Sunday, April 24, 2011

How To Make Your Own Low-Cost Geocoins - Part 2 [Shrinky Dinks]

Last month I shared on How To Make Your Own Low-Cost Geocoins [wooden nickels] out of wooden nickels and a custom stamp.

This time we're making geocoins with Shrinky Dinks! You might remember creating things with Shrinky Dink plastic as a kid and watching them in the oven/toaster oven as they get smaller and smaller. I believe I got this idea from a geocoin forum somewhere. The good thing with this method is that you have a wider range of options to be creative in creating your geocoins, such as shape, colors, size, etc. There are so many possibilities.

So lets get to it. I found several types of Shrinky Dinks sheets sold at local craft stores like Michael's and Jo-Ann's. At first I wasn't sure which type I should use so I opted for the Frosted Ruff N' Ready (Item D100-10A) because this plastic has been roughened to accept any colored pencil, and the Bright White for Ink Jet Printers (Item D600-6A). Frosted Ruff N' Ready runs about $5.99 for 10-8"x10" sheets, and the kind for Ink Jet Printers is about $13 for 6-8"x10" sheets. You may also need to experiment to get to the final result you want for your geocoins.
Watch out for sales at theses craft stores. They also offer discounts on their websites, weekly ads, etc. At Michael's I got a coupon at checkout for a 40% Off Any One Reg Price Item on my next purchase. On Jo-Ann's website you can get mobile phone apps to get coupons and other info sent directly to your phone.

1. Before you begin you need to think about your design and what size you want your end product to look like. Shrinky Dinks plastic shrinks down to 1/3 of it's original size after baking. So if I want my geocoin to be close to the standard geocoin size, which is 1.5" wide in diameter, then my design on the Shrinky Dinks sheet before baking needs to be about 4.5" diameter (1.5" x 3 = 4.5"). I tried creating a basic design that would print out to the 4.5" wide diameter onto the Shrinky Dinks plastic to cut down on time. After this initial trial run I will probably come up with a design to streamline the process even more, so I won't have to do anything after printing/cutting except maybe adding a little more color or detail if the printer doesn't get it all. See example below:
After much frustration with our Epson printer refusing to accept the Shrinky Dinks sheets, we fished out our old HP printer from the garage and got it printing onto the sheets. Yeah!!

2. In this case I did add some color and detail with stamps after printing my basic design onto the Shrinky Dinks sheet. With the Bright White for Ink Jet sheets you can't use pencils, but stamping worked out pretty good for me and you can also use permanent ink pens. I was also able to use the printer on the Frosted Ruff N' Ready which allows light to pass through and the printed areas show up more faded then the bright white sheets. Here's an example on how the two types look side-by-side so you can see the difference:
[left Frosted Ruff N' Ready, right Bright White for Ink Jet Printers] sorry photo quality is so crappy =)

3. Read and follow Shrinky Dinks instructions, tips and info from the package and/or on their web site. Remember, instructions vary for the different types of Shrinky Dink plastic sheets.

4. After it's all done baking and cooled, your geocoin is basically ready for it's geocaching adventure to begin! It will be about 1/16" thick, hard plastic, and the colors get more vivid after baking. If you're using the Bright White for Ink Jet Printers, the instructions say to spray with sealer. If you're making your geocoins into the typical circle shape, keep in mind they will come out of the oven slightly different every time. You will probably notice the perfect circle you originally cut out before baking became slightly distorted in the shrinking process. But that's okay right? It just means every coin you make will be special and unique just like you!

Have fun creating your custom Shrinky Dink geocoins and more!! We'd love to hear about your homemade geocoin and swag ideas for geocaching.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Geocaching etc. | Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Geocaching | Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
Explore the scenic trails on the grounds at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge on an exciting geocaching adventure that the whole family is sure to enjoy.

We've placed a number of hidden caches throughout the trails for geocachers to discover. Find trinkets from other travelers who have stayed with us. Make your own personal addition to a cache!

•GPS devices available for rent, or you may bring your own
•Caches hidden on 640 acres
•Coordinates available at the tour desk

Find out more about geocaching in Talkeetna,
call us at (907) 733-9516

Hike Alaska's pristine wilderness
Photo courtesy Talkeetna Nature Guides

Hiking & Walking Tours | Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge

Explore Talkeetna's beautiful wilderness with an experienced naturalist guide. A new scene of beauty unfolds around every turn.

Look for loons and kingfishers on the lakes, moose and bears in the woods, and Mt. McKinley on the horizon. This lush, oldgrowth forest is alive with songbirds, wildflowers, berries and mushrooms. You'll enjoy a trip like this in any sort of weather!

