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Kite and Hawkeye

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Posts posted by Kite and Hawkeye

  1. ...are descriptions like "Next to the path is a broken tree and the cache is in the hollow stump" probably good enough?

    That description is too vague -- really, I wouldn't try to find a cache that's hidden in a woodsy setting or along a trail without a GPS unless the clue was very specific (say, "five feet southwest of trail marker #23 underneath a jade plant"). Especially not as your first attempt at a cache, which we want to be a success! Urban caches are often easy to find without a GPS, or caches in an area with which you're very familiar. Caches are harder to find when you're new, and lack of a GPS is a significant handicap, so don't feel any guilt about using any and every resource you can find. Mapquest and aerial photos are a given. Read the logs, look for spoiler pictures, decrypt the hint, and make at least your first couple caches ones whose hints are dead giveaways. It really helps when they mention landmarks or describe the cache container in detail. We've found a (small) handful of caches without the GPS, and it's a challenge even when you've got plenty of experience. But it's certainly not impossible -- just don't set yourself up for failure. Pick extremely easy targets for the first few attempts and then you'll have that experience to work with when you try more difficult caches.

  2. Hey folks,


    If you haven't gotten my locationless cache called "The Bells of El Camino Real", there are still a lot of them available[...]

    My fingers itch whenever I see yet another bell I can't log! San Diego county is entirely too big.


    I saw a black bell the other day. Like the gold bell, it was by a trolley stop. I wonder if there are any other bells at transit stations, and if so, are they all unusual colors?

  3. I released my first Travel bug this past August (2003).


    One guy picked it up, held it for about a month, and then only moved it 7 miles.


    Then another person picked it up in mid September, 2003, and has not moved it since. Its now late Dec., 2003.


    I have emailed this person several times, but they go ignored. This person has some interesting stats. They have just 12 finds, but 23 hides. And have of those hides have been achived for one reason or another.


    MY TB has a mission to from San Diego to Maine and back to San Diego, by August 4, 2004.

    Bobkat, it does not surprise me that the person who has your bug isn't moving it. S/he placed a spate of somewhat inappropriate caches last year, and now seems to have given up the hobby. I fear the bug is a goner. These things do, alas, happen. We've given up on our travel bug two or three times now, but it always ends up back in circulation eventually... after being pirated out of a cache on its second hop, held for seven months another time, and now being held (for nearly three months) by someone who hasn't been caching since November. (Why he didn't leave it in the cache he did Nov. 30th, I don't know) . Having a bug get to any given place on an annual basis is a rather optimistic goal.. our bug wanted to go on a one-way trip from Wisconsin to SD and in 16 months still hasn't made it. And yes, we made up a nice goal tag. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do. In the future, I will be thrilled if any bug of mine circulates at all, much less gets anyhere near its goal. I wonder sometimes if goals get in the way -- I'd rather have the bug dropped off twenty miles in the wrong direction than held until June.

  4. This upcoming trip of mine is getting reeeeeeeeal interesting! Definitely will be astronomy-themed to make my heart happy. :rolleyes:


    JPL is holding an open house in May, so I've decided I am going THEN, not April.


    Palomar beckons, so does Mt. Wilson. I bet there are other astronomy-related things in LA I gotta know about. :rolleyes:


    When I go there, I will have finished creating a new t-shirt featuring my nice StarCollage. That should be rather interesting to a few folks while I am there. :D

    Doesn't Palomar have some trouble with the light pollution from San Diego?

  5. I personally wouldn't log something I didn't find, whether the container was missing or I found the wrong item on a virtual hunt. But I try not to get too upset by those who do otherwise; if it's important to them, well, it didn't hurt me. I would not go so far as to call it cheating, though I secretly think it's a little lame. I don't want people logging my cache if they just got close to where it used to be, nor do I want them logging a find again on their second visit. But, honestly, I'm not going to police that either. The only thing that I think is worth quibbling about is something that would mislead other cachers (logging a find on a non-present cache irritates me because sometimes I just skim the last few logs, see smileys, and figure all is well).


