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Kite and Hawkeye

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Everything posted by Kite and Hawkeye

  1. My printer driver lets me choose how many pages to print per sheet. I can't read 'em when I do more than 2-up, though.
  2. I like multis where there's actually something hidden at every stage. Virtual waypoints where you take the third number of the year of the founding of whatsistown, or count the number of points on the Burger King's crown, or whatever, aren't nearly as much fun as finding something placed by the cache hider. I also like multis that take you along a particular path because that's the best or coolest way to get to the final, rather than just taking you up and down and around random places (and past a few more parking areas...) just for the heck of it. There are exceptions, though, like a loop that takes you back to your starting point, or a really cool puzzle multi that needs to cover some ground. I like puzzles that can be figured out in the field; needing to go home and figure stuff out is not fun.
  3. Geocacher University has a geocaching brochure and a smaller business-card-sized explanation sheet.
  4. It might be more cost-effective to move up from the yellow to a model that comes with the computer cable, since that'll tack on an extra $30 and you're likely to want it soon. I also really like the fact that the slightly more expensive eTrexes have a click stick for entering coordinates on multis and such -- entering them manually on the yellow is tedious. In the long run, those two things will make using the GPS much less annoying. (Some people say they've managed to break their click stick. We haven't, in a year and a half of use. I really, really like it.) Signal lock? Never had a problem with the yellow. If anything, the Vista we upgraded to feels pokier when it comes to getting an initial lock. Neither has been troublesome under tree cover. The only time poor signals ever made it hard for us to find a cache was downtown next to a bunch of skyscrapers. That's signal bounce, not the GPSr's fault.
  5. Also, easy urban micros are the most likely caches to be wheelchair-accessible. Of course I've seen urban micros that were really clever and others that were your average altoids tin with a magnet, and it's always good to put some effort into making it interesting. But if you're laid up or unable to hike, it's nice to have some caches you can still physically do, even if they're not all stunning. (Ironically, our team's only major caching injury occurred at... an urban micro, where Hawkeye badly twisted his ankle on the curb. But it was easy urban caches that let us toddle our way onward for quite some time after that.) Sometimes, I'm all het up about numbers and want to find lots of caches, because I get such a hit of excitement at each find. Sometimes I want to do a humongous multi puzzle cache that will take all day, and I'll feel no unhappiness at getting 'only' one smiley for it (if we get any smilies at all!) It's nice that the options are out there for us to do any sort of caching we feel like on a given day.
  6. I wonder how many children are actually allowed to go out with the >$100 GPSr on their own in the woods, though. The only caching kids I know of are ones who go with their parents. I've seen teenagers wandering by themselves with beer cans and dirty magazines, but GPSrs?
  7. You're not likely to find a GPSr that will take you any more directly to the cache than the one you've got. If you keep walking brisky toward the cache, you should see from the distance/bearing information where the GPSr thinks it is. The more slowly you go, the more the arrow is likely to bounce about, but with a separate compass (I never did like built-in digital compasses) you can still keep your bearings. You will probably be disappointed if you give up on this one and spend more money on a different GPSr; the difficulty you're talking about is a matter of fine-tuning your skill in interpreting and using the device, rather than having a bad device. (Which isn't to condemn you and say you're doing it wrong or anything -- the way these devices behave can be confusing and it takes some getting used to. But I am positive that you can end up happy with what you have, and find as many caches as you want with it.)
  8. You haven't collected one of those spiffy used golfballs yet?!
  9. Hawkeye downloaded it a couple of days ago -- it's pretty amazing, seeing the terrain in 3D and everything. I think we're going to end up using it to plan our caching trips, once we buy the paid version and get it loaded up with waypoints. It seems like a far more effective way to identify a cluster of caches (with information on the terrain and ability to get between them) than anything else we've tried yet. We're not crazy about the Windows-only aspect either -- I'm a Mac person and he runs Linux -- but his new computer also has XP and it does come in handy now and then.
