Geocaching

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It’s been hard to put together an organized post this time, so I am sorry to say it is just a menagerie of various stuff.

Winter is coming on a lot more quickly than I want it to. Every year, the cold season seems longer, earlier and colder than the previous year. I am already dreaming of white sandy beaches, fancy umbrella drinks, desert-scapes full of saguaros and warmth, etc. In Moab, for me, cold weather means a lot more time in the house, and a variety of cold weather activities. I find that I cook a lot more in the winter, I knit, make jewelry, and do other crafty-type things. 2 days ago, I knitted a hat. It’s a very simple pattern, but it turned out to be a nice little hat:

Knitting_hat_1_11-9-08_2

I visited my parents yesterday, as I do almost every Monday, and like almost every visit, I was treated to the lovely song of their local Rock Wren. I think the Rock Wren lives in a large pile of rocks on their property. He has a very nice song, and very interesting habits. You can learn about him by clicking HERE. In any case, on this visit I walked down the garden path, and toward his rock when I heard him singing. I didn’t see him when I got to his rock, so I whistled (like I whistle for my dog), and out popped the Rock Wren, up onto the rock. He seemed curious, and held still for several really good photos. Also, there is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk that hangs out in their side yard, waiting for an opportunity to eat a finch or sparrow. Here are my favorite pics from each:

Rock_wren_11-10-08_4 Sharp-shinned_hawk_11-10-08_12

Last Saturday, I decided to go geocaching again. My mom had invited me over for lunch, so after lunch, I dragged her along. I had a list of 16 geocaches in my GPS. These were all along hwy 191, which is the main highway going through Moab. I had only listed the caches that were right ON hwy 191, so it was really vehicular geocaching (no hiking or riding involved). We managed to find 15 out of 16 of them, and had a good time. Here are some pictures from Saturday, including a few habitat shots of Yucca baccata. Note the deer in the first photo.

GC14M8A_Verdure_Utah_11-8-08_4 GC14M8A_Verdure_Utah_11-8-08_1 GC14M7B_Wilson_Arch_11-8-08_2

GC1EN93_Monticello_Moto_Raceway_11-8-08_1 Yucca_bacata_11-8-08_2 Yucca_bacata_11-8-08_3

A friend in Tucson sent me some seeds from a Screwbean Mesquite tree (at my request), so I have sown 8 of those seeds. To my surprise, 4 of these have already germinated (it’s only been 4 days)! They are supposedly hardy down to 15° F, so I am thinking maybe they would survive a Moab winter (even though Moab goes down into the single digits about 10 nights a year). In any case, I am excited that 4 have germinated. Here is a picture of the first one:

screwbean_mesquite_1_11-9-08_1SMALL

Thanks for reading, and PLEASE COMMENT! 🙂

Geocaching!

Yes, geocaching. Thanks to my friend Kiri’s bad influence (actually just a ‘blog post on her part, but…) I am now interested in geocaching. …and when I say ‘interested’, I mean this could become an obsession like so many other things in my world.

Geocaching, also referred to as a global positioning or GPS stash hunt, is a recreational activity in which someone “buries” something for others to try to find using a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. The pursuit can be thought of as a GPS-enabled treasure hunt. Usually, a geocache consists of a small, waterproof container that holds a logbook and inexpensive trinkets. Participants are called geocachers. (Definition from Information Technology at Johns Hopkins Institutions).

I have already found 3 geocaches in the Moab area, and there are many, many more. I have one that I can’t seem to locate, even though it is extremely close to my house, and I am very frustrated by this. I put the coordinates into my GPS, and it leads me to where I am supposed to be, but there doesn’t seem to be a geocache there, though the website has assured me that there IS one there.

The very first geocache I found was GC19B4X (aka ‘A Simple Cache’). It is located in Moab. Geocaches are a secret thing, and you aren’t supposed to let people see you finding/digging/uncovering one. This one was difficult in that respect, because it is a pretty easy one to find, and is close to a road. I can’t tell you where it is or what it’s near, but here are a couple pictures of the cache itself:

GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_1 GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_2 GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_3

This picture is after I ‘left my mark’ on the log. I believe this is called a ‘microcache’. There is really no room in it for any trinkets, or even a writing utensil. The website description usually tells you if you should bring your own pen. There is always a log, sometimes big enough to write your thoughts, but the 3 I have found so far have only been big enough to write your name.

GC19B4X_9-14-08_my_first_4

The website I joined is www.geocaching.com, and I like it. It gives fairly detailed maps, with all the geocaches logged with them listed on the map. You can download the coordinates and information right to your GPS, which is very handy (they only support Garmin GPSs at this time, however).

You can participate in geocaching even if you don’t have a GPS. In fact, when I told my mom about it, she said that she and my dad had accidentally stumbled upon one while visiting a waterfall in Idaho last spring. Rich also says he has found several accidentally around Moab while out bicycling. Barb joined the geocaching website, and found her first geocache last night, without the aid of a GPS.

I think it is a really great thing to do, it’s fairly safe, it’s fun, and it’s free. If any of you are already members of geocaching.com, or feel like joining now, my username is katemail13, and I’d love to be your friend!

Thanks for reading! Join me in my newest obsession!

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