    If you find an archived or disabled cache, I see absolutely nothing wrong with logging a find on it. You found it, regardless of the status of the cache page. With virts and locationless, though, the object is *always* going to be in place, and the verification/consent of the owner is in integral part of the find. What does it mean to "place" a virt or locationless? Placing a physical cache is obvious. It seems that owner intent is important to non-physical caches, so when that's gone, the cache is 'gone.' I would not log an archived virtual or locationless without that owner consent. There's no other way for a virt or locationless to have a finite lifespan. With regular caches, if the cache is in place the cache is in place. If the owner wanted to remove it, they could. When the owner pulls a virt or locationless on the site, it's the equivalent of going into the field and pulling the physical cache, since this is all the owner CAN do (without involving flagrant vandalism). This may seem a weird distinction, but that's how my brain works.


    If the owner of a cache tells you to log it, regardless of the situation, I don't think the word for it is 'cheating,' though I'm really not comfortable logging something I didn't truly find. I might call it 'cheating' if you take someone along who's found the cache and they give you hot/cold clues till you find it, or phone a person for similar information, but not in a "you are evil and should not log a find" way. I sometimes use the term 'cheating' for prematurely reading the hint. Ultimately it's left to the cache owner; if a log does not satisfy your requirements for a find, you can delete it. If the owner doesn't care or lets it stand, or even suggests making the log, it's none of my business really. And that's the way it should be. (Okay, once in a while I tear my hair out when I see a blatant failure logged as a find, but that's just personal annoyance; I love DNF logs and wish people wouldn't hesitate to post them. They make the best reading.)

  6. Toothbrushes. First, ew -- I wouldn't stick something that came out of a cache in my mouth. Second, the cache in question was permanently cemented under a rotten stump, such that it couldn't be upended to empty it when it got full of water and bugs. Again, ew.


    My favorite themed caches have been for glow-in-the-dark items, zebras, frogs and aliens (Parsa's "First Contact," now sadly archived, required you to decode a message similar to the Arecibo message to find the location of the cache).


    Sometimes themes are just things we aren't interested in (patriotic swag, bookmarks) but mostly themed caches are more fun than regular ones, I think. If I know the theme ahead of time, I'll try to dig around for something that fits. Themes also seem to discourage junk, making the cache itself more fun to look through at the end of the hunt. No great loss when the theme is something we personally aren't into; I TN/leave frog most of the time anyway, and while it's hard NOT to leave a frog, I won't if it's against a strictly themed cache.

  7. I am trying to prepare cache where location is determined by drawing lines between stars at specific time of the night and year. Standing point would be some kind of multi. I am wondering if anyone will ever visit the cache which can be found only few weeks during the year?

    I would love an astronomically-based cache, but agree with other comments that it should probably be done in such a way that it would be accessible for more of the year. Perhaps it would be possible to use different star groups depending on the season/time of night?

  8. A lot of boards have a 'new user' designation until you've made a certain number of posts, and Jeremy apparently likes frogs. I don't know that a different title for recently-registered users is really important, since the number of posts you've made also shows up under your name, but I think tadpoles are cute.

  9. I like something more complicated than 'walk right up and find the cache.' Finding small tags or magnets or such with further coordinates is more fun than simply finding an ammo box, for me. It's like the treasure hunts I used to make when I was a kid, where clues led to other clues before you finally found the surprise at the end. If there's a little puzzle or something to figure out in order to get from waypoint to waypoint, so much the better.


    Another reason to make a short multi is if one particular approach to the cache is significantly better, more scenic, or otherwise necessary. You can steer your finders along with the multi waypoints, without giving it all away in the description. Perhaps you want the location of the cache to be something of a surprise, so you put your first waypoint and main cache coordinates somewhere a little more ordinary. Also, if you're afraid some evil non-cacher is looking at cache pages in your area and using the maps to pinpoint and plunder caches, you could safeguard yours by doing it multi-style. (Not all those who find caches sans GPS are evil, and not everyone who owns a GPS is good, but it would probably discourage slackers, at least.)


    I much prefer planted waypoints (usually of necessity micros) to virtual "do something with the numbers on this sign" waypoints, but if the cache is educational or shows off interesting features of the area virtual waypoints are okay. They're certainly easier to maintain.

