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Kite and Hawkeye

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Posts posted by Kite and Hawkeye

  1. I use two links to do most of my searching: the "from your home coordinates" link off of my cache page, and the "nearest" link off a particular cache's page. I almost never use the search page, since those two links give me everything I want. Now, though, there's no way to get filtered results out of those links. (The old 'grouping' results were fine for the purpose, but the new ungrouped results are harder to sort through.) I see that "from home coords" is going to be added as a possibility on the new advanced search page, which will be cool, but often I find myself at a particularly interesting cache's page, and I want to know what's nearby, so I click the nearest caches link. As someone already suggested, perhaps making the filter options sticky, so that any search I do while logged in will show only unfound caches until I turn the option off, would be useful.

     

    The big issue underlying that comment, though, is that the ungrouped display is currently rather hard to skim. I'm finding the mingling of found and unfound caches to be confusing, but I think I will get used to it and perhaps like it in the future... as long as it becomes easier to distinguish the found from the unfound. Plenty of good suggestions have been offered already about using background colors or text colors to do this.

     

    The font is unreadably tiny in my Netscape 4.7, both Windows and Mac. This isn't the first site where a website's tweak has caused such behavior; I'm trying to get used to IE, since I'm not about to stop geocaching, but since this IS the feedback thread I thought I'd mention it.

     

    I'm a bit confused as to one thing: when I look up my public profile, and click on the number of caches I've found, I often like to skim for ones that have been found since I found them, to read the new logs. When I do this now, though, in the "Last Found" column, the green and the black dates always match. Both dates indicate the date *I* found the cache. I thought the black 'last found' date was supposed to be the objective 'last date anyone found the cache,' not a me-specific date (that's what the green date is for). I know many of the caches in this list were found more recently than the black date indicates. And I'd much prefer the actual DATE on either/both of these displays, not "two months ago." I don't know how much of that's a server load issue, though.

  2. I don't think we get two votes. If we do, though -- I (Kite) write most of the logs and forum posts. When I told Hawkeye the cache had been plundered, I think his comment was, "Yeah, it was too big." So I guess we've got one vote for and one against, and we cancel one another out with a little implosion.

     

    I see that Lorenzo's Gold and Lua's Cache are also MIA?? Plundering one cache is bad enough, but it's really rotten to see a whole park's worth of them destroyed. Seems more premeditated than "oh, some kids must have happened across the cache." I don't see how anyone could've known where yours was ahead of time, though. Oh, we could *guess*, and there was a certain poetic justice to it, but we'd never have actually found the thing without doing all the puzzles. Guess it was dumb bad luck.

  3. For our 100th find, we wanted to do "Frogs on a Mission," because I always leave little rubber frogs when I visit caches. Unfortunately, there was another cache between us and the frog cache (don't you hate when that happens?). Hawkeye couldn't bear the thought of walking right by it, and said we should log it as #100 instead. I grumbled, but agreed.

     

    While walking toward the cache, we ran into a family with some kids and a GPS. They were very near the cache. With all the people milling about, it was kind of crowded, so after introducing ourselves, we decided to do a loop instead and hit Frogs on a Mission first. Yay! We found the cache, logged our #100, and turned back to hit the other cache on our return. It was missing! Guess the people caching with the kids were a little too conspicuous :/.

     

    Not that thrilling an adventure, I'll grant, but it involved frogs and the mysterious disappearance of a cache within a half-hour time window. We're approaching #200 now, and don't have any particular caches in mind for it. I'm sure something will suggest itself icon_smile.gif.

  4. quote:

    1. According to the product info sheet, the geko 201 had a position accuracy of 3 meters vs. etrex at 15 meters.


     

    I've never been quite sure what that meant -- that your everyday GPS will give you accuracy of 15 meters or better 95% of the time, or something like that? Because on an average day, we've got 20-foot accuracy estimates most of the time. We have the occasional drop to 35 or 40 feet, but we've never had to find a cache relying on accuracy that poor. Well, except that one time downtown, where signal bounce was so bad we were hundreds of feet off at times, but that was unusual...

  5. We've had a rash of caches requiring swimming, boating or snorkeling in our area. Half of them are rated terrain 2, including the one that says "cache is an easy find.... that is if you either don't mind swimming a LONG way, or if you have a boat." The encrypted hint says, "don't swim, take a boat"!! Tough to be told that once you're on the island and can't locate the cache, eh?

  6. A cable isn't a MUST, but you would be astonished how much easier it will make life. Toggling those little buttons to input all the digits of a waypoint gets annoying if you do more than a few in a day. We have an etrex cable that doubles as a car power adapter -- even if we never downloaded coordinates, it saves pointless battery drain. Amazon, for some reason, often sells this dual pc/cigarette lighter cable very cheap. (Though not right now, sorry.)

