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Everything posted by KristenSh

  1. You might consider, along with the spare paper, carrying a little 'repair kit' with you ... small baggies and the like, tape, etc. It's a nice help to cache owners when minor repairs can be done like that. That said, I've found some with logs so soggy they weren't remotely signable ... so I log a Find and a Needs Maintenance, if I don't have spare paper. The pill bottle you described ought to have had a bag over the log to help it out anyway. Good luck with your hide! Be sure to mark all the attributes that will give your seekers fair warning!
  2. Have you found a lot of caches yet? (I ask because your profile only lists one.) If not, there may be some rules that you thought made sense but are better understood after you've had more practice. If you've got lots of practice, then it's probably just a matter of time. The first thing I tried to list was an event, and it kept getting turned down by the reviewer till finally it was too late to list it. I think we were misunderstanding each other on what the intent of the event was, so in my case it helped me to learn to be more specific about how I worded things ... and to start the process a whole lot sooner! Recently we hid our first actual cache, and it went very smoothly. Sometimes the reviewers can see things you might not be aware of, like members-only caches located too close to your hide, and they'll let you know. Sometimes they're just backed up with lots of other caches to review (weather's getting nice now with spring!) and it just takes time. Lots of luck with it!
  3. Geocaching is a blast with kids ... if you go about it right. If you read a map wrong and end up on a two-mile hike when you expected a mere twenty-minute search, then they get a little irritated. (Ask me how I know...) We homeschool too, and geocaching and letterboxing make great breaks in the routine. Depending on where you are, you might even be able to get started without a GPSr (GPS receiver). In our city, there are a zillion micros (the diabolically hidden tiny ones), and Google Maps has great satellite zoom ... so I'd print out the cache description, and as good a zoomed map as I could, and we'd start with that. Plus a guy in our area took all the local trail maps and put the coordinates on them, and made PDFs, so we found a few trail caches that way. That was how we knew we'd be interested enough to invest in a handheld (and even then, I got a secondhand one). I know not all areas have so many that there are lots of easy ones to choose from, and I know that not all maps zoom in so well (found one nearby city whose satellite view turns out to be all clouds!), but it's worth a shot. If you can find a local group, that's a great way to start. Or just enter your address, coordinates, zip code, or whatever, and let the website tell you the nearest caches ... look at the easier-rated ones, and see what interests you, and read the logs. The names that pop up the most often are gonna be the cachers who know the area best, and most of them would be willing to point you in the right direction if you send them a message. They can help you find local meet-ups and events too. Good luck on your searches! And have fun with the homeschooling!
  4. I know nothing about how to get it approved, but I would caution against things like a 'chest freezer' ... make sure it's not big enough for a child! Refrigerator safety and all that ... once those suckers close, they do NOT open from the inside ... so make sure to make any truly large cache very very safe. Just a Public Service Announcement from a paranoid mama.
  5. On the other hand, perhaps it's a good way not to get lost on a trail, LOL ... I was on a trail today that is NOT well marked, except for the occasional blazes (got lost the first time I ventured on a small portion of it, so I went with a large group today). I must say, although power trails for the purpose of filling up map space sounds really annoying, there are definitely some hiking trails that might benefit from them! (You can bet I was tagging waymarks every time we stopped to rest or see some sight. But I never did spot the caches that were in the general area ... no time to look, keeping up with a group.)
  6. It must depend on the category ... I found one that was actually referenced in a geocache but had for some reason never been tagged as a waymark, so maybe mentioning that helped speed up the process for me. Have you looked at the Wherigo stuff? You can use it to make GPS games or tours or whatever ... an art tour with all your waymarks as part of the Wherigo adventure would be a pretty nifty thing for your community. And you could also include them as a multi-cache or something (some Wherigos end in real caches, and some don't ... but we don't have much in my area for me to try out). If at least one of those art formations is near something unique in a geological, nature kind of way, you might do them as Earth Caches too. Lots of luck!
  7. KristenSh


    Thank you for these links! They are a great help!
  8. I would ditto carrying a printout, and some brochures or little business cards with the website, or something. Might get new hobby converts, and it definitely adds legitimacy. Toting around small kids with you also tends to deflect suspicion, even if it does also draw attention ... you might grab some kids to babysit and earn money at the same time. If your area has occasional meet-ups, find some and go with others in a group ... let THEM do the talking. Or scroll through comments on some of the ones you've chosen to hunt ... you may find that some mention 'the employees know about this one' or 'Sundays are emptiest' or things like that. I know several in our area were tagged temporarily when the neighborhood was going through a spurt of robberies ... cachers were discouraged from adding to the confusion till it was all sorted out. So reading further logs can help you find out those helpful tidbits.
