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Everything posted by HopsMaltYeast

  1. Since I've been geocaching I've been hearing about this "geotrail" problem, yet I've never encountered it in the kinds of areas where it would be a concern. I've seen a handful of them and every one was when the cache was a short distance from parking (LT 50 feet) or in heavily used urban parks. They put a parking lot or a swing set there so how sensitive can the area really be? From what I've observed the backcountry caches where geotrails could be a concern are visited so infrequently that the geotrails (social trails, herd paths or whatever you call them) rarely form. Sorry to go too far OT, but this geotrail nonsense is constantly promoted as a fact and I've had enough discussions with anti-geocachers about the subject. Brainsnat, not to put too sharp of a point on it - we are not at odds in any way that I can see, but you pulled one phrase out of my comments somewhat out of context. I was speaking of sensitive areas on NPS land that may or may not be in the back country. I was not talking about urban locations with swing sets. Nor was I talking about the already trashed land behind the Big-box store parking lot. Geo Trails are not a concern in those spots. Geo Trails in the far outback locations are not likely to occur from what I have seen so far. There is a GeoCache near my home in a sensitive area that takes some effort to reach. It has been there for several years and only 2 finds have been recorded. This is not my concern. There are sensitive areas on NPS land that are heavily traveled on maintained and groomed trails that minimize damage and maximize access/enjoyment if folks stay on the walking trails. That was my point of concern and perhaps I did a poor job of describing that. My concern is that a well intentioned, but uninformed, GeoCacher might place a cache 30 yards off a heavily used trail and 30 GeoCachers a year going off trail to find it would cause long term damage to very sensitive land that would ruin the experience for thousands of other visitors. I live in Florida. One or two innocent folks traipsing across the sand dunes on a pristine beach pulling a few Sea Oats for keepsakes seems insignificant and probably is. However, those actions can cause damage that take mother nature 100 years to reverse - then multiply that by thousands of folks up and down the coast. Same with idiots running motorboats across pristine marsh flats and chewing up the weeds and vegetation – it will take decades for nature to repair and reverse the upset to the delicate balance of nature that produce the fish these idiots are pursuing. My point was to advocate communication with the NPS or other experts to thoughtfully place caches on our National Park lands to minimize our impact on sensitive areas, not to say we should not have any Geo Cache trails. I want to have thoughtful caches on NPS land. I would like to place a cache in such an area. I apologize that I did a poor job of connecting these thoughts. That is my fault. I think we agree on the big issues. To the person that said deer leave trails so get rid of deer – all I can say is “get a life” and you are a poor troll. Deer do not leave trails straight up mountains that promote erosion. Deer trails in the mountains follow switchback patterns. So should hikers and GeoCachers. Yes, I realize you were probably joking.
  2. I learned that it is poor form and frowned upon to claim a cache find just because you are certain that it is missing or is hard to get to. (This had nothing to do with me specifically, just general comments in the forum) As a result, I went back to the cache page and changed one of my "finds" to a DNF. I will go back and find the cache. Later I found a cache that several hunters had logged as a "find" because the cache was "missing or muggled" - and they saw the empty Tupperware container empty on the ground. In fact, the cache was a 35mm film cannister micro, safe and sound in a tree branch, about 4 feet above the wind blown trash lunch container at the base of the tree. I have learned that keeping an open mind about what and where a cache may be is important in successfully solving the riddle of where a tough cache is. I have learned that there is no such thing as "the best" GPSr - and I am certain that my current GPSr is not it if there is one.
