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Everything posted by 4x4van

  1. As has been stated, it could also be a cache listed on a different website. Although by far the largest/most well known, geocaching.com is not the only website that lists caches.
  2. I also have always "wondered" about some of the really high numbers claimed. I just watched the Youtube video linked earlier in this thread, and while they did indeed snag 3 in 2 1/2 minutes (actually, only 2, since they pretty much start the video off with the first), something occurred to me. How is it that they knew exactly which bush to go to, exactly which side of the bush to look under, the fact that one was a guardrail cache rather than a bush, etc.?? Since the video has sound, it's clear that nothing is said to each other regarding which bush, or anything, prior to them exiting the car, yet both guys go immediately to the correct side of the correct bush, or immediately go to the guardrail instead of a close bush. Hmmmm? Seems to me that when I hear of the "preparation" that these cache runs take, perhaps that means "pre-running" the route at an earlier time so that they already know the location of each cache?
  3. Based on that, I think you would have really enjoyed caching in the early years. Back then, 9 out of 10 caches were what I consider quality caches, rather than 1 out of 10 today. I can easily remember many deatails of many of my early cache finds, whereas I am hard pressed to remember many details of most of my recent cache finds. I think that speaks for itself in regards to the quality issue (either that or it speaks about my short term memory loss ) Interesting point of view. I hope that you are correct.
  4. Are you sure that the issue is really just quantity vs quality? I am not so sure as quality for geocaches can mean a lot of different things. Certainly there exist those thoughtless thrown away caches that are there just to increase the number of caches and that hardly anyone will really have among his favourites. There are, however, also many caches where neither the location or nor the journey to the cache offers anything of interest that I would refer to as having bad quality as often quite some work, energy, time and/or money has been invested into the container/hideout construction. I prefer a cheap,not fully tight container in a 0815 hideout that I find at the end of a scenic hike by far to a specially crafted container at a boring, urban place where the main challenge are to deal with the muggles. Many of the cachers in my area prefer however the latter type of cache as for them geocaching is not about performing outdoor activities and visiting beautiful and interesting places, but to hunt for containers. Cezanne I agree; quality can mean many different things to many different people. Personally, when I say "quality", I'm referring to the overall experience of the cache. Does it make me smile (even if I DNF)? Can I actually remember that specific cache 6 months later, and smile? If so, then it was a quality cache/hide, IMO. If, on the other hand, I can't really remember any details about the journey, the hide location, the container, the SWAG, the experience...or if a specific cache was #4 or #9 of 15 identically placed caches for that day,...well...
  5. I stand corrected. I did follow the tangent from the beginning, but just mentioned you and Mushtang since you two seemed to be the most vocal on that issue towards the later part of the conversion. Sorry if that offended you. In any case, I repeat that my OP was not about the definition of cache (or of geocache) but rather the issue of quantity vs quality. Thank you, Keystone, for recognizing that and at least trying to steer the conversation back in that direction.
  6. Well, I will say one thing...the tangent that Mushtang & Bandit have led us down has been entertaining, to say the least. But it really is irrelevant to my original point. I suppose I shouldn't have led with the definition of cache, as I really don't care what a geocache is called, and I don't really care what does or doesn't qualify as a geocache. The declining "quality" of those "things" that are listed on the geocaching site is what I was lamenting. IMHO, there was more pride of cache ownership taken in the early days. Most hiders much preffered one or two paragraph-long logs for their cache rather than 10-15 "TFTC" logs. It made for much more interesting reading during maintenance visits! Therefore there was more thought put into caches, including the container, the contents (SWAG), and the location. Also important was the idea that the cache owner was actually responsible for maintaining it in good condition, with the hope that it would survive for a long period, generating a "storybook" log book of sorts. Again, the mantra was "just because you can place a cache there, doesn't mean you should place a cache there". Most geocachers took that idea seriously. If the answer to the question: "Why place a cache here?" was only "Because there isn't one here yet"...then it was not considered a good spot for a geocache. I no longer believe that is the case for the majority of caches. And that saddens me. But to each his own. No, Geocaching is not dying, nor will it ever, since people will continue to hide "things" and others will continue to seek those "things". Yes, good caches still exist, and I admit that the term "good cache" is completely subjective. Each of us will continue to hide & seek what we like. But the fact is, what we like, as a collective group, has obviously significantly changed over the years.
