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Everything posted by Steve&GeoCarolyn

  1. Mosquitos will bite any exposed skin so go ahead and spray repellent as required (spraying the bottoms of your feet is pretty pointless though). For chiggers, the spray should take care of them as well. Ticks are interesting... would you believe I "feel" them crawling on my feet way before they have a chance to bite so I have an early warning and will dispatch them to the afterlife post haste! Afraid of snakes, eh? Here's some comforting personal information... My son spent three days in the hospital after being bitten by a water moccasin in Florida. Where did it bite him, you may ask? About half way up his calf! Shoes would have made no difference. I can't help assuage your fear of snakes but you should always watch your step if you're wearing shoes or not. For those in the south there's another critter to think about... FIRE ANTS! I have stepped on their mounds while wearing shoes and while barefoot - shod is worse. Why? When barefoot I can usually feel the texture of the sandy mound underfoot and recognize it for what it is before they even have a chance to bite. If you're wearing shoes those little buggers will swarm all the way up your leg before you know it and then you're dancing around trying to pull off your shoes and socks but it will be too late. Hope that helps. Feel free to PM me if you would like more information or encouragement. Thank you so much for the information and encouragement! Shortly after your post we travelled to Denver and I found that hiking in Kansas and Oklahoma barefoot was blissful. (Denver was a mixed bag.) I don't recall seeing fire ants here in Memphis. I would think the ground would be too wet for them. Are there fire ants in swamps, sloughs, and wetlands? I must say that your "comforting personal information" about snakes was not comforting. But that's ok. My beloved believes that telling me that "most snakes are not poisonous" and that "they're afraid of you" is comforting. One of my friends believes that telling me that "snakes can be anywhere, not just the ground, remember to check the trees" is comforting. For a confirmed snake phobic like myself the only comforting words would be, "there are no snakes in this part of the world" or "barefoot hiking wards off snakes since they can't stand the smell of feet." But no one is going to tell me that (and I wouldn't believe them if they did). I am just going to have to do the best I can to geocache while pretending that snakes don't really exist. I will definitely take your advice to ward off insects from the tops of my feet by spreading my bug repellant there. Strangely enough, the bugs have been avoiding my feet when I wear the Vibram FiveFinger shoes. The mosquitoes zero in on any scrap of skin along my arms and shoulders or face that my repellant missed and the ticks seem to prefer to crawl onto my hands and shirt. Chiggers is another story altogether. I go through every summer (barefoot or not) with little chigger bumps. Perhaps the repellent will work this year. BTW, how long did it take the muscles along the tops of your feet to adjust to barefooting? Mine ache, which was a surprise since I expected to feel more pain in my calves than along the tops of my feet. Thanks again! Carolyn
  2. We love puzzle caches. One of the best ones we've experienced is GCTN3Y Ramesses' Tomb. Solving the puzzle is only the beginning of solving the puzzle. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery. We are still waiting for the cache that is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, but this one is a good start. Carolyn
  3. A few weeks ago we found a breathtakingly beautiful cache location. Since then we've been back several times to walk the boardwalk and sit together at the end to watch the sun set over the water. It is intensely soul-satisfying and is a place we would never have found without geocaching. Many of our nights since then have been spent walking the boardwalk. Each time we go, we check on the cache, look at the new swag that people have placed, flip through the logbook and read the new signatures. Last week I placed my very first travel bug in this cache (though no one has taken it yet). Today we went there and couldn't find the cache at first. Someone hadn't attached it correctly and it was laying on the ground under the boardwalk. So we retrieved it, pawed through the swag, noted that my travel bug has yet to travel (making it a stationary bug), read the log, and finally replaced it as it was meant to be. (The cache page is very explicit about how it should be replaced.) It feels a bit indecent to be constantly checking on this cache (which belongs to someone else) but my beloved says that it is probably fine. Even if we didn't check the cache, we would still be returning again and again to this spot because it has become "our special place" that melts our tension away. I am wondering if this has happened to anyone else. Have you ever become attached to a cache that didn't belong to you? What kind was it? What did you end up doing? Did you continue visiting it, or did you get your obsession under control and confess to yourself that it is a bit creepy to be stalking a cache? Carolyn
  4. You mean that there are caches without poison ivy, blackberry brambles, killer thorns, and snakes? I'd begun to think that all good cache locations featured those things in abundance. Hmmm. Must be our local hiders.