  10. Aha! I've been meaning to search on this topic myself, since I've had a monkey for a couple of weeks. I knew I'd heard of this before. Now if I could just find the monkey...


    Edited to add... darnit, my monkey ISN'T one of these! It says "K+S" and has a number on the back, but not in the right format. Does anyone know about these?


    Edited again to add that it looks like these are Kevin & Susan's signature item, and it doesn't seem that they're intended for traveling/tracking, at least not that I can see.

  11. Most regular caches are hidden under rocks or sticks, tucked into hollow trees, or stuck in the middle of a bush. As soon as you get used to that, you'll encounter one dangling twenty feet over your head on a rope or disguised as a big rock. You may even look under the cache once, not realizing it was the cache because you didn't flip it entirely over and see the screw-lid embedded in the bottom. Not that this ever happened to me or anything.


    Microcaches are usually magnetic, or otherwise attached underneath a bench/against a metal utility box -- or, a recent variation here, in the liftable guard thing at the base of a light pole.


    In any case there's usually a landmark involved. A microcache hidden underneath leaves in the middle of the woods isn't much fun, nor is the "hidden in a random bush" regular cache. GPS units aren't accurate enough to pinpoint such a spot, and brute-force searching is tedious. Even the cache owner couldn't come back and quickly find such caches without a landmark. A clever hiding method, on the other hand, may take just as long to find (if you're not the owner!), but you get the 'aha!' moment at the end where you're pleased to find the cache and you can admire (or curse) the owner's inegenuity. Those are the memorable ones.

  12. How would one go about rating a cache placed on an island in a river which is completely accessible in the winter (as the water is frozen) but is completely inaccessible except by boat any other time of the year?

    I would edit the cache and change its rating in winter and summer, and note as much in the description. And hope nobody attempted it during thaw!

  13. I've been away for a few days and can't find anything about this elsewhere; it's really not a huge deal and perhaps the few comments have been buried, but I just noticed that, when checking my found stats, now things like events, locationless and letterbox hybrids are listed before the two biggies, traditional caches and multicaches. When I look at someone's (or my own) found list, those are the ones I'm most interested in, and it seems odd to 'prioritize' events and locationless and other uncommon types by putting them first. What's the rationale behind the change?

  14. I want to place some super micro caches around. I guess my question is a simple one, but I want to make them really small, I mean so small that a log will not fit in it.

    If the container has an inside, you can fit a log sheet in it (and I'd hesitate to call anything without an inside a cache, even a microcache). If only a name or two can be written on it, then you replace it frequently. At Bobkat's "World's Smallest Cache" the first part is smaller than anything I've ever seen out there -- he says it's 7/16" but I think he overestimated; the internal diameter, at least, was significantly less -- and it contained coordinates to the second part of the cache; it could just as easily have contained a logbook. Heck, I got a trade item in there. No matter what container you have, someone can get a log sheet in it. Now, if they start requiring a writing implement, that'll be a challenge, unless fragments of pencil lead count.

  15. I guess that what I am trying to say is, that if you feel that you will be in a sport for a while, get the best equipment that you can afford and you won't regret it down the line. My bicycle costs more than my car but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    We've been using an eTrex yellow for a year and a half of caching and we like it just fine. The computer cable is one of the big reasons to choose a slightly more expensive unit; every model but the yellow comes with a cable so you can download waypoints, plus the more expensive GPS's will have extra features like mapping capability or an electronic compass. We really haven't felt the lack of these things, though we did buy a data cable eventually because entering waypoints by hand gets a little tedious. Not really an issue if you have no computer, though!


    The yellow is a fine GPS, and will serve you just as well as anything else out there. I don't think buying a pricier GPS results in anything like the difference between a bicycle and a car; more expensive units may have bells and whistles that may make them cushier than the yellow, but you won't get to the cache any faster, or with much less effort, by spending more money. No built-in maps? We've got paper maps. No electronic compass? We have a compass. No WAAS? Can't get the satellites anyway in most places. I'm not saying those features wouldn't be convenient, but if you're on a budget, don't have a computer, and see a brand-new $80 yellow.... I'd jump at it.

