Friday, October 5, 2012

Geocache: Necropolis of Britannia Manor III

Austin, Texas.  My favorite city.  I have a whole list of reasons why I love this place, and Necropolis of Britannia Manor III is now one of them.  NBM is not simply a geocache, but an Austin adventure.  If you are going to read this post, be aware that I will be giving my whole experience and not hiding information.  So, SPOILERS!  I hope that if you do plan on doing this geocache you stop at the end of the second paragraph and read after you have finished.  It's more fun that way.  You could even do this geocache without a GPS.  My friend and I did.  So I suggest you get started.  If you want, go to and search for GC Code: GC2B034.

I came across this geocache just by clicking around on the geocaching website.  That's where I found the YouTube video for this haunted cache [click here for video]. I got really excited when I noticed that it's location was in Austin, TX, just an hour away!  I have always loved hunts like this.  Going to one area, figuring out a riddle or answering a question, traveling from place to place, and finding the treasure at the end.  My hometown does a local treasure hunt each year, and I have been doing it for about six years now.  This seemed right up my alley.  I was already going to Austin for a 5K (which was postponed due to rain) and thought I could convince a friend to go along with me.  She agreed!  So after a quick brunch at Eastside Cafe, with the most amazing waffle ever, we got started.

Chapter One: The Stone Cutter
We followed the directions and went straight to 16th and Navasota. It was kind of creepy, with the cloudy skies and the abandoned look.  Not sure if the place is actually abandoned or not, but no one was there when we got there.  We read the signs then walked across the street to the cemetery.
Stone Cutter's Buidling
Stephanie at the Iron Gates

Chapter Two: The Past Guardian 
We drove over to the past guardian, got the information then attempted to follow the next part of the clue.  I say attempted, because Stephanie got a little stuck on Zilker.  She was pretty convinced for a few minutes that Zilker was the person we were looking for.  We parked by the map then walked back to Zilker and realized that he was in the wrong section from the person we were supposed to be looking for.  So we went back to the map and located the section and drove over there.

Chapter Three: The Past Guardian
As we drove over to the area, we noticed that there were other geocachers.  They pointed the way to the information we were looking for, then we chatted for a second.  They mentioned that the coordinates would bring you to Laguna Gloria.  They were gathered around Ima Hogg and we were a little confused as to why they were looking around there.  Infomation? Were we missing something?  Were they trying to send us away quickly so we could get lost and confused? No.  Not at all.  I was just being paranoid.  It was probably just my treasure hunting experiences from home that were making me competitive.  At home, the treasure hunt is a race with a prize money at the end.  This is not a race though, and they were genuinely nice people.  I was just being crazy as usual.  Side note:  I was somewhat informed of Ima Hogg due to this Vlogbrothers's video [click here to watch].  

Chapter Four: The Glorious Lagoon
This place is pretty amazing.  The scluptures, buildings, landscape, is all so beautiful.  I am so glad this was one of the stops we made.  We weren't exactly sure where to go, so we just walked around the whole area. We did go inside the building at Laguna Gloria and asked a lady about geocaching.  She said that she has been asked about the geocache twice a week for the past five years.  She was really nice about it though and told us that what we were looking for was on the right side of the building.  I wonder if she had ever been curious about the geocache and tried it herself.  We found what we were looking for, then headed on our way.  

Chapter Five: The High Ground
This is where we got stuck.  We weren't quite sure where to go.  We sat in the car for a long while and started googling.  Finally, we just decided to drive back to Laguna Gloria and saw a sign that said Covert Park!  That's the guy we found in Chapter Two!!  We knew where to go.  When we got there I saw all those steps and thought "Goodness.. I am going to die.."  As we got to step 60 and looked for the silver plate on the tree, we ran into the other geocachers.  They had gotten ahead of us during our confusion.  They pointed out the tree, then we kept going up.  I began to realize how out of shape I was when I got to the top.  But I'm glad I went.  The view was fantastic.  

Chapter Six: The Tuscan Eatery
Honestly, we just googled Tuscan restaurant or something to find this place.  Like I said, we don't have GPS.  We didn't even get out of our car for this one.  But I do want to go back and eat there.  It's probably nice.

Chapter Seven: The "Exotic" Benchmark
It was a bonus.. so we skipped this.  We were on a tight schedule and needed to get through to the end.

Chapter Eight: Britannia Manor III
We made it and it was so cool!!  It was a little cloudy out, but it would have been more fun later in the evening.  We took our time going up to the top and saw that the others had made it before us.  It was nice seeing them again and they took our picture for us!  I was going to climb to the top of the little tower, but there were tons of spiders on it.  Real ones, not fake ones.. Just a little too much for me.  Maybe I'll go back and be a bit braver.  