  3. Adding to my previous post and also referencing the other link provided in this thread – a few facts and observations: Unclear what park the or authority the OP is involved with, but concerning the NPS which S/He referenced and linked There is no current blanket NPS policy that explicitly allows or permits GeoCaching in all Parks. Each Park Administrator is left to make decisions on GC based on existing rules for protecting the resources and visitors. The NPS is interested and likes the “idea” of GeoCaching. This is great news. They are developing a policy on GC. They are reading at Groundspeak and GeoCaching to help determine that policy. Information at these two sites gives them concern that safety to individuals and poor behavior by GeoCachers on the hunt may be a significant issue when caches are placed within their Parks. So we should take care in what we say here and how we behave in the field – it makes a difference. So, I think it behooves us to seek permission before placing caches on Park Lands. It seems that permission may be granted if you work with the decision makers to place them in locations that do not wreck valuable environmental or archeological sites. And, with guidance from the land managers you can include specific instructions in the Cache page to discourage bushwhacking or approaches that damage the site. If you are aware of caches in the park that may not have approval I would email the owner and advise them of your concern – and as someone else said, they might have approval and be able to assist you in obtaining approval for your cache. If you know of a cache that is poorly placed and causing damage to the park I would first advise the owner of the cache and if no relief comes I would advise the Park Service. I am an avid backpacker and camper – every trip I make on the Appalachian Trail I see the damage even concerned and knowledgeable hikers do to the environment - the damage done by idiots is even worse – we all have seen the erosion caused by hikers short-cutting across switchbacks to save a few lousy steps. We all quickly learn that following a “Geo Trail” can be a fast track to finding a GeoCache – so obviously our sport does impact the environment when the cache is off the beaten path – the objective is to minimize that impact or assure that it is not happening to a sensitive location.
  4. Acadia is working with GeoCachers and Geological Society of America and permits a series of virtual caches in areas they feel will support the activity without undue damage to the environment. They even allow a letterbox in the Park Office as the final cache - with a log and a special stamp for recording your completion if you demonstrate you visited each virtual cache However, they do remove physical caches. http://www.nature.nps.gov/YearinReview/YIR2006/01_l.html It is clear that the Park Service is aware of the this website and GeoCaching.com and fully capable of locating and removing illegal caches.
  5. Fake or real, I have trouble seeing how the raw number of finds matter. Hypothetical: I have found 500 urban caches in a cache rich environment like say NYC and you have 5 caches. Am I the better cacher with a better experience? What if your 5 caches are?: 1. Near the summit of Everest. 2. Center of the outback in Australia 3. Close to the far end of the Great Wall of China 4. Peak of Denali in Alaska 5. Head waters of the Amazon What if 5 of my NYC caches include: 1. Ellis Island 2. Empire State building 3. Statue of Liberty 4. A show at Carnegie Hall 5. Brooklyn Heights site where Washington’s Continental Army gave the British the slip My opinion – the experience is what is important to me. If numbers turn your tumblers, then good on ya and continued success. It ain’t black and white. Unless it turns pro, then there aught to be rules and referees. Me? Hitting some milestones in my early experience – I have about 50 finds – is important. I am already seeing that pretty soon I will not give 2 wonks to numbers, I will only care about the value I find from each individual location and hunt. {edit} What I meant was "If it turns pro", then there aught to be rules and referees.
  6. It would be nice if there was a recognized branch of geocaching where everyone plays the same game, by the same rules. Consistency would be much appreciated by those of us that prefer "black & white," versus the "rainbow" of "play game the way you want." I mean no disrespect, but this gives me a giggle - showing how old I am - I remember a "Mad Magazine article from probably the early 1960's discussing sports and the Olympics that said something like 'There is no professional Volley Ball just as there is no professional "Running Around the Block". That was prophetic. I have lived long enough to see professional volley ball (even beach volley ball) and Jogging/10K road races/Marathon/ runs turn pro and Olympic. I hear softball is being proposed for the Olympics. The Scandinavian "carry your wife" sport is on TeeVee now. Orienteering is becoming a recognized sport with rules and a sanctioning body. Perhaps in the next decade we will see a national GeoCaching league with rules against the use of steriods and shows on ESPN G highlighting the "sport". Who will be the first Commissioner of GeoCache?
  7. My $0.02 – don’t agonize over it. There is no way to control false logging 100% of the time even if hiders audited 100% of their logs. I doubt you are putting GeoCaching scores on your resume or college entrance application. It just doesn’t matter to you or me if people cheat unless you are betting on it in any practical sense. I doubt I have lost a promotion or raise because someone had more GeoCache finds than me. To continue the golf analogy; Nothing is more pathetic than someone cheating at golf. They are only cheating themselves most of the time. Anyone can cheat and get a way with it “sort of”. You cannot cheat at the national or tournament level where money is on the line. In a serious club where “bragging rights”, “best golfer cups” or “friendly wagers” are involved, folks will also learn who the cheaters are and will disrespect them and not play with them. (Unless that person is their boss, in which case they would intentionally lose to them anyway if they have any brains). I would think that if you belong to a GeoCaching group, recognized club or just an informal collection of friends where “bragging rights” are involved then your group would know who the cheaters are and police the problem locally. As others have said, we should be doing this for the joy and the experience, not worrying about who has more finds than you or me. Note to self: I am pretty sure that guy in front of me at the check out line has taken more pennies than he has left from that “take a penny, leave a penny” dish beside the cash register.