     

    As for what unit to get on a budget -- with the various sales and rebates going on, you can find a bunch of different units for approximately $100 or even less. Honestly, I wouldn't sweat finding the Perfect GPS too much. They all do the job. You should probably decide one thing ahead of time: whether you consider some mapping capability essential. (They'll all plot your track and some waypoints for you -- I'm talking about actual city maps, or topo maps.) It's not *necessary*, but we've occasionally thought topo maps would be nice. We glance over them at home, though, so it's not a big deal. We've never felt the lack of anything else -- not WAAS, not an electronic compass, none of the bells and whistles.

     

    We've done nearly 200 caches with a yellow etrex. Using a cheap GPS doesn't handicap you in any way, or make the caches any harder to find. If you can get a fancier unit for less money than the yellow, heck, go for it. But don't agonize. Any and all GPS units will get you to the cache. We've never had any trouble holding a decent signal in canyons, under tree cover, etc. We've never failed to find a cache in a way we could blame on the GPS. Whatever you buy, you really can't go wrong. (Okay, I think you can do better than the geko 101, but considering that more featureful units are available for the same price, that's kind of a no-brainer.)

  7. I believe should log them, backdated to the appropriate dates. I don't think it's necessary or reasonable to make him go back and find the caches again, and how else is he going to get them off his nearest list? Anyway, he has visited them, so it's all legit.

  8. quote:
    Originally posted by Parsa:

    I have realized that unless I have creative help, I may not complete a very cool cache I've been working on that will blow people's socks off. I need help placing it and would be happy to be co-owner with someone

     

    Parsa


     

    Okay, now we're curious. What do you need? Email us (kite@execpc.com) if we can be of help.

  9. If the new spot you have in mind is adequately secure, I'd say keep using the huge box. It's a lot of fun, at the end of a marathon hunt like that, to reach the mother of all caches. On the other hand, if you can't find somewhere suitably remote (or a hidey-hole big enough), a smaller box wouldn't be tragic either. Just as long as it's not a gladware sandwich box icon_smile.gif. My first impulse, when I heard that the cache needed re-stocking, was to gather up all the HUGE stuff I can't fit in any other caches, but I'm sure we could find some nice small items too. A smaller cache with quality items would be just as appealing. How's all that for a non-answer?

     

    (By the way, aren't you going to log the #3 Commuter Cache? We've been wondering if you had any luck with any of the others, too -- kablooey beat us to #4, which was looking just as bare as #3 by the time we found it. We called it a night after that. Hunting caches for the swag is really never rewarding. Except for Off to See a Wizard... I really absolutely NEEDED that cat paperweight, and was petrified that someone would beat us to the cache and take it. It resides in a place of honor with the three other things I've really wanted to keep after doing nearly 200 caches -- a domino, a ceramic walnut, and two little cat-shaped chopstick holders. No accounting for taste, is there?)

  10. *Sigh* Okay, don't do it for the swag. I'm very sorry to hear the cache got vandalized. The container *was* huge, but it was so well camouflaged I thought it would survive in its original location.

     

    I'd be happy to donate some stuff for the replacement, when a new site is found. Since we found the original, will we just be given coords for the replacement so we can stop by? icon_wink.gif.

  11. I'm not crazy about virtuals. Okay, I actually dislike them quite a lot. BUT, I don't think shoehorning them into multis is the answer. If the point of this virtual is to see a local historic site where a physical cache couldn't be placed, I don't think the experience is going to be improved by proceeding to travel a quarter of a mile away to find tupperware under a bush. Don't get me wrong, I love multis with virtual components, but it's hard to do a good themed multi. It's a different project entirely.

     

    In a case like this, it seems like it would be difficult to find a secondary location nearby that had anything to do with the historic value of the site. It seems like saying a potential virtual somehow ought to be made part of a multicache is just going to encourage lousy multis, where a physical cache gets chucked into the nearest green space, whether THAT location has any merit or not. If the point of the 'cache' is one particular location, and that location has no potential for a physical cache, within reason, then that location should be okay for a virtual. It's one thing if there's a path through a park on your way to the virtual site, etc -- but a cache that said, "Okay, here's the Fabulous Historical Site of 1843... and here's the final cache site, an empty lot!" would, well, suck.

     

    Not addressing whether graveyard virts are good or bad (they are getting kinda old), the merits of this particular insance, etc... just saying that"make it a multi" sounds like a bit of a bandaid solution. Some virts would convert well to being a stage of a multi. Others wouldn't. d

  12. We still use cache count to motivate ourselves to get off our butts and actually do some hiking. We did our first hundred in six months, and we'll have no trouble getting our second hundred by the end of June. It's not that we're very competitive -- there are local teams that rack up numbers a lot faster than we do, and we'll never catch them. The numbers are only for our own satisfaction. All of our 8-11 cache days have been due mostly to luck -- finding a whole bunch of urban micros not far from one another on a couple of weekends. That was fun, in its own way, but we also don't rush the hikes when we go for more difficult caches. The ideal, for us, is to find a set of caches in the same park, so we can stroll around at length and also find some boxes of mctoys, but that's not always feasible icon_smile.gif.

