National Tree Day
Have you ever wondered what geocaching would be like without trees? Better GPS reception perhaps. No more pulling yourself up a tree trying not to think about how you are going to get back down. No more reaching into dark holes hoping nothing moves. No more digging around in leaf litter trying to find that rusty tin! … But seriously, close your eyes, and try to imagine … What we imagine is dirty air, lifeless soil, chronic drought, no tree-based products (no log books!).
We have two options: Find another inhabitable planet and move; or do our bit to help. This is where National Tree Day comes in. National Tree Day began in 1996 and it has since been celebrated annually on the last Sunday of July. Even with current restrictions in place you can still help by planting a tree. Gather with your friends or family and select a piece of property on which you can plant a new tree. Planting them closer to buildings can drastically reduce air conditioning costs. Another way to help is to pick up a recycling box and clean up while you are walking to that next cache.
So whether you are tree fishing, searching for a micro in bark, or just hanging on for dear life clinging to a matchstick size branch, next time you are caching remember these amazing facts, and when you are safely back on solid ground, plant a tree!
• A mature tree removes almost 70 times more pollution than a newly planted tree.
• One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 40,000km.
• Trees are the longest living organisms on the planet and one of the earth’s greatest natural resources.
With National Tree Day coming up, Kieran from Orange Crew shared some of his experiences with geocaching in trees:
Big beautiful trees have become a more common hiding spot for geocaches in the past few years, for a few good reasons. From a CO perspective, they’re generally a great place to get a geocache up off the ground and away from things that cause maintenance issues like muggles, floods, fires, and animal interference. Tree caches are also a fun way to get kids involved, are more challenging than simple park and grabs, and generally have higher difficulty and terrain ratings.
We started free climbing a few trees for fun and then placed a few tree climbs for others to find. Soon after there were several technical tree climbs appearing around Brisbane and a local cacher invited me along to come have a go at climbing up to find theirs. While I don’t have a fear of heights, there was some initial fear of the unknown, but that soon melted away when the CO gave me the confidence that the process of technical tree climbing was achievable even by a novice with just some brief training and practice. Once off the ground, it was just a matter of putting the effort in and up I went. Before long I was bugging anyone, who had gear and experience, to let me come along for a tree climb. There have been many cachers who have been very generous with their time and equipment, and in my experience have endless patience and a vast understanding of all the safety mechanisms that prevent a novice from getting into trouble. For that I am truly thankful.
There are many other tree climbs that can be done without technical equipment if you feel confident. Each species and individual tree has its own challenges to conquer, and not all are created equal. Some are challenging to get just a few metres off the ground without knees trembling, while others are located 20m up in a swaying Norfolk pine with big, sturdy, evenly spaced horizontal branches that feels almost as easy to climb as a ladder. Tree climbing is exhilarating, and at the time that you’re perched high above the ground, your senses are heightened. In the end though, the ability to climb trees comes back to confidence. While it’s a great sense of achievement to push past your boundaries, it’s up to the individual to judge their abilities and the risk to make a good judgement call on whether it’s safe for them to attempt a tree climb.
A novel way of placing caches in trees that involves much less risk has taken off, known as tree fishing. Rather than the cacher climbing up to the cache, you instead use a long pole to hook the cache and retrieve it back to ground level for signing. There are also challenges for those who love tree climbing with or without ropes, such as the Tall Timber Challenge (GC7H6GE) and the Roped Into It Challenge (GC7H9A7).
So, what are you waiting for? Go climb a tree! Oh, and give it a good hug while you’re there.
You’ve heard of fishing, but have you heard of ‘tree fishing’? A new idea made its way to Brisbane halfway through 2019 following a trip to Germany by GeoRode and the idea has grown to include a number of tree fishing hides from different CO’s between Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast. I hear the idea is gaining attention nationally and there are now hides like these in NSW and the ACT.
The idea is a cache is hidden high in a tree, ideally a tall skinny one not designed for climbing. The challenge – stretch out your ‘reaching device’ or fishing pole as we call them and hook your container. Expect to look 8-9 metres off the ground. Gently lower it down and sign the log. Often lifting these tricky little hides back onto their perch is more of a battle than finding or signing them! Be prepared to crane your neck and wobble your arms.
To reward your efforts, these hides are often classed a D4 to D5 on the basis a ‘fishing pole’ TOTT is required and the terrain should be rated much lower based on your feet remaining firmly on the ground.
