Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter

This story just came to mind after reading a conversation on LiveJournal


I guess you could say its like allergies. Longing to be like everyone else and enjoy the things they can while knowing all the while that you have to stay away.

Like when you were a kid, and spending the night at your friend's house in your first sleepover. Everyone is there, all your best friends, and the feeling of happiness is just lifting you right off the floor. And Timmy's mom, because it what Mom's do, had so lovingly baked fresh home made peanut butter cookies. Carefully pressing that fork made grid into the top of each as they set out on the cooling racks. But no one could wait for them to cool, the smell of cookies called to the children like a siren and soon the kitchen was filled with eager hands and joyous faces. Those that had them before snatched up the biggest and best, tossing them back and forth in the air to cool the cookies enough to hold before popping them in their mouth and ending up with crumb caked lips. Others, less greedy, waited until the cookies had cooled and hardened then gingerly lifted them off the racks and savored each and every bite, letting the goodness last. And you, who had not had fresh peanut butter cookie before, took one of the ones left over and inspected it carefully before taking a few tentative bites. The taste filled your mouth and the warmth spread down to your belly. You try another bite...before the instinctive signal reaches your brain that something is wrong. The kids are all reaching for seconds as you hastily put the unfinished cookie down. You can't identify it, but while the others are clamoring in joy, you are beginning to panic in fear.

And so you learn, you are different. You don't belong. You have to be careful in a world filled with that which causes you harm. Sure, others say they understand, they can make sure you don't become exposed to peanuts or the oils. But then you find the candy with peanuts, or friends invite you out to the newest Thai place. And so you begin to hide, withdraw, feeling its not worth it. Even when you are on a plane, and everyone is enjoying their little packages of nuts, you sit huddled against the window, afraid to talk, afraid to touch, afraid of the risk involved.

Dare you risk shaking hands with the person who just had a handful of Planter's? Should you insult the friendly neighbor who brings over a family dish with Mom's secret ingredient? The world grows cold and lonely as you seek to protect yourself. Always wishing you were like everyone else. Wishing you could join them and not be afraid, free to choose anything from the menu, able to not have to ask or explain when the questions are asked. Instead, you are alone in a world that few can understand.

Yeah, something like that.

Monday, September 19, 2011

One Mega Multi

So I'm starting to clear out my 10 mile radius around the house of caches. I think I'm down to maybe four or five? One of which is a long 12 stage multi called Fruit Basket Upset. The cute thing was when this published I was watching an anime series called Fruits Basket. Really cute, I recommend it.

Anyway, because of other things with caching, I can only hunt down so many micros before my tolerance dries up. As this was to be 11 of them, I stretched finding them out over the course of a week. Two or three a night after work seemed to work out very well.

I did learn a few things though. Never wear sandals in the S Line Reservoir area, the ground is more ants than dirt and they bite. And walking through soggy meadow filled with cowpies while still in said sandals is really gross.

But in the end I found all the little pieces of fruit that had been scattered around the area.

However, the really cool thing was the sheer number and variety of birds I saw. One night, I watched an owl sit on a headstone at the nearby cemetery. Another day I drove by a bunch of pelicans and herons filling the water (as my mom called it, a puddle), scared up another large brown owl who drove right in front of my windshield, and chased a murder of crows up the road.

Glad to have another one marked off the list!

Last weekend was a dud, just did not feel like doing anything. So Saturday went out with Dad for dinner, Sunday lounged around under Puzzleman came out and we went caching around Sheckler Res as that's where both our clusters of caches were. Knocked out a fair amount out there though we did have a sprinkling of DNFs along the way.


Reservoir Caching

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The ice road from Hell

First, allow me to take you back to January.

Yeah, that's about where the intelligence ended....

So Puzzleman comes up with this great idea of going up into the Virginia Range between Hwy 50 and Interstate 80 (most of Storey County) to attempt a 5*/5* cache that's up there. Some idiot who shall remain nameless agrees to go with him and navigate to this difficult cache.

