Thursday, August 14, 2014

Keep Hydrated When Hiking/Geocaching

A little over a week before I was one of many friends worried about a fellow geocacher on a good length hike (8.1 miles).   Just eight days later it was me, Papa SNAP!!!, that ran into trouble on a geocaching hike through a local park here in Hampton Roads Virginia.

Although this park had been on our “to do” list for quite some time, I had not planned out the day as I usually do.  We gathered up the supplies and off to the park we went.  I did some quick calculations in the parking lot and decided that two 16 ounce bottles of water should be more than enough to keep me going.  I knew the hike would be somewhere around the 6 – 6.5 mile length and really didn’t want to carry the backpack.  I easily fit 2 bottles of water into the waist bag and off we went.

 Almost 4 hours later I hit a wall.  I really don’t know who placed that wall there but there was no getting over it.  The last half mile had been a task.  Walk a short ways, rest a bit, walk a little more, rest.  Then the wall appeared and I knew I would not make it.  I still had a sip of water left but I had rationed it as far as I could.  Nana was a real trooper as I told her to leave me there and to go get help.  I was actually beginning to feel a little better when the Park Ranger pulled up to check me out but he insisted on calling the EMTs before he gave me a lift back to the parking lot.  The EMTs ended up being my saving grace because as they hooked me up to the monitoring equipment things were not good.  Long story short, I ended up in a hospital for two days recovering from my kidneys shutting down from severe dehydration and my heart had experienced a bad interaction between my blood pressure medication and the dehydration I was experiencing.

Now that I am back at home recovering and getting my strength back, I “googled” “How much water should you take on a hike?”  Most of the websites I looked at said 64 ounces of water for a day-long hike.  Granted, everyone is different, and I for one sweat more than anyone else I know sho I would guess I should take more.   One site I looked at said a half litter (~16 ounces) of water for every mile you hike.  Guess I was off by quite a few bottles.  The hike I had planned was supposed to be about 6 miles but my fit-bit said I walked over 10 miles that day.  Guess I spent more time looking for caches than I had planned!

Yes, I am home now and Yes, I am OK (or at least as OK as I used to be).  Bottom line is pre-planning and, of course, drinking plenty of water.  Please do not go through what I just did - - take plenty of water on your hikes!!!

Special Thanks goes out to my lovely wife (Suffolk Nana or the "SN" of SNAP!!!) of 35 plus years (36 is coming up really fast).  I know it was really hard for her to leave me sitting there and go get help but I do not honestly know where I would be today if she had not left me there to go get help!

Please – Stay Safe (drink plenty of da water) and Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Friday, August 8, 2014

Some more... Best Caches of GCHR

Are you coming to the 12th Annual Geocaching Hampton Roads Picnic ?
Do you plan on staying more than one day to do some caching in the area?
If so, then this list might help.

Here are the top 5 caches in every South-side city in the GCHR area
(based on percentage of favorite points to finds).

Virginia Beach

1.  GC4TABG - The Nose Knows - hidden by steve-n-kim - 81% (Multi)
2.  GC4JXYB - Signals  - hidden by drakeotemy - 78% (Puzzle)
3. GC389YR - Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - hidden by southtexas - 74% (night cache)
4. GC4TTGR - The KEY to Happiness - hidden by steve-n-kim - 72% (puzzle)
5. GC4R264 - B.Y.O.B. #2 Connect Two - hidden by CachinCousinz - 71%


1. GC190EK - EVIL - hidden by Frogman83 - 68%
2. GC37AQ2 - The Dark Side  - hidden by southtexas - 67%
3. GC4R8BR - Frankencache - hidden by The Mad Scientist - 66%
4. GC2C7GF - A Cryptex Trading Cache - hidden by ARONK76 - 62% (Puzzle)
5. GC4XVBD - OGL 1.5 Mile Run - hidden by Prytz+1 - 59% (Wherigo)


1. GC51KMT - Forest Lawn: Meet the Residents - hidden by cameramoose - 74% (Wherigo)
2. GC44DXW - NFWC  - hidden by drakeotemy - 72% (Puzzle)
3. GC4Z6KA - Escape from Norfolk - hidden by Prytz+1 - 68% (Wherigo)
4. GC4XD7M - The Hermitage Gardens: A Walking Tour - hidden by Prytz+1 - 60% (Wherigo)
5. GC360WK - In Plain Sight: 15 to 51 for Litech - hidden by Willcoje and Xckarebear - 57%