The TOTT commonly used is a simple extendable fishing rod which you can buy online or you can craft your own extendable pole using nothing but garden stakes and duct tape! Be sure to keep an ear out during the event as there are a number of Brisbane locals who have the necessary equipment and are quite happy to take you with them.
Based on some of the logs coming out of these hides, a fun day is sure to be had, so why not check out this Booklist of Tree Fishing caches.
“ …You wouldn’t believe how much fun 4 pensioners can have in the middle of the bush!! As said on previous logs – the hardest part is returning the cache to its home. Another favourite point for all the fun on our adventure. TFTC Simber15”
“I was looking forward to my evening with Anne (the cache). I got there and my pole was up in seconds, but there was an incident right as it reached its target and it rapidly deflated. That’s OK, I hear that can happen on the first time something like this is attempted. I used my hands to get my pole nice and extended again and was ready for round two. A lot of poking about with my pole in the vicinity of the ring, but I struggled to get the end in there. Took one hand to support and another to guide it in, and then a bunch of wiggling to get it off. Once that was done and the log signed, I struggled to get it back up again. But eventually I was done and in need of a break. TFTC!”
“That was epic! A good 30 mins spent on this one. First challenge was an appropriate tool. Quick trip to Bunnings first and bought some supplies. Feeling confident in my idea I headed down for a crack. After realising I wasn’t looking up the right tree initially the container was soon spotted. Started to assemble my contraption and took a few attempts to get it down. As expected, it hit me on the head on the way down. Took a seat and signed the blank log. Then the realisation struck I had to return it to the same spot! I gave it a shot and it fell off my hook down the slope! Doh! Retracted my reaching sticks and dragged it back up the hill to where I was standing. Re-hooked it and slowly started to elevate the poles again. After a few swings trying to get it back onto its designated perch I settled on one close enough for the CO to agree with my replacement. All done! Felt like a warrior – Looked like I’d just run a marathon! Will give this one a favourite for the empowering experience!”
Welcome to Charli, the Cha of ChaMad, to Kids Caching Corner this month.
What do you like about geocaching?
It takes me to different places and sometimes long drives that I wouldn’t get to go on normally. It keeps my dad happy and I get to see some really cool cache designs with some cool stuff inside.
What do you dislike about geocaching?
My dad telling me “just one more” or” it’s just around the corner” when it’s really not, or when I’ve had enough for the day and we keep going. Sometimes I don’t want to go and I’m made to go…. but then I end up enjoying the day and seeing the fun things my dad has set up for me.
When did you start caching?
We went on a bike ride around Northey St. bike trails with friends; they stopped to look for something just off the path. It was explained to us “it is geocaching” and this was our first cache, I was 6 then. We then started to cache on our own from there and have found some really cool caches like the fairy gardens at Bunya Park.
What sorts of caches do you like doing and what is your favourite?
I like doing tree climbs, bike rides, short trail walks and just recently dad took me out kayaking. I’m not really into the big bush bashing caches or where there is lots of mozzies and am not a fan of cemeteries. My favourite caches are the tree climbs.
Do any caches stand out as great and which ones?
Yes, the tree climbs lol. There have been a few good ones, traditional’s in Ashgrove, letterboxes in Bunya but the most memorable at the moment would be Can O’ Pea (GC55AZ1) down the coast way, that was a huge tree and one I enjoyed climbing all over.
How long ago did you do that?
That was about 2 months ago and I went with a group with other cachers and kids as well so it was a great day out.
Have you done anything special that is geocaching related?
I did a surprise multi cache in our back yard for my dad’s birthday in April. With the help of my mum I set 6 caches around the yard with clues to the next WP and to the final. The final was inside his birthday cake; a small container with a trackable inside was placed and hidden in the center of the cake. It was fun to see him try and cut the cake.
Do you have your own caches?
Yes we have our own adventure lab series (Bunya Nuts) which highlights areas around Bunya and a bonus cache (GC8RP25) at the end.
So I’m guessing your bonus cache for your adventure lab is a tree climb.
Yes that’s pretty obvious, but it is a very easy climb and should be easy for everyone, I didn’t make it too hard. Yes, I placed it and set it up while my dad watched.
Thanks Charli for sharing your love of tree caches with us!
This month we have a Tree Anagram puzzle from the National Tree Day website. For the code word, simply put all the first letters of the unscrambled trees into a string of letters. Remember to keep hold of this code until the Big Event.
Check back in on July 15th to discover how the committee is progressing with organising this big event. With the recent increase in gathering numbers and the borders opening to most of the country in the next few weeks, hopefully we can start to have some events.