POTOSI, Missouri. Travis and Cindy were on a mission.
After parking their minivan in front of Mark Twain National Forest's Potosi Ranger Station, they turned on their GPS unit and stepped out of their vehicle.
They weren't there to purchase a map, or to inquire about camping, or to buy a firewood permit. They were searching for something…something that they knew was very close by. And if they found it, it would be momentous because never yet had they been the "First To Find."
Time was of the essence, and even the damp and chilly air of that October 2011 morning was not enough to deter them. They had to find it, and find it first.
They walked down the sidewalk, past the Pollinator Garden, across the parking lot, and headed into the woods. As they approached a small vernal pool, they suddenly stopped. Did they see something? Maybe a bird flushing from a bush? Or a frog jumping into the pool? No, they saw something much less obvious.
Travis walked a few steps further, stopped again, turned around, then kicked some leaves and exclaimed "I found it!" Pulling an old ammo box out from behind a tree, they both grinned from ear to ear. This was what they were looking for. This was the geocache!
Travis and Cindy represent hundreds of people who participate in geocaching, or treasure hunting on Mark Twain National Forest.
This particular geocache was put there by Mark Twain National Forest Employee Marge VanPraag.
A geocacher herself, Marge has enjoyed encouraging others to participate in this recreational pastime.
Last Updated (Friday, 18 May 2012 20:00)
With the mild winter we had in SLAGA territory, we expect the ticks to be out in force this year! As a public service, we're reprinting part of a great article that Brawny Bear wrote a few years ago about ticks and how to avoid them. L Frank and I follow Brawny's advice and treat our caching clothes with Permethrin every year, and we swear by it. The brand we use is Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea & Tick Home Spray. Here is an excerpt from Brawny's article:
So that some of the people new to caching and the outdoors understand the reality behind ticks, I have put together a primer to help you out. There is a great article in Backpacker magazine that covers ticks and how to avoid them.
When a tick buries its head into your skin, it forms a cement bond that keeps it in place while it excretes a chemical that breaks down tissue and allows them to absorb the blood and fluids they desire. There really isn't any documented length of time a tick can wait for a host. Some ticks will have several hosts as they morph from a nymph to an adult and others will have one host. Ticks have been known to live over 3 years, even through the dormant Winter, without ever attaching to a host.
A quick overview of the cycle of a tick is as follows...
Female lays eggs, Eggs become Larvae, Larvae attaches to birds or small mammals, Tick becomes a nymph, Nymph attaches to a host, Tick feeds until it becomes an adult, adult males detach and look for females usually on the host, male breeds and then drops and dies, female continues to feed, eventually dropping off and laying eggs. In some cases, the female will lay eggs on the host.
In Missouri, we have all 3 species of ticks.
1) Deer Tick - often called seed ticks and are very small. Females are bigger and often are 2 tone brown with the head and back being darker than the legs.
2) Lone Star Tick - Most common in Missouri. Females have a white dot on their back. This is where they get their name. A big misconception is the males have a spot too. This is not true. Males are the most common tick and often called a dog tick or brown tick. These ticks are more round than oval. Almost all ticks here in Missouri are Lone Stars.
3) The American Dog Tick - These are the largest ticks and they are more oval than the other ticks. The male and female are almost the same size. They are brown with darker brown spots on their backs. The adults are usually the ones
that feed on us and dogs.
Lone Star and Deer Ticks carry Lyme. Dog ticks do not but they can carry other diseases.
Wear Light Clothes when in the field. I can't stress this enough. People who head out into a field with dark clothes are going to get skin buried ticks. Light clothes has them show up easier and you can pick them off.
Tuck your pants into your socks and tape them with some duct tape if possible. This keeps them on the outside. Also wear shirts tucked in and make sure they are light colored as well. Some people talk about ticks dropping from trees overhead. While this may be possible, it is highly unlikely. These critters are ground dwellers that usually get no higher that a weed. Birds love to eat ticks so climbing a tree would be like marching into the oven.
Spray your clothes with Permethrin. You can buy Cutter's and other brands of this but I use Equate brand Bedding Spray from Wal-Mart. Same stuff only a buck cheaper. Spray clothes until moist and allow them to dry completely. Spray shoes, socks, pants, shirt, undies, etc... It will last a couple of washings and a few rainy days.
Carry a spare set of shoes, socks and pants in the vehicle. If you can, change clothes and place your clothes into a plastic bag and put them in the trunk. When you get home, pop them in the dryer on high for 10 minutes. This will ensure all hitchhikers are incinerated.
Do a tick check often. When you get home, have your significant other check for all sizes of ticks. Remember, some may be smaller then a pinhead. If you do not have someone that can check, use a mirror.
Obviously, avoiding high grass and marshy fields would be the way to go...
Last Updated (Sunday, 22 April 2012 21:30)
Written by Hilary Korabik
On Saturday, Feb. 25, Clare Conner and Katie Newman, both juniors at Saint Louis University, found themselves corralling chickens in Tower Grove Park. Were they fully engaged in learning where their food comes from? Not exactly; this is just one of the many adventures a person might come across while geocaching.
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt that was started in 2000 by a group of Global Positioning System enthusiasts, after a major upgrade in the civilian GPS system. This upgrade allowed GPS users to pinpoint locations as much as 10 times more accurately than they had previously been able to, according to former president George Bush’s press release on May 1, 2000.
Read entire article at unewsonline.com.
Last Updated (Thursday, 19 April 2012 10:51)
Now in its 9th year, MOGA (the Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure) is headed north to the land between the rivers, Io-way! They say Iowa has a time zone all of its own. Well, they might be lightin’ up the tilt sign, but we’ll have a blast with it anyway – so set your clocks back 50 or 60 years and get ready to Rock Around the Clock Cache!
MOGA has teamed up with the Iowa Geocachers Organization, the US Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District, Honey Creek Resort State Park, and of course, Groundspeak to make your cruise back in time hit the top of the charts! The date has been set – April 27, 28, and 29, 2012. The playing field has been identified – Rathbun Lake, Centerville, Iowa. The headquarters has been secured – Honey Creek Resort State Park, Moravia, Iowa.
You cool cats know that MOGA is an action-packed weekend, where participants race from waypoint to waypoint on foot in search of competition punches. But MOGA isn't just for competitors -- there are also activities geared towards families and the laid-back cacher. There will be around 150 permanent caches of all styles – hikers to park-n-grabs, ammo cans to nanos, and special hides just for the kiddos. You’ll be on Cloud 9 with the poker run and other sister events. You can geocache at your own pace, or you can enter the individual or team competitions for a chance to win a custom-made trackable award coin!
Go to www.mogageo.com to sign up now! There are registration packages for every budget, including a FREE registration, as well as packages that include swag, t-shirts, and meals. Remember, pre-registering is the only way to purchase meals for this event. So put it on your calendar before you get too much smog in the noggin. Iron your threads and poodle skirt, brush out your nest, and polish your saddle shoes. Let’s get Rockin’ ‘Round the Cache!
Last Updated (Saturday, 03 March 2012 12:52)