I need the advice of all you good and kind geocachers out there.
I am NOT a geochacher (I’m a knitter and a gardener actually) but in the last week I have found the need to familiarize myself with the whole concept.
I can say as far as parks, forests and other open spaces go, it’s a wonderful way to get out in nature and walk and have a bit of fun in the process.
But here’s a bit of background on my story, and my conundrum and I really want the opinion of all of you nice geocachers I’ve read about here.
I live in an extremely rural area about 30 minutes from town. There are three other houses in “hearing distance” but I cannot see them and it is extremely peaceful and quiet. VERY quiet. I am retired, so I am home all the time and my daily highlight is the mail, or the UPS man. My dogs know the difference and I know with one bark who is coming up the road. My dogs know when to bark (the UPS man) or at coyotes that are “too close” or when they SEE something (a wild pig, coyote or a human).
They will bark when a vehicle stops along my stretch of road frontage, mostly because it’s a rare occurrence-maybe once a week. Usually it’s a service vehicle pausing to check directions or someone who took a wrong turn who is turning around in my driveway. But it’s rare.
Sightings of humans on foot are even more rare, about as rare as seeing a coyote in broad daylight. There was the one time a few years ago a guy’s work vehicle broke down, and the rare occasion when the kids up the road have to walk home from school. My dogs bark madly at people, because it’s so rare and because they are warning me. Out here in the country, when someone is visible from your home outside of a vehicle, it MEANS something. Usually, they lost a cow. It has always been thus, and I’ve known plenty of old farmers that would greet the sight with a shotgun. I’m not that way, but I am AWARE ANYTIME ANYONE stops.
I should add that I have problems with anxiety and that being out here is my solace. One might say I’m “hyper-vigilant”, but I like to think of it as being deeply in tune with my surroundings. I also know every bird that flies over, how many hawks live in my little valley, how many eagles I have seen, how many geese live on the pond next door, what time it is by the cooing of the doves, etc.
There is another reason that there has been some stopping along my road. I live in a county where the old roads were built along a creek before anyone understood (apparently) how badly the ground will erode during a heavy rain. About every 5 years we get a bad rain and literally parts of the bluffs, sometimes 200’ high will DROP right into the creek. We’ve lost two bridges out here, at least, in the last 20 years. We had a heavy rain recently and when the chunk of bluff slid, it shook my house! Unfortunately sometimes there are roads along these banks and the recent slide was right next to a road-to the point where now the road is being nibbled away. It’s scary. One good rain and we could lose a road, bridge, or life (I know someone who was killed by going over a washout in his truck).
So now we have a county vehicle that has been stopping once in a while-about once a month, to check on this bit of roadway.
So if you’re still following me, all that has been to explain WHY I now know about Geocaching and what my conundrum is.
Someone in the last couple of months has placed over NINETY of these caches in my area. (see the map). By “area” I mean an H shape of road, that covers a total of about 17 miles, or a radius from the center of the H of about 5 miles.
First of all DOESN’T THAT SEEM EXCESSIVE?
Especially when the person who did this doesn’t live anywhere near here?
And I thought Geocaching was about WALKING-but these people are all stopping their cars in the roadway of a dangerous narrow road that has NO shoulder and has many curves. Most are not walking more than 5 ft. The local logging and service trucks and locals do NOT go slowly down this country road. People are putting themselves in danger when they stop.
Not to mention this is an area that has an extremely high rattlesnake population. We see 4-6 on average per year IN OUR YARD and many more along this strip of road. The neighbor was bit a few years back. They come out onto the roadway at night for the heat that the roadway absorbed during the day. That reminds me, part of this area of caches is supposed to be a NIGHT cache. We have mountain lions, wild pigs, and skunks just to name a few, and the area where this night run is does have a few houses.
Secondly, two of these spots are within close sight of my property (conveniently just over the property line, as if the cacher planned it that way). The first is located close to where I sit out in my side yard-and I sit out side A LOT.
The spot in the road (at a narrow bridge) is close enough that when anyone stops my dogs bark wildly and I can hear car doors opening, people talking and yelling, walking back and forth in the road and I ALWAYS get up to go see what is going. One group of people was even at my fence line, near my gate walking around looking for something-when we walked out to see what they wanted, they all looked away, turned around and rapidly walked back to their truck and took off. That’s considered strange and suspicious behavior out here.
The second marker has been placed right where the bad erosion spot is in the road. People are not parking in the pullout and walking down to it, they are parking right in the road where the bad spot is (and there are NO signs, NO cones, NO tape-NOTHING [our county is poor]) and so these people (IF they are even in the right spot) are parking right where they shouldn’t and walking up to a spot literally where they could fall 100+ feet (there is one strand of old barbed wire).
In the past few days I have been extremely upset, honestly losing sleep over this, realizing that the peace and quiet-the reasons that I purchased this place have now been broken by people on a random 40 minute “sight-seeing drive” into the country playing a game. (Who even does that anymore? Who can afford to waste the gas?).
I have read up on the “geocacher code of ethics” and it seems to me this woman is violating a lot of them.
I could be angry about it, but that won’t get me any understanding. I AM upset. I’m trying to wrap my mind around the idea of being tolerant to this whole new set of strangers who are visiting the front of my property at the rate of at least 3-4 sets of people (usually 3-4, sometimes in 2 vehicles) per week.
I understand that everyone has a right to freedom. And that roadways are public thoroughfares. (Maybe that’s the problem-everyone else is going THROUGH the area). I do not know specifically what the laws are regarding public “use” of a roadway and what constitutes “use” (stopping? throwing a party? camping?). I get that it’s a new era of (some) people who have a different set of boundaries than I do and value their own fun above being considerate of others.
I was thinking of writing to the person ON the page for each marker (so that everyone who wants to go there can see my comment) and explaining kindly that as the homeowner, these two markers are invading my peace and quiet and could she please move them. My only hope is that this woman will move the two markers down the road a bit.
And yes I DID write the company. That letter was longer than this one. They said they would talk to her about the “parking” situation. I wrote back and told them that parking is not the issue.
Believe me this is the short version of this letter, I apologize for it's length but it's a complicated problem and I'm trying to be clear. I just wanted to ask YOUR opinions, on what I can do to regain my peace.
Please bear in mind again that I am NOT a geocacher and my point of view is as a homeowner seeking peace and quiet.
Please be kind when responding. I know there are those that can be nasty, but I am looking for honest kind help from the geocaching community. Any ideas, suggestions, etc. would be appreciated.