1. GC36J27 - Revenge for 302 - hidden by HuffinPuff - 52% (Premium)
2. GC36JHM - Are you kidding?  - hidden by ny311fan - 43% (Premium)
3. GC2Z3RY - The Meatless Steak - hidden by Carole & Tucky - 31%
4. GC8880 - Cradock Cache - hidden by Seth! - 15% (Multi)
5. GCH83K - Cannon of the Presbyterian Church - hidden by ATLas Carva - 9% (Virtual)


1. GC44PNY - I Can't Find My Finger - hidden by southtexas - 70% (Puzzle)
2. GC4FR3R - SNAP 108 - $m@rt Phone Video Cache  - hidden by SNAP!!! - 70%
3. GC44PQW - Something to Chew On - hidden by steve-n-kim - 59% (Puzzle)
4. GC302K3 - Usta B #13 - No Dumping Allowed - hidden by kan1stv- 54% (Multi & Premium)
5. GC3611F - Log It! - hidden by toystory2 - 50%

Isle of Wight

1. GC3PTB0 - Smithfield's Porcine Parade - hidden by chihuahuak94me - 72% (Puzzle)
2. GC47DE8 - Head To The Point - hidden by Ioannes Cornu, Muskrat1337 & Holliehp  - 39%
3. GC3ETZ9 - Historic Fort Huger - hidden by GreatScott - 35%  (Multi)
4. GC1WQAD - Bronze Statues Hold The Key - hidden by chihuahuak94me - 33% (Puzzle)

5. GC2NYVE - Off The Beaten Path - hidden by muskrat 1337 - 28%

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Best Geocaches near the upcoming picnic

With the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic fast approaching I know plenty of people will be heading this way to not only participate in yet another great MEGA-event put on by GCHR (Geocaching Hampton Roads), but also to grab some great caches that we have here in the area.

So in an effort to make things easy on ya'll - here is a list of some of the best caches in the area:

Favorite Caches on the Peninsula
Based on percentage of favorite points
(Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson, York County, Williamsburg and Gloucester)

96% - GC55KEH – Don’t Let This Birdhouse Send You to the Nut House – A fairly new cache with an amazing 96% favorite rating.  A short drive south of the park will put you in the vicinity of this amazing cache.
90% - GC44NEP – The Colonial Treasure – a tour of local history awaits you at this cache.  An amazing 90% favorite point rating.  The start of this puzzle/multi-cache is in the heart of colonial Williamsburg but the tour provided by this cache will take you to various historic places around the peninsula.  Be prepared to spend at least half a day (minimum) completing this cache.
82% - GC4Z16X – Hanging Out in the Woods – this unique cache is a short drive from Newport News Park.  Can be completed in less than an hour.
81% - GC1YBHP – The Rune Stones of Harwood’s Mill – a complex puzzle cache that more than likely will take you more than a day to complete.  Located very close to Newport News Park.
68% - GC4GN2M – Limberakis Gerakaris– This tough puzzle cache features and amazingly scenic walk to get to the final.  The start of this puzzle/multi-cache almost an hour drive south of Newport News Park but is still on the peninsula.
68% - GC42D4J – Saga of Thorvald Erikson – A well thought our puzzle/multi-cache that will take you on a tour of the grounds around the Mariner’s Museum (Noland Park).  This cache can be completed in a few hours.
67% - GC34RA8 – Raiders of the Lost Ark – one of four Indiana Jones themed caches located near Newport News Park.  This cache can easily be completed in an hour or two.
59% - GC3A5X2 – The Last Crusade – Another of the four Indiana Jones themed caches located in or near the park.  This multi-cache starts very close to the mega-event. 
54% - GC52EER – VTCC#21: Final– this cache is the final of the Virginia Tech geo-art located just south of Newport News Park.  If you have done your homework and prepared, the entire geo-art can be completed easily in less than a few hours.
48% - GC3TQ28 – Larry’s Handiwork – a rather unique cache located just off the hiking/biking trail in Newport News Park.  This cache can easily be completed in an hour or two.
45% - GC44HME – The Signs of U.S. Route 17 South, Grafton, VA – a unique puzzle cache located a short drive away from Newport News Park.  This simple puzzle cache can easily be completed in less than one hour.
45% - GC29RNC - Camp Patrick Henry – A nice puzzle cache located just south of Newport News Park.  This could be a fast find if you know what you are doing!
43% - GC42B9M – Hysterical – a rather unique cache located at the back of a local business.  This cache is along route 17 across a toll bridge in Gloucester County.
43% - GC3VJRV – Huntington Heights – A unique cache that should be a park n grab.  This cache is located south of Newport News Park.
40% - GC51B0N – Sometimes you feel like a nut – a unique cache that shouldn’t take too long to find.  This cache is just a short drive from Newport News Park.
40% - GC1RH2Z – MiNd GaMeS – A very good puzzle cache located a short distance from the park. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My First and Only (so far) Water Caching Experience

