On the Grid – January 2016 – Cool Weather Cachin’

So long 2015, Hello 2016!

The new year arrived and so did winter! After a couple of extra months of exceptionally warm late fall/early winter weather (think nearly 80F on Christmas Day) it’s finally getting chilly here! I can’t speak for everyone, but personally, I’m glad the cold is finally here to stay for a few months.

Jenna and I kicked the new year off right with a New Year’s Day cache, literally! Happy New Year 2012!!(GC26CY1) was our first find of the year. As we walked toward the cache we had a pretty good idea where we would find it. We also found that getting to the cache and back would be a little tricky.

Happy New Year

We managed to make our way to the cache’s hiding spot and found it easily. The container was camo’d in hot pink, the ‘calling card’ of the Cache Girls Gone Wild, the local caching group that hid the cache.


We made an after dark attempt at finding Howard Hughes (GC5CEPQ) but once again came up empty, even after a hint from the cache owner, and moved on to a back-up. Howard might not have wanted to come out to play but a beautiful sunset viewed from near his hiding spot lessened our disappointment a bit.

Howards Sunset

I took a few short trips to England during January. Turns out ‘England’ is just a couple of miles from my office in Lenox Park, an urban greenspace between a cluster of office buildings and is also not too far from France and South Korea (If you read the September and December ‘On the Grid’ entries, you’ll get the reference). Lenox Park is home to a cluster of four traditional whose names somehow refer to places or features in England including: BIG BEN-ch (GC3TJGE), London in Lenox (GC4BZ92), Sherwood Forest in Lenox (GC3N803) and The Tube (GC3N80R). In addition to the traditional caches, there is also a puzzle cache in the group (A Quotable Cache, GC5M24N). Hey, if any of you puzzle cache gurus out there can point me in the right direction on this one, I would appreciate it!!

Lenox 1

Lenox 2

Lenox 3

Lenox 4

Lenox 5

I wrapped up the month with a quick and easy cache at a local gas station (Palmetto McFlash, GC69F2K). Under a lamp post skirt, right? Of course not!

On to February!

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Back to the Bend…Again

I’ve been needing to get outside. Badly. Life has been a bit crazy lately. I didn’t realize how badly I needed to go outside and play until I mentioned the possibility of going hiking this weekend to ConnieLou and her response was “You should, it would do you good.” That’s ConnieLou-speak for “I know your stress meter is just about maxed out and you need to do something to blow off some steam before you bust.” She knows me well.

I sent a text to my buddy Tom to see if he wanted to get out and go hiking somewhere. I wanted to go over to Sweetwater Creek State Park but had some errands to run early and dinner plans for the evening so we decided to head down to Chattahoochee Bend.

Bend Sign

We decided to walk the same route that Jenna and I walked about this time a year ago but in reverse. We started off on the Wild Turkey Trail at the Visitor’s Center then picked up the Brown Thrasher Trail after half a mile or so. The portions of the trails in lower areas were fairly muddy but that wasn’t exactly unexpected given the amount of rain we’ve had lately but the upland portion of the trail were in good shape.


We stopped at Trailhead 1 to eat some lunch. Normally I wouldn’t bother with lunch on a short hike but I have a new stove and cook pot that I haven’t had a chance to play with in the woods so we stopped, boiled some water and we each rehydrated a freeze-dried meal. I’ve got to admit, a hot lunch and a cup of hot chocolate hit the spot on a cool day.


Tom Cooks

After lunch we crossed the road over to the Flat Rock Trail which crosses the large pavement outcrops in the upland portions of the park. Some of the blazes that were painted on the rock surface a few years ago are starting to fade but other hikers have built small cairns to mark the trail.

Flat Rocks

Faded Blaze

Random fungus


(as opposed to regular fungus)

Once back on the Wild Turkey Trail, the trail passed between the split trunks of a fallen tree…


Two Trees

By the time we made it back to the truck we’d walked about five miles…OK, between 4 ½ and 5 miles, depending on whose smartphone tracking app that you want to believe.