  16. Hey Guys (and other types),


    I was reading somewheres that one should place (hide) ten caches for every 100 found.  "They" said it was an unwritten rule (can't remember where I read this, so the "they").  Opinions?  Thanks,



    The only "unwritten rule" I'm aware of is that one is encouraged to find 10-15 caches before hiding their first. And even that's debated. I wouldn't want anyone to feel obliged to put out x number of caches; there are quite a lot of caches already in the San Diego area, and while I love to see new and creative ones, number pressure as extreme as one-per-10-found can only result in poor caches. I don't think we could maintain, or frankly even find places for, 32 halfway decent caches, and people like Ruscal would be maintaining 100+!


    We've had a sort of vague idea that we 'should' place one cache for every fifty or so found, because that's a bit more manageable and doesn't result in scads of 'because I had to' caches. We're still behind even by our own measure. I certainly think it's good to encourage people to 'give back' to the game, but some people are just better than others at coming up with cache ideas. I'm always wracking my brains and coming up blank. OTOH, without some sort of pressure, one might never find the motivation to get out and hide something already.


    Anyway, I think wherever "they" are getting "their" numbers from, it may be a less dense area where such a ratio would make more sense.

  17. There has to be some minimum standard, and that's it: a container and a log. That's become the definition of geocache. Without the log, there's no objective proof that you were there. Not a whole lot of people actually get their logbooks and compare them to the online logs, but in some cases there are what seem to be bogus online logs and it's nice to have the possibility of confirming or denying that they're legit. I didn't mind alternate forms of verification when they were allowed (code words and such), but I guess there were some really crappy log-less caches and eventually a line was drawn. I like logbooks, myself -- it's fun to read through them -- and it's not asking a whole lot of the finder to at least sign their name.


    Wet logbooks are another issue, but if the containers are watertight and the logs are put in baggies that shouldn't happen often. I usually have some extra pieces of paper, or at the very least the cache info sheet. If the logbook is unusuable, I'll sign the back of the printout and leave that in the cache.

  18. If my travel bug ever makes it home, I'm keeping it here. There were many times when I thought I'd never see it again. It just got moved, finally, after being kept for the better part of a year. I guess it depends if you want your bug back now that it's completed its mission; it might be fun to edit the page, give it a new goal and try to get it back to your town, but there'd be a decent possibility it wouldn't make it. I always wanted my bug back sooner or later; some people want them to travel till they can't anymore. You can do whatever you like.

  19. Most of the instances I've seen of a bug being left outside a cache ended badly -- pleas from unhappy owners for someone to go pick it up, people try but by then it's vanished... okay, bugs inside caches also disappear, but it seems extra risky to me. Maybe a squirrel would run off with it, I don't know. That nice laminated tag might sustain some damage. If just seeing the bug logged into that cache is important, I'd say log it in and then pick it up again, as you did. I think the most responsible thing is to leave it inside a cache where it fits.

  20. When I first started up my etrex, I had 180-foot accuracy, and panicked, thinking I'd never find a geocache. Within half an hour or so, it figured out what was what and had the normal 20-foot-ish accuracy. This happened only the first time I turned it on. But someone else said the line on the screen indicated a problem, so exchanging it sounds like a good idea.


    Once you have a working GPS, you can input coordinates, or just mark the coordinates of where you are. In one of the menu screens, there is an option called 'mark.' If you pick that, it tries to mark the spot where you are right now. You can just select "OK" and mark it as-is, or you can toggle to the name and change it (usually the gps picks something creative to call this set of coordinates, like "001"; you can change it to something a little easier like "home"). You can also toggle to, and change, the coordinates themselves, and that's how you input a waypoint, if you're doing it by hand. Take the coords of that 1/1 cache you want to try, go to 'mark' a waypoint, and toggle over to the field that lists the coordinates; then just edit them to read the same as the cache's coordinates. Change the name if you like, then select OK, and you've got yourself a cache waypoint stored. This was the hardest thing to figure out when I first got my GPS... the manual assumes you're only going to want to mark and return to places you've already been, mostly.

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