  9. Also, the Find number can be very misleading ... the number of caches I've sought, and been in the right place, only to discover they'd been muggled, or deactivated while the (experienced!) hider realized he needed permission for the location, or destroyed by weather ... I think I'd have another ten or twenty finds! (I'm at about 40+ right now, plus various letterboxes that of course wouldn't show up on stats here.) Found yet another today that had met with misfortune (could see the cache but could not access due to its falling in a storm drain!). So ... you never know. On the other hand, if you've had to deal with an unusually large number of badly done listings ... I am sorry. I am sure that must get very frustrating to those who've been doing this forever. Hopefully the ones that have bugged you will learn from their first attempts, and do better the next time. This just happens to be one of those hobbies that inspires folks to go out and give it a try.
  10. I like the variety of answers! We'll be placing our first soon, I hope ... I think I'm around 40+ finds or so now, been going since spring. But we also letterbox, and so we have that extra experience thrown in. I want to do our first plant very soon because it's going to be our tenth anniversary, and since it's geocaching's tenth as well, that seemed pretty cool. So I want to plant it in a significant spot. Just need to double-check the coordinates with my husband's gps app to compare, and also trying to seek the park ranger for permission (nothing there states that it's required, and there are many others along the same trails, but we want to be thorough). My biggest concern is that it might overlap some other unseen cache (not Premium members yet) ... but if so, we can adjust. The timing is too cool to pass up. We (me and my kids) planted our first letterbox pretty soon after our first few finds, we were that excited. (We live in a cache-dense area, but not so many letterboxes ... we've had modest success but those who have found ours seemed to like them pretty well. One is nearby in a park, one is in a library. We had a blast making them and planning clues.) At the very least, I'm jotting down ideas for places or themes or containers as I get them, so I'll have that to work with. And I do have a goal of beating my in-laws ... they have a ton more finds than us as cachers, and they're the ones that got me interested in this ... but they've never gotten around to hiding one. So I want to be first so they can find it! LOL.
  11. Never give up hope ... I found a travel something the other day that wasn't supposed to be in the cache, and turns out it had gone missing some time before ... someone picked it up in one state without logging it, others noted on that cache's description that it was apparently gone, and then months later it turns up in a cache in my area, also not logged as dropped. Presumably someone who caches while travelling and just didn't make a note about that one ... maybe lost in the bottom of their suitcase or something. Anyway, it's back in circulation now! Found a lost letterbox that way too ... I didn't realize it had been marked inactive, and we happened to find it ... contacted the owner and logged the find on its website ... so hopefully that one will be popular again. You just never know. I think too ... that "Owner hasn't set collectible preference" might confuse folks ... they might just keep it and not realize they should tag it that way or something. I've been soooo tempted to keep some of the neat stuff I've found ... but so far we keep moving it along...
  12. You might consider adding letterboxing to your route, as well. No swag, but collecting the cool stamps is just as fun for kids, and picking out one of your own (or learning to carve them) is pretty cool too. (I usually take both my kids, nearly 9 and nearly 6, on my hunts ... they got burned out after too many micros with DNFs, but they love the finds ... they prefer the swaps or the stamps, but even a clever micro is exciting when you are the one who finds it. And they've got good eyes!) Another thought ... plan ahead and see which ones have travel bugs and such ... some of those are just AWESOME, and the fun of looking it up online, finding out its mission and where it's been, and then picking the just-right place to set it loose again ... that's an adventure in itself. They'll no doubt be begging to set their own travellers loose soon after!
  13. Some caches around here are themed ... there's one where you only swap coins, one which is for movie-related swag and old DVDs, one for keychains, and even one for regifting something you got out of another cache. That can be one way to make sure not all your area caches are just kiddie toys. Me, I carry a mix of stuff so that I can restock empty ones besides just letting my kids swap. (I buy lots of stuff at thrift stores, and the bundle bags of toys or tools or craft supplies always have good stuff that I don't need in addition to whatever I bought the bag for ... so I set the small items aside for swap.) I love the bookcrossing idea, and I've seen people mention leaving the Where's George dollars too.
  14. We started without a GPS. We started with letterboxing (which I'd always been curious about) and attempted a geocache trail for Earth Day at a local nature preserve. The geocache trail was a disaster (badly planned, poorly laid out, and no instruction for newbies, which was supposed to be the point of that event) but I was still interested. So along with letterbox hunts, we took more obvious-sounding caches and really really enlarged Google Maps, and began to find a few. Someone in our area also did some gorgeous trail maps with latitude and longitude on them, for most of the local parks .. those are great for gauging how long the hike might be, at least (spared us more than one long journey unexpectedly!). You have to be determined, creative, and patient ... but some of them can be done. But for more than the easiest, you really will need some sort of GPS, or good math and compass skills plus a topo map (like a previous poster said). If my skills were better, I'd love to do it that way ... no battery worries! We still letterbox too ... wish there were more in our area that didn't require long hikes. We've got some great stamp carvers around here.
