Sunday, September 23, 2012

NGCO Fall Fling 2012

The North Carolina Geocaching Organization hosts a day long event called the Fall Fling.  This year marks their 7th year holding the event.  It was held at Camp Lapihio (pronounced Lappy-hi-ho) in W. B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh NC.

Since Raleigh is 3 hours from home, we decided to make a weekend out of it.  We drove to a hotel in nearby Cary NC Friday night, and on Saturday morning we were fresh and ready for the short trip to the park.  Along the way we picked up a dear friend who has moved to Raleigh, pioneerwoman101.

This was our first Fall Fling, so we didn't quite know what to expect.  It turned to be a day packed filled with geocaching goodness.  I'll give a breakdown of my day to give you an idea of what it is like.

The mess hall, and ground zero for the event.
9:00 AM:  Registration - pick up our meal tickets, purchased some event swag, and picked up the Geocaching Bingo sheets.  If you are not familiar, Geocaching Bingo is a sheet with a grid of 20 squares.  Each squarre as a description like "Found a 5/5 cache", "Still owns a virtual cache", "used a boat to find a cache" etc. During the day you need to find a geocacher that matches one of the descriptions.  Once you've found all 20 you hand in the sheet and qualify for a drawing for a prize.  It is a great way to encourage socialization.

9:30 AM - Signed the event log, then put my name down for some items in the silent auction.

Our geo-vehicle for the poker run.
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM -  Geocaching Poker Run. A poker run in this case is where you find a series of caches.  In each cache is a series of sealed envelopes with cards in them.  You take one card per cache, and use them to make a poker hand.  The cacher with the best hand wins.  I teamed up with 3 other cachers to do the poker run - folks I've never met before.

10:35 AM- Achievement Unlocked:  I was recognized by a cacher I have never met before by a picture of me that was shown on Geocaching World.

12:00ish - snacks.

12:30 PM - Finished my Geocaching Bingo card.  To celebrate I headed off for a hike to find the only two caches in the park (both virtuals).  Ended up being 3.5 miles. Along the way I hooked up with another group of cachers and finished the hike with them.

The cook in action.
2:30 PM - Took Zeke travel bug hunting.

3:30 PM - Dinner - oh man the food. So good. I ate my fill - twice.  Then had dessert - twice.

4:30 PM - Group photo

5:00 PM - Picked up items from the silent auction.  I got a hiking stick, a couple cache containers, a geocaching book, and a magnetic travel bug for my car.

6:00 PM - Headed back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

This was my first Fall Fling, but based on how much fun I had, it won't be my last.  Really its hard not to have a great deal of fun when you are with 216 of your fellow geocachers, even if 210 of them you've never met before.

I'll leave you with a few more photos of the day, starting with a pic of Yours Truly, my wifey, and my daughter taking some down time during the day:

One of my poker run team mates on the hunt:
Outside the Camp Lapihio mess hall.

pioneerwoman101 hanging out with my daughter, watching a game of cornhole (aka bean bag toss).

"Self portrait" of the group - its hard to take a photo of a crowd of 200+ people when you are in the crowd.

The official group photo photographers:

The official group photo. You can see us on the very far right (I am in orange with a Zeke on my shoulders. My wife is in front of me in purple, holding my new hiking stick).