  13. I don't think we've ever been last to find a cache that subsequently went missing, but we've been first to NOT find a missing cache quite a few times. Once, we passed a team that was hunting for a cache, and by the time we returned from a different cache, 45 minutes later, the first cache was gone! (And no, the team before us didn't steal it. They were, I'm sure, fine, upstanding cachers. Who were apparently observed.) We also recently found a vandalized cache -- contents scattered around on the ground in the middle of some, um, human waste. Ugh. Once, we had to take a cache with us because we couldn't put it back stealthily (we returned the next day), but I still think that's better than being the dreaded Last to Find. I mean, isn't there always this dark cloud of "didn't I hide it well enough? was someone watching me?" hanging over you when something goes missing shortly after your find?

  14. All coordinates stored in your GPS are called waypoints. It's just a handy term. If there's more than one waypoint involved (like, if they give you parking coordinates, then the cache coordinates), you can go from waypoint to waypoint to find the cache. Usually, though, there's only one waypoint (set of coordinates) provided: that of the cache itself. Unless you're using the cable and some GPS-related computer software, you input coordinates by going to 'mark a waypoint,' then editing those coordinates to match the ones given for the cache (at the top of the cache page, usually, but read the cache description because occasionally they'll say "the cache isn't really at those coordinates..." and explain something more complicated). Uploading coordiantes with the cable is a LOT easier and faster, but if you haven't got a cable and/or would rather just get out and find a cache or two before playing with the software, you can manually enter them via the "mark" function.

     

    When you enter/mark a waypoint, your gps will automatically assign it a name. Something inspiring like "001." After a few of these, you will probably be unable to remember what's what. Since you have six characters to play with, and you want to be able to label the waypoints more clearly, the geocaching site makes up a waypoint name -- that's the "Use waypoint GCxxxx" thing. Personally, we don't find GC67X3 any easier to remember than 001, so we make up abbreviated cache names that will fit in six characters and actually mean something to us. Our "Frogs On Guard" cache would abbreviate to "FROGOG" in our system. This is completely personal preference. You can call the cache waypoint anything you want.

     

    And I don't know a thing about EasyGPS for Groundspeak, so I can't help you there. Hawkeye's tweaked some linux software for us to be able to download, but I just nod and smile a lot while he does it.

     

    quote:
    Originally posted by leviathan:

    Thanks to all of you who answered my last post.However, I have more questions.

     

    1) Are these caches found by going from waypoint to waypoint?

     

    2) I have a Garmin eTrex vista, and from what I can gather from the manual the only way to enter coordinates is as waypoints, am I missing something?

     

    3) Do you use the coordinates at the upper left of the cache description page?

     

    4) Also in that upper left area it says "use waypoint: GC3EA8. What do you do with this info.?

     

    5) What is this "EasyGPS for Groundspeak" business?

     

    Thanks,

    leviathan


  15. quote:
    Originally posted by leviathan:

    Is it just a matter of plugging in the coordinates, jumping in the car and finding these things or is there something else to it?

    Thanks,

    Leviathan


     

    Click on the mapquest link... it'll likely give you a better idea of where to drive than the coordinates will. You can usually park pretty close to a (sub)urban cache. In a park or wilderness, look for trails, and trust the trails. Unless the cache description says something and/or the terrain rating is very hard, trails will take you very close to the cache. Even if the trail starts heading off in the wrong direction, most of the time it'll curve back around. You're very unlikely to have to go through 300 feet of brush. Don't be a slave to the little GPS arrow.

     

    And, to go along with that.. pick fairly easy caches for your first few outings. Pick caches where the recent logs are finds, and the finders don't say things like "This was demonically difficult, it took all afternoon." Don't be ashamed of reading the hints. Once you've found a few, you'll have a much better idea of how everything works.

  16. Early in our caching career, there was a nearby cache that kept skunking us. On our second or third attempt, we were about ready to give up again, when another team happened by. They knew where the cache was already, so they watched us search fruitlessly for a long time. At least we were good for a laugh. They finally had to tell us to look up.. yep, the thing was suspended on a rope twenty feet overhead. We've never again failed to think three-dimensionally.

     

    Sometimes, when we've run across other cachers at ground zero, they've wanted to re-hide the cache so we could find it ourselves, or they've wanted us to re-hide it when they weren't looking. Others just want to know how to put it back properly. How much contact other cachers want is a personal preference, though I certainly wouldn't hesitate to greet one in the field. Especially if they hear that you're new, they'd probably be happy to help out or give you some pointers.