Up, in the mountains, in January. (Just want to make sure that is clear.)

The trip from Hwy 50 to the summit was uneventful and actually resulted in finding a few difficult caches (difficult in terrain not in hide) and found us on a fantastic dirt road heading up into the mountains. We're heading north, which means the face we were on was the south face of the range. It's January, remember...

Once we got to the top, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the entire range, golden grass and white snow under a clear crisp blue sky. (Didja catch that S word?) Our road leveled out as it crossed the saddle between two minor peaks, before switchbacking down into a gully, and then winding it's way northward deeper into the range. We crossed the saddle, and switchbacked down the other (north) side, into a gully, of a snowy range, in January (can you see where this is heading? Just wait....) The road bottomed out and turned back north and magically morphed from a 'road' to a muddy slip-n-slide that was on the side of the mountain. Wheeeeee not.

We live! And we keep going! O_o

Ah, the next fun is a long flat meadow, with a quaint little pond off to one side of the valley, grasses and trees and sage and a dark chocolate brown river of goo heading straight across the lowest point of the meadow. Yeah, let's try driving 10 feet over that way to make sure we don't sink! Rocks? Sage brush? Naw, that is anti mud protection and Titantic insurance.

We made it!! Let's keep going!!! Seriously, we've come this far and we're almost to the cache! O_O

Ok! So, we are now about four ridges deep into this mountain. The unnamed navigator says there is a road that goes straight to the cache! Ignore those first two roads, they take us out of our way... Even though yes they do go to the cache also... Eventually. Look, all you have to do is go that way and turn, it'll be easy! And then we can get out of here! Really!

One of these days he'll learn not to listen to me.... Her... Uh, the um unnamed navigator. Yeah.

But, in this case, he listens and follows the road as it topped out on a hill, and headed down again, into a gully (deep gully) with us on the north side of the steep road, heading down ... an ice and snow covered road in the shadow of the mountain. I'll let you read the title again of this post. :grin:

Now obviously we made it as I am typing this now, but as it is now September and this was in January well, we weren't taking any chances!

So fast forward to today! We're back, intending on actually finding the caches we originally headed out there for. The one rule for the day, AVOID THE ICE HELL ROAD. And we did, I think I did pretty good navigating as this time around I actually downloaded the maps and satellite images before we headed out. We found one cache for me down below, another down a great little canyon, the main goal of the day (after a text a friend), another that sent my lungs over the edge and resulted in me unable to speak due to lack of oxygen, a botched attempt to drive to three hiking only caches, and look we even headed back down the ice road. The winter was not kind to that dirt road. It's now rock.

But the fun wasn't over! Noooo, at the bottom of the gully was an old mine. We knew this, drove through it before, and knew about the locked gate that the power line road bypassed. But why are there concrete barriers on the power line road? Why is there a 5 foot berm on the power line road after the barriers? Hurm, sign.... "Property of US Bankruptcy Court. No Trespassing". Well, that's not good, LET US OUT!! Needless to say, we got out, eventually. And no one shall be the wiser.

Onward to locate two more caches, that are on such a new dirt road, Google maps did not have images for it! So while I was trying to navigate one way, the road was happily going wherever it wanted to go. I gave up after two false tries and just told Puzzleman, "Go that way." We finished our adventure after going up yet another very bumpy road that the recent off road race had not be kind to and found a one last dirt cache before heading north to a few more caches once we hit pavement again.

All in all an excellent day off road, spending way to much time being beaten up by the Jeep as it bounced over some harsh rocks, and generally enjoying this late summer day. We managed to get back into Sparks just as the rain started and the Jeep got a bath as we drove through Washoe on the way back to Carson.

I will say one thing though. On a hot summer day, at the top of a ridge after far too long looking for a micro, chocolate chip cookies hit the spot!

Ice Hell Road

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rings in the Desert

Yesterday slept in way to long. After deciding to actually get up and do something, I just wasn't motivated to put the fear away. So, head out to go place a cache!