 WARNING:  This story contains scenes of a graphic nature that may, to some, be extremely disturbing.  Be warned before reading, this story may induce nightmares, tremors or sickness of a violent nature and intestinally related.  It is only after months and months of therapy that I can now relate this story to you as hopefully a learning experience.  By continuing to read further you take it upon yourself to suffer the consequences without any fault being cast upon or towards either this publication or the teller of the story.

Last August , after months and months of arm twisting, friendly bullying, and taunts of a genial manner, that I finally agreed to go kayaking with a close friend and fellow geocacher:  Tim, or ATT "All-Terrain Tim" (please note the name was changed to protect him from harassing calls) as those of us close to him lovely refer to him.  He was, in part, tired of my whining about filling in my D/T grid.  He agreed it would be a short trip and that "he would take it easy on the old man!"  As the day of our adventure rapidly approached my dread of the event steadily reared its ugly head.  Here I was closer to 60 years old than any other even number, and the last time I had been out on the water in anything smaller than an aircraft carrier was when I was about 7. That plus the fact that I am, as my doctor states, in bad need of a sever weight reduction regime.   My concern was not that I would drown, although in the days just before the adventure those thoughts did cross my mind.  No, the main worries were that I, Suffolk Papa of the geocaching couple SNAP!!! would embarrass myself by going into the water before or just after pushing away from the dock and then several times afterwards just to ensure the embarrassment set in good and deep.

The morning of the adventure arrived.  It was to be a gorgeous day with calm winds that were supposed to gradually increase through the day.  We rented a Kayak from a local source and I guess my first clue that something was afoot was when the "kid" at the counter said to "go pick out one you like" with a smirk on his face.  I questioned ATT about the difference in kayaks and he stated something about "Won't really matter for this short of a trip".  That being said I pointed to a kayak and the "kid" helped us load up and get on our way after paying him for the experience I was about to undertake.

We arrived at the launching point and we once again paid for the experience, just a few dollars more and my sense of dread that had given me concern most of the night before was dwindling into a memory.  "I could do this" was all that I heard in my head (at least at this point).  We readied ourselves and ATT gave a few pointers to the less experienced "old man".  When he was done with the pointers I jokingly said to myself - well if that's all there is to this - this should be a SNAP!!! (pun intended).

We started by going up river which gave me a chance to learn to navigate the channel.  Paddle, paddle, paddle - seems to be easy.  Why am I going in a circle - was one question that popped up but I soon figured out what I thought was a good plan of attack on the watercraft and the channel.  Once we had a good handle on paddling and turning (or so I thought) we reversed course and set off down the channel.  Over the next half hour or so we located several caches, of which ATT retrieved all of them from the banks as "he didn't want to chance my turning over just yet."  In the back of my mind at this point I seem to remember a small voice whispering "Yes, he’s waiting for the water to be deeper before you turn over" but I managed to pretend I didn't hear it.  I did notice that we were headed due South and the wind was out of the North and was gently pushing us along.  I also remember asking ATT at least twice during the first hour, "Tim, are we going to have any problem getting back against this wind?"  His answer was a laugh and some comment about our low profile on the water and the wind not being anything to worry about.

I'm not sure how long we had been out on the water but we had located seven caches plus the first stage of a multi when we rounded the turn and the thoughts and dread from last night returned in a flash.  There lying before me was what appeared to be open ocean!!!  In reality it was the upper part of North Bay and, as ATT so eloquently put it in an attempt to calm me and the savage beast that was swelling up inside me: "We are just going to skirt the edge and pull in right over there (pointing at a 45 degree angle).  The beast retreated and I looked at the seascape for what it really was.  Gentle waves, a nice breeze at our backs, and we were just going right over there!  Looking back on it now, it really wasn't that bad.  The gentle breeze pushed us along and all we had to do was steer and as we pulled into the next channel the reeds blocked the breeze and the water was extremely calm.  We pulled into a small group of cypress trees and I even managed to extract myself from the kayak to retrieve the next cache.  Like a champion, with my chest puffing out with pride,  I signed the log, returned the cache to its proper place and managed to get back into the kayak without even thinking about flipping over!