  5. We recently found a harmony ball with little cloissone images of pandas and bamboo. I love it. Carolyn
  6. What do you do about ticks, chiggers, and mosquitoes? Do you use bug repellent on your feet? Just the tops of your feet? And what about snakes? I admit that is my greatest fear. I'm afraid that I'll be hiking and suddenly a snake (or swarm of snakes in my nightmares) will suddenly emerge and bite my feet. Carolyn
  7. I also wonder whether the joy of finding is something quite different from the joy of hiding. I'm looking forward to hiding our first cache. I want it to be somewhere transcendentally beautiful. My beloved wants it to incorporate hiking and thinking. Obviously we pull from those things that provide joy to us in finding, but I suspect that the finding and the hiding will offer different things to us. Is this true for those of you who both hide and find? Is it a different experience?
  8. My beloved and I have talked about this quite a bit. For me the entire thing is about beauty and adventure. It is desperately important for me to be amid beauty and to be able to tell a good story about the adventure. The cache placement, the environment, the log, and my photos provide the aesthetic joy. The adventure provides content for the narrative. I also like some of the associated games (like rescuing travel bugs and moving them along). Figuring this out about myself has helped me realize the kinds of geocaching adventures that will work for me and those that won't. Someone in another thread mentioned a "Century" challenge where the goal is to find 100 caches in a day. That would be dreadful for me. I wouldn't be able to write that many logs and do a good job on each nor would I have the time to observe and memorize the details of each place or translate our adventure into a narrative. Even doing 7 in a day resulted in shoddy logs and a splitting headache. So I know that's not for me. (Obviously for a person who wanted the thrill of competition or speed, the Century game would work for them.) It also means that profoundly ugly caches (garbage dump caches) don't work for me because they offend the aesthetic sense that is so primary for me with this. My beloved wants to hike far from people and is delighted at the number of places geocachers have shown us that we didn't realize existed. He also likes the hunt and the little games within geocaching. (Finding the oldest cache or finding one of each type or finding one of each terrain/difficulty level, or filling out the Delorme map, etc.) We both like the puzzles in the mystery caches. So that's what it is for us. My pandas must be achingly miserable, then. We ended up lost for about six hours a mile from my house while using our GPSr. It wasn't that we didn't know which way to go, but the giant swamp that blocked us at every turn and the river on the other side prevented us from finding a safe path back. Plus, the foliage was so dense that it was wigging out the GPSr. It made for a great narrative, though with many pretty pictures. Carolyn
  9. We're relatively new and I'm still feeling my way through what and how I'll log. Where I am today is this. I log finds if: 1) We found it. AND 2) I can say something nice or interesting OR 3) I've taken great pictures that I want to upload I can generally find something interesting to say, but if a find is so unmemorable that I can't think of anything and didn't take any good photos, I won't log it. So far this has happened once. I log DNFs if: 1) We didn't find it after looking for at least five minutes AND 2) I can say something nice or neutral or interesting. I really don't see the point in logging something unpleasant. (So if someone puts a cache in an area filled with garbage or at a dumpster, I won't log it if we find it and I won't log a DNF if we don't. We also won't spend more than a few minutes at such a place. Let people who have stronger stomachs than I do log such finds/DNFs.) OR 3) I've taken great pictures that need to appear on the log. When I began we logged very few DNFs and I regret that now. I miss being able to look back and the ones we didn't catch. I especially regret that right now since we made our 100th find today and I wanted to check back at our DNFs but found a number missing. You asked about what percentage of DNFs do we log. In my case probably about 80 percent these days. Less when we first began. I have two concerns about logging DNFs. 1) Unlike finds, they don't appear in one's profile. A number of my DNF logs are entertaining (at least to me). I regret that my friends can't see them easily. It sometimes seems like wasted effort to log DNFs if they won't get read. 2) I keep hearing about logs being deleted and that scares me a bit. If one were to go by the conversations on the forums one would think that logs are being deleted willy nilly at every hour of the night and morning. Fortunately, that doesn't seem to be true, at least not in Tennessee. Carolyn
  10. Thank you! I have put your names on the caption in my log. It is so nice to have names to attach to faces. Carolyn
  11. The Friday Night event before GeoWoodstock had a fantastic rainbow:
  12. More of the Dog Gallery! One Suspects this Dog of Having Shaggy Caching Stories: Faithful Canine Cacher: My Favorite Picture! While everyone one else contented themselves with standard issue swag, this lucky person took home this beauty that she found near GeoWoodstock. I didn't ask whether she traded up or even:
  13. My highlight was learning that there are Eucalyptus forests with geocaches in them. I told my beloved that we need to go there. I took a series of photos of Dogs of GeoWoodstock and put them in my log. Here they are: Greyhounds: Snoogans and Cujo: Ready to Cache!: Visiting the Museum: Travel Bug, Dog, and Fashion Statement All in One: Ready for Fun Wolf: Beat by the Heat: Handsome Dog with the Spotted Nose: Waiting in Line (dogs everywhere were amazingly patient with lines): Continued in next post...