•Departure Time: 6:00 pm
•Distance: 3 miles
•Elevation Gain: 200 feet

For more information or to reserve your naturalist-lead tour, call us at

Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge
CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation
------------------------------------------------------------,ak,us :

Trapper Creek/Talkeetna Points of Interest

• Talkeetna Airport (TKA)
8.3 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
• Skwentna Airport (SKW)
36.0 miles SW of Trapper Creek city center.

Geocaches in the Area

The Bunny Cache (GC2QA1X) - Trapper Creek
4.4 miles NE of Trapper Creek city center.
snowmachine fun (GC2BKAZ)
5.1 miles SE of Trapper Creek city center.
Big Su Sunset (GC29VWE) - Talkeetna
7.3 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
yagotaluvthissport (GC2EK97) - Talkeetna
7.5 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Roadhouse Stop #01 - Talkeetna (GC1JCH1) - Talkeetna
7.6 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Kiss a Moose (GC1DXVK) - Talkeetna
7.7 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
WildWoods Treasure Chest (GC2F8V7) - Talkeetna
7.9 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Talkeetna View (GC12YHH) - Talkeetna
8.0 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Talkeetna Treasure (GC63EC) - Talkeetna
8.1 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
X, Y, and Z (GC223Z5) - Talkeetna Lakes
8.9 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
X Lake (GC1WQKY) - Talkeetna Lakes
9.1 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Tigger Lake (GC1327X)
9.3 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
Talkeetna Lakes (GC2B8HM) - Talkeetna Lakes
9.5 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.

Waymarks in the Area

• McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge - Talkeetna, AK
17.7 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Talkeetna Moose Kissing Photo Op
7.7 miles E of Trapper Creek city center.
• Mountain Identifier Orientation Table, Denali, Alaska
20.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Denali Viewpoint Compass Rose, Alaska
20.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Denali Viewpoint Binoculars, Alaska
20.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Memorial to Plane Crash, Denali State Park, AK
31.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Army Sgt Bondsteel, Denali State Park, AK
31.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Denali State Park Milepost 147, Alaska
31.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.
• Bear Resemblance, Denali Park, AK
31.0 miles N of Trapper Creek city center.

Ranger Rick’s Geocaching Tips

Go to the National Wildlife Federation's - Ranger Rick's Geocache Trails program for more fun geocaching information for kids, "hosts", and families.
Pack for a hike. It’s a good idea to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, and clothing to suit the weather. You may want to bring along a notebook, pen or pencil, crayons (for rubbings), and a camera. Most geocaches contain a pen or pencil for signing the log book, but occasionally you will need to have something of your own to write with.
Use your eyes. Follow the GPS coordinates until you are within about 25 ft. of the geocache, then start to use your eyes. Look for signs of something out of place, such as stacked tree limbs, bark, or other materials. A geocache may be hiding there. Use the hints and recent log posts on the geocache’s online listing to help you. The names of geocaches are often clues as well.
Look out for Bugs. Trackables, often referred to as travel bugs or geocoins, are specially tagged items that are being moved from cache to cache, around the world. Keep an eye out for coded tags or coins. If you find one, take it home and enter it’s number on Many travel bugs have a specific goal. Help it move by placing it in a new cache next time you geocache! Read more on trackables at
Take something, leave something. Trading in geocaching is encouraged. The rule is: only take something out of the geocache if you have something of your own to put back in.
Hide it well. Be sure to replace the geocache exactly as you found it. If the geocache was exposed, help the owner by hiding it better. Please don’t bury it.
Stay on the trail! Because GPS displays do not account for roads and paths, the GPS will often point you away from the marked path. Staying on the path until the GPS tells you to make a hard right or left turn is a good rule to follow. Usually the geocache is not hidden more than 50 ft. off of a marked trail. If you’ve left the trail to find a cache, always remember go back to the trail before continuing on to your next geocache.
Leave no trace. Try not to disturb wildlife or their habitats while you geocache. If you are quiet, you might see some really neat things. Never litter—carry out everything you carry in.
Practice CITO! Also known as “Cache In, Trash Out.” It’s always nice to help Mother Earth. Bring some trash bags along and clean up any litter you find as you go.
Find other cachers! There are lots of geocaching organizations, where people get together to enjoy geocaching. Find local groups near you at

Ranger Rick’s Geocaching Tips.
Ranger Rick's Geocache Trails™

Want to give geocaching a try? Here are some more tips:

1. Get an adult to visit® online and sign your family up for a free account.
2.Then search the site to find a list of caches near you.
3.Grab your GPS receiver and go hunting!
4.If you're heading out on a warm, summer's day, plan on taking along some water, snacks, a hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
5.It's always nice to help Mother Earth. Bring some trash bags along and clean up litter as you go.

Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails™ is a program of the National Wildlife Federation®.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Supertramp, Stampede & Swag

If you've ever read the book (by Jon Krakauer) or watched the movie (directed by Sean Penn), "Into the Wild", about the hauntingly tragic story of Christopher McCandless aka Alexander Supertramp and his final adventure into the Alaskan wilderness; then you may be compelled to make the pilgrimage to where he spent his final days in the wilds of Alaska at the abandoned bus on Stampede Trail (about 25 miles west of Healy, Alaska). He called it "Magic Bus" and it has become a sort of shrine to McCandless, dedicated to the powerful account of his life’s journeys. I strongly suggest if you don't want the fate of Chris McCandless to be your own, you best be well prepared for your trek! And of course, pick-up a couple geocaches along the way. ✿◕‿◕✿
R.I.P. "Alex"!
For lots of helpful info about the trail to the Magic Bus, go to:
Hiking The Stampede Trail (with video) -by / Last Frontier Adventure Club /Erik Halfacre
[Photos * Resources * Trail Reports * Articles * Forum * Contact * The List]

"If you are planning to hike the Stampede Trail, or have already done so and want to share your experiences, this is the place!
Here you can find out about the challenges of the trail such as bears, rivers, mosquitoes, and blisters. You can also find out what you'll need to bring, and read about the experiences of others who have gone before you."

What to Know Before You Go
Site Administrater, Erik Halfacre, talks about the Stampede Trail. In this article you'll find out everything you need to know, from items to bring, to challenges to expect. The Teklanika River crossing is discussed in detail, as well as other things you might not expect like the constantly wet trail conditions. Read this, and your chances of getting to Bus 142 will greatly improve. More importantly, your chances of getting back do also! read more -->
Stampede Trail Disclaimer
Stampede Trail
by ErikHalfacre on Jun 20, 2010
Healy, Alaska, United States
Backpacking | 18.6 miles
For more information about hiking the Stampede Trail check out my site:'s a lot of great information and resources available there.
Geocaches on the way to the bus on Stampede Trail Road and
near Healy, AK:

FYI, geocaching term... SWAG = An acronym often referred to as standing for "Stuff We All Get." It includes the trade items left in caches by geocachers.

1. Stampede Stash (GC227AJ), Traditional cache {Stampede Road}
N 63° 53.466 W 149° 04.885
UTM: 6V E 397811 N 7086546
size: small
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★☆☆☆
Date Hidden: 12/21/2009
Details: A short walk through the willows to a cottonwood grove off of Stampede Road. Cached on Winter Solstice 09.

2. Solstice Sunrise (GC2AGFP), Traditional cache {Stampede Road}
N 63° 52.614 W 149° 13.533
UTM: 6V E 390681 N 7085203
size: small
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★★☆☆
Date Hidden: 6/20/2010
Details: Off of Stampede Rd. Three mile drive past end of pavement. May not be accessible in winter with vehicle. To the Northwest is Eight Mile lake. To the Northeast is where sunrise is on Summer Solstice at around 2:55 a.m. Good spot to camp and walk dogs. Be aware of Jeep & ATV tours in summer and Dog Sled tours in winter on Stampede Rd.

3. Denali Otto Lake (GCK2K6), Traditional cache {Otto Lake Road, Healy}
N 63° 50.831 W 149° 02.352
UTM: 6V E 399726 N 7081587
size: regular
Difficulty: ★★☆☆☆
Terrain: ★★☆☆☆
Date Hidden: 7/19/2004
Details: Scenic Otto Lake park near Denali National Park in Healy, Alaska. NOTE: It was previously reported that the cache had drifted from the posted coordinates above. Through the efforts of several geocachers, including Vinyl Slider and Sly Dog, all recent reports indicate the cache has been returned to its original coordinates. If you note a problem with the coordinates, please indicate the problem in your log.
This traditional cache is an ammo case in the city park at Otto Lake in Healy, just north of Denali National Park. One of very few caches between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the ammo case includes a log book and assorted souvenirs. Start from Otto Lake Road at the Parks Highway in Healy. Watch for muggles!
This cache is located OUTSIDE of Denali National Park.
There are no nearby geocachers to help maintain this cache, so it exists as a "community cache," depending on the charity of the world geocaching community. The cache has been vandalized on occasion, so take care to treat only the ammo case as the cache and ignore any other items that might be lingering in the area. Big thank yous to mousewoman for monitoring the cache, to PedalPushin for replacing and relocating the cache, and to El Treko and Team Soiled Sloth for their help in the past!