We managed to grab two more caches and the final for the multi when ATT turned to me and asked me a question which really should have been my second clue that not all things were as they seemed.  It basically was put to me that it was time to head back BUT instead of paddling all the way back to the dock there was a second option.  ATT would take me a little further ahead where there was a place for me to wait (about an hour/hour and a half).  He would paddle back to the dock, where he would drive around to where I was waiting and then pick me up.  In retrospect, the pride that had swelled in my chest concerning the aforementioned accomplishments must have deprived my brain of oxygen because I, for some silly reason, brushed back his attempt to save me from what was about to come and I volunteered, yes, you heard that right, I volunteered for what lay ahead.  The next thing I hear was a voice that sounded strangely like me saying "Heck No - let's go - let's paddle all the way back!!!"  I do not honestly know, even now, months later, if it was pride, ego, or maybe even total exhaustion that was my down fall, but the story that follows is entirely my fault!!!  At this point in the story I must repeat the warning that I shared with you at the beginning of the story.  Be warned: the rest of the story is not pretty!

After reassuring himself that I was not delirious, ATT and I set our sights back to the small part of North Bay.  What was, a few minutes ago, gentle waves with a nice breeze coming out of the North had turned into waves, and even though I am sure they were about a foot high with white water on the top of almost every one, they appeared to me to be at least three or four feet high, with white water cresting the tops.  The gentle breeze that had at one time this morning gently caressed our cheeks had escalated into a full on flurry of wind out of the North East!  ATT paused as I readied myself, took a few breaths and then commenced to, at least in my own mind, to paddle like an Olympic champion against the raging sea.   It did take some time, and ATT was having entirely too much fun paddling circles around me like a little puppy teasing a cat, constantly taking pictures of Papa SNAP!!! struggling onwards towards the finish.  I did eventually make it to the mouth of the first channel.   I slowed my paddling, taking deep breaths trying to calm my beating heart and gently progressed towards the turn ahead.

 ATT was busy laughing and cavorting back and forth in front of me as we approached the turn.  Then it happened, just as the turn approached.  The once calm and serene creek or brook or channel turned into a monster.  We made the opening of the turn and should be headed directly northeast.  The problem was that the gentle breeze that had once been coming out of the North was now a gale force wind out of the northeast!!!  For at least the first few minutes I seemed to be maintaining my station (that means, or at least I think it means that I was neither progressing forward, nor being pushed backwards).  Then it happened: I needed to take a break!  The problem was as soon as I stopped paddling, I was being driven backwards by that gale force wind I mentioned earlier!  I screamed in frustration, took several deep breaths, bent my head forward and commenced to paddle as if my life depended on it (and at this point of the story I was beginning to think that it might!).  I paddled like a champion (once again), there was water splashing everywhere, I must be making headway the way water was flying!!!  I paddled for what seemed like hours, I knew I was making progress down the canal - I just had to be!  That's when I peeked - just a quick peek but a peek none the less.  I looked to the side to see how far I had paddled since making that turn.  500 Yards?  No!  100 Yards?  No!  50 Yards?  No!  Here I was paddling for all I was worth and as I looked at the shoreline - I was disheartened to see - I was maintaining my place, neither forward nor backwards, in the exact same spot I started in!  I immediately collapsed but immediately realized - I was now being pushed backwards by the wind, and at not a casual drift as I had been in the early hours but at an alarming rate!!!  "HELP!!!" I yelled into the distance as I realized ATT was so far ahead of me he appeared to be nothing more than a speck on the horizon!!!

 Ok - I had managed to get ATT's attention but I soon learned that I had to keep paddling as if my arms were propellers because I soon realized that if I hesitated for even a second I was being pushed back towards the gaping mouth of the bay at an unbelievable sped.  Lucky for me ATT appeared as if propelled by a 150 horse power outboard motor.  He paddled circles around me with a questioning look and it only took him a second or two to realize I was so spent I must have appeared wraith-like in appearance.  He circled me once or twice more and suddenly he had a tow rope attached at the front of my kayak.  He told me to hang on as we slowly built up speed into what now felt like gale force winds.   Now, as embarrassed as I was, I did not want to feel totally useless even though I was being towed into port so I at least attempted to appear as though I was assisting ATT by paddling to help him pull me in.  Trouble was twofold.  First, as we were gathered speed the paddle started to feel like it was being ripped out of my hands, second was that ATT was paddling so fast that I was being drenched by the spray from his paddles.  Then the speed increased even more, I felt I could get out of the kayak and water-ski if only I could stop the torrents of water that now began to feel as though I was being water-boarded.  It didn't take ATT long to paddle us back, all the way to the dock but I swear I heard some egrets complaining out the huge wake that was coming off of our two kayaks as ATT paddled us back to the pier!!!

