Eventful month of geocaching and a pair of races

As the calendar turns to May, I thought I’d look back at an eventful April.

Since this is supposed to be a running blog, I’ll get the running out right away. I ran a pair of 5K races in April. One, the Mastodon Stomp, raises money for the women’s track team at IPFW, our local Division I university. There is no men’s track team there. The other race, the Formula for Life 5K at the University of Saint Francis, raises money for an orphanage in Haiti. Both races were run on unseasonably warm Sunday afternoons.

The first, the Mastodon Stomp, April 9, saw me run a time of 33 minutes, 30.9 seconds. I was 13th out of 15 in may age group  (men 55-59). Except for the crossing the bridge from the main campus to the where the dorms are, the course was flat. I walked through the water stations, hoping to stay hydrated.

On April 23, I ran the Formula for Life race in 33:52.6 and finished seventh out of 19 in may age group (50 and older, which included two folks in their 70s and four in their 60s).  The race left the Saint Francis campus and went to Lindenwood Cemetery next door. The cemetery is hilly. I chugged up the first couple hills, trying to keep up a fast time. Big mistake. I ended up walking several of the hills, which ultimately slowed me down. In addition, the race had just bottled water, so I didn’t take any. I should have brought my own water. I was parched when the race ended.

mastodon
Me at the Mastodon Stomp on the IPFW campus April 9.

In addition to the two races, I found a geocache every day in April. Last Tuesday was the only day that looked as if I might not find a geocache.

Geocaching, for the uninitiated is a sort-of treasure hunt using GPS coordinates to find a hidden cache. Tuesday is the 17th anniversary of geocaching. It was just after midnight on May 2, 2000 that a switch was flipped that allowed civilians to use global positioning satellites more accurately.  Dave Ulmer hid what he called a stash, posted the coordinates on the internet, thus the first geocache.

During the month, I found 69 geocaches, which includes attending three geocaching events. In addition, our family added a new member to the household, a German shorthair pointer by the name of Kinsler. Kinsler came to us via the DeKalb County Humane Society. Apparently he had been abandoned in Ohio. I’m not entirely sure how he ended up in DeKalb County, Indiana. My wife found him online and we apply to adopt him. He came to live with us April 11.

capttailwagger
Kinsler, aka Capt. Tailwagger, helps find his first geocache.

Also during April, the geocaching world celebrated the 3 millionth active cache being hidden. Caches are located in all seven continents as well as on the International Space Station. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to ever claim that one.

As I write this, there are 3,010,033 active geocaches hidden around the world. Anyone who found a geocache the weekend of April 22 got a souvenir.

That same weekend, which coincided with Earth Day, anyone attending a Cache In, Trash Out event got a CITO souvenir. My son and I attended a CITO event in Kokomo, Indiana. The world is our game board, so the geocaching ethic is to cache in, trash out. In addition, on April 13 was Donerstag, a time for geocachers around the world to get together. Donerstag started in Germany. My son and I attended a Donerstag event at a German cafe in Indianapolis.

On April 1, my son and I went to a geocaching brunch event in LaOtto, Indiana. Our plan from there was to find an Earth cache at Chain O’Lakes State Park. In addition to the Earth cache, we decided to look for the regular geocache the Indiana Department of Natural Resources put out last year for the centennial of Indiana’s state parks system.

We found the spot the DNR geocache was supposed to be. We couldn’t find it. We decided to go to the other side of the park to get the Earth cache. We parked and started down the trail around the kettle lake to the Earth cache. The trail was under water. We went the other way. The trail was under water. We didn’t find the Earth cache. We didn’t find any caches that day at the state park.

From Geocaching.com:

EarthCache

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location. For more information about EarthCaches visit www.geosociety.org/earthcache.

3million2
Souvenir for 3 million geocaches
cito
Souvenir for attending a CITO event the weekend of April 22.

donerstag

Dönerstag began in 2007 when German cachers met at kebab shops around the country all at the same time. The tradition caught on!

These special events are held each year on a Thursday. In German, this makes the name “Dönerstag” a pun: The German word for Thursday is “Donnerstag.” Kebab translates to “Döner.”

Last year, over 6000 players attended 233 Dönerstag events. The events were held all over Europe, from Germany and Austria to the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

 

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