To check out my blog entry from last year’s hike at Chattahoochee Bend with Jenna click the following link:

Back to the Bend

And for a video of this trip…yeah, you got it…click the link:

Back to the Bend…Again

Posted in Chattahoochee Bend, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Day Hike, Day Trip, Georgia State Parks, GoPro, YouTube | 2 Comments

Staying Warm While Camping

A great tip for keeping warm at night while winter camping from Michael at Hike, Eat, Repeat. Check it out!

Hike Eat Repeat

Easy and Efficient Heat Source

One of the biggest challenges in the backcountry is staying warm in unfair conditions. I have found myself many times in extremely high winds or damp conditions that prevent me from building a fire. If you do not have a heat source available, the only heat you have is the heat your body is producing. One trick to providing extra heat throughout the night is to make a hot water bottle. The key is to create an insulator that will keep the water warm for hours. The only items you will need for this project I have listed below.

  • Mylar Bubble Wrap (Can be purchased at any hardware store)
  • Duck Tape
  • The Water Bottle of Choice (I use a Nalgene Wide Mouth)
  • Knife or Box Cutter

I will give a brief description about how I made this water bottle insulator and I will attach my…

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Post Snowpocalypse Cachin’ with the Girls…

I’d planned to go hiking and caching with my friend Tom at Sweetwater Creek State Park over the weekend. The weather had different plans for us. Thursday and Friday brought us over an inch of rain and then there was Snowpocalypse 2016. We bagged our hiking plans but by midday Saturday I was going a bit stir crazy so I asked Ashley and Jenna if they wanted to go cachin’ somewhere nearby. They were game so we piled into the car and headed out…

The Crew

On the Road

One has to be careful when they hand their phone to their kids…

Silly Girls

Silly Girls!

We decided to head south to Grantville. Somewhere along the way we missed a turn and ended up in Hogansville…

Hogansville 1

Hogansville 2


We checked the cache map only to find that there are no caches in downtown Hogansville. What’s up with that?

We backtracked up to Grantville and stopped to hunt for the first of three caches. The first cache was supposedly somewhere in front of a now closed restaurant. The key word here is supposedly. Yep, we didn’t find it.

On to the next cache. The second cache on our list is supposedly (there’s that word again) located within a long abandoned building.

Cache 2

Jenna Wall

Ashley Pipe

Girls in the Hole

Nope, we didn’t find this one either.


We passed by the Colley House, also known as the Bonnie Castle. Rumor has it that the building is haunted. We had another cache to hunt so we didn’t go for a visit to find out.

Grantville House

The first stage of our last cache for the day, a multi, was located in the Grantville Cemetery on the north edge of town.

Cemetery 1

We had to find a couple of markers honoring Thomas Zellars, a sailor from Grantville who served in the U.S. Navy on the battleship USS Mississippi during World War I. Zellars was killed along with 17 other sailors during a firing accident onboard his ship but was able to open a flood valve and extinguish the fire caused by the accident, thus saving many of his other shipmates.

Cemetery 2

Cemetery 3

Apparently the final coordinates that we calculated based on the dates on the markers were a bit off and we came up empty handed on this cache as well. Ugh!

Three strikes and we were out. Unfortunately it was getting late and time to head on back home.

So how much snow did we get out of Snowpocalypse 2016?


Kinda pitiful, no?

Want to see the video? Here’s a link: Post Snowpocalypse Cachin’ with the Girls

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Escape to the Mountains: Route 2

Here’s another North Georgia Escape Route from the folks at Mountain Crossings. Get Out!…OK, as as the roads are safe…

Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! And at the same time, we understand that hiking and backpacking in cold weather isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. This is a neat idea for spending a day off in the mountains that is much more cold weather friendly. You owe it to your sanity to break free of that cabin fever and we’ve got just the trek you need! Here is the second of two driving routes up into the mountains and out of Atlanta that can help you escape and offer fun things to do along the way!

