Sunday, March 20, 2011

Epic Caches: The Original Stash

My caching gear and the tribute plaque.
You may not know this, but the GPS satellites you use are owned by the US military. Originally GPS signals available to civilians were intentionally crippled to limit the accuracy of GPS devices to an accuracy level of 10 meters.  

On May 2nd 2000 the civilian signals were changed to be 10 times more accurate, giving every person on the planet the ability (with the right hardware) to pinpoint their location anywhere on the earth with great accuracy.

On May 3 2000, Dave Ulmer hid a black bucket in a remote location near Portland Oregon.  In this bucket was some tradable items (including, among other things, a can of beans) and a log book.  He posted the GPS coordinates online so anyone could find his container.  This was the worlds first geocache.

Yours Truly and the tribute plaque.
The original container is long gone, and now a plaque has been placed in its location in tribute.  This Original Stash Tribute Plaque is a destination for cachers around the world, and is part of the triad (the others being Groundspeak HQ, and the APE cache).

Today I travelled to the area with another cacher, idajo2, to hunt the Original Stash.  Since one cannot claim a find without signing a log, there is an ammo can close by that contains the log.  A quick search later and I added the Original Stash to my find list.

There is actually a second cache, called the Un-Orignal Stash, within 10 metres of the Original Stash.  This is technically against caching guidelines (which limits the distance any single cache can be from another to 1/10th of a mile), however given by definition these caches helped create geocaching, its not inappropriate that these caches be grandfathered in ;).   The one issue with the Un-Original Stash is that it is up a hill almost 30ft of slippery mud (it only stops raining in Portland just long enough for the sky to reload), and the ascent is tricky.  I managed to climb up and back without too many issues and made the find.  idajo2 was a different story.

It should be noted that idajo2 is a grandma with bad knees.  She tried to climb up the slippery slope, and made it about a third of the way up before she decided she liked having working knees more than signing a log. At this time she turned around, and promptly fell on her butt, and slide down the hill a ways.  She was not hurt, but left the area incredibly muddy.  It simply is not a true caching adventure unless someone gets covered in dirt. This was a great caching adventure.


Debbie said...

did she have a change of clothes or a towel in the car to sit on?

love the first pic!

Dave DeBaeremaeker said...

She thought ahead and brought a towel to sit on in the car - apparently this isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened to her ;)

idajo2 said...

Dave, you're absolutely right about “past history” . . the last time I slid down a muddy hillside (muddy is the keyword here, I've slid down numerous non-muddy hillsides as well!) was a few years back in Delta, British Columbia – in December – there was snow on the ground – and the hillside was actually a steep muddy riverbank. I managed to hook an arm around a bridge support with the soles of my shoes resting (literally) scant inches from the water. That would have been a c-c-c-cold day for swimming!

One of the things I love most about geocaching is that an “almost” 62-year old grandma (my granddaughters are 18 and 20!!) with worn-out knees can tromp around in the mud 'n' muck and, yes, unexpectedly slide down steep muddy hillsides and not hear howls of agony from friends and loved ones (well, maybe one or two howls but there will always be a few party-poopers in the crowd!)! I do carry plastic trash bags and towels (and a first aid kit!!) in the car - preferring not to use them but knowing I can if the need arises!

Several of the caches we did, post-slide, were people-related – it takes “grace and dignity” to walk into a business after a “mudslide”. Dave never lost his graceful, dignified demeanor as I walked around leaving mud and muck in my wake! ;)

Debbie, thank you so much for holding down the fort, at home, while Dave enjoyed a few extra geocaching days in the PNW. In spite of the constant “liquid sunshine” and my non-stop commentary, I think he had a good time. One of the highlights he failed to mention in his blog was walking into huge room full of geocachers (150+) - almost an hour late (it's a verrrry long drive from Seattle, WA to Milwaukie, OR during the commute!) - and, within three minutes of arriving, finding a microphone in his hand! He handled that “unexpected pleasure” with grace and aplomb - the :::applause::: was well-deserved!!

What fun!