  10. A lot of San Diego caches are rated a bit lower than I think they should be. There are a lot of genuinely easy ones, but locals don't strictly adhere to the idea that a terrain 1 should be wheelchair accessible. From what I recall of Geojay's First, the trail was flat and the walk short, although in that canyon one does often end up going over segments of streambed rocks. I might rate that a 1.5, but I'm not surprised to see it as a 1 (I've actually seen harder caches rated as a 1... and regardless of rating, rather a lot of caches here involve canyons that have at least some difficulty or rockiness on the descent). Also, this cache is quite old, and the placer probably didn't have the rating system as clearly defined. If you want to go over to the West and Southwest forum and post a question in the San Diego thread looking for stroller-friendly caches, I'm sure you could find some suggestions for good areas there. I can also tell you that our terrain 1 cache is totally wheel-friendly
  11. Well, it looks like a lot of the people on that board, reading the travel bug and cache logs, are thinking that geocaching sounds sinister, some kind of creepy online game that lures people out into the woods. Someone sounds somewhat alarmed that you can find the names of schools and playgrounds on the site, and that some of the caches are a long walk for a five-year-old... I can imagine it getting blown out of proportion by a reporter who doesn't investigate carefully.
  12. My immunity lasted 31 years -- but only about two years after I regularly started encountering poison oak. I don't recall actually seeing poison ivy when I was growing up in Wisconsin. When I moved to San Diego and began geocaching, I very quickly learned what poison oak was, but I also discovered that I magically failed to get a rash, even when I went wading in it. I was a little leery of the stuff -- I'm allergic to practically everything else in the universe, so how lucky can I be? -- but often it was easier to just go on through than try to find a way around. A couple of years later, we did a cache where we had to go crawling down a concrete pipe. Around the entrance, there was quite a lot of poison oak. I brushed against a little of it, but didn't really think much of it. Several days later, I developed a horrible rash all over my throat, arms, legs, side... practically everywhere. I must have gotten oil on my hands and spread it all over the place. It took a month for the rash to go away and in the process I discovered that nothing available over the counter actually helps all that much. All I've ever gotten since is a lone blister here and there, but I'm pretty careful now.
  13. I write DNFs if we actually tried to find the cache and couldn't. If someone was sitting on the park bench that the cache was magnetized to, and that caused me to walk on by and never come back, I'd write a note. If I sat down and felt under the bench and didn't find the cache, it's a DNF. We don't set standards for how long or thoroughly we have to look, or whether we'll come back, or whether we believe the cache is missing or just too hard for us; the question is whether we ever actually looked for it or not. I don't mind admitting failure, but only if I actually tried. Opinions, of course, vary .
  14. Gmail is a nice webmail system with lots of storage, and you can Google search your mail. And don't forget the cool factor . I've been using my regular email address for more than ten years, though, and I don't want to change. Plus, my preferred username is too short for me to be allowed to use it on Gmail! Bah. In other news, the Magellan contest cache is now listed on this site, so if you're among the handful of people who've already signed the log book, feel free to log your find. If not... you can still win a Magellan hat, if you're among the next two people to drop by!
  15. I know someone in WI who used dominoes as a signature item. They weren't dominoes with dots, either -- they were dominoes with road signs on them. I was utterly thrilled to come across a double "Duck Crossing" -- it's got a place of pride on my shelf of knickknacks and favorite caching prizes. You just never know what people will go for . Back on topic, I think that sounds like a well-stocked cache. Half the time I wouldn't even be carrying swag worthy of trading for that stuff!
  16. There are certainly rattlesnakes in the San Diego area, but I don't know of any geocachers ever being bitten despite all the sightings. It's good to carry a hiking stick and let it go ahead of you in the grass. Rattlers are supposed to like warm rocks, but we've only encountered them -- that we know about -- in tall grass alongside trails. They just rattled a warning and slithered away. The handy-dandy identification guides talk about things like looking at their pupils... right, like I'm going to get down and look it in the eye! More usefully, if it hasn't got a rattle, it isn't poisonous, since rattlesnakes are the only venomous snakes around. Much safer than being in an Australian garden, apparently . The other thing to worry about, which you will no doubt encounter much more often than rattlesnakes, is poison oak. Sometimes it's shiny, sometimes it's red, sometimes it's a vine, sometimes it's more like a bush. Don't touch anything with three leaflets that grows near a creek, basically, or you'll regret it next week. I've seen wild turkeys out in the mountains, and coyotes and mule deer closer to home. And hummingbirds -- I've been here five years and I still can't get over hummingbirds.