The Eastern Route: I-85/GA-400/US-19

This route takes you out of Atlanta through the North Atlanta suburbs. It is the most direct route for anyone in East or South Atlanta and suburbs such as Conyers, Covington, Lawrenceville, Buford, Cumming, Roswell and Alpharetta. This route covers approximately 150 miles of road and takes…

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MYOG lumbar pad for ULA Ohm

Might just have to give this idea a try soon…


IMG_1684I’ve found the ULA Ohm a bit sweaty in the lower back region, so I thought I’d add a lumber pad.

IMG_1687It was really easy to make. I cut an oblong from a Gossamer Gear closed cell foam pad. Added some shock cord loops at either end, secured with some duct tape.

IMG_1686I covered it in some open weave material which I had kicking around from another project.

IMG_1688The shock cord fits behind the Ohm pockets and stays in place well. Hey presto! A lumbar pad. Along with the hip belt and frame sheet mods, I’m rather pleased with the Ohm and will be using it this summer.

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Another Super Simple Alcohol Stove


Ready for a new video? Good!

I got the inspiration for my latest video from a recent entry on Mud and Nettles, a blog from the U.K. According to Mud and Nettles’ author, Muddy Mum (aka Clare), one of her goals is to get her family outside for fun and adventure as much as possible, and if there is a bit of geocaching in the mix, so much the better. Is this not starting to sound like another sorta familiar blog?

Anyway, in her latest entry titled “Oh Deer! A Trip to Mildenhall Woods”, Clare describes a recent adventure with her family in a nearby patch of woods. Her young daughters wanted to go for a walk in the woods and stop to enjoy some hot chocolate along the way. OK, I’m not going to tell the whole story…you have to read it for yourself to find out what happened as there’s a bit more to the story than hot chocolate.

But I will tell you this…when the troop stopped for their hot chocolate, Clare’s husband, Mr. Muddy, broke out a “Hexi stove” to heat their water with. I’m a little bit of a stove nut and had not heard the term Hexi stove. I guessed it might be a stove that uses a solid hexamine fuel tab, commonly called an Esbit tab in this part of the world. I sent Clare a note asking if that’s what it was and she confirmed that I was correct. We traded a few notes back and forth about different kinds of stoves and Clare ended up giving me the nudge that I needed to put a quick video together. Here’s the link:

Super Simple Alcohol Stove

Check it out, maybe make yourself a super simple alcohol stove and most importantly…Get Out!!

BTW, just for the record, the first Get Out! Entry was posted three years ago today on January 19, 2013. Don’t remember it? Here’s a link:

Check it out!

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Escape to the Mountains: Route 1

Got cabin fever? Need to get away from the city? Looking forward to a day away in the Northeast Georgia Mountains?

The folks at Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap have put together a few ‘Escape Routes’ to get you out of the house and enjoying some of what northeast Georgia has to offer.

Check it out at https://mountaincrossingsatneelgap.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/your-mountain-escape-route-part-1/ and…Get Out!!

Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap

Just because it is winter doesn’t mean you have to stay inside! And at the same time, we understand that hiking and backpacking in cold weather isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. This is a neat idea for spending a day off in the mountains that is much more cold weather friendly. You owe it to your sanity to break free of that cabin fever and we’ve got just the trek you need! Here is the first of two driving routes up into the mountains and out of Atlanta that can help you escape and offer fun things to do along the way! Stay tuned for Route 2 next week!

The Western Route: I-75/I-575/GA-515

This route takes you out of Atlanta through the North Atlanta suburbs. It is the most direct route for anyone in West or South Atlanta and suburbs such as Canton, Marietta, Kennesaw, Dallas, Douglasville, Newnan and McDonough. This route…

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A Monster in the Making…

ConnieLou and my mom wanted to surprise me this Christmas. Usually they’ll ask me for some suggestions for what I might want to find under the tree and I give them a list of ‘ideas’… but this year they both stayed strangely quiet. Just after Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) ConnieLou proudly told me that she and Momma had gone in together to surprise me. The only hint that either would give was that it was not on my list. Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time over the next few weeks trying to figure out what they’d come up with. Every time I’d ask ConnieLou for a hint all she would tell me is “it’s not something that’s on your list.” Now how am I supposed to figure it out with answers like that?