  17. We were doing a multicache right after the San Diego geocacher's potluck this winter; I'd messed up the math and put in an incorrect coordinate, and as we hiked merrily down the trail we approached a couple sitting on a bench. I thought they looked vaguely familiar (but it was a crowded picnic). The woman lifted a small object to her ear and said something. "Isn't that an eTrex?" I asked Hawkeye. We were obviously holding a GPS ourselves, so I don't know why other geocachers would feel the need to hide from us, unless they found us REALLY SCARY at the picnic. Anyway, we passed them up, then realized our coordinate error and headed... right back to the bench they were sitting on. Yep, there was a tag with further coordinates right underneath it. No avoiding introductions this time! (We usually do greet other (suspected) geocachers, but we thought perhaps they wanted to be left alone, with the cell phone trick and all!)

  18. Maybe you should've mentioned in the cache description that a car is necessary... I think the cache hasn't been done in two months is because some people started walking right after the picnic, and they're not done yet...

     

    (Really, though, the container is HUGE! And FULL OF NEAT STUFF! I know you're not supposed to go geocaching for the swag, but man, do this one for the swag if for no other reason icon_smile.gif. And for the burros. Do it for the poor, lonely, terminally cute burros!)

  19. quote:
    Originally posted by Johnnyvegas:

    This is a cache in my area, only two people have even looked for . My guess is the mention of all the Poison Oak by the cache. I am going to mention this in my next Geocahing seminar on how not to Hide/Post a cache.

     

    http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?ID=70563

     

    The comment "there's plenty of poison oak, but it's easy to avoid" wouldn't dissuade a San Diego cacher for a minute. Any cache remotely near a creek is going to be surrounded by the stuff. I'd just be excited because he'd said it was avoidable!

  20. quote:
    Originally posted by nostafa:

    Thanks for the info all. Just my 2 cents, it would be great if the listings advised of the approximate length of the hike.


     

    A lot of cachers do include the length of the hike, though that sort of requires that they assume you'll be parking in a particular place (or that they're going to tell you where to park). Some cachers think that finding your own access point is part of the fun, or intentionally make it part of the challenge. We've driven to within 500 feet of some caches advertised as a mile-long walk, as well; there's often more than one way to approach a cache. (And then there's the one where we were flat-out told where to park, and tromped along a dry streambed for ages and ages, and then came out... onto a road. The placer just thought the long walk was more scenic. Grr.)

     

    Anyway, there are a lot of variables involved, but I'm happy to have any information the cache placer wants to provide.

  21. quote:
    ... a couple of stickers, or plastic bats, or sponges are not a fair trade for those things, in my opinion.

     

    Man, I'd love to find some plastic bats. If they're the glow in the dark kind, I'll be beside myself with joy. But a tennis ball? Blah. :D

  22. Originally posted by rayt333:

    I would also include what items I traded for in found caches. I have now discontinued this, once I seen how dumb it looked to others then I stopped doing it.

     

    Hmm. I've never thought including the line "took a golf ball, left a widget" looked dumb. I'm always interested in knowing what people took and left, even though I don't think that's the main point of the cache.

  23. quote:
    My question is this, do you find it better not to list the stuff or list it? Do you get more visits by not listing because people are curious?

     

    I like seeing lists; they intrigue me. If there's no list on a brand new cache, I assume it contains nothing interesting. The more description involved in the cache description, the more appealing the cache is to me. OTOH, you might not want to list some REALLY nice items, out of fear that a non-cacher seeing the page might come steal them. Sounds a bit paranoid, but if I put a $100 gold piece in the cache, I'd probably just comment obliquely that it had a first finder prize icon_smile.gif.

  24. quote:
    Originally posted by Navdog:

    You're placing a multi along a historic road and you can't find a place to put a physical cache? Doesn't seem like you are trying hard enough.


     

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but much of the road has been modernized and renamed, and it's uninterestingly lined with businesses unrelated to the history of the place. I've found several interesting bits and pieces -- a marker from where the road ran in 1908, a monument from where it split in 1935 (now in the middle of a well-manicured grassy public lawn -- nowhere to hide the cache there), even a short stretch of the old concrete in a park (which sounds like a great place to hide the cache, except that the park observes a strict no-leaving-the-trail policy). I'm trying to find ohter places that have significant ties to the history of the road. I don't want to say "here's three significant historical spots... and the grand finale, a modern pocket park." Nah. I'd really love to find some historically significant final location for this all to build up to. I don't think the cafe is necessarily it.. I'm just batting some ideas around. I'd like to make the final cache something larger than a micro, and something worth the trip. A little museum of memorabilia would be a great stop, if not a good final spot... pity that they serve food icon_smile.gif. So much of the history has been obliterated.. it's sad. But I'll keep researching, and try to find somewhere significant that still exists.

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