  7. Fair enough. And since you went to the trouble of checking up on my "stats", I'm sure you also checked those caches (and their logs) as well, to see what kind of "quality" they are, right? So let's be honest; they have lasted many years, and every single log is multiple sentences, positive feedback...Not a single "#7 of 27 today, TFTC!" or other meaningless logs. Even my one micro, which had to be archived when the trailhead sign was removed by the forest service, generated good logs. My caches have generated logs that are actually interesting reading, along with multiple pictures. They also continue to contain quality SWAG, even after many years, without my having to re-stock them. Yes, I've only hidden 3 in 10 years. They were hidden early on, when my kids & I still enjoyed caching. As I've already stated, I seldom cache anymore. That's why my numbers have stagnated and I haven't hidden more. Yes, there are still good caches out there; but they are more difficult to filter. It's also quite humorous to read those of you who think you know what I "mean" by my definition of cache. There was no hidden meaning in that, it was simply pulled directly from a dictionary. And contrary to some comments, I've never claimed that a geocache "must" contain SWAG, although if you want the truth, IMO that WOULD match the dictionary definition of cache better. Perhaps a more acurate term nowadays would be "geologging" for micros & nanos. See, I remember when micros and nanos were ONLY placed if the location made a larger container impossible or impractical. Yes, caches reflect the general "body/membership" of geocachers, and that body has grown (in numbers) & changed (in attitude & desires).
  8. I think you hit the nail on the head. It's no longer about discovery, it's about +1. I understand (and even grudgingly accept) that everything changes with time. But shouldn't we at least strive to make that change better? As an example, there is a road near my home that has a section that is straight for about 1.5 miles. There is nothing there; no buildings, no trees, no rock formations, no guardrails, no signs...every inch of that 1.5 miles is exactly like the previous inch, and exactly like the next inch. There is no unique trivia about it, no nice view, nothing happened there in history...and yet there is now 12 small or micro geocaches along that stretch. I could take a picture of one of the cache sites, and the cache owner himself would not be able to identify which of those 12 it is, since they are all the same. Now, obviously the argument can be made that it is a power-trail, and is specifically for those who are looking for fast numbers, but can the argument also be made that any of them are actually "quality" caches? I wonder how many of the newer cachers have ever actually read any of the tutorials on the geocahing website on "how to hide a cache", or Listing requirements & guidelines before throwing out 2 dozen park & grab micros every month?
  9. CACHE noun\ˈkash\ Definition of CACHE 1 a: a hiding place especially for concealing and preserving provisions or implements b: a secure place of storage 2 : something hidden or stored in a cache What has happened to geocaching? I think that many of the longer-term cachers (6-10 years) would agree that geocaching is a shell of what it once was, of what it could have been. Now before anyone jumps on my back and starts beating me down, just listen to why I make that statement. When geocaching began, auto navigational GPS’s were still a few years off and smartphones were not even thought of, so GPS units were generally owned/used by outdoors types; hiking, fishing, etc. Consequently, “geocaches” were typically hidden off the beaten path, out in the woods (or desert, or beach, etc). Because they were hidden out in the wilderness, it was easy (and usually desired) to hide a container of significant size to actually hold an assortment of SWAG, as well as a log book, pen/pencil, and an explanation sheet. And because they actually required some energy to get to, they tended to maintain their quality longer. Cachers more often than not traded up or not at all, actually made an effort to rehide the cache well, and logged their finds (or DNFs). But the most important part was the fact that hiders took pride in bringing you to a spot that had something, other than the cache, to offer. It was about more than the cache; it was about the journey. Even when “urban” caches began to appear, and the sizes shrank due to the “public” nature of urban caches, hiders still took pride in those hides, taking us to interesting spots in our own cities. Now, everyone and their brother has a smartphone, and can cache without any caching-specific investment at all. Unfortunately, that means that too many cachers don’t take it seriously. Way too many caches are placed for no reason other than that they can be placed. Take a tiny container, stick a piece of paper in it, and toss it along a roadway somewhere or stick it on the back of a sign, and you have a cache. No need to do any maintenance; just archive it when problems arise and toss a dozen more just like it out there! Does anyone really believe that a single cacher can adequately maintain 100's of caches? One of the first things I read on this site when I discovered geocaching back in 2001 (that's right, 10 years ago!) was that just because a person could hide a cache somewhere, didn’t mean that they should hide one there. Back then, cachers actually took that statement seriously. In other words, when you hide a cache, don’t hide it just for the sake of hiding a cache. Take me to a location that I would enjoy even if I don’t find the cache. Show me a great view, or a unique geologic formation, or a site with some interesting fact or history behind it. In short, take me to a location that I would enjoy going to even if I DNF the cache. Make me smile just because of where I am, or what I learned, or what I saw. My kids and I used to enjoy caching, because we used to enjoy both the journey and the destination. I very seldom cache anymore, and am usually disappointed when I do, because nearly every cache has no purpose other than to “be”. The journey is thoughtless, and the destination is even worse. Sorry if I ruffled anyone’s feathers here, but I just miss the quality that has seemingly disappeared in exchange for quantity.