 As ATT pushed my kayak into the slot at the pier it certainly felt as if I sort of rolled out of the kayak and then every-so slowly attempted to stand on my own two feet.  All I know is, it was the first time in my life I actually saw Tim panting.  Come to think of it - that was the first time since I have known Tim - that he actually looked somewhat tired!!!

 There you go - that is the tale of my first and only time I have combined kayaking and geocaching!!!  But the more I think about it - I might just try it again.  That is if Tim is willing to be there for me!!!

 To tell you the truth - I may have exaggerated just a little concerning the details in this story.  I do know than when I read the paper the next day the weather section said winds had accelerated the previous day and had topped off with gust of about 40 knots.  Not exactly gale force winds, but definitely more than I could handle.  Thanks Tim, for a great day on the water, geocaching and filling in part of my D/T grid!!!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Thanks Becky!

Yesterday, as we were all standing around in a parking lot trading stories about our latest tick find, geocaching mistake, or the abundance inch worms in the area, I half-jokingly asked fellow cacher bdramatic, to ride all the way out and check one of our SNAP caches.  It is simple math really.  Now that the SNAP!!!-land geo-grafitti (or geo-art to some) has been published, Nana & I now have about 174 active caches.  The only way to know which ones to do maintenance on is to read each and every log that we get and sometimes even read between the lines.  The problem is: we have a few that are way out in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest town, burg, city, or even intersection and those don't get found very often.  So yes, I was half joking and half hoping she would take my offer to go check on SNAP 80 - Free Ride (GC3HK6D) as it hadn't been attempted since June of 2013.  I had explained to her, as we were soaking up the sun at the latest AACC event (GC525CE), that it was a glorious country ride, that you could see just about any kind of wildlife in the area, and to top it all off, you get to take a free ferry ride, courtesy of the State of North Carolina, after finding the cache!!!

Well - - - Thank you - - we appreciate you going all that way!!!  We hope you enjoyed the drive.  We really enjoyed your log!  Logs like these are the types that make our days!!!  Kinda wish we could award favorite points to certain logs!

Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - - - Suffolk Nana & Papa

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013 Year in review... and the “Long-awaited” Winner of the "Coveted" SNAP Cache of the year!!!!

2013 was quite a year for Nana & I. During 2013 we found 1660 caches for a grand total of 5920. We cached not only in Hampton Roads but also in Maryland, North Carolina (not “The Carolinas”), West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
During January we tried to finish off several series in the Virginia Beach area. Some of the series we finished off in January, others took us a few more months but here is a partial list of series we did: Patriots, Superbowl, BBB’s, Kilo India Sierra Sierra, Presents for Daddy, Rock Band (we are still working on that one) and, of course, Christmas Lights.

February started off with the 6th Annual Milestones Meet n Greet. Also in February we took a short trip to Richmond and then came back home to start the HUGS and Greek Olympians, and Battlefield Series.

In March we started off the month teaming up with alara and making a big circle through North Carolina just to get Hyde county. This was the trip where I actually got bit by an ammo can and ended up getting my hand glued together!!! Towards the middle of the month we teamed up with Jtmlam59 and wiped out more area caches. The end of the month had us with alara again wiping out more caches on the peninsula.

April started out with Nana & I making a last minute weekend trip up the Eastern Shore and (at the time) wiping out nearly all caches south of the Maryland line. We made another trip down to North Carolina with Jtmlam59. Towards the end of the month we made made a trip up to Fairfax Virginia and attended our first CITO event and cached with our oldest son in his home area.

May had us taking a weekend trip with jtmlam59 down to the Raleigh/Durham area and biking 18 miles on one of the North Carolina Rails to Trails bike paths.

The end of May/beginning of June had us in the Harrisonburg area. We had taken our #2 grand-daughter to a HOBY conference and spent the weekend caching in the area while she was attending the conference.

Also in June we attended the opening of the Virginia Capital Power Trail.

