THE SEARCH Volume 1 Issue 7 December 2011

Team Kempker's picture
Published in

Oct. - Nov.  2011   Vol 1, Issue 7
 Official Newsletter of the IGO


From The President's Desk

Hello, IGO!  Hope your fall has been filled with great geocaching!

At our last meeting, the Board of Directors voted to establish an annual awards program.  The plan is to have an event in January or February in the central part of the state each year.  This will be a sit-down awards banquet where we’ll recognize geocachers who have done extraordinary things in various categories in the previous calendar year.  Think of it as the Oscars of IGO – the Bucky Awards!  The NVG and RedheadBassett will chair the inaugural event.  Stay tuned to the IGO site, forums, Facebook, and Twitter pages for details (the next newsletter will be too late).  The event promises to be a great time, and will highlight some of the best geocaching goodness Iowa has to offer – and your participation will make it even better!

I know it’s overdue, but please stop by the IGO homepage and cast your vote in the Best Logs contest.  The BOD has narrowed the field, and now it’s up to you to choose the ultimate winner.  Voting will run through the end of December.  While you’re there, be sure to take part in the Cache of the Month process.  Depending on when you visit, you can either nominate a great cache or cast your vote for your favorite among the month’s current nominees.  The COTM happens every month, and you need not have visited a cache to vote – the cache page itself can be enough to garner a victory!  More votes make for a better program.
While we’re on the subject of contests, the WAY overdue awarding of prizes for the 2010-2011 Travelbug race has been completed.  The 2011-2012 race got its start this fall, and will conclude at Hike-N-Seek 2012.  See if you can help one of the bugs!  Check out the forums for the details and to see who’s in it to win it.
Several have asked about next year’s Hike-n-Seek location.  While we can’t reveal it yet, we can tell you that we are indeed getting closer to an announcement.  We’re shooting for a more centralized location this year, as the last three have been to the extreme corners of the state.  Again, pay attention to the site, and our social networking feeds. 

Don’t forget you can still have a great time geocaching in the winter months – and maintain your caches so people can find them.  Setting the “Available in Winter” attribute (or “Not Available in Winter if appropriate) is a great way to help your fellow cachers out.  Stay safe!

Have a very Merry Christmas, and here’s to a 2012 full of incredible Iowa Geocaching (including a MEGA!).

 Richard Buman

Written by: bumanfam / BOD President



Letter From Your Editor

 This is another great issue full of fun things that are going on in IGO and Iowa Geocaching in general.  Make sure you check out the Little Normandy article by Brian Birgen from birgenfamily.  It's a really great article about a fun cache where his strength was put to the test!  Thanks for the well written and photographed article Brian!  I love adding these articles to the issues.  I also want to make sure and send a Congratulations out there to Welch and CCWashburn on there October wedding.  We all hope you two have a wonderful, geo-happy life together!  Congratulations!

December is upon us and it is now time to start thinking about Christmas gifts for our loved ones.  Don't forget to check out IGO's merchandise for that Iowa geocacher on your list!  It is also a great time to get out to your hidden caches and show them a little love as well.  It is a great time of year to get out there and make sure all is well with all of your caches, that they are hidden where they are suppose to be, a fresh log is in place, the container used still blends well in the fall - winter environment and is still intact.  You might even want to replenish your swag or swap it out for holiday swag.

You will want to make sure you scroll down and take a look at who is in the spotlight with their Cacher Profile this issue.  You can also have your Cacher Profile in the upcoming issues if you fill out a form here.  Keep those Profiles and IGO Articles coming in.  Iowa Geocachers are what make this newsletter fun!  Share with all of your IGO family what you love about geocaching and who you do it with!

You really will enjoy the Geo-Videos in this issue!  Scroll down and see if you can find them.  We have quite a few talented geocachers here in Iowa!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and gets to make some wonderful memories with the people that matter the most to you.  I hope you enjoy the issue as much as I enjoy putting it together.  Happy Caching!