  17. We split a set of Leki titanium collapsible trekking poles, so we each have one. Yesterday, when we went on a hike of a few miles with several hundred feet of elevation gain, we both said that after the GPSr, the hiking sticks were the best geocaching investment we'd made. They make going up hills easier, and going down hills less slippery. They keep me from getting my feet wet when I try to rock-hop across streams (I'd fall in without something to help me keep my balance). They help us find the cache at the end of hike -- there have been some totally concealed caches that were only found because of The Thump. Our sticks feel practically weightless -- the reduction in fatigue from using them far outweighs the effort of carrying them along. Whenever we leave them behind in the car (it's only a 1/1, let's not bother digging in the trunk!), we find ourselves regretting it (a bit misrated, some of those 1/1s...). What I would recommend is going to a store with a good selection of hiking sticks and trying them all out. That's how we found out that we wanted sticks without anti-shock mechanisms (the mechanism adds significant weight, and the click at every step would drive me nuts), and that we didn't like the cork OR rubber grips, but liked the ones with foam on them. We got to experience firsthand a range of weights and collapsible sizes, and in the end we found sticks that were Just Right. If all you've ever hiked with is a stick picked up from the side of the trail, a hiking staff or trekking pole is a much better experience.
  18. If dirty golf balls are outlawed, then only outlaws will have dirty golf balls. Unfortunately, complaints will never get the attention of people who actually think it's okay to use a piece of trash they found along the trail as a trade item. It's the things that are actually filthy or broken that annoy me; a nice clean new marble/golf ball/army man/mctoy aren't hurting anybody, and there are people who'd be willing to trade for them. I'll always trade for little plastic critters (usually with more little plastic critters).
  19. Any recommendations on "power caching" areas within a reasonable distance of San Diego? We haven't done a lot of caching for a while, so we aren't up to anything strenuous, but some nice dense instant gratification caching might be just the thing to get us going again.
  20. One of my favorite hints was on a cache near Julian, CA. The hint suggested continuing on to Julian for some pie. I guess that's the consolation prize if you can't find the cache! (Admittedly, this was a HUGE cache, and really didn't need a hint. But I never could figure out why the bit about the pie was encrypted.)
  21. I've used a yellow and a Vista, and the one thing that bugged me about the Vista was that it took much longer than the yellow to get a satellite lock. Never noticed an accuracy problem once it was locked on, but it takes FOREVER to get its first lock.
  22. We've come across rattlesnakes twice. Both times, they were in dry grass alongside the trail, and were completely invisible -- one rattled and scared the !@#$ out of us, the other drew attention to itself by slithering away. We always carry sticks, and the stick goes into the grass/brush/rocks before any feet or hands do! Often caches are hidden in piles of nice, warm, sunny rocks here. I'm surprised we haven't met more snakes. (one of my "favorite" cache hints: "don't be scared to stick your hand in there!" It's referring to a hidey-hole in a junk-and-rock pile, the cache is a blind grab because of the angle, and rattlesnakes have been seen right at ground zero. It's all well and good for the owner to tell you not to be afraid, but it's not his hand!)
  23. Is there still a G.I. Joe's downtown near Horton Plaza? (The address listed is 544 6th Ave. We got some nifty camo spraypaint there a while back, as well as ammo cans.) I think there's also one in Encinitas now.
  24. The only thing I'd be worried about is trying to make sure the pottery cross doesn't get wet or broken in the cache. It's just a cross, not a religious pamphlet telling me I'm going to hell for being a non-believer. I wouldn't trade for it myself, but I certainly wouldn't be offended by its presence.
  25. If there's a lot of poison ivy (or oak, around here) in the cache area, most owners mention it. But it's also up to geocachers to learn what it looks like -- it isn't difficult to identify. I certainly wouldn't hide a cache in a spot where poison plants are unavoidable, but there's going to be some poison oak near almost any creekside cache, around here. On one of our caches, there's poison oak within a few feet, but there's also a huge, wide, open path to the cache that has no poison oak at all, the hiding spot is a blatant pile of geo-camouflage, and the description says, "It's not in the poison oak." If that weren't adequate, I think we'd have to declare the whole park off-limits to geocaching, because it really is everywhere. (I got a lovely rash doing someone else's cache in the same park, but I don't blame them!)
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