Ken's Geocaching Page

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The Spell of the Yukon
by Robert Service

"I wanted the gold, and I sought it;
I scrabbled and mucked like a slave.
Was it famine or scurvy - I caught it;
I hurled my youth into a grave.
I wanted the gold, and I got it -
Came out with a fortune last fall, -
Yet somehow life's not what I thought it,
And somehow the gold isn't all.

There's gold, and it's haunting and haunting;
It's luring me on as of old;
Yet it isn't the gold that I'm wanting,
So much as just finding the gold.
It's the great, big, broad land way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace."

 

Map of My Finds
I created this map using the GPS map tool at keenspeople.com.

What is Geocaching?

The easiest way to explain it is to say it's like Easter egg hunting for grown-ups (or families too) only on a larger, world-wide scale and using Global Positioning System receivers to help find the "treasure".

A recent article I wrote for the Fall 2002 issue of "IMPACT", the magazine of the Wisconsin Parks & Recreation Association, explains what geocaching is all about. Click on these links to read page 1 and page 2 of the article. 

I helped organize the first Southeast Wisconsin Geocachers Picnic and Hunt, held Aug. 26, 2001. In addition to more than 45 geocachers from around the state, a reporter and photographer from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel attended and put together a very nice article about geocaching. In 2002 I was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Geocaching Association. Each year we hold a spring campout and a late summer picnic. The WGA also works with land management officials such as the Wisconsin DNR to promote responsible geocaching. I currently serve as vice president of the WGA.

You can learn more about geocaching at geocaching.com, the leading geocaching site.

Another good resource is Buxley's Geocaching Waypoint, a site which is often referred to as "the Buxley maps." This site gives you a quick way to see the locations of geocaches near you that you can hunt.

Before you go

Before you seek a cache I have placed, please read this.
If you want a
good tip to find a cache when you get close, read this.
If you're placing a cache, and you want an easy way to rate the terrain and difficulty, check out
this site.

Why I geocache

If you've hunted more than one of my caches, you may see a pattern. I like cache hunts that take you to new places in the outdoors that you may not otherwise have visited; places with great hiking trails and scenic views. I'm not into creating caches that require math gymnastics to solve a puzzle. (I don't mean to disparage those who create these kinds of hunts. I appreciate the effort that goes into making them, and I know many geocachers enjoy "puzzler" hunts. They're just not my favorites.)

Also, I don't get a big thrill out of caches that are extremely difficult to find once you arrive at the coordinates. I have hunted many of these, and it's easy to see the damage to local plants when geocachers search a long time in a concentrated area. I'd rather have a difficult trek to a remote location, then be able to find the cache within a reasonable amount of time.

For me, the last four lines of the Robert Service poem listed above capture the essence of what I get out of geocaching, and why I create cache hunts for others to enjoy:

It's the great, big, broad land way up yonder,
It's the forests where silence has lease;
It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder,
It's the stillness that fills me with peace.
"

Sure, there are caches with more scenic places and longer hikes than ones we list below. But that's not the point. It's not a competition. It's not about whose cache is best. Or who's the first one to find a cache. It's all about broadening your horizons. Getting outdoors and experiencing a part of a park or forest you haven't been to before. And coming back home with a better appreciation for life outside the four walls of the indoors.

Caches I have placed (in order of placement)
Click on the blue titles to go to the web page at geocaching.com for complete details

Pike Powder Hike

Located in Pike Lake State Park. I placed this in March, 2001. It's now the oldest active geocache in Wisconsin. I hiked to this location many times over the years, and also ski the nearby cross-country ski trails. It's a great spot for some thrilling x-c skiing because of the challenging, hilly trails. This was a natural place to create a geocache when I first learned about the sport. At this site you can view photos of some of those who have found the cache so far.

Difficulty: Terrain:

 

New Prospect (archived 5/28/02)

This one was located in the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in a very pretty area. At this site you can view photos of some of those who found the cache. I archived it because it had a long successful run, but the hiding place in a hollow log was no longer as secretive as it once was. It's interesting that so many geocachers experienced this cache as their first find. 

Difficulty: Terrain:

 

Wild Goose Chase

I created this stash one day during a trip to Madison. It can be found along the Wild Goose Trail, a crushed limestone bicycle trail that extends for miles across the Wisconsin prairie. You can see lots of wildlife along the way.