Dori Kempker (Team Kempker)





In This Issue:


  • From The President's Desk
  • Letter From Your Editor
  • MOGA
  • Little Normandy by: Brian Birgen
  • Welch & CC Washburn Wedding
  • 2011 Trackables Race
  • Iowa Geo-Video by: JeePSer
  • COTM
  • Cacher Profile
  • In The Know....
  • IGO's Supporting Membership Winner
  • Recent Milestones
  • Upcoming Events


 Ways To Participate in IGO:




Registration is now open for MOGA!!! 

Check out the MOGA website regularly for up-to-date information.  While you're there, login and check out MOGA's forum and introduce yourself to everyone attending.  I'll bet you have something in common!

LOVE MOGA?  Would you like to help with MOGA?  MOGA is looking for volunteers who would like to help hide caches.  Check out this Forum post for all of the details.




Little Normandy

By: Brian Birgen (BirgenFamily)

“You might as well plan on making a return trip right now” reads the description for Little Normandy (GC1HE9M) in Waterloo. This 1.5/5 is easy to find, so I don’t think I am giving anything away when I mention that the cache is about 15 to 20 feet in the air suspended from a tree. Signing the log is another question. I first visited this cache last November, when I wanted to see if it really needed specialized equipment as advertised. I

enjoy a good tree climb and can easily handle some high terrain caches if a tree climb is as bad as it gets. However this tree has no branches to provide foot or hand holds. You could try to climb the tree just by grabbing hold and climbing it like a rope, but when you get to the cache, there isn’t any place to rest. Additionally the cache is permanently attached in place; it’s not just hooked on, it is bolted in place. Previously I had tried climbed some logs propped up against the tree, but couldn’t get closer than two feet.

We had a nice sunny day predicted for November and I was getting tired of seeing this cache on my DNF list, so I decided to give it another go. Many people use a ladder as their tool of choice in retrieving this cache, but my little Toyota Echo isn’t good at transporting ladders, so I just settled on 50 feet of rope. My 9 year old son was cajoled into coming along as my assistant, mostly to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. 

We got to the geozone and saw the cache exactly as I remembered it, although possibly a little bit higher. The rope had potential, but it’s hard to climb a rope that is lying on the ground. The first task was finding a way to get the rope up somewhere that I could climb it. The tree formed a nice Y just above the cache; that was where the cache was tied on. I just needed to get the rope up and over that branch and then I could climb up the rope to the cache.
The first attempt was just by throwing the rope, but I’m no Aaron Rodgers and I couldn’t get the rope up, let alone over. I had tied a stick to the end of the rope to give it appropriate weight and to help it catch, but that wasn’t good enough. The second try involved finding a large branch that I could lift the stick attached to the rope up and through that branch in the tree. Unfortunately the branch I found was a few feet short (a recurring theme). I tried standing on some other logs and even throwing the large branch to try to get those few extra feet, but no dice.
Then my son and I started scouring the nearby woods for a slightly longer branch. My son found a winner that was not only a few feet longer, but also had some branches at the end, perfect for holding the stick on the rope. This larger branch was able to get the end of the rope through the Y in the tree (on the second try) without coming back down. Of course, the little stick on the rope couldn’t support my weight, so I needed to shake the rope loose, so it would slide down low enough that I could hold both ends of the rope as I climbed. I am pleased that I was able to shake the rope enough so that it slid down, but not so much that it came back the wrong way out of the tree.With the rope finally looped up and over that branch way up there I was ready to scale the tree. I knotted the bottom of the rope, so it wouldn’t accidentally come loose and cause me to start over. I started up the tree with my son holding my cell phone with instructions to dial 9-1-1 if I came back down the tree too rapidly. With my arms pulling on the rope and my legs wrapped around the trunk for stability I was able to get up the tree. When I got up to the cache, I realized that there was little I could do so high up in the air, so I fished the plastic bag containing the log book out, tossed it down to my son and descended the rope. Back down on the ground I signed the log book, grabbed the geocoin and got ready for a second climb. I gave my son the camera with instructions to document the process. This time was easier since, I knew what I was in for. The log was returned and the cache was resealed for the next person. Once down on the ground I retrieved my rope. I guess the next cachers will just have to bring their own specialized equipment. 

