Winter & Winter Caching
A neighbour who is spending two months in Florida said the following in a recent email:
“We have been following Moncton weather from here and it seems like this winter has been a real lulu. I am starting to think that the snowbirds do have the right idea.”
“The last storm 2 days ago was great but the previous one was supposed to give us 30 cms but it was mostly rain here. We were very disappointed. We have done some skiing at Beaver and will be going again today although we don’t know if they have done the trails after last nights 10 cms. We should be getting 10 more by tomorrow morning
Yesterday we walked 8 kms on snowmobile trails in Turtle Creek area picking up a bunch of geocaches. The snow was often hip deep off the trail. Monday I snowshoed to Shediac Island with a group and did about 10kms, checking on the conditions of the geocaches over there. Next week we may go finish the job. Tomorrow we will snowshoe over to Cocagne Island again to check on geocaches. March 1 we will have more than 100 people at the center in Grande Digue to go over the islands.
Maybe that makes us snowbirds”
MA and I love winter and we would only think of going south if it was a lousy winter, i.e. rainy and no snow. Since December 1 we have found about 660 caches. Of our total number of caches found in 10 years, about 3800 were found in winter months. A number of cachers have told us that previous to caching, they usually hibernated during winter but that they now get out and walk snowmobile trails or get out their new snowshoes and get out on the hiking trails.
We have done winter caching in the Fredericton area a number of times. There are great caching series on trails and in the woodlot which draw us there.
Our Ice walk event draws many people every year. People come for the challenge of crossing the ice and conquering an island. But it is not only the island caches which draw cachers to the event. There is a large number of series in the area from Memramcook to Bouctouche. A few more series have been added this year. They are all winter friendly.
When we say winter friendly in the Moncton area, we usually mean that the cache is hung at a height that keeps the cache above the snow. Our caches are usually winter friendly and the winter attribute is usually added to the cache page.
As I have learned from a recent discussion in the GC.com forums, the winter attribute can have another meaning. For example caches placed in swampy areas are a lot more accessible in winter when the ground and water is frozen. In addition, you avoid the mosquito problem. We have tried accessing caches on Shediac Island in summer but have been stopped by the thorny rosebushes and the bugs. The Condo cache on Cocagne Island will bring you to 100 overhead heron nests. I really wouldn’t want to be under those nests in summer.
In the Maritimes we have had a number of fun contests/competitions each year to encourage winter caching. The recent winters, we have the Battlecache game and the Come Out And Play competition which motivate and encourage cachers.
Afew winters ago we would have a winter challenge where NS would compete against NB to see which province would hide the most caches. The reviewers would hold the cache pages and publish them all in one evening in February. Cachers would sit at their computers that night and watch all the caches being approved. There were hundreds approved in each province.
Short Ice Walk History
We are members of the Moncton Outdoor Enthusiasts Club. Prior to geocaching we had an annual snowshoe event to Shediac Island from our house, followed by a pot luck meal. In February 2005 we placed a couple of caches on the island before one of the club events. Jim52 was a member of the club and grabbed the caches during the club event on Feb 7. One month later 6 cachers showed up at our place to cross the ice to the caches. Some of them were only wearing jeans and we were a bit worried about them so we stayed home and waited their return.
Log by Argus2
Our group of 6 continued along the trail until it swung to the left and headed for the last cache on the island which we found quite easily. Great trails here! Took metal brainteaser puzzle and left an eyeglasses repair kit. Definitely want to come back in the summer.
For the return trip, we stayed together on the trail but when we hit the frozen bay, johnny.cache and Dragoon set a blistering pace that my aching muscles couldn’t keep up with. In fact, Funky and RAYAR were now pulling away from Cache Jordan and myself who were bringing up the rear. I always thought the return part of any trip seemed faster but after walking forever, the distant shore just kept getting more distant. Pretty soon the first group were no more than little dots against the white background. The second group had pulled away by about 800 meters while CJ and I were convinced that somebody kept moving the home shore further away as a cruel joke. Ironically the last step I took off the ice was a foot soaker- just to add to the experience!
I have found in my few years in this sport that there is a special camaraderie among fellow geocachers that is unparalleled and today was the best example of this. It started with FarsideX lending me his top of the line snowshoes and ended with Ma & Pa whom I finally got to meet. They had a planned event to attend to this afternoon, but stayed home to welcome the 6 tired, aching souls into their home and provided trays of cheese, crackers, grapes, most awesome cheesecake, coffee and the best chili. Thanks… it doesn’t get any better than this!
Two years later in 2007 we decided to have two crossings to the island. One weekend we had an event for the Outdoor Enthusiasts (snowshoe and pot luck) and the next weekend we had a similar event for the geocachers. That was the first ice Walk Event. Last year we moved the event to the community center in Grande-Digue and had major help from some local cachers.