Difficulty: Terrain: Wheelchair accessible except for the final 50 feet (approximately 1 mile from parking to the cache)

 

Family Bicycling Virtual Cache

An exception to my normal cache locations -- there is no hike involved for this one. As the name implies, there is no actual container to find. You are given the GPS coordinates and a clue to "unlock" the mystery. It's actually very easy to do. I wanted to encourage other geocachers by showing them how easy it is to create their own geocaches.

Difficulty: Terrain: Wheelchair accessible

 

Tourist Attraction Virtual Cache

This one is another exception to the geocaching philosophy that I stated above, because it's smack in the middle of a downtown area, albeit a scenic downtown spot where you can sit and enjoy a rest while your significant other goes on a shopping spree. It's a virtual cache, not far from the Family Bicycling Virtual Cache. In fact, it would be a nice bike ride of only 3 miles between the two. The coordinates will take you to an interesting historical feature.

Difficulty: Terrain: Wheelchair accessible

 

Lake By A Lake

Located next to a scenic quarry lake in Harrington Beach State Park, near the shores of Lake Michigan. There are nice sandy beaches nearby. Great park for a picnic.

Difficulty: Terrain:

Quotes about this cache:
January 5, 2002 by johnbaich
The frozen waterfalls cascading into the quarry was nothing less than a real life picture postcard. Thanks again Ken for sending us to another beautiful spot in Wisconsin. What a way to see our backyard.

July 30, 2001 by Man In The Wild
 I thought it was a great location to hide a cache. We absolutely loved this park! I don't know if I'd ever been here before, but I'm sure we'll be back when we visit again! We also saw some deer along the trail. Of the seven caches we've found so far in Wisconsin, this was my favorite. We can't wait to see what's next!

Devils Lake Revisited


Ken climbing a route not far from the cache site. Spring 2002

This is the most difficult cache hunt I have created. If you're into challenging hiking, this is a cache you should try to find. It's located in Devils Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin. You don't have to be a rock climber to reach the location. You can reach the cache site without using ropes, harnesses, and other gear. But you do have to use your head and think safety at all times. 

I placed the original Devils Lake cache here while rock climbing on May 20, 2001. That original cache is now archived, so you need to be logged in at www.geocaching.com to be able to view its web page. I re-hid a larger container on March 24, 2002 and created a new cache page for it. It's not far from the original location. There are great views from the tops of the bluffs. 500 feet above the floor of the valley, you look down on turkey vultures as they soar along the bluffs. Not recommended to those afraid of heights.

Difficulty: Terrain:

Quotes about this cache:

June 7, 2002 by Team Investigators
The views from the CCC trail are fantastic. It is a very challenging hike, but well worth it. We spent about 3 hours hiking on the various trails. Hiking to the cache area we saw several rock climbers. Finding the cache was difficult, but we succeeded! It is really essential to view the photograph prior to trying to find the cache as the photograph is a great help. The Garmin GPS III Plus led us right to the area, but we still had to hunt for the cache. It was a beautiful day 75 deg F, sunny, and breezy. Thanks for another great cache in the Devils Lake State Park. Team Investigators Bob & Danielle

June 8, 2001 by jvechinski
Found the cache yesterday. I officially transfer the title 'Wisconsin's Toughest Geocache' from JTJ's River Cache to this one.

September 27, 2001 by Dinsdale
Wow, what a location! Very challenging to get to and find. We ate our lunch sitting on the rocks a few feet from the cache - a lunch that we'll remember for a long time! Then we headed down the rocks. Thanks for placing the cache. We got a great sense of achievement from finding this one!
- Jeff & Sandee

Music, Music, Music!

This is hidden in a relatively new nature park in Mequon, WI. It's a pleasant but short hike through a wooded area. This would make a nice noon-hour hunt, or a good hunt if you're seeking several caches in one day. You'll need to bring a music CD to exchange for one in the cache.

Difficulty: Terrain:

 

The Shocking Truth About Henry

I would say that this is now my favorite geocache of those I have created. It's a great hike on scenic trails in one of the finest state parks in the Midwest, and you'll love the view from the top.  When you find the cache be sure to read the enclosed information and discover the shocking truth about Henry. 