My son and I really enjoyed having to do a little problem solving on site to get this one working. While a ladder would have been easier, it was fun for us to jury-rig our own solution. There are so few opportunities for me to use these kind of “practical” problem solving techniques, so this adventure was fun and exciting. I suppose rope climbing also qualifies as a bit of a workout, so the exercise is welcome to someone who works in an office. It was a great chance to impress my son with my engineering skills and physical prowess, while he is still young enough to be impressed. Thanks for another geocaching adventure!

Submitted by: Brian Birgen (BirgenFamily)



Welch & CC Washburn Wedding


CCWashburn and welch (Corely and Nathan) were joined in Holy Matrimony on October 15, 2011 in a small ceremony of close friends and family. The ceremony was held at 11:00am at Fontana Park near Hazelton, Iowa.  The bride was attended by Mrs. Hill Folk (Twila) and the groom was attended by his brother (John). The wedding was followed by a small reception.
The couple took a westward geocaching road trip honeymoon finding caches like Mingo and Arikaree.
A larger geocaching Reception Event (GC329Y0) was held on November 5th where cachers in attendance received a commemorative trackable geocoin that was designed by the bride and groom.








Submitted by: CC Washburn





2011-2012 IGO Trackables Race

 The 2011-2012 trackables race is underway.  All of the participants got a jump start in miles, going from the IGO Hike n Seek (GC2R6J3) to Arikaree (GC31) in Kansas State.  They were all dipped in Mingo (GC30), the oldest unarchived cache in the United States, which at the time, was a bison tube because the original container had been muggled.

They are now racing each other and most have already moved out of Arikaree (GC31) and into other caches in Colorado and Nebraska.

You may follow the progress of the race on the main page of listed under online events.

Submitted by: CC Washburn



Iowa Geo-Videos

A couple of month's back I received an article written by JeePSer about some really amazing videos.  I thought that I would wait to share these during the winter months. These two really well done videos, shot and arranged by Team Gamsci and JeePSer, are on WWFM VIII, taken June 4 in downtown Des Moines.  They really represent another aspect to Geocaching.  There are so many ways to enjoy this activity and really tailor it to suit your interests.  Check out what JeePSer has to say about the day and how they and Team Gamsci captured the fun on video! 


WWFM VIII in downtown Des Moines was held at the Pappajohn sculpture park. It was a busy weekend for the city as the Dam to Dam race had been run that same morning so there were plenty of muggles out and about. The weather cooperated, it was an overcast 80 degree day. At noon the blue bucket came out and 78 people and one dog congregated at ground zero. Goody bags were handed out that included markers to sign the WWFM VIII display board and noise makers just in case the crowd wasn't enough to draw attention. This park was a wonderful location for the event. There is ample parking on the streets and on weekend the meters are free. The sculpture park gave people places to sit away from ground zero or sculptures to look at if they wanted to wander around. The one piece of art in the park that you are allowed to touch and in fact sit on is called "cafe table I & chairs" and this was ground zero. There is a hill to the South of here that was perfect for the group photo.
Total number in attendance: 78 people, 1 dog
Youngest attendee: 4 months
Two You Tube videos:
Submitted by: JeePSer




Cache Of The Month (COTM)

Congratulations to Hill Folk for their October COTM win for GCQJ85 - The Bug Barn and to medoug for his November COTM win for GC32VZA - 1960s Era Bomb Shelter.  Two great caches! 