  10. I also have been geocaching since nearly the beginning (2001), and one of the requirements of placing a cache has always been the obligation to maintain it. It is a physical impossiblity to adequately maintain thousands of caches. Period. What he's doing is placing "throw-aways", and rather than maintaining them, simply archives them as soon as they need maintainence. But even then, he leaves them out there as geo-litter rather than doing the honorable thing and removing them (which would open the area up for others to place caches). So while you may respect him, IMO that respect is misplaced.
  11. Here's my take on the situation; I started caching way back in the beginning (2001) when caching was a fun inexpensive hobby/game. IMO, it's gone downhill since then. More caches are thrown out there simply because they can be, rather than because they should be. The quantity is way up, the quality is way down. Then Groundspeak started offering Premium memberships. Now you had to pay for additional features. Fine, not a problem. Worth it for those that cache alot, while still allowing the occasional cacher a way to cache for free (which, I remind everyone, Groundspeak always, always, always promised would be available). But then comes the smartphone revolution. IMO, Groundspeak has, and continues to miss the entire boat. I really don't think they understand the whole smartphone thing; they still are operating like the only way to geocache is with a GPS specific device. Originally, their target audience was quite limited; hikers, backpackers, outdoorsmen...and just a few others willing to spend a couple hundred dollars on a device that did nothing more than pinpoint their location. But that has changed; now nearly everyone now has a smartphone, opening up geocaching to 100 times more people. With that huge number of smartphone users, increasing exponentially every single day, an official app costing $1 or $2 (as well as a lite, ad-supported version for free) would make Groundspeak a fortune. Instead, they charge one the most expensive rates out there for an app that is by many accounts inferior to a number of low cost or free apps. There are literally millions of apps out there for Android, and perhaps 5% of them cost more than $5, most are $2 or less, and that's not counting the huge number of free apps (lite or otherwise). None of the other caching apps (that do meet the TOU) are that expensive, why should GC's be? IMO, $10 is too expensive even if it didn't have the multiple problems that it seems to have. Groundspeak, by insisting on charging $10 for their app, accomplishes nothing other than alienating potentially millions of new geocachers, many of whom would increase GS's bottom line by purchasing their low cost app and many even becoming Premium members. Or maybe GS sees this as a way to "thin the ranks" of geocachers to only those who are hardcore and willing to spend even more $, which would relieve the pressure on their servers?????