Difficulty: Terrain:  

WGA Cache of the Month July 2002"Henry" was voted "Cache of the Month" for July 2002 by the Wisconsin Geocaching Association

Comment from one of the voters:
"Location, location, location; what a location! This cache features a challenging, beautiful hike, a great traditional hide, and a fantastic view from a pristine natural lookout. Not to be missed! "

Other quotes about this cache:
August 16 2002 by LeAhcim
It would be hard to imagine a more rewarding cache without putting your life in grave danger.
August 16, 2002 by Max PDOP
When I saw what my GPS was pointing at a half mile away, I thought they want me to climb THAT?.
It turned out to be easier than I thought, and I was all smiles when I got to the top. Thanks for the great spot. This was one of my favorites.
August 12, 2002 by re299919
This is a great site for a cache! One of the joys of caching is seeing nature in all it's beauty. The view from this cache is breathtaking. Although climbing gear is not required, fairly strong knees and legs are needed to make it up the last ledge to the top. Thanks for locating this cache in such a delightful spot!
July 11, 2002 by cachebarr
We just want other geocachers to know that this geocache is well worth the effort! We logged our find at the WGA camp-out. Although all the caches at the camp-out were awesome, this one is by far our most memorable and enjoyable! We are happy to see it as a permanent geocache so others can enjoy as well! Thanks again Ken for another OVER-THE-TOP geocache!
July 25, 2002 by Genius Loci
Wow! What a great cache! This one certainly ranks as one of the best weve visited here in the Midwest, especially when combined (as suggested) with I Dare You. Im always a sucker for a cache with a view, and the view from this one is fantastic. The trail into the area is excellent, bushwhacking is unnecessary (or discretional) and the site itself is clean and graffiti free youll feel like the first person to ever visit the spot. This is where the sport of geocaching really shines, for we would probably never have learned of the existence of this prime hiking goal if not for the cache placed here. What a great afternoon; simply one of the best geocache hikes weve done. Thanks for placing a super cache, and for stunning us with the scenery as well as shocking us with the truth.

I Dare You

This is very close to "Henry" (see above) so you can accomplish them both on the same hike. It's a virtual cache. The coordinates take you to the entrance of a cave hidden in Governor Dodge State Park. Do you have the guts to go inside?
 

Difficulty: Terrain:  

Quotes about this cache: 

"I just came from a full day at Governor Dodge State Park and I had the amazing experience to venture into a small cave (please see "I Dare You" cache). I had stopped to pick up the official park map and NOWHERE was this cave mentioned on their map, yet there are two signs on the small trail that says "CAVE" so it's common understanding that the Park allows entry into this area. Yet it took Geocaching for me to find it and enjoy in the experience. And this is only one of the AMAZING adventures I've been on."
~The Lil Otter
(AKA Lorrie)

 

Give compliments where compliments are do I was always taught!!!!!! 

 I will never forget the enjoyment from that cache.  Just to see the look on my son's face when I climbed up to the top of the cliff to retrieve the cache along with him, and for me to be able to see the look on his face when he came out of that dark cave knowing he found the answer to the cache question is truly unforgettable and rewarding.....and for me, that's what geocaching is all about!  Investigating the unknown and feeling so rewarded inside for doing it!
 Sincerely, Betty of Team Cachebarr

HOW low CAN YOU GO?

Find the lowest elevation point in your country, province, or county, take a photo of you and your GPS receiver, and log it here. 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

Flambeau River Rapids

Placed during a canoe camping trip on the North Fork of the Flambeau River in northern Wisconsin. This takes you to another beautiful spot. You can either canoe to it or hike in. 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

Goosey Larry

I took one of the containers from Poor Mother Goose and hid it in a natural area near Sun Prairie, WI. It's makes for a nice walk along a marshy lake. 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

Pleasant Valley Goose

Many people who live in the area have not even heard of Pleasant Valley Nature Park, a relatively new and pretty secluded park with lots of wildlife to see. Here's your chance to check it out. You'll have to think creatively to find this one, because it's hidden in a place you might not expect. Some people find it right away. Some don't 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

American Gothic

This is a "virtual cache" that takes you to the small house in Iowa that served as the background for the famous painting by Grant Wood. Here's the painting and some of the tribute photos geocachers have posted so far. 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

Up, Down, and Around (archived)

Hidden on an island in the Mississippi River. On warm summer weekends there may be lots of people beached near this spot because it's near a very high sand dune. But if you find an open place to beach your boat you can proceed to the secluded cache location.

Note: I archived this because of a recent ban on geocaching in National Wildlife Areas. In this case that ban is pretty silly because people visit the area frequently for picnics and swimming, thereby supplying most of what wildlife there is on that island. 

Difficulty:   Terrain:

 

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