  14. I bought a pair of those a few weeks ago and have been geocaching in some areas with them. (Though I don't intend to use them when I cache in sloughs or swamps or snake-infested areas.) They work great and feel wonderful on the loamy, leaf-strewn ground and in grassy parks. I've discovered new muscles in my feet, which I assume will stop aching once they've built up a bit more. I'm honestly too frightened of thorns, broken glass, and sharp rocks to cache barefoot. The Vibram FiveFingers are a close approximation that are much safer for my delicate tootsies. Carolyn
  15. We have an Oregon with its high sensitivity receiver and we still had a find ratio much like you are describing when we began, especially in wooded areas. In fact, we had a find ratio just like that yesterday. Sometimes it's not what is in your GPS that matters as much as what is going on in your head. I really liked "Geocaching for Dummies". I find it comforting when advice comes out of a book, even though I know that is irrational. It's a good book, but you actually don't need it if you are reading the forums. What will help more than anything is to sit with someone and have them show you what the various kinds of caches look like and the common sorts of hides in your area. Carolyn
  16. It really wasn't a serious event. It was a giant party complete with festival food, vendors, a petting zoo, a giant plushy Signal the Frog wandering about, and people trading path tags while standing in lines. The seminars had a casual flair to them. A number of them were given by vendors. The seminar the OP is talking about was a panel discussion with a number of reviewers there to answer questions from the crowd (including the immortal "boxers or briefs" question). My impression wasn't that the reviewers were religious zealots, but just that they were mostly quiet people who suddenly found themselves in front of a crowd of people on a hot day answering questions while other people milled around buying geocoins and chatting people up. It had to be a difficult venue to speak in. I listened to most of the panel discussion with half an ear since I was also buying geocoins and taking pictures of geodogs, but none of it struck me as preachy. Not the reviewers or the other presenters or the crowd in general. In fact, I was a bit shocked at how few people were as aggressively opinionated at GeoWoodstock as they are on the forums. I'd assumed that the opinions on this forum represented the wide world of geocaching, but I was wrong. The geocaching world is both broader and more tolerant than I'd imagined. Carolyn
  17. How does one make a judgement on this, though? It makes perfect sense to me that putting a travel bug/geocoin in a 5/5 cache is a bad idea since it gets no traffic. But it also seems like a dubious idea to place it in one of the caches that is easily found since it might end up either muggled or permanently pocketed. I ponder this issue each time I have a travel bug or geocoin that needs to be moved. Do I leave it in a Premium Members cache knowing that it gets less traffic but trusting that people who have made an investment in the community will be more likely to move it on and not keep it? Shouldn't it be placed somewhere beautiful or interesting so that the photo of the travel bug will be a delight to the owner? But most of the beautiful places get less traffic. Is there an optimum balance between beauty, traffic, and safety? What do most travel bug/geocoin owners prefer? Safety or speed or pretty pictures? Each time I leave a travel bug or geocoin I worry about it and it frustrates me when it is not picked up soon. Once it is picked up I worry that it won't be placed in a new cache. I truly don't breathe easy until the TB/geocoin has been placed in a good cache by me and picked up by another geocacher and placed in a new cache. Only then it seems to me that it has moved beyond my sphere of responsibility. If I am this way about other people's travel bugs, I don't know how I will endure sending my own into the wide world. Since we just bought geocoins at GeoWoodstock, I know that I will be sending out my own travellers soon and I am already fretting about how best to do it. Carolyn
  18. Isn't this thread amazing? It is as one had stumbled into a convention of nature calendar photographers. Not a bad photo in the bunch.