We have all been to some really great caches out there in our state and here is your chance to share that great cache with others.  Every month you can nominate a cache that you think should be the Cache Of The Month. Here is how you can do that.  Don't be afraid to jump right in and start nominating and voting!

Right now voting for the December COTM is now open.  Every month from the 1st - 15th voting is held and the 16th - the end of the month is the nominations of a cache.   Click VOTE to pick your favorite cache.  You can also vote from your home page on the IGO website.  Log-in to IGO and scroll down to find the COTM information.  Click on the title of the article to see the complete list of rules.

So remember to not only vote for your favorite COTM at the beginning of the month but to nominate your favorite cache at the end of the month as well.  Be sure to leave a comment on the COTM page telling everyone why you nominated that cache.

This month's nominees are:

GC2KT87  H.A.C. -Eagle Scout Challenge Cache by Tape worm, Unknown Cache (4/4.5)
GC2KP38  Hunting bin Laden by moletrap & the tooth fairy, Multi-cache (3.5/3)
 GC37DXM  This Cache Goes To 11! by tsigom, Traditional Cache (4/1.5)
GC35XFN  Dang Nabit by BIGBROTHERBEAR, Traditional Cache (5/3)







It is just as much fun voting as it is nominating so make sure you get your vote in.  You do not have to have been to the cache to vote for the cache.




Cacher Profile....


Big Brother Bear



What is your first name and last name initial?: James F. What is your Geocaching name?: Big Brother Bear
How did you come up with your Geocaching name?: My sons nickname is Brother Bear from the movie.
When did you start Geocaching?: July
How did you learn about Geocaching and what kept you going?: Brother-in-law Aceey.
What was your first GPSr and what do you have now? What's the GPSr you would like to have?: Gramin Oregon 400t I really like this one. 
Do you cache with other cachers, family or on your own?: On my own mostly, no one to really go with.
What is (are) your favorite geocache(s)?: Allie's Valley (GC1AYN2)  This one is hard but not too hard.  If you fell, you would just get wet.

What are your favorite types of geocaches?: Traditional (decon)
What is your least favorite type of geocache?: Multi
Do you have a favorite area to cache? Why is this your favorite area?: State Preserves and Parks.  I really like being in the woods.
What do you keep in your geocaching bag?: I'm kind of new and it is ever expanding as I learn what tools I need.
What is the coolest/wierdest thing that you have found in a cache? What do you enjoy finding in caches?: I really don't look much at the swag but I did see a mag light / chattering teeth.
Do you have a collection and what do you collect and why?: I collect old movies.  That's when actors really had to act.
Why do you like or dislike geocoins/pathtags and how many do you have in your personal collection?: I like Geo-Coins, but it's sad that most of them are stolen.
Which do you prefer more: finding geocaches or hiding geocaches? Why?: Finding, having not put any out yet.  Have stuff on order to.
If money and time were no object, what & where are the cache(s) you would love to find? Why?: Montana, Glacier National Park
How do you prepare for a full day of geocaching?: Research. Read all the logs and view any pictures.
Do you have a favorite event you like to attend or have attended?: I would like to someday.
What is the furthest distance you've traveled for a specific single geocache?: 80 miles or so.

Where & how far away is the farthest geocache you've ever found from your home coordinates?:  Big Bear GCGMT3 255 miles from home.
What was your hardest cache to find and/or container? (Without being too much of a spoiler!): The 1091-2 GC21FHB nano in the woods is just plain evil.
Do you have a funny story about a muggle or running into a muggle?: I have not really ran into any yet.
Anything else that you would like to share with us?: I would like to thank those who gave me advice and extended their hand in friendship.


Submitted by: Big Brother Bear



In The Know...

Did you know....