  12. Amazing. Many of you complaining about this software refuse to even try it. Others try it, but quit because you're not sure how to do something that you know how to do in GSAK. Really? So I guess that you instinctively knew exactly how to accomplish every needed/wanted task in GSAK the very first time you installed and tried it? I don't buy that. I tried GSAK myself. I'm not extremely computer savvy. It was extremely complicated for me, not very user-friendly, so I quit using it. Had I stuck with it, I would eventually have learned how to do what I wanted/needed to do. Which is exactly the same thing with this new software. I have manufactured products in the past, and marketed & sold those products, quite successfully. I have always freely admitted that "my" product could never be the "best" product for everyone, since everyone has different needs/desires/priorites. GSAK is good, no doubt. Is it the best for everyone? No. Period. And anyone who tries to argue that point is blind. Rather than bad-mouthing the OP, give the software a fair chance. Try it out for awhile. What have you got to lose? You may find, after getting used to it, that you really like some aspects of it. Or not. For those of you actually giving it a try and giving constructive criticism, good job. For the others; no one is twisting your arm. Geeez, give the guy a break.
  13. I have a Droid X, and have used it, along with my Magellan SporTrak Pro to geocache. My DX works very well, but I would never trust it's coordinates to hide a cache. My Magellan is always more accurate. Show someone else how to use the GPS app on your iPhone. Someone who was not with you when you placed the cache. If they can follow the iPhone's app to within 10-15 feet of where you placed the cache, great. If not, don't activate the cache until you can get someone with an actual GPSr to get better coordinates.
  14. Your comments about a challenge to open the box concern me a bit. If it is that difficult to figure out how to open, it will likely get destroyed. Others may disagree, but once I finally locate a cache, I don't want to miss out on being able to log it because I can't open the thing. Some may resort to simply hacking it open instead. Rather than making the box difficult to open, consider making it a challenge to find instead. One of the things that I read somewhere when I first started caching way back in '02 was this: Just because you "can" place a cache somewhere, doesn't mean you "should" place a cache there. In other words, take me to a location that I would enjoy even if there was no cache there to find. A great view, an unknown jewel of a park, a unique natural formation, an interesting historical spot...Show me something, teach me something, make me smile. Make me glad I came, even if someone has muggled your cache. To me, that is the most valuable "guideline" to cache placement. If you can do that, you will have placed a "successful" cache.
  15. No it doesn't!! It only signals a lack of imagination when the cache lacks imagination. Size has NOTHING to do with it. An ammo can stuck in a hollow log or under a rock shows more imagination than, say, a fake mushroom? Let's get over this absurd stereotype. A good cache is size-irrelevant, as is a lame cache. Point taken, but your quote of my post takes only the first part of what I said, without the context of the explanation that followed. Perhaps I should have said "lack of effort", instead. None of these micros are unique or ingenius containers, like a fake mushroom. They are simply tiny containers (altoids, pill bottle, etc.) placed where a larger cache could easily have been stashed with a just bit of thought. And as far as I'm concerned, there's very few reasons to hide a micro out in the woods, even if it is a unique or ingenious container. Use that talent to make a micro invisible to muggles in high-muggle areas, but out in the woods where there is plenty of room to hide a larger container, put in the effort to do so. Perhaps even an ingeniously disguised one. But a micro? Sorry, I don't buy it. That's just lazy.
  16. Ammo cans by far. Large Lock n Locks, or any large or medium cache actually. I don't have anything against micros, per se, except when they are placed where a much larger cache could have been placed. To me that signals a lack of imagination. Most urban hides have to be small or micro, but I get annoyed when I hike into the wilderness just to find a micro hidden in a tree or rock outcropping, in an area that would easily accomodate a 5 gallon bucket! Come on people, that's the best that you could come up with? In my area, there are a few cachers who's goal seems to be simply how many caches they can place. So they blanket the area with micros, and most of the locations could easily accomodate a small or medium cache, at least. My kids used to really enjoy caching, in part because of the SWAG. Yes, most of it is cheap, or even junk, and the quality of SWAG deteriorates rapidly, but when you open a medium to large cache (or even a small), there's still always the chance that there is going to be something really neat inside. That possibility made caching that much more fun. But with the proliferation of log-only micros, that thrill seems to be disappearing. Now the only time they want to go caching with me is if we are going to hike off the beaten path. And then what do we find? More micros!