  8. A little off topic, but responding to #5 in list above - team caching; Am I doing wrong under these circumstances - I am the only one in my family with a GeoCaching account. Sometimes I go hunting alone, sometimes with my wife and sometimes with wife and son. I log the find under my membership even if HopsMaltYeast Spouse or son finds it before I do. There is only one paper log done and only one online log done. This seems to fit with the spirit of GeoCaching to me.
  9. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." -Edmund Burke That's one of my favorite quotes and I agree with you. Thank you - for refreshing my memory. Yes, Edmund Burke.
  10. I think it is right to be concerned and take appropriate action to discourage inappropriate activity. I think peer pressure is effective to discourage bad behavior in most folks. As a manager and policy maker in business I learned a valuable lesson from a very smart boss. (Warning – made up statistics to follow – 90% of published statistics are made up on the spot). He said roughly 20% of employees are character driven and excellent. They will set examples and work honestly with or without rules. He said 5 to 10% are rotten apples and no amount of rules will prevent them from cheating or behaving badly. The 70% or so of folks in the middle will likely follow the example of those that get rewarded. Your job is to encourage the middle group to follow the top group. Don’t waste your time writing restrictive rules for the bottom 10% that end up punishing or insulting the middle group. Write your rules for the middle 70% and reward the top 10%. Warn the rotten apples until they change or you get the opportunity to fire them - they will give you plenty of opportunities to fire them. We have had graffiti and vandalism as long as we have had civilization. These problems are not unique to GeoCaching. While we can't drive them out we can minimize the effects. I think my old boss’s advice applies to the concerns expressed by the Original Poster. We can’t fire rude and disruptive cachers, but we can discourage bad behavior and encourage responsible behavior. I think it is proper to raise these issues and discuss them on this forum. Doing so educates newer cachers like me and provides cautionary guidance to us to help steer us to the proper behavior in this sport/obsession/game. Paraphrased quote "All it takes for for evil to prevail is for good folks to remain silent."
  11. For information and clarification... I logged a "Needs Archive" log for this specific cache. There was not an instant archive of the cache log. Soon after a reviewer logged a message and archived the cache. (maybe a few hours?) That is pretty dang fast and thanks to them for a rapid response.
  12. I don't have any caches hidden, but I did notice recently that an online log of a find was not on the paper log in the cache. I only noticed because I just recently started using the paperless Palm caching so I had just looked at the most recently logged find and it was one of the short "I found it" types. Log just prior to that was from a very seasoned and active cacher - from just a few days prior to my find. Couldn't help but notice that the seasoned familiar cacher's logged name and date on the paper log was at the bottom of the list. So, the most recent online logger either didn't find the cache or just didn't bother signing the paper. No big deal for me - didn't notify the cache owner. Also noticed on a recent find that several online logs claimed a find because they were at the right place and the cache had been muggled - said the Tupperware container was open, full of water and leaves and no log was present. However, the real cache was a micro film cannister safe and sound hanging from a tree limb just above the plastic trash container. Looked like one cache hunter was fooled by the trash and a later cacher or two just logged the same thing without really hunting. The film cannister was really pretty easy to spot (winter in Florida and even we do lose some tree leaves - might be harder to spot in the summer). (edited for spelling error)
  13. Thanks for the answers and input. So if I logged the sba it would by-pass the owner and archive the cache immediately? I guess someone would then be alerted to investigate either leave it archived or decide to reverse it? Uhmmm, showing my ignorance - how do I find out who a local reviewer is and find there e-mail? Thanks again.