July saw us in Richmond teamed up, once again, with jtmlam59 and grabbing a bunch of caches along the river. Towards the end of the month we were part of a bigger group and managed to solve and find all the clues to Colonial Treasure.

The big event (or should I say events) for August were the AACC events that I hosted every weekday in August. Then at the end of the month was the 11th Annual GCHR picnic where a whole bunch of people gathered just to sing Happy Birthday to me (lol).  Really enjoyed spending the day with my oldest son (Geochef74) manning the GSAK booth at the picnic.

Jtmlam59 teamed up with us once again and the beginning of September saw us attended the kickoff event for Washington County Maryland. We found enough of the required geocaches to earn a coin from the nice folks up in Washington County. The next day we headed west and managed to finish the “WV” geo-art in upper West Virginia.

The end of September saw me (the Papa half of SNAP!!!) go kayaking for the very first time. There is a very funny story associated with this trip and I might tell it someday but not here in this blog (at least not today!).

In October, jtmlam59 teamed up with us for a short trip to Greensville, NC. Well worth the trip, plenty of caches down there and it is about 2 hours away!

November and December saw us taking mainly day trips close by or staying here in the Tidewater area.

Pam and I were have been awarding “SNAP!!! Cache of the Year” since 2010. We take all the winners of the “Coveted” SNAP!!! Caches of the Day Award which we give out most days that we are out caching and decided which of those was the best cache of the year. This year was a tough one. We finally whittled down the list to the 10 best caches and then started debating. End the end we finally agreed on one cache.

Best geocaching trip during 2013: Washington County Maryland

 The BEST Cache of 2013:
 GC44RDE - The Key is the Key by WVTim


 As always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!
 SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Washington County Maryland GeoTrail (WCG)

Saturday September 14th the Geocachers of Washington County (MD) in association with the Hagerstown Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau kicked off with a morning event the Washington County Maryland GeoTrail.   The really interesting and educational trail consists of thirty-five (35) geocaches placed at points of interest all over the County.  Caches can be found in National, State, County and Town parks as well as at Museums, Wineries, Historical sites and places of natural beauty.  You can also earn a trackable geocoin which will be awarded to the first 500 geocachers that complete the WCG and submit their passports of completion.


What made our trip up to this area even more special (other than being with Jim & Lynne of jtmlam59) was an unanticipated coincidence.  Without really planning it, this trail opened on the same weekend as most of Washington County Maryland was having a major reenactment weekend.  Not only did we get to tour a really gorgeous part of Maryland we also got to visit numerous historical sites with characters of all sorts manning each and every site, dressed in uniforms, dresses, etc of the 1860's.  Everywhere we went we were approached by ladies or soldiers offering assistance and ready to answer any and all questions we had.  Thank goodness the temperatures were in the lower 70's as I cannot imagine being in those wool uniforms of huge southern dresses if the temperatures had been in the 80's or 90's.

Among the places we visited while qualifying for the Geocoin were:

Field Hospital (Pry House) [GC4EFXE] -  served dual roles during and after the bloody battle at Antietam in September of 1862.  It served both as headquarters for Union Commanding General George McClellan and Union Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Letterman.   Antietam would be McClellan's last battle command, reflected in his timid and piecemeal approach to Bobby Lee.  To Letterman's eternal credit, Antietam, and the Pry House, is arguably the birthplace of modern battlefield and emergency medicine.  It is thus appropriate that the Site, while associated with Little Mac, is today the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, a sub-site of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

Doubleday Hill [GC4EFW3] - In 1861 Civil War times, Union Major Abner Doubleday led the former Fort Sumter Battery E, 1st U.S. Artillery to Williamsport to guard the vulnerable Potomac River crossings. It was there that he built a battery at the edge of a piece of land that was, and remains the town's cemetery. It was also the highest point in Williamsport. Three siege guns were installed and Doubleday's men held the position for several months.

Devils Backbone Park [GC4EFW1] - Opened to the public in June of 1966, Devil's Backbone is the second oldest of Washington County's parks. The nine acre park includes a footbridge across the Antietam Creek, which divides the park, providing access to the"island" section of the park as well as to a nature trail which ascends to the summit of the ridge from which the park takes its names.

City Park Railroad Museum [GC4EFXZ] - Tucked away in a back corner of Hagerstown City Park, Engine#202 sits on steel rails at the City Park Railroad Museum. A 'Pacific' model, 4-6-2 combination, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, old #202 is kept company by a number of red cabooses, re-claimed and re-built trackside signals, and an active rail line just beyond the back boundary of the Park. Unlike many of her steam contemporaries, #202 did not burn coal or wood. Her tender was a tank car that carried petroleum distillates; #202 was an 'oil burner.'