  17. A cable is definitely something you need to put on your "get" list for downloading caches into your GPS (it will become a "must have" the first time you spend 2 hours looking for a cache in the wrong location because you transposed a couple of numbers when you manually inputted the coordinates! ) In the meantime though, you could simply download a bunch of caches, and open the .loc file with EasyGPS and print one page with all of the caches and their coordinates listed on one page. I do have a cable, and use EasyGPS to transfer caches to my GPS, but first I edit the file to add a few details (truncated hint, terrain & difficulty). When I print the page, every cache that I'm seeking that day is on one sheet, and I can also use that sheet to pencil in notes during the day, like what I took/left, any pertinant info for the online log later, etc.
  18. Amazing. 4 answers, and not one of them told him the full truth. Yes, you can, without being a Premium member. If you do a search for caches, the page comes up with a list, starting with the ones closest to your search location. On the right hand side of the screen are boxes for each cache. Mark the box of each cache you want downloaded, and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Download Waypoints. Keep in mind that if you are a regular member, the cache information will only include the waypoint name and coordinates in a .loc file, which is sufficient to load into your GPS & go caching. Premium members, however, get a .gpx file with much more info, such as hints, terrain & difficulty, etc.
  19. Here is the text of an article I wrote a few years ago that was published in the online geocaching mag. It's a bit long, but has quite a bit of good info. Pack Heavy, Pack Light You CAN Carry It All! By 4x4van A couple of years ago, I discovered geocaching, and after our first find, my two youngest kids (Sabrina and Anthony, then 9 & 11) and I were "hooked". But as our "find" count increased, so did the difficulty level of many of our cache excursions. While I thought nothing as a kid of spending the entire day hiking in the canyons near my home with only a BB gun and a pocket knife, as a parent, my primary job is keeping my own kids safe, and I wanted to be prepared for any contingency that might occur on the trail. I also felt that it was a good lesson to my kids to leave nothing to chance when venturing into the great outdoors. The question was, how could I carry supplies sufficient for a possible unplanned overnight stay in the wilderness (possibly while injured), while still maintaining a pack that's light enough and convenient enough for even a short one-hour hike? Fortunately, today's backpacking technology makes it possible. The first item purchased was what is known as a "hydropack". These are relatively small backpacks with an internal "bladder" for water, and are available in many sizes and configurations. Mine is only 8"w x 16"h x 6"d, and my son's is slightly smaller. Each has multiple pockets, padded shoulder straps, a waist belt, and a two-liter, freezable water bladder with a hose and "bite valve" allowing you to drink without stopping or removing a cap. An inexpensive "ball" style compass attached to one shoulder strap and a GPS carry case on the other strap completes each pack. Shop around for prices and styles; ours are good quality and yet cost less than $30 each. A first aid kit is a must for any long hike, and with careful planning, a small but full-featured kit can be assembled. While mine only measures about 3.5" in diameter x 5" long, it includes an instant icepack, Ace bandage, various sized band-aids, butterfly closures, gauze, adhesive tape, scissors, antiseptic, antibiotic cream, bugbite swabs, iodine swabs, alcohol pads, burn cream, poison ivy wipes, cotton balls/swabs, CPR mask, eyewash, smelling salts, Tylenol, Aspirin, Benadryll, chapstick, moleskin, and a snakebite kit. My son carries a bit smaller, less extensive kit as well. If you do end up stranded and must spend the night, a few well thought out items can make a huge difference. A 99 cent rain poncho, a silver mylar survival blanket, a couple of cyalume light sticks, and disposable handwarmers make an overnight stay bearable, even in inclement weather. Add a decent compass, a signal mirror, a whistle, a small flashlight (today's LED lights are bright, long lasting, and inexpensive), waterproof matches, flint/magnesium fire starter, and some rope ( I carry 50 feet of 1/4" nylon) and you're set. I've also added a couple of straps to the bottom of our packs that allow us to easily carry a tightly rolled sweatshirt or jacket. You never know when the weather is going to take a sudden turn for the worse! Of course, don't discount the value of simple creature comforts. I carry a small roll of toilet paper (roll it up and put it inside an empty cardboard toilet paper tube), a washrag, a hotel-sized bar of soap, bug repellent wipes, and sunscreen wipes, along with a good pocket knife, a leatherman-style multi-tool, a backpacker's cable-style saw, nylon cord and strap hardware (for pack repair), and of course some duct tape (wrapped around a pencil). Geocaching-specific items include ziplock bags, a trash bag (CITO!), a logbook and pencils, maps and cache notes, a credit card-style calculator, spare batteries, and of course SWAG. To finish it all off in a high-tech way, a pedometer, cell phone, camera and mini-tripod, and occasionally even two-way FRS radios. For munchies we usually carry some beef jerky, granola bars, and trail mix, along with a couple of extra bottles of water if it's particularly hot out or we are planning on a longer hike. Overkill? Some would certainly say so, and hopefully I will never need 90% of what I carry. But, what if I do? I've known people who have spent an unplanned night in the wilderness without being prepared, and they were not a pretty sight when they came out the next day. And believe it or not, my pack weighs in at only about 12-13 pounds, including water, which makes it convenient as well as effective. So, take it from me, with a little thought you can pack heavy while still packing light!