But first needed cache stuff. A stop by Big R got me a new can and I bumped into a Boy Scout fundraiser, where half the group were fellow caches! So hung out and had a burger with them before swinging by the Dollar Store for swag.

40 miles later, I was on the southern edge of Copper Valley where I had seen a bizarre shape on the desert floor. A huge, 30 mile wide, 'bullseye' was carved through the sagebrush, the concentric rings narrowing in to the point where I was set to place a cache. I also found concrete slabs there in the middle of no where.

Tis a mystery!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Adventure

WOW! What an awesome weekend!

Got off work early on Friday, so it was home to swiftly finalize packing before Dad showed up to pick me up. Off to the store for supplies, then met up with Puzzleman and BigTruckCrew. Off to Dixie Valley!!

In all, we had Dad's new Jeep, BTC's Orange Scout being towed by Puzzleman's truck, and the Gold truck pulling the toy hauler. Camp was located at the far north end of the valley near an old ranch (as is almost everywhere in that valley) tucked up against the mountain in a gravel clearing around the corner from a corral.

Once we set up the camper and the tents, we headed out for a shakedown up the Steam Shovel trail to grab the cache up there and see how things were going to be for the weekend. Nice and bumpy trail heading up and I almost would have had a KILLER video of Dad's rig crawling down a large boulder. But alas, I hit the wrong button.

Back at camp, the night's meal was a Dutch Over pizza prepared by BTC while Puzzleman and Dad set up the scopes. The only light in the area was from the soon to set moon and the geothermal well to the far north of us. We were able to see Capella, a binary star, and four of Jupiter's moons in the scope (P'man's wasn't aligned during the day and the sight's batteries died making alignment at night difficult), as well as a full bright Milky Way stretched from one end of the valley to the other.

The next morning after breakfast we set out southward to find an old mine against the hillside, a beautiful slot canyon (I LOVE LITTLE BOX CANYON!), and head up the Bobcat trail to find a few caches up in the mountains, Job Crossing and especially Cabin in the Stillwaters, that I have been wanting for a long time! All were found, pictures taken, and we were off back to camp to settle in for a hearty steak dinner and more stargazing (yay, got the sight working and now we had a computerized scope tracking anything we wanted!)

Sunday morning we set out early to head up Cottonwood Canyon and the goal for the weekend, Bolivia or Bust. We made it to within 2 miles of the cache, before a *large* boulder stopped both rigs in their tracks. Even BTC, our skilled off-road guide, couldn't coax the Scout to defy gravity and make his way up the rock. So we hiked the remaining distance. I love my Keen sandals! While the guys hopped back and forth across the creek, I just walked right through it! HA! However, the cache and the site were both a let down. The site only had to buildings, one stone the other wood, and the cache was soaked and destroyed. Still, the canyon made up for the disappointment at the end.

Headed back and broke down camp before returning to town and a delish treat of shakes and malts as we all said farewell for this trip. Totally totally awesome weekend and I am so glad that we got to hang out before the weather starts creeping it's way back towards winter.

Dixie Valley Adventure

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Wow, let there be crickets

Has it really been 6 months since I've updated this blog? Wow, sorry about that!

Actually, I had forgotten about this until recently inspired to share it with a friend (Hi Qute!) and saw there really wasn't anything recent to share. So allow me to bring you up to speed, and when did I get 9 followers on here???

I think I am mostly settled into the new routine, though it has been a lot duller than I had hoped. Discovered a few new roads to explore, including one that cut through one of the bombing ranges out here, so of course I had to put a series of geocaches through that section. The road wound it's way back into the far hills and effectivelly blocked the lights of town, proving a great stargazing spot! As it wrapped around the mountains, the road topped out on two peaks and also went through a roller coaster section before ending up at a huge corral. Further down, the road became a partial stream bed and twisted and turned through a canyon that opened up into the salt flats at the bottom of Pucker Canyon. Plus found an 'island' in that salt flat where an old trough and corral stand amid the greasewood and Russian olive trees.