  19. I also try to include pictures for each of the caches. There are some without, the latest because I forgot to put the battery in my camera. But generally I include them. I adore people like you who also include pictures. I really don't have any problem with the numbers in logs. I kind of like them. But I'm the sort of person who counts ceiling tiles, slats in venetian blinds, steps from where I am to the tree ahead, and so forth. I love having my numbers display on my profile, not because I am competitive about them, but because I find it fascinating that GStat will give me an average character count for the logs I write. I think that there are people who find numbers just wonderful for irrational reasons we cannot describe and others who are mystified that anyone would think that way. When I've seen the logs with numbers, I assumed it was because the person is an inveterate counter and not because he or she meant any offense to the cache itself. It would probably be fascinating to explore why people think assigning a number to something denigrates it while giving something a name elevates it. I think both stem from the same very-human desire to categorize our experiences. Carolyn P.S. The Steve portion of our little group is mystified by the idea of people counting things.
  20. What a beautiful thread! Here's my contribution both from caches that we have not been able to get to. (Does it seem to anyone else that caches are far more beautiful when they are harder to reach?) This was on the way to De-Hydration (GC1NQC5), the cache that never seems to fulfill its promise of someday dehydrating. Across this swamp we believe the The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (GCWK9G) cache rests, mocking us and our wimpy swamp-avoiding ways. Seriously, though, I am so deeply interested in the swampy land here. I've never seen anything quite like it and I long to travel deeper inside. Though without good boots, that might be a bad idea. Cherry Blossoms that made finding a micro a fragrant experience.
  21. This is the category we are in. My beloved hates travelling by car, plane, or bus but he loves to hike and loves to search for caches. So, as long as the time we spend hiking and searching for the cache seriously exceeds the time spent travelling to the site, we will geocache. At the point that we run out of caches within a reasonable distance he will probably refuse to do it anymore. I am hoping that if we edge up the distance to travel to a cache very, very slowly he won't even notice and we will keep caching even as we use up the close-in caches. On the other hand, we have fantastic caches near us and people who keep placing excellent caches nearby. Plus there are a number that are a real challenge to us and will take a long time to learn enough about hiking swamps to get the cache, so it may take several years for the nearby caching to run dry. I hope so. Carolyn Also hopefully more caches will be added during that time to keep the set fresh Additionally, I dont know if you hid any caches under your previous split accounts (if you had em -- i seem to remember you posting something about it) but hiding caches in your area can not only help extend the interest in caching in general and can be a really fun creative thing involving finding good locations but also can be a stimulant to the local caching community to do the same We are still fairly new and you do remember correctly that we used to have separate accounts but since we are better as a team, we've merged. I am planning to set out at least one cache, perhaps two. It really depends on how my ideas work out. At first I thought I could only possibly have one good idea, but as I've been thinking about it other ideas have occurred to me, so I am keeping notes. My beloved thinks we need more experience before we can place a cache so there is that as well. The other issue is that some of the caches here set a very high bar for creativity and natural beauty. Jamie Z's most recent cache is breathtaking in its simplicity and its perfect resonance with its environment. We found it this weekend and after the first bit of wonder at how perfectly it fit, I felt far more unsure of my ideas and I realized that I had completely glossed over the whole cache fitting into the environment part of the equation. So I am trying to think where and how my ideas could fit into the world neatly and aesthetically. It seems that designing a good hide is as much a work of art as the design of a book or a sculpture or anything else artistic. We are going to GeoWoodstock and my beloved says that we will get a better sense of things meeting people, seeing vendors, and so forth. Hopefully things will be clearer by the time we get home. If not, additional geocaching research will be fun. Carolyn
  22. This is the category we are in. My beloved hates travelling by car, plane, or bus but he loves to hike and loves to search for caches. So, as long as the time we spend hiking and searching for the cache seriously exceeds the time spent travelling to the site, we will geocache. At the point that we run out of caches within a reasonable distance he will probably refuse to do it anymore. I am hoping that if we edge up the distance to travel to a cache very, very slowly he won't even notice and we will keep caching even as we use up the close-in caches. On the other hand, we have fantastic caches near us and people who keep placing excellent caches nearby. Plus there are a number that are a real challenge to us and will take a long time to learn enough about hiking swamps to get the cache, so it may take several years for the nearby caching to run dry. I hope so. Carolyn