  14. Thanks everyone for the tips - steps 1 & 2 above were especially helpful - Thanks
  15. What action, if any, should you take if you think a cache should be archived? I have e-mailed the owner - no response - and then logged a "needs maintenance" on the cache log. It appears that the cache is missing for a year and was located on private property without permission. We got invited to leave the property when we went after someone saw us in the CZ - landscaped space in an apartment complex. Checked the past logs and someone else had the same problem. Looked up the owner's profile and saw that they have found 16 caches and hidden 36. All but 3 or 4 of those 36 hidden caches have been archived some time ago - usually with logged complaints about lack of maintenance, etc. Appears they have logged no activity for several years. GCKWE4 - "Pointe of View" linked here: Pointe of View Thanks in advance
  16. Most Google, Yahoo, MapQuest, etc maps you find on the InterWeb have a button you can click for "Printer Friendly". When you use that function you get a pretty detailed printing with just the map as you see it on the screen without all the website stuff that shows around the map. In planning my caching trips I often click on a cache site of interest and then click on the map lower down on the page. Then I might expand the map a bit to see more cache locations in the search area. The map has icons for the type caches in their locations and has smiley face icons for caches I have found. But, there is no "print" or "printer friendly" version buttons. If I just do "print page" I get a pretty useless printing showing the page with a very small map that has no detail. So, I have been going to a separate map page to print a detailed map of my area of interest - that obviously has no GeoCache symbols on it. Then I manually place X's in the printed map as accurately as I can with a pencil while looking at the GeoCache Google map. Is there a way to just print a detailed GeoCache map with the symbols the way I see it online? Thanks in Advance.
  17. I am just starting also. First find was mid-December. Found 36 total to date. At least 2 of those finds were when I forgot to write the GPS coordinates down on my paper before I left. I just remembered the description, clues and google map image. Granted, these were urban or suburban settings, not way out in the woods locations. My daughter loves the GeoCaching idea - showed it to her when she came home for Christmas. We showed her the GeoCache map centered on her home with nearby caches showing. She went home to Atlanta and found one immediately without a GPS. In my humble opinion, I am pretty good with map and compass. I was a navigator in the US Navy and hiked a lot in North Georgia and Western N.C. with only compass and topo maps before GPS days. But I would say many of these caches out in the hinterlands would be almost impossible to find using just the old fashioned ways unless they were very close to a very prominent landmark. There is a similar game to GeoCaching called "Letter Boxing" or "Letterboxing" that does not require a GPS. A few caches on this site are Letter Box.. Do a Google search on Letter Box to find sites. There are only a tiny fraction of Letter Box hides compared to GPS hides. So, yes, I think you can have a lot of fun and good success with GeoCaching without a GPS if you select the right caches to look for. Good luck and happy hunting. Please report back on your efforts.
  18. Thanks Annie and PB and GrateBear. I think I am finally on track now. I sure was frustrated there for a while. It all seems so simple now. Thanks all for the help. My cat and dog especially thank you. (I didn't actually kick either one of them).
  19. Thanks JohnTee, Yes that helps. I already have and registered the Cachemate, but I could not figure out why I needed it if I also had GSAK. Thanks.
  20. You don'thave to use GSAK. There are other options. I use cmconvert (cachemate file converter) to open my queries and then sync to my palm. Was this program included with your download? Yes it was included. I had no idea how to use it until reading your post. You are a prince or a princess. Thank you Thank you. I don't know how I was supposed to know that from any of the documentation I have seen. I am guessing it was in there somewhere. Thank you DNA
  21. I have been unable to install Cachemate on my PC. If I have CacheMate, why do I need GSAK? If I have GSAK, why do I need Cachemate?
