if we don't get any more...three in a day in which we did not expect to find any....Three is good!

Up to number four. Alice is now with us too. You never know. Nobody has logged it yet. No virgin snow this time...such grief...but a virgin logbook nevertheless...o joy! Joy is good!

Four was the record of FTF's for goinggone in one day. Was it breakable?

'Guys, there is one in Mission too. Feel like going?'

'How long will that take?'

'O, 15 there, 15 back...o, about half an hour I'd say.'


I'd kind of forgotten the landscape at the end of Wren ...steep down, steep up...don't really notice it so much on a summer day...but now...steep, snow, slippery... Do we or don't we? We had already been in a bit of a skid earlier that day...even a Jeep and 4x4 is no match for straight ice going down hill...

Alice went to reconnoitre the steepness and slipperyness of the situation. We got the go-ahead. Made it to the bottom of the hill without problems. Uphill was no headache either.

Arriving at the park we found the gate closed and the closest we could get to the cache was over 300m. Girls wearing just runners. Eight inches of unplowed snow. Unplowed is no good!

'Let's do it. We made it this far, a little more can't hurt.'
Nobody mentions the 'half hour or so' it would take to do this one.

Trudging through virgin snow over our ankles direction cache.

We make it. Find the cache quite quickly. Joy abounds. Another FTF! FTS's are joy!

Eventually we get home again. Nobody is unhappy with the day we have been given. The sunshine and the snow makes the mountains look incredible.
God rules!

It's All About the Numbers! NOT!

On Wednesday of last week we went to Bellingham. The weather promised to be rainy but it actually was not too bad until the middle of the afternoon.

We had never really done any caching in Bellingham so it was new to us all. We spent a good deal of time in the Bellis Fair area and a little to the south of it. There were enough caches there to keep us busy. It being a shopping area with mall upon mall we ran into a goodly number of lamppost caches which count for as much as any other cache but which become a little boring and predictable after a while.

By now Erica had her official log book stamp: PelikanKru with a neat little pelican on it, courtesy of Fastamps (design courtesy of Mom!). Both girls had become total experts at all the administrative aspects of caching, operating both the GPS and the Palm as if they were born to it. And both proved to have developed finely honed geosenses so that I was pretty well reduced to driving from cache to cache. Only when they ran stuck did I have to come to the rescue which I did a couple of times quite impressively, even if I say so myself!

The hand that you see pictured in one of yesterday's posts was in a cache called Farm Hand. It was probably a left-over from the 'weird' types of caches the two organizers of last year's Lynden Hallowe'en event had bought and found no place to use it. On this day we found another: Don't Bite the Hand etc.... Maybe the next time we'll find one that is called: Don't Feed the Hand that Bites You...

Around mid-afternoon mom called to acquaint us with the happy tiding that it was snowing in Abbotsford and that it was sticking and might we be thinking of coming home before it got too bad. We decided that we might indeed.

On our way back to the north country Erica picked up a few more caches that we (goinggone) had already found earlier. They helped her to beat her previous personal number of caches in one day, set the previous day. Her new record is now 20! Some people are just naturally good at this thing called caching!

Talking about numbers, also on this day she got her 50th cache! Not an impressive number perhaps, but you have to reach this number before you can go on to bigger things. So it is an event worthy of being noted; so here it is: duly noted that PelikanKru found a total of 50 caches and counting! Congratulations PelikanKru! Now on to bigger things in Winnipeg where spring is around one of the corners, somewhere...

Let it be noted too that cachers love to remind themselves and each other that this 'sport' is not about the numbers but about the fun in its many varieties, many of which I have pointed out before in this series of blogs. The fact that you see behind each cacher's name the number of finds he/she/they have everytime you see one of their logs must be sheer coincidence! is not about the numbers! And therefore I should really resist the temptation to share with you all that on this day I reached 1400! But then, whenever a person says 'should' it is usually too late, as it is in this case.

Therefore, before I throw out any more numbers, I had better quit. Done. Easy.

O, we came home to a LOT of snow! Jeep weather!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


By Monday night Mom had caught a bit of a cold which by Tuesday morning had developed into a whopper. "No caching for you today, my dear!" Too bad for we had started the week off so well with the four of us.
There was little sense in staying home as she would probably spend most of her time in bed, so we left somewhat reluctantly but not with burning feelings of guilt.

We had decided to go to Ferndale in Washington State, territory I had not been to before so I could enjoy the finding of new caches as much as the girls.
The fine citizens of this town will probably howl at my statement that there is not much that struck us a special so I have no pictures of fine buildings or other interesting things, but so be it...I said it.

The weather forecast had not been great but the day turned out quite nice: windy but sunny so we were fine.

The caching went well. We did not come across any that were beyond us. The girls proved themselves born 'finders' so we did not have any DNF's that day. Well, maybe, but we are sure that the cache we could not find is a victim of the floods they had in January. One sees evidence of that everywhere, and a number of caches have been lost to a watery grave and are only now being replaced. We came across some totally clean log sheets but were not ever tempted to claim an FTF.

Erica had a personal best of 14 finds that day.

She also started a bit of photo shoot of caches to show to her family and friends back home. Enjoy the evidence...