Overall I had such a great time and I wish I could just forget everything and do it all again.  I will probably force some of my friends to do this again with me.  I'll make them figure out all the clues though.  If they won't agree to do it, I'll just bring them to all the places the geocache brought me.  I learned so much about Austin that I never knew!  Granted, I don't live in Austin, but how many times do you stop and read plaques at parks that you go to all the time?  I never have before, but I might have to start now.  Thanks so much for one of the most adventurous Saturdays this year! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Geocache: Intersection

In my most recent attempt to lose weight and become more active, I decided that I would do some geocaching.  My aunt mentioned that there were walking trails around where we live and I thought to myself "Hillary, there might be geocaches on those trails that will get you out of the house and moving."  In order for exercise to really work for me, I need some sort of goal and a geocache seemed like the perfect thing to walk to.

This is my first geocache in a long time and I was really excited to find that there is an app for my phone that I can use to help me find them.  In the past, I used a GPS that I had borrowed from my physics teacher.  The app is pretty cute.  
I found the first screen extremely funny.  The other illustrations were amusing as well, but this was the best one.  As if I would walk off the edge of a cliff! Well.. I am accident prone, so maybe I should be taking this warning more seriously.

Clip of me starting out.  

Here is me walking towards the geocache.  I wasn't quite sure if I was allowed to be where I was.  It kind of looked like a back alley, not a street.  On the map it showed that I would turn down a street and walk towards the trail, but there was no street name that matched that on the map.  I took my chances and went down there anyway.  It wasn't creepy or anything.  And I wouldn't say "cute," probably more... non-urban.  Since I've moved to San Antonio I have really only been in city area, so this was a nice change of pace from what I normally see around town.  

I saw a total of fifteen people on my walk there and back, and every single person looked at my pencil.  Would I look less quizzical if I wore a fanny pack?  If you think about it though, a pencil wouldn't be a horrible weapon.  I could potentially stab an attacker.  Maybe that's why they thought I was carrying around a pencil, for protection.

Guys, I found it!!  It wasn't too hard to find.  I'm glad I chose this one as my first.  It was an easy one to just get started off with and get my feet wet.  And there was a Harry Potter reference!  That was exciting to see :)  Thank you Funkeymonkeys for a great first geocache!

11th Grade Geochache

          In my eleventh grade physics class we were given an extra credit assignment to find three geocaches and make a powerpoint presentation about it.  I teamed up with my friend Andrew and had so much fun on this project.  Recently I saw a youtube video from Bryarly Bishop [click here for video] and decided to pull up my old geocache project and take a look at it.  Laughter ensued.  I made a youtube video with the clips that we had filmed for our presentation [click for video] which you can watch, but I decided to make a blog showing and explaining all of the powerpoint slides to you.  Enjoy!!

This is the first slide of our presentation.  As you can see, that's me on the left and my friend Andrew on the right.  I guess we were really excited about geocaching.  That is the only explanation I have for our expressions. Although, I look more frightened than excited.  

 This is the usual definition slide.. But if you ever feel like geocaching yourself, you can go to to find geocaches near you.  They also have an app that you can get on your smart phone.  The intro app is free and gives you three geocaches to find.  After that you have to pay $9.99 for more, but you can just use the website for free.  It's just easier with a smartphone or gps system.

This was on Sara Jane road.  It was the first one we went to and it took us forever to find it.  We were thinking that it had been moved or washed away with a storm, but we just weren't looking hard enough.  I think the most difficult thing about geocaching is not knowing what the container looks like, but that also makes it fun.  As you can see, I found this first one!!

Here is just a collage of pictures we took while searching and after finding it.  I think Andrew got a little muddy and started freaking out thinking we were going to have to get dirty to find it.  We were a little disappointed to find that our friends (whom we were treating like competitors) had already found it earlier that day.    

This was my favorite to find.  It was off in a wooded area and I went in alone to find it.  I believe it was called Golf Cart because it was by a place that sold golf carts.  In the video we made the class made fun of Andrew for sending in a girl to find the geocache after he said he wouldn't go in because of "snakes and stickers."  Truthfully, I liked going and finding it for myself.  

This is just a picture of me holding the geocache.  I think Andrew took it as I was going back into the area to place it back where I found it.  As we were driving around, having fun, we saw the hummer limo and Andrew loved it so he took a picture of it and we put it into our presentation.  It's not relevant in any way, but that didn't matter to us.  

This last one, which should have been the easiest, was the most difficult.  I was more nervous looking for it because someone had put it on their fence and I didn't like looking around on private property in the middle of a neighborhood.  I felt like we were going to get into trouble or something.  We were so excited to see that our friends hadn't gotten to this one yet and we had beat them to it.  Come to find out, they never even bothered to look for this one, they went to another one on the opposite side of town.

Overall I had a great time!  It was tons of fun and I got extra credit for it.  This last slide has Andrew and my dad trying to figure out how to work the GPS in the morning before we headed off on our little adventure.  After looking over the video and powerpoint, I've decided that I will go geocaching on my own here in San Antonio.  I think it will be fun!  There is a trail about a half mile away from where I live and I assume that there will be lost of geocaches out there.  It will get me out of the house and exercising.  I'll blog about those adventures later!!