Another road I found goes straight up the eastern side of the valley and ends up way north in Coal Canyon outside of Lovelock. The ghost town of Coppereid lies along that road and has some interesting ruins. I cruised up there the night after the Rally and just hung out in the desert admiring the stars and watching the satellites crisscrossing the sky. Was serenaded by a pack of coyotes while out there.

Placed three new night caches out here that provide an introduction to the different techniques that I have seen. Still debating on bringing the Diabolical series out here, especially now that I have figured out a way to bring the phone stage back. Need to find an area where I can place them that is far enough away from town to block the lights, but close enough that I'll actually get visitors. Maybe I should explore Ramsey a little bit more. Can't think of a more remote area!

Summited two new county high points, for Churchill County and Mineral County. Desatoya Peak in Churchill proved to be an interesting access. My dad was with me as we headed up, and while looking at the topographic maps I actually found a pictograph site along the way! Lots of red and black shapes and squiggles on the cave wall. I need to go back and record it properly, but I had a mission today. We found the road that got us within a mile of the peak (two actually, Desatoya North and Destoya itself, the north peak is 6 feet lower than it's twin) so I slung on the backpack and headed off on foot. Followed the cow trails that snaked all over the mountain side to the saddle where I picked up the existing cache and then went to the highpoint to claim the peak register and the summit benchmark. Hid my own cache up there (yet to be found) before going down and up again to the North peak and claimed the cairn up here. Not a bad day overall!

Mineral county has a weird highpoint. The true highpoint is Mt. Grant at over 11k feet. However, in order to summit it, one must seek permission from the property owner - the US army. Sooo instead, Corey Peak, at 10,500+, serves as the accessible peak, and there's a road most of the way. Dad got the turn to just about 800 feet below the peak before the switchbacks got too tight and I hiked the rest. Another benchmark, another cache (this oe has been found) and another highpoint under my belt!

Have managed to get my kayak out a few times. Went paddling down the Carson River both in Carson and after the Lahanton Dam. Also paddled Lahanton so Andy could get the cache on the island. And! We went out into Washoe Lake and found the old pylons from the historic causeway that used to bridge the lake back in the Comstock days, THAT was a trip! It's always one thing to read about history, but to actually look down and hold onto the supporting pillar for a roadway that no one has seen in generations! Wow!

Work also has me bouncing around the country. Been to Florida, San Diego, and Texas for conferences. In Florida I managed to grab a cache there, and in Alabama and Mississippi, as well as a virtual outside the Atlanta GA airport. Go me with the states! In San Diego I met up with jahoadiandjohn and biked the Silver Strand and hiked around some interesting areas... Including an underground flume! That was FUN! In Dallas I didn't get out much, didn't feel up to it, but did grab a virtual outside my hotel and one at the Grassy Knoll where JFK was assassinated. Also got to hang out with some friends that just recently moved to Plano so it was nice seeing friendly faces.

Also started taking Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, just starting my third month and also just earned my first colored belt, so yay me, I'm a third degree blue belt! I'm really enjoying it, and while some of the instructors are focused on the martial side of the arts, I am wanting to focus on the internal aspects, where this is a means to improve my character and internal balance. The self defense stuff is just a nice bonus.

I think that's it. Haven't been out playing much lately as I'm trying to save money, since gas was eating me up. But this weekend, I'm going to go out playing with Tarry, Greg, and my Dad to go explore the ghost town of Bolivia and also play around Dixie Valley. This'll only be the second time I've gotten my tent out, the first being the campout at Fort Churchill where it RAINED! (Bonus, rainfly WORKS!) but it'll be nice to use my tent for more than just the spiderweb anchor point it's currently serving as.

By the way, you'll notice all the pictures are broken on my older posts. I had two Google accounts and decided to merge them. Well, the transfer didn't work seamlessly and so all the links were hosed. Here's the album for the pictures, but it is in some random only Google understands why order,

Desert Geocaching

Nothing more to add. I am hoping now that I know this works on my iPad, I will have no more excuses to not keep this updated. I am doing things, I promise!

Or just follow me on Twitter, it's easier!