4. Otto Grotto (GC1V1AF), Traditional cache {Otto Lake, Healy}
N 63° 50.500 W 149° 02.091
UTM: 6V E 399921 N 7080966
size: regular
Difficulty: ★★★☆☆
Terrain: ★★★★☆
Date Hidden: 6/21/2009
Details: A traditional cache on an island accessible only by boat or when the lake is frozen.
This traditional cache is located in a 'grotto' amongst an Aspen grove on the banks of an unnamed island in Otto Lake. It is accessible only by boat (available for rent nearby) or by foot, ski or skate when the lake is frozen. The cache is a plastic jar. It was placed 6/21/09 with a log, pencil, a patch, and the Otto Grotto travel bug.

cache info from
Visit The Bus

Into the Wild to visit the Bus?

Since the release of Sean Penn's movie "Into the Wild," there have been many more inquiries about the infamous bus on the Stampede Trail.

Please use caution if you are planning to travel to the the bus and dress appropriately. Some of the windows in the bus are broken and there is no way to use the bus to stay warm. Remember, you will be in a backcountry situation.

If you do Not know what kind of gear you need or have this equipment to travel safely into the Bush, then you probably have no business trying to do so.

For example:
If you had decided to carry 10 pounds of food with you, a 10 pound bag of rice is probably the wrong choice.

The Alaska bush IS NOT the Cascades or Rockies.

Death is always a possibility.

There are no provisions or supplies at the bus.

You might also want to read this article from ABC News:
'Into the Wild' Inspires Adventurers, but at What Cost?
Pilgrims Brave the Alaskan Bush on Trail of Chris McCandless, Who Died on a Lonely Bus

For those of you not wanting to take as much of a risk by hiking the long and treacherous Stampede Road/Trail on your own, check out this Jeep® day tour: 2012 Denali Jeep® Backcountry Safari "A Wilderness Jeep® Adventure." from Alaska Travel Adventures, (Not sure if the tour includes visiting the famous "Magic Bus" site.)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Happy Caching Story on Texada Island

Enjoy this enchanting geocaching story about their travels to Texada Island, B.C., Canada / "How to Cache Texada Island".
Describes 12 caches while visiting Texada Island.
posted by Dawnelle on the Trees, Trails & Tupperware blog.

(January 19, 2011)

"Well we just got back from Texada Island. Our 5th visit and it was of course just as wonderful as it's always been. We rent the same little place with an incredible view of the ocean right beside Shelter Point Park. It's quiet and peaceful and we just renew & rest.

There is only one thing wrong with our perfect retreat now... there's only one more cache left on the island for me to find!

So I thought that I'd write this post as my "How to Cache Texada Island" entry. If you are planning a trip to this wonderful place and you want to do some caching this should help." ..... continue reading at Texada Island - Our Happy "Caching" Place

Map of Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island with Texada Island at top center. BC Ferry routes outlined in blue. found @

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Geocaching gives back in a big way - Garmin blog

Geocaching gives back in a big way
post by

Looking for an outdoor activity that you can do anytime, with anyone, with no admission costs and countless health benefits? In one of the many testimonials we receive, Tami Spaulding from Big Lake, Alaska, tells us how she overcame daunting obstacles while reaching a geocaching milestone:

I started caching about 3 years ago in between health issues and hospital stays. I finally got my 700th find on the 14th of May 2008. This is a very special feat for me since 6 months ago I was told to get my affairs in order and give power of attorney to my family because of a massive blood clot in my right leg. I have so many medical problems they have told me I would not do things. Well, I have proven them wrong - through geocaching and the Lord I have made it further than ever expected and plan on going for years to come. I love my Colorado 400t and I am so glad I received this as a gift and what a gift it is. Thank you Garmin for making things so fun and getting me out in the world again with a purpose. Geocaching is my favorite thing to do and doing it keeps me looking forward to moving onward for many years to come.

Airport Geocaches

Welcome to Airport Geocaches

"Yet another reason to go flying...geocaching near airports!"
Check out their map of geocache locations near airports.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bears, Moose, Wolves, Oh My! Wildlife Safety

Be safe out there people! ;)

Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Living With Wildlife

Living with wildlife is about coexisting with the animals commonly found in places where humans and wildlife cross paths. Whether you are living in Alaska or just visiting, it is important to understand safety principals for individual species and how to avoid conflicts. To learn more, click on the species links below.