  22. I must be the dumbest GeoCacher on the planet. I am not a computer whiz nor am I a novice. I am baffled with putting the pieces together on the Palm paperless thing. Sequence – briefly – with profanity removed. Became Premium member Ran Pocket Quest and got 2 .gpx files – saved them to convenient folder - not sure why I got 2. Downloaded Cachemate zip files Opened zips No install programs included in any of the files – no installation occurred. Successfully loaded the cachemate .prc file to the Palm handheld via HotSync Registered Cachemate on the Palm Opened Cachemate on the Palm – no files in there of course – could enter new files manually. Could not find a way to open CacheMate as a program on my PC Could not transfer the .gpx files to the Palm handheld Could not open the .gpx files anywhere by any means on my PC (Windows XP) Kicked the cat and dog – this did not help matters but I felt a bit of relief. Downloaded GSAK without paying or registering GSAK opened and installed itself. GSAK opened the above mentioned .gpx files emailed from GeoCache PQ. They looked like an Excel spreadsheet and made sense. Had fun browsing through the files of caches and everything was as expected. Exported the database from GSAK and it formatted to Cachemate format Palm Quick Install picked it up HotSync transferred the file to my Palm M500 handheld without a problem. Had no problem browsing through the files on the Palm handheld. What the heck am I missing and/or doing wrong? Why do I need GSAK and Cachemate? I know I am missing something very simple and fundamental but I’ll be danged if I can see what it is. Is it GPSEasy that I need instead of GSAK? HELP!
  23. This all reminds me of "running shoes" especially in the days that that sport was expanding. There is no best unit or best running shoe. It is what is best for you. I used to spend a bunch of money for a pair Nike shoes and a day later I would take a razor blade knife and cut a slit in the toe box of my brand new shoes. My foot was much broader at the toe end and my big toe much larger than what the Nike lasts were designed for. I was one happy camper (runner) when I found the New Balance brand because it came in widths and had a tall toe box. No more razor cuts to new shoes. Then New Balance ticked me off because because when I went back to buy new shoes 6 months later I found than the model I loved was discontinued. Then I had to guess from BS marketing yadda yadda yadda which "new" model was the one I wanted. Then I had to figure out if I was an over-pronater or an under-pronater or if I needed stability or cushioning or torsion-control and I had no idea what any of those things were. At least GPSr units last longer than shoes. I have an almost 10 year old Garmin GPS12 that works pretty dang good for GEOCaching (it has no mapping). I am thinking of going paperless. Except that I have no cable to connect my PC to the GPS 12. I can buy a cable for about $50.00. Or I can buy a new Garmin model something for about $100.00 that has mapping and comes with the $50.00 cable, is half the size and weight of my GPS 12 and runs twice as long on 1/2 the batteries. Again the marketing gurus that put out 10 new models a year make life difficult for me and others. I have a lot of trouble reading recommendations for model something HCx and matching it to models at Garmin or other stores. The names are so dang similar and so confusingly different. Is a Legend eTrex the same as a eTrex Legend and is that the same as a Legend Vista HCx? But there are sites that let us compare units head to head that really help. But first we need to learn if we are over-pronaters or stability or air-cushion ride. In the past week or two I have decided on at least 3 "best models" based upon info from here and the comparison charts and right now I can't remember which one I want. I would give you a recommendation except I don't know how big your great toe is and I don't want you to have to use a razor blade on your new GPS because of something I recommended. All that said - I think I will upgrade to some kind of a new Garmin for between $100 and $200 with basic maps and a cable included to usb to my pc. I don't care about color maps (probably don't need maps at all) and don't care about electronic compass or altimeter. (I have a fine $15 compass or I can walk to get the GPS compass).
  24. Useful info in this thread - led me to drag out my M500. I am correct in assuming that to go paperless with a PalmPilot that I need to: 1. become a Premium Member 2. download a 3rd party program like CacheMate or GSAK 3. do a pocket query or some such 4. use Palm software to download to my Palm? Is there a site or thread around that walks you through the basics of this so I don't have to ask a bunch of question that others have already asked? Thanks all - this was great info.
  25. I am relatively new and had a very similar issue as yours example. Lots of DNF's and reported maintenance issues with a cache I had looked very long and hard for. Emailed the owner and never got a reply. Sometime later I got a congratulatory email from an owner of a nearby cache as I scored First to Find on their cache and it was also my first FTF. As these players had logged a find for my problem DNF cache, I asked if they minded giving a little help - at least to give opinion if it was still there. They assured me it was there (perhaps damaged) and assured me that I was very warm and looking in the right place and said it was truly a hard find. They declined to give me a specific clue as they did not want to ruin the fun of a tough find for me, unless I really needed more help after one more attempt. That all seems fair to me.
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