This saturday we held our annual night caching event. It’s the third year that we’ve held the gathering and the first year we centered it on Georgetown. The first two editions in 2006, 2007 were centered on Milton.
BFL Boot Camp is a twist on the traditional “pub style” event that takes place in southern Ontario. What usually happens at these events is people visit geocaches during the day and meet at a pub for dinner afterward, or the pub is the entire event (say, on a weeknight). These pub events will draw anywhere from 40-120 people, depending on the pub’s capacity. The Boot Camp starts at the pub and waits until it is good and dark outside – then we send people out to find the caches we’ve placed.
Georgetown is a fairly small community, and does not have many large pubs like the nearby major cities like Brampton or Mississauga. We asked Groundspeak and they graciously allowed us to have a little experiment this time around – rather than trying to find one massive pub (likely a good 30km away from the caches), we booked three pubs and filled them. Each pub was listed as a separate event on geocaching.com, and hosted by three different people.
I hosted the “Alpha” pub with my wife Kristen at our favourite local pub – the Shepherd’s Crook in downtown Georgetown. The pub features an Irish fare in a small (intimate) setting. Many of the attendees commented that they were happy to discover hard to find menu items like a Ploughman’s Lunch or Steak and Stout. As for me, I was happy once we found the Bailey’s and Coffee.
All three pubs handled the crowds admirably and the geocachers enjoyed the Santa Claus parade beforehand, even if it did make getting to the pubs a little difficult at times.
At 8:30 we handed out the “launch kits” to the attendees and 10 minutes later the pubs were completely empty, save for the organizers. Everyone was off to visit the 9 geocaches we placed for their entertainment tonight.
Another BFL Boot Camp tradition is the “command centre”. This is a central location that the event organizers go to after the pubs are completed. We put up a shelter and prepare some hot chocolate to share with everyone. We also use the location as a communication centre and provide assistance to cachers that may need some help to finish one of the caches. This can be a very welcome respite, as we had typical mid-November weather for the event, rain that turned to a snowstorm.
As for the caches, we had nine caches placed
- Team Goju’s – GC1BDT0: Creepshow, Episode 2
This cache is one I still have to visit. From what I’ve heard it’s great fun
- Crystal Dawn’s – GC1JOYD: By The Dawn’s Early Light
One of the simpler caches from the evening, and welcomed by the cachers that were visiting some of the more complex caches. This one is a straightforward follow the reflectors to the cache type of hunt
- Chris-Mouse’s – GC1HDKV: Binary Blackout
So far, this one is my favourite of the series. Kelly (Chris-Mouse) placed reflectors on trees but arranged them as a binary sequence. Very fun as a group activity – I went out to “beta test” this one with some of the BFL crew before the event day. We had people on either side of the trail calling out the numbers and I acted as a secretary recording them as I stood at the beginning.
- Res2100’s – GC16R3K: George Caceras
The photo attached to this post is from Ralph’s (Res2100’s) cache. This was a continuation of his “Pure Evil” cache and describes the story of a young OPP Officer that disappeared in, shall I say, “Unusual” circumstances. I wandered off from the BFL Command Centre for a little while to hunt this with Kristen and 15 other people. Good fun, spelunking in a snow storm at midnight!
- Avernar’s – GC1HF85: Sunglasses At Night
John used polarizing film/gel to a great effect on this cache, and it was clearly one of the more popular caches of the night. He used the polarizing film in a way that some things would ‘disappear’ when viewed using polarized sunglasses. People don’t normally take sunglasses on a night time hike which made this one most unusual indeed.
- Kitten on the Hunt’s – GC1HCFF: LOLCAT
Great fun on this one. Kristen pulled out all the creativity she had and “littered” the woods with cats and fish. The listing was written up in LOLSpeak, an homage to the icanhazcheesburger site. People found it fun, and people found it frustrating. What can I say? This was a cache that gave me the opportunity to explain to Halton Regional Police just what we were doing in the woods, at midnight, with an 8 foot step ladder. Good fun, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of our local officers running around with a GPS next weekend.
- HikerT’s – GC18XHJ: Deja Vu
Tanya placed a count the reflectors type night cache. Lots of people hit this one and from what I hear, it is another one that was great fun as a group. I still need to visit this one.
- Mine – BFLiGo (Episode 1)
This one is an interactive cartridge that can be played on the devices that support it (Garmin Colorado/Oregon, PocketPC). I spent a good 20 hours programming this one, and while it can be frustrating it is also very rewarding. It’s the first night cache themed Wherigo that I’m aware of. It’s also a bit longish so it hasn’t had the visits the other caches of the night had.
- The Series Final – The Tree (Of Light)
This cache is a follow the reflectors cache – with a twist. You need to get the co-ordinates written on each reflector to find the final.
We wrapped up at the command centre at 4:00 AM and went home a little colder, and a little wetter than we started. Everyone was smiling at the end of the night (morning?) and we’re already planning BFL Boot Camp 4 for sometime in October next year. With 25 active night caches in the area, I’m quite sure North Halton is now the night caching capitol of Canada.