  20. Now that is a cool idea for an event "log"!!!! "Don't forget to sign the log" I hope that after the event, they coated those with some type of marine spar varnish or something to protect and preserve the signatures.
  21. $300-$400 is overkill, IMO, for beginning geocaching, and is not what Iwould consider "a little more" than $100. You should be able to find everything you will possibly need for around $200. Still higher than your budget, but much closer. Particulrly check out the garage sale forums on this site, where there are often good deals for older but fully capable units (ie Meridians, etc.) for less than $200. More than $300 gets you more bells & whistles, but none that is required for geocaching. As for the older units with a serial cable rather than USB; many people have had luck with USB/serial converters using Vista. Do a search and you should be able to find some details on them.
  22. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the fact that a GPSr's reported accuracy is nothing more than the actual unit's "guess". While it may report an accuracy of 10 feet, it only arrives at that number by taking into consideration signal strength, satelite spread, etc., and then using it's built in software to estimate the likely accuracy. Every model uses slightly different calculations to arrive at that number, and since consumers want to see good numbers, my opinion is that every unit's guess probably errs on the positive rather than negative. Kinda like a Chevy telling you how good a Chevy is. Would you consider that an objective rating? Realistically, today's consumer GPSr's are probably accurate within 10-15 feet under normal conditions. Sightly better under ideal conditions, and worse under less than ideal. So even if we assume both the hider and the seeker are operating under normal conditions, it still leaves a legitimate search area of between 1250-2800 sq. ft. (20-30' radiius)!! And that is using every intention of an accurate listing. Even if the hider's GPS reported 5' accuracy and the seeker's GPS reports likewise, can you really believe those numbers? I'm generally happy if I find the cache within 20' of what I think to be GZ. Back to the OP, however, there is no excuse for intentionally inaccurate coordinates, IMO.
  23. And in my experience. when people insist on re-writing the definition of a known word to prove their point, it's because they are generally on pretty shaky ground otherwise. Once again, you assume to know what I meant, rather than listening to what I said. It must be nice to have the ability to read minds. What's ironic is the fact that you don't know that the feat was fact either. You weren't there, so it is only your opinion. No different than my opinion. Last time I checked, we (myself included) were all allowed to have an opinion. If that has changed, sorry, I missed the memo. Attacking or insulting me (or trying to tell me what I really mean) does nothing to change my opinion, other than perhaps my opinion of you. Since this is degenerating into an argument of the validity of opinions and definitions, I refuse to be dragged any further down the hole. I'm outta here.
  24. Wrong. Webster's: Cynic, n. one who believes that all people have selfish motives. A claim I never made.
  25. "doubt or question" is the definition of skepticism, not a lie. But if that's how you want to look at it , I guess that's your right. There are plenty of things in this world that I am not sure of. Things that I don't know as fact. Things that I wonder about. Things that have not been proven. Things that I have not personally seen. Does that mean I consider them all lies? Of course not. There are things that are improbable, but do occur. At the same time, there are things that are highly likely but don't occur. I would never be so presumptious to claim that I am "all knowing" and can tell whether everything in the world is true or false, black or white. Sometimes I just don't know. But evidently, you do. After all, you know what I "mean", rather than what I "say", right? And to think that I was under the impression that I should know what I mean. Thank you for setting me straight.
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