  • You can VOTE on IGO's Awesome Logs Contest! Voting ends December 31st.
  • All through-out the articles in the newsletter, there are highlighted links to more information.
  • You can post a comment on the IGO History page with any additions you would like to see added.
  • The Design The IGO 2012 Pathtag Contest is still going on.  Click here for all the rules.
  • The IGO Forums is a great place to learn more about Iowa Geocaching and to get to know all of your fellow IGO Members.
  • You can be featured in the Cacher Profile too!  Just fill out the form here.
  • You can track the 2011 IGO Trackables Race on the IGO Website.  Click here to see the participants and their stats.
  • All of the pictures that are used in THE SEARCH can also be viewed in IGO's Photo section located on the bottom of the list of links on the left side.  Click here to go directly to the Newsletter's Photos.
  • You can listen to the Board Of Director's Meetings on TalkShoe.  All of the past meetings are available to the public.  You can also attend a live meeting thru TalkShoe on every third Thursday of the month.



IGO's Supporting Membership Winner!

Congratulations to CacheHound who won November's pick and to muskiefan who was October's winner from the IGO Prize Vault!  Thanks for being an IGO Supporting Member!

Each month IGO draws one winner from among those who have opted to become Supporting Members of the organization.  You can find out more about becoming a SM at the IGO Store.  Another way to participate is to donate a prize to the IGO Prize Vault.  Check out the IGO Prize Vault page to learn how you can help support IGO in this way too.








CQ Products is happy to be one of the few remaining book publishers that print and assemble their books in America. Get your copy today! Order at 1-866-804-9892 or visit our retail website at
 - Editor's Note: Dwarf was kind enough to donate two books to IGO.  One was given as a prize at Hike n' Seek and one is in the IGO Prize Vault.  Make sure you get in on the contests to be able to win your copy of "It's A Treasure Hunt!"
Submitted by: Dwarf / Beth S.






 Recent Milestones

Congratulations to the following IGO members for reaching a milestone find in the last 30 days.  To update your own statistics be sure to visit "My Account", click on "Edit" then "Profile" and scroll down.  If you would like to check out these milestones through-out the month, visit



Name GC Milestone Date Recorded
FishwomanIA 100th 2011-11-26
RonTon 4000th 2011-11-25
birgenfamily 1700th 2011-11-25
campingfarmer 4600th 2011-11-22
c_dog 8100th 2011-11-21
Coupleofbucks 500th 2011-11-20
cosmic cachers 1200th 2011-11-19
iowaPete 800th 2011-11-17
GeoMeeple 300th 2011-11-14
The Northwood Goonies 700th 2011-11-13
keekle 3000th 2011-11-12
a2n 300th 2011-11-11
Team Zinger 3600th 2011-11-10
Kirk F 1200th 2011-11-09
biscuitt bunch 4700th 2011-11-09
Big Brother Bear 600th 2011-11-04
Lego Crew 5000th 2011-11-03
Hill Folk 3000th 2011-11-02
J.S.K. 3800th 2011-11-01
Kalendrag 2100th 2011-11-01



Upcoming Iowa Events


 GC33RX0  Christmas Time in the 515 by bucknuts, Event Cache (1/1)  2011-12-10
 GC343E3  December Birthday and Holiday Bash by CCWashburn, Event Cache (1.5/1.5)  2011-12-10
 GC37J3R  Tri-State Area Meet, Greet and Eat 5 by Kirk F., Shdw_Wolf & IowaPete, Event Cache   (1/1)  2011-12-18
 GC372KG  Hatfield-McCoy Fued by bucknuts, Event Cache   (1/1)  2012-01-04
 GC388YG  ShoqAGA Breakfast And Hugs! by ShoqAGA and Sunrise5, Event Cache   (1/1)  2012-01-21
 GC37Z27  The 366th day by JeePSer, Event Cache  (1/1)  2012-02-29
 GC383WJ  Leap Day Tradition by bucknuts, Event Cache   (1/1)  2012-02-29
 GC383QY  Get your Calender Well by bucknuts, Event Cache   (1/1)  2012-02-29
 GC2QM9C  MOGA 2012 by MOGA, Event Cache  (1/1)  2012-04-12