  15. If there were a lot of leaves, etc, around ... it can be worth posting a DNF on the cache page ... if it really has gone missing, the owner will at least have a chance to respond. Sometimes that happens. We went caching in a neighboring town because of a relative's wedding ... picked three that were supposed to be easy and right near the main road ... and three for three not found. One was in a park, a regular size, and presumably had been muggled, given the amount of trash in the vicinity. One was on a "Welcome to X" sign and, judging by the past logs, is magnetic and falls off and gets lost regularly. Had we known, we might have dug through the leaves ... or not ... as it was a micro. The third, I forget what happened, but it was a similar story. We had the right spot ... just no luck that day. We letterbox as well as geocache, and after seeking a clue to one box, the hider told me about a geocache in the same area. Never would have found either if I hadn't asked ... but found both on the next try, due to the extra hint. And one in my area, regular size, keeps getting rehidden too hard ... when I couldn't find it a couple times in a row (and had a buddy giving me a hard time about it), some previous finders went to check on it and even THEY couldn't find it ... turns out someone shoved it a little too far up the hollow tree ... it was there all along ... turned a difficulty 1 into at least a 3! So you never know ... it's worth logging the ones you've not found, especially if you've looked more than once, so you can get a hint or the cache owner can be aware of problems. Post some codes and see if folks can steer you towards some specific ideas!
  16. I'd be concerned about potential damage to the stones and arrangements, and that may be what the clue-giver was trying to imply ... no need to tear up the markers, as it wasn't there! That said, if the foliage is brushing the tombstone ... that's close. Either he hasn't seen the foliage growing (if it's in the south, you wouldn't believe how fast some of this stuff can creep!), or it was just plain wrong. I would also think that a cemetery would fall under the private property, ask permission guidelines. Found one recently where my dad, his ancestors, and all the way back to historical stuff are buried ... it was tastefully off to the side, and I swear it's going to make me laugh every time I attend a future funeral there. I want to do one near the entrance honoring the veterans, if it doesn't fall too close to the other one. Other than that, if it wasn't MY kin, I wouldn't place it. (Personally, I think my dad would either think it was a blast or we're all crazy. Wish I could ask him. But I suspect the other family members who care for the nearby plots might be a little offended if they were near the actual dearly beloveds.)
  17. I have to admit, my kids and I would've been crushed too ... but I would have also stated we were new, and my kids are young anyway, so probably any seasoned cacher would've given hints and let the kids do the actually find, if possible. I hope that's what I'd do. The only time it's happened to us was the other way around ... we were hunting a cache, and on the trail spotted someone in about the right area. We hollered over and asked if she was geocaching, and had a good laugh about not being inconspicuous (which she was, as we were well in the woods!), and then we asked if we could join her and sign it, or if we should wait till she'd re-hidden it and then try. She was fine with us coming up, it saved us what would've have been a MUCH harder search than I thought, and we made a new friend. Very cool. When we took our Cub Scouts caching this weekend, I had the more experienced kids hold back a bit and let the others have more of the thrill of the find ... we were using mostly locations at least one of us adults had spotted before, to show them the ropes. Worked out very well.
  18. If it makes you feel better, we're relatively new too. In fact (shh... don't tell on me!) several of our first finds (and DNFs) were based on printouts with clues, and large blown-up Google maps. I now have a handheld GPS (testing it out before the return expires), and my husband's got a Droid phone with GPS. Success rate has gone up ... but that's also due to getting used to looking the way local geocachers do. My kids (poor guinea pigs) now think we should just look under every lamp skirt we pass, just in case. A few times, we'd not find things, only to come back and find the owner had (in between my printing and the search!) disabled the thing temporarily, or a well-meaning newbie had confiscated a micro because of an upcoming event in the area where he was afraid it would get muggled (not realized some visitors might actually be seeking it that day!). So sometimes it's NOT you or your equipment. My GPS, maps, and compass have all been wonky at times, even when I really WAS standing at precisely ground zero ... get within fifteen feet or so and you're doing good, and then it's clues and eyes and detective work from there. Definitely go for bigger ones if you can, preferably with very recent find dates (a string of them is best!). Try a few without the kids. Get a friend with a different GPS to go along at the same time, and compare notes. See if there's a meetup in your area where you can tag along and get some tips and experience (helped me out!). You might also see about searching for letterbox hybrids, as those tend to have more actual clues to help you out (or can be cross-listed on the letterboxer websites, and will have more clues there). That might be a way to get started. Lots of luck! It really does get fun once you start finding them, and the Did Not Finds become some really funny stories.
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