  23. We pack Clif Bars in various chocolate flavors, because if you don't have chocolate, what do you have? (OK, OK, we pack Carrot Cake and Banana Bread flavors as well.) They are really not healthy. They give off that aura, but they're really just glorified cookies. Carolyn
  24. I have not yet attempted a 4.5 terrain cache. I am still staring at the swamps and thinking, "Huh! Swamp! Well what is one supposed to do about that? Why aren't there books about swamp trekking in the way that everyone has written about hiking the Rockies? What does one even wear to trek through swamps? Hmmmm. Well at least altitude won't be a problem." Right now 2.5 - 3.5 terrain is exciting enough for us. But perhaps one day I will grow enough in this that I will stride through swamps with confidence. Though I doubt I will ever feel as easy as I felt hiking through the semi-arid heights of Colorado. I also pick up urban caches when they present themselves because I love hunting for things and sometimes they lead me somewhere interesting, though I am trying to remind myself that the further away I move from my desire to have adventures worth writing about, the less pleased I will be with myself overall. I agree that the labeling of people is unpleasant. I don't know if the original poster meant maturity in the way you read it. I think most of us think of ourselves as "maturing" when what is really happening is that we are changing over the course of time. It is easy to assume that change over time means maturity since our entire focus from childhood on is to change and mature. But generally what change over time means is just change. An amusing note: when I read this thread's title, I immediately thought he meant that if we kept caching my beloved would realize that it is fun to seek out micros and fun to write cache logs. But clearly the OP's idea of maturity and mine were woefully different. As to the other terms, I think that "Numbers Hound" or "FTF Hound" is only derogatory because that is how certain people think of those activities. It would be just as easy to think of the term "Numbers Hound" as complimentary just as "Puzzle Hound" would be complimentary (or at least neutral). The reality is that competing for numbers gets a lot of flack in this forum with constant threats to delete logs of people who try to rack up the finds without posting much in logs. That is what gives the word its unpleasant connotation, not the actual activity or the term itself. It looks like Ithaca and where I live in Memphis have a similar number of caches within 30 miles. (Of course I don't know where you live in Ithaca.) When I run a search for caches within 30 miles of Ithaca's posted coordinates, I get 892 caches, which is slightly more than what I get here, but not much more. I agree that if I lived someplace with very few caches (Malaysia, for example, which has only 145 in the entire country) I would probably seek out those, finish, and give up on geocaching since my beloved is not going to do any activity that requires long drives. I certainly wouldn't be in a position to choose my internal game. That's a luxury I have here. Carolyn
  25. I agree that people don't play the game the same way, but I wonder if it is actually the external geography that imposes the structure rather than the internal geography of the mind. We live in a cache-rich area. There are about 800 caches within 30 miles of my house. Presumably there are enough caches around to satisfy any numbers queen. However, my beloved primarily wants a walk in the outdoors (woods, park, ravines, etc.) with as little driving as possible. I want something to find and something to write about. Driving long distances is a bonus for me. His internal game is to drive as little as possible and hike as long as possible and then find a cache. He couldn't be less interested in logging smilies. In fact, his perfect day would be one or two caches found in the course of an all-day hike in a beautiful area followed by a leisurely meal and a stretching session. He also loves solving puzzles. Hell for him is driving from micro to micro and then having to log them. My internal game is writing well and taking photographs. It is also to find things because I love searching for things. I've found that on days we do a lot of caching (more than three caches a day) the cache quantity and the frenzy to find them ruins my ability to write well about each one. So numbers, while ever-interesting to me, interfere with my primary goal. In order to have something to write about, I need to have some sort of experience and time to think about it, which also necessitates longer, more interesting walks. (Which doesn't mean that I'm not tempted by all the caches that are around me. I'm just learning that if I give in to temptation, I won't do as well with my primary goal.) So even though we live in an area that would support totting up numbers of found caches, it doesn't matter because of who we are and what our desires are. Carolyn P.S. I should say that I find nothing wrong with competitive smilie gathering. I'm competitive in other areas (often far less rational areas of my life) and think it is wonderful when people can find outlets for competitiveness that delight them. Geocaching just isn't that sort of experience for me.
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