Bear Safety
• Avoid surprising bears at close distance; look for signs of bears and make plenty of noise.
• Avoid crowding bears; respect their “personal space.”
• Avoid attracting bears through improper handling of food or garbage.
• Plan ahead, stay calm, identify yourself, don't run.
• If Attacked; If a bear actually makes contact, you have two choices: play dead or fight back.

In most cases, bears are not a threat, but they do deserve your respect and attention. When traveling in bear country, keep alert and enjoy the opportunity to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

For additional information, see Safety in Bear Country, The Bears and You, and Living in Harmony with Bears.
The text of this document was excerpted and adapted from a brochure, Bear Facts, produced by ADF&G in cooperation with other state and federal agencies, and is not protected by copyrights belonging to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Bear Facts from Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Moose Safety
Each year in Alaska more people are injured by moose than by bears. Cow moose protecting calves are particularly aggressive. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game provides some helpful information about moose and how people can be safe when moose are nearby.

The key to coexisting with moose is to avoid confrontations by giving moose plenty of space. Never approach a moose!

Do you know what to do when a moose charges? Fortunately most moose charges are bluffs – warnings for you to get back. But if a moose does charge, don’t wait to find out if it’s bluffing. Run or walk quickly and get behind something solid, like a tree, or retreat to a safe place, like inside a building or car. Normally, moose will flee when they feel threatened but under certain circumstances, they can become aggressive. Understanding a moose’s body language, and the things that moose do when they are stressed, can help you stay safe.

Monday, April 4, 2011

geocaching epic FAIL (LoL/humor)

Hey guys, no worries. Been there, done that! lol
Thanks to David!!
geocaching fail (322/365v2010:11/18)

geocaching fail (322/365v2010:11/18) By pikespice
"This is a re-enactment of something that happened yesterday... and quite frankly happens too often whenever I go geocaching: I search the wrong area for a long time, get frustrated and leave, only to later find out where I should have looked and it was way obvious when I got there."

Geocaching Your Way To Weight Loss!

Geocahing is just another great way to be more active and healthy, especially if you prefer outdoor activities.

"Expand your weight loss efforts by hitting the trails. Geocaching is an activity that gives hiking a purpose and is a unique way to increase your cardio.
"Is Geocaching Really Exercise?

Absolutely! Hiking through paths and wooded trails is a great way to get exercise and work towards your weight loss goals. You can go at your own pace. For beginners, there is no time limit, so pace yourself and have fun with it. For the more advanced hiker, however, you can choose more challenging paths and walk at a quicker pace for a better workout.

What better way to get exercise than to be hiking outdoors for several hours and not even realize it because your focus is on locating the cache."
Read more at Suite101: Hiking With a Purpose: Geocache is Fun Exercise

[[Add Adventure to Your Walks with Geocaching
Hunt for Hidden Treasure with this Family-Friendly Activity -- By Christopher Stormann, Ph.D.
, article & pic found at]]

According to Exercise for weight loss: Calories burned in 1 hour By Mayo Clinic, the estimated number of calories burned while doing various exercises for one hour. Specific calorie expenditures vary widely depending on the exercise, intensity level and your individual situation.

Weight of person and calories burned = Activity (1-hour duration)

160 lbs / 200 lbs / 240 lbs
(73 kg) / (91 kg) / (109 kg)

511 cal / 637 cal / 763 cal = Backpacking

292 cal / 364 cal / 436 cal = Bicycling, < 10 mph, leisure

438 cal / 546 cal / 654 cal = Hiking

584 cal / 728 cal / 872 cal = Jogging, 5 mph

183 cal / 228 cal / 273 cal = Walking, 2 mph

277 cal / 346 cal / 414 cal = Walking, 3.5 mph

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Geocachers' Creed

The Geocachers' Creed is designed to help orient new players to the ethos of the geocaching community and to guide experienced players in questionable situations, so that everyone can enjoy geocaching.

When placing or seeking geocaches, I will:

1. Not endanger myself or others. (examples)
2. Observe all laws & rules of the area. (examples)
3. Respect property rights and seek permission where appropriate. (examples)
4. Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm. (examples)
5. Minimize my and others' impact on the environment. (examples)
6. Be considerate of others. (examples)
7. Protect the integrity of the game pieces. (examples)

The above information is taken completely from For detailed explanations and examples, please visit the site.