Colorado Gators (Yes, Gators!) Reptile Park

If you plan on passing through Mosca, Colorado you may want to stop and see Colorado Gators (yes, I said gators!) Reptile Park.  While you are there you can feed the gators, hold the small ones and have your photo taken, or  if you are feeling adventurous, you can pay $100 for the Colorado Gators’ three-hour gator-wrestling class.  Now that’s something you don’t see every day if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line!

Find the Colorado Gators Reptile Park and other roadside attractions at http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Not sure how to get there?  Here’s a map: How to get there

Space Saving Tips

Packing for a camping trip can be a challenge.  It seems like we are always looking for ways to fit more and more stuff in an ever dwindling amount of space.  That is why I was so excited when a friend and fellow camper told me about the online store minimus.biz

Many stores sell travel sized personal care items, but at Minimus.biz you can also buy individual serving packages like the ones you get at fast food restaurants.  Now rather than bringing along all of the condiment bottles, we purchased a small plastic tote and we have filled it with individual packets of ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, jelly, peanut butter and other condiments.  Not only does it save space, but it also requires no refrigeration.  If your camper’s refrigerator is like ours, or if you are a tent camper living out of a cooler, you know how precious cold storage space is.  Eliminating a half dozen or more condiment bottles only takes up the space of a small shoe box, but it can free up enough space in your refrigerator to fit an extra meal or a six pack of your favorite beverage. 

If you are feeling frugal, you can even start your condiment tote with the extra packets that you get from the drive thru.  We have found this is a great way to keep our tote stocked after we made our initial purchase to fill it!

Geocaching

Geocaching is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers called “geocaches” or “caches”.  Traditionally, a geocacher will place a log book (with a pen or pencil) and a trinket in a waterproof container.  The geocacher will then post the cache’s coordinates along with other details of the location on a listing site such as Geocaching.com.  The finding geocachers will record their exploits in the log book and online. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook, pencil, or stamp) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value.

Terminology

There are various acronyms and words commonly used when discussing geocaching.

General:

  • Cache – A box or container that contains, at the very least, a logbook.
  • Geoswag – The items that can be found in some larger caches.
  • Muggle – A non-geocacher.
  • Muggled – Being caught by a non-geocacher while retrieving/replacing a cache; also, a muggled cache has been removed or vandalized by a non-geocacher, usually out of misunderstanding or lack of knowledge.
  • Smiley – A cache find. Refers to the “smiley-face” icon attached to “Found It” logs on some listing sites.
  • BYOP – (Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil) The cache in question lacks a writing device for the logbook.
  • CITO – (Cache In Trash Out) and refers to picking up trash on the hunt.
  • CO – (Cache Owner) The person who is responsible for maintaining a cache, usually the person who hid it.
  • DNF – (Did Not Find) Did not find the cache container being searched for.
  • FTF – (First To Find) The first person to find a cache container.
  • GPS – Short for Global Positioning System, also occasionally refers to the receiver itself.
  • GPSr – Short for GPS receiver.
  • PAF – Phone-A-Friend.

Logging a hunt:

  • TFTC – (Thanks For The Cache) This is often used at the end of logs to thank the cache owner.
  • TFTH – (Thanks For The Hunt or Hide or Hike) It shares the same purpose as TFTC, but can also be used when the cache was not found.
  • TN – (Took Nothing) no trade or traveling item was removed from the cache.
  • LN – (Left Nothing) no trade or traveling item was added to the cache.
  • XN – (eXchanged Nothing) combines the previous two acronyms; nothing was removed or added.
  • SL – (Signed Log) used when the participant visited the cache and signed its logbook.

Note: the various acronyms in this section are often combined in various ways, such as “TNLNSL, TFTC!”

Location description or hint:

  • GRC – (GuardRail Cache) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • GZ – (Ground Zero or Geo-zone) refers to the general area in which a cache is hidden.
  • ICT – (Ivy Covered Tree) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • LPC – (Light/Lamp Post Cache) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • MKH – (Magnetic Key Holder) used in the description on the type of container used for the cache.
  • PLC – (Parking Lot Cache) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • POR – (Pile Of Rocks) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • POS – (Pile Of Sticks or Stones) used in the description on where a cache may be hidden.
  • UFO – (Unnatural Formation of Objects) a pile of material that obviously did not form naturally and is a likely cache hiding spot.
  • UPS – (Unnatural Pile of Sticks) a piles of sticks that did not form natural and where a cache may be hidden.

For more information on geocaching or for a list of geocaches to find on your next camping trip, visit Geocaching.com.

Camping With Pets

If you are like us, you probably wouldn’t dream of going camping without your fur baby.  Here are a few tips to make life easier when camping with your pets.

Be a good neighbor 
If you camp long enough, you will most certainly run into one of those pet owners who think that the rules don’t apply to them.  You know the ones…  They’re the ones who let their dog leave a mess at your campsite or stand by while their puppy barks at kids and knocks over old ladies.   Following the campground rules not only makes life much more peaceful at the campground, it makes camping much safer for your pet and for everyone around you.  So keep your pet on a leash or in a pen, always have a poo bag handy and make sure that Fido isn’t announcing it whenever someone walks past your campsite.  Your neighbors will thank you for it.

Don’t leave pets unattended in a tent or popup
Even if it is just for a minute or two, a pet shouldn’t be left alone in a tent or popup.  Sharp teeth plus canvas can equal an escape route faster than you can say kibbles and bits.  By the time that you return to your campsite, your furry friend could be lost in the woods or be endangered by traffic in the campground.  Tents and popups can also get very warm inside, compromising the health of your pet if they are left inside for an extended period of time.

First Aid
As with humans, sometimes accidents happen with pets.  First Aid kits are readily available at your local pet supply store, online pet supply vendors, or you can make your own.  Be sure to check the kit contents regularly to make sure that nothing is out of stock or out of date and know how to properly use each component in the First Aid kit.  It is also a good idea to note the phone number of the nearest emergency vet before your trip.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.

With a little thought and preparation, camping with your four legged friends can be an enjoyable experience for you and for them too!

Campgrounds with Caves

My Pole-ish Horseshoes

If you are tired of ladderball, washers and cornhole and you are looking for a new game to play at the campground, check out My Pole-ish Horseshoes.  It is a competitive outdoor game that combines skill and endurance as players defend their post (and beverage) from opposing teams.

The rules look easy enough to follow.  The basic objective is to throw the Frisbee and knock a can off the pole while holding a 12-ounce beverage can in one hand at all times during the game .  The complete rules can be found here:  http://www.mypole-ishhorseshoes.com/page/menu_03/11355.html.   Have you played this game?  Let us know what you think!