Byron Memorial Park [GC4EFY0] - one of the loveliest parks in Washington County. The park is the home Concococheague Little League, the Williamsport Pool & Community Center, the local Boy Scout Troop, and Williamsport Library.

Bowman House [GC4EFVK] - the Bowman House is a two-story log structure typical of many log dwellings of the early 1800's. It is described as L-shaped, the main body being 28 feet in width and 21 in depth. The kitchen wing measures 21 by 12. Typical also is the hewed V-notch construction which is readily visible at the exterior corners.

Beaver Creek School [GC4EFVB] - is an historic two-room schoolhouse dating to 1904. The school was in operation until 1961 at which time ownership of the schoolhouse was passed on to the Washington County Historical Society.

Give 'Em All Three Barrels [GC4EFVT] - This multi-cache is located in small but well-situated Shafer Park in Boonsboro. The short stroll-about encompasses the founders, a time capsule, and artifacts of several American Wars.  The posted coordinates lead to the first of three historical monuments.

M3A1 "STUART" [GC4EFWD] - Placed with permission of the Funkstown American Legion, there is plenty of parking on site.  This site memorializes those who have served this county in uniform and those in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives.

Rose Hill Cemetery [GC4EFXJ] - Founded in 1865, Rose Hill Cemetery was the first place where local residents could be buried regardless of their race or religious preferences. Many who were interred in family or church plots were moved and re-interred at Rose Hill. The names on the gravestones in the cemetery are a 'who's who' of Washington County history. Among the thousands that rest here are senators, congressmen, governors and nearly 2500 Confederate soldiers who were killed at the Battles of Antietam and South Mountain. Rose Hill has thousands of artistic and historic statuary and markers. The "Statue of Hope," the "Sacred Heart" and a marker for the dog Rollo are several of the many unusual statuary to be found there.

Wash. Monument St. Pk. [GC4EFXW] - Located atop scenic South Mountain, Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of the country's first president - George Washington. The Washington Monument is a rugged stone tower that was initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro.

This has got to be one of our favorite geocaching trips.  The groups that coordinated in getting these caches in place did a fantastic job.  Plenty of historic sites to visit and the scenery is fantastic!!!  We will definitely be back not only to finish the rest of the geotrail, but also just to spend more time at some of the sites along the way.

Thanks again (to all) for putting this geotrail together!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

GC42NJJ - The 11 Annual GCHR Picnic

August 31st, 2013 was a great day for geocachers from all parts of the world in Hampton Roads Virginia.
Photo by: Cheryl LaClair
 The day started out with a small breakfast Meet ‘n Greet near the camping area of Newport News Park.  “Muffin a Go-Go II” featured muffins of all types for geocachers who wanted to rise early and get a head start on the fun filled day.  Well over 100 geocachers of all ages attended this event put on by the group “Adventure Stones Society: Girls Gone Wild for Geocaching.”

The big event at the south end of the park was just setting up for what would end up being well over 600 geocachers from all points on the globe.  At approximately 10AM the fun started and boy was it a blast!

The 11th Annual GCHR (Geocaching Hampton Roads) Picnic was a fantastic event that featured Face Painting, a Bubble Station, and all sorts of games.  Some of the games for geocachers of all ages were:  The Ammo Can toss, Geo-Survivor (a 3-stage multi for 3 person teams), Pole Cache (tossing a cache closest to the pole) and of course the ever popular GeoBingo.

The picnic also featured some speakers.  Lackey Amy from Groundspeak, Reviewers Monkeybrad and Dogwood_Reviewer hosted a question and answer session that all could participate in.  There was also a Meet the Author/Book Signing with the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching”, Brad Simmons.   Two local cachers, Al & Tani Cornelius, hosted a Nature’s hazards talk with plenty of participation.  My oldest son and I manned a tent where local geocaches could be loaded into GPS devices but our main focus was questions and answers concerning GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife).
Geo-Survivor Winners
Along with the 3200 caches within a 50 mile radius of the park, Newport News Park contains over 40 geocaches.  Additionally Groundspeak was generous enough to let the folks in Hampton Roads be one of the first in the world to experience 5 new Lab Caches.  Lab Caches were spread around the park for the day of the event only.  Those attending were allowed to hunt for these caches and I heard nothing but good reviews on these caches.