Christmas Eve finally rolled around and we went to my mom’s place to ‘do Christmas’ with her. Presents were passed out and as I began to open mine I began to notice that ConnieLou, Momma , Ashley and Jenna had stopped opening theirs and were watching me. Apparently I was the only one still in the dark. Since I was the center of attention I decided to enjoy it and peeled back the wrapping paper ever so slowly and opened the box to reveal…yet another box wrapped in tissue paper. Hmmmm, tormented by one of my own tricks.

Oh yeah, so what was the big surprise?

How about a Go Pro camera!

Now my blog will have not only text and photos but video too! Can you say YouTube? I knew you could.

OK, stop groaning.

Of course it will take some time for me to learn to use the camera and its features (and the aftermarket extras – can’t forget those!!) and get the hand of the editing software…hope y’all enjoy the ride just as much as I do!

Now you don’t think I could possibly wrap up this entry without a video do you? How about a short time-lapse video of a quick geocaching trip close to home earlier this week? Yeah, it’s not the greatest and there’s no sound but hang with me…they’ll get better…Just call me a monster in the making.

Check it out: After Christmas Cachin’

Spoiler Alert!! You will get to see me finding, retrieving and replacing one of the three caches I found that day. However…since I haven’t named the cache, given the GC code and unless you’re familiar with the area, probably not a big deal.

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On the Grid – December 2015 – Twas the Cache Before Christmas…

Got a little cachin’ break at the end of November but on December 1 it was back to business…and I started the month off with a couple of DNFs. I got my cachin’ mojo working again with a couple of quick park and grabs then decided to take a trip to South Korea to look for a cache that’s given me trouble before. As it turns out, South Korea is just a short distance from France.

Say what?

OK, here’s the deal, the cache I went to hunt, 4077th (GC5A1PQ ), is dedicated to the television sitcom M*A*S*H, which is set in South Korea during the Korean War during the early 1950s.

Korea 1

Korea 2

The cache location is just a few hundred feet away from another cache named Smurfs form the Resistance (GC5THCR) which is located in front of the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant. As you may remember from my September 2015 On the Grid entry, the 57th Fighter Group is housed in a building designed to look like a French farmhouse during the second World War.

Thus, Korea is just a short distance from France.



Before heading out I took a good look through the previous logs to see if I could find that key piece of information that I would need to find the cache. I didn’t find any great revelation in the logs, but I did end up finding the cache.

AAG Achiever: Planespotting (GC5A0DC), a multi, took me back to Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, located just a couple of miles from my office. I enjoy a cache with a good history lesson attached. Sometimes that history lesson is presented in the cache description and sometimes it’s something you find at, or on the way to, the GZ. This time around it came on the form of a couple of historical markers situated adjacent to the sidewalk between the parking lot and the first stage of the multi.

Marker 1

Marker 2

The area now occupied by the airport, as well as a significant portion of the surrounding area, were part of Camp Gordon, an Army training camp during World War I. In 1940 a military airport, which became Naval Air Station Atlanta, was built on the property. The facility was utilized for pilot training during World War II. The airport was converted from military to civilian use in the late 1950s.

Information gathered from another historical marker at the Stage 1 GZ pointed me toward the final which happened to be located in a familiar park a short distance away.

Planespotting Park

I thought I was finished traveling for the month but 303 Days (GC5YH4K) took me to New York City for bagels.


So New York City is only four or five miles from France and South Korea…who knew?!

There were other caches during the month, most not terribly exciting but they filled up empty spaces on my grid. The highlight of my cachin’ month didn’t involve any particular cache but instead involved spending some time caching with my girls over their Christmas break…


And a nice sunset…


Only 83 caches to go…bring on 2016!!

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