The picnic also featured several vendors that showed up to add their wares and give the opportunity for all to shop or just browse for new and different geocaching items.  Among the vendors in attendance were Walkin Mania, Cool Geocaching Swag, Simple Laugh/GeoProvisions and Space Coast Geocaching Store.

All day long I heard nothing but positive feedback from those that attended. 

A big thank you goes out to not only all the “Purple Shirts” who were the volunteers that pulled off yet another FANTASTIC!!! GCHR picnic but also to all those unnoticed ones.  The unnoticed ones include the spouses and children of the volunteers who pitched in just because they wanted to.  The unnoticed ones also include those others that pitched in without a “Purple Shirt” who pitched in and helped just because they saw something that needed to be done.  But most of all, a tremendous job was done by both Cheryl LaClair and Ann Walters whose leadership, without which, this event never would have happened.
Some of the "Purple Shirts" with Lackey Amy
Big thanks goes out to the sponsors of this year’s event which includes: Groundspeak, TOM Creative Group, Space Coast Geocaching Store, Cool Geocaching Swag, The Simple Laugh, WalkinMania, Newport News Parks and Recreation, Chesapeake Emergency Physicians,  and Newport News Public Works
Q&A at the GSAK tent
I know I had a great time, spending the entire day with my oldest son, at an event celebrating a hobby that both of us enjoy!!!  Hope you had a great time also.  Hope to see everyone back here next year!!!

As Always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!

SNAP!!! – Suffolk Nana & Papa

Sunday, September 1, 2013

August 2013 - What a fantastic month!!!

August 1st - the first day of the 31 days of August.  Attended an local afternoon AACC event.  our only find on the day but then again, it was a weekday!!!

August 2nd - Attended another afternoon AACC event and grabbed a nearby cache.  Those would have been our only two but we were lucky enough because of some much need cache maintenance to grab one more for a total of 3 caches.

August 3rd - 11 finds on a beautiful Saturday and we named GC41RZ1 - Mysterious Marsh as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award.

August 4th -  15 finds on a beautiful Sunday caching with alara.  We named GC4ERGE - Ivy Back as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award.

August 5th -  Back to work today and the only cache we earned was an quick AACC event.

August 6th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 7th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 8th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 9th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  (I think I see a pattern here!)

August 10th -  NOT!!! a  work day but alas, the SNAP-mobile is getting a face lift so we use Papa's car and only get 6 finds!!!

August 11th -  Sunday - Teamed up with jtmlam59, checked on some newly adopted caches and then made a quick run up to Charles City.  16 finds total.

August 12th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 13th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

14th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 15th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 16th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 17th -  Saturday - only 8 finds today but they involved quite a lot of hiking so we recovered by attending a Gloucester Meet n Greet!!

August 18th -  Sunday - 7 finds today and loved the Meet n Greet down in Elizabeth City!!!  Bypassed Find #5300 today and named GC4HJYY - Hide a Key as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!

August 19th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 20th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 21th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 22th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

23th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 24th -  Time for a weekend geocaching trip.  Teamed up with jtmlam59 once again and made a run in and around Rocky Mount NC.  87 finds on the day and named GC3D61T - Am I still Lion? Is it under the LPC? as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!

August 25th -  Finished up our weekend geocaching trip with 49 finds and surpassed the #5400 found mark.  Named GC41K12 - Pasturized - as the winner of the "COVETED" SNAP!!! Cache of the Day Award!!!!

August 26th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.

August 27th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  But this was a special event as today was SNAP's 35th wedding anniversary.  So the winner of the day for the best excuse as to why I was not at home was........ mbbaumann.  Congrats!!!

August 28th -  Another work day so one afternoon AACC event find and two finds on nearby caches!!!

August 29th -  Another work day so only one afternoon AACC event find.  This was the last of the AACC events and thanks to everyone that attended.

30th -  Friday night we attended the pre-event for the picnic.  Great crowd and just knew that the picnic was going to be great by the size of the crowd at the Friday event!!!

August 31st -  August 31 is my birthday and believe it our not GCHR is throwing me a great big party - they named it the 11th GCHR picnic but that was just so I wouldn't know about all the plans.  The turn out was fantastic and it is not every year when over 500 people sing you Happy Birthday!!!  There will be another blog specifically for the picnic but thanks to everyone who attended!!!

Till next time - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!!

SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa