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Everything posted by Alvater

  1. I don't like to go caching in urban places and I have few finds that are not in parks or similar environments. It takes a while to spot a cache and I believe I look suspicious if I poke every suspected hole or camo. My camos: - dog. I can stop to look around pretending my dog is sniffing something on the ground. I should teach the dog to sniff on command for she wants to walk forward when I need her to pretend 'interesting smell found'. She can look for caches with me which looks like random sniffing but she alerts and that can attract attention. Once I picked up a cache in an open place pretending I scooped up dog poop and once I was 'untangling her leash'. - tourist. A cache was hidden in a busy bridge. The CO had given instructions how to grab it. I leaned to ghe rail looking like a tourist admiring the river scene and slid my hand under the rail. - my bike. Yep, I stopped my bike to tie my shoes right here, wait, there is something in that pipe. There are some caches I can never log because I cannot visit them during less busy hours. But I have also used the opportunity to take a cache when I was in town in early hours and people were either asleep or too busy to get to work unfrozen. Another bridge was more difficult and produced a DNF. I just could not find it and my search was no more hidden and the dog refused to sniff. My muggle friend had seen me from a car and asked me later what on earth I was doing there. No scenery to watch or contact lense to get lost.
  2. I've yet to see a spoiler picture, lucky me. I sometimes look at pics in the logs. Either after find to see what other cachers found worth photographing near the cache or if I could not find the cache or think it is going to be a tricky one for me, I check the pictures if there would be a hint ('erm, Cacher87r8w90q08 photographed that funny tree and I passed by it so I was near the cache'). A direct spoiler I would not like.
  3. IfI cannot find it by my third visit or I am absolutely sure I am at the right spot I'll log 'did not find'. Note that I don't have gps and I sometimes get the map wrong. Sometimes I have been way off where I should have been.
  4. I probably heard about this hobby from some magazine or newspaper, well, maybe it was in 2007. It was either before Alva came into my life (2009) or during her puppyhood. I believe it was before her. At the time being, I was extremely curious but hesitated. I don't know if coordinates were visible back then for unregistered visitors but I could locate one traditional cache on the map and went to find it. I picked that one, because it was in a place I passed by often and I thouvht it would be an easy one and with less spying eyes. It was hidden under a bridge near my home, between big stones in a wall. I looked around and then deduced it had to be in the wall and checked every hole. It actually required me to climb a little. It was dark and I feared all the time that some night owl jogger would come and see me. I had not an user name or a navigator and I was not sure if I wanted to register. So I did not feel that I was a real cacher at all. I did not dare to open the box and thus my name was never written in the log book. Then I got Alva. I was busy socializing and then training my pup and never gave geocaching another thought. I was well on my way to have a trained obedience and agility dog. Then the truth was revealed to me. Alva has health issues, discovered by a routine check, and we had to quit agility. I hated it for I had waited for doing agility for ten years or something. I could not afford another pet. The snow melted and it become spring. I suddenly remembered something. Find hidden little containers and solve puzzles. Something I had found very interesting years ago, making my brain itch for trying. I like crosswords and puzzles but they are indoors, silent and lonely. I needed something to do outdoors. I decided to try geocachin again. It would offer destinations for my walks, little everyday adventure and pleasant use for my brain. I might even try to train my dog to find them too. This time I registered an username, picked the closest cache, which was a micro, took my dog and went where the arrow had pointed on the screen of my computer. It took three visits until I found it. So it is my first official cache found. The really first one, that I cannot log because I never signed it, has unfortunately been archived. This was a year and a half ago. I've found 90 caches since then. Alva has learned to sniff caches out and I use her as hole checker. Last spring I moved and there are few caches where I now live so I cannot cache any more. I think I should step a level up and make my own cache. I also have my restrictions: no car, no gps. I use online maps and sometimes I have to visit ground zero more than once to find the cache. Often I have misread the map, turned wrong somewhere or I've left important information out of my notes. Thus I can read the map better when I've seen the terrain.
  5. Walking my dog turned a lot more interesting when I began caching. I had discovered this hobby before I got Alva but I did not start then. I was too shy, thinking I should be some way more adventurous or something to be a cacher. I found one, never signed it. Then I took a dog and lived my life. Dogs and training them is my real passion. Then Alva's bad hips were discovered in a routine X-ray examination. I screen my dogs because I want to contribute in breeding healthier dogs by providing information at least about my own pets and so happened with Alva too. We quitted agility and other jumpy dog sports. Yet I wanted to do something with her and I was not happy with just dull walks and some self-made trick-training. I remembered geocaching. It would offer us destinations where to walk and it would also fit to my personality as I like to solve crosswords and little puzzles. I registered an username and since then I've enriched my walks with caches. I've tried to train Alva to find them but I am not very good at it. Not at all, I almost ruined it. Anyways, now some of our walks are not just walks, they are treasure hunts. It also means that I have not found so many and most of my finds are near my home.
  6. - You are a geocacher when you realize that you've learned more about your environment by cache descriptions than any tourist guide.
  7. There is a cache nearby that I am a little concerned about. It is placed near electricity. It is well camoed, fitting to its surroundings -> it looks like it is one of the electric devices. Well, if you inspect it closer you see that its wires lead to nowhere and so I originally suspected it could be the cache I'm looking for. I have not logged it yet. I did not dare to open it because I could not be sure if it really was it. Later I read previous logs and it got confirmed. I think camos should not be too good because that can lead into embarrassing or even dangerous errors.
  8. This happened to me today. I had intepreted the hint a bit wrong and other mistakes added... A very sensitive area, I was worried that I'd destroy something if I guess wrong and I did it twice. I found it when I decided to 'look into that obvious hole I missed before because some muggles were sitting nearby and though it only fits half of the hint'. It was there.
  9. I've seen English translations in some Finnish cache descriptions or shorter summary about cache location and advice about finding it. Not every cache has such, though. Funny that Sampo is a thing from Finnish folklore and poem collection Kalevala... I would expect to find cache descriptions in a language that is commonly spoken in that particular country where the cache is located. English translation is courtesy towards those who do not understand that other language ie. tourist cachers and might attract them to pick the cache instead of something else if they visit the area. In my opinion it would be impolite to demand translations but it is very thoughtful from a cache owner if the cache information is available for foreign visitors. Yet I love my mother tongue so much that I would frown at English-only descriptions in my country. "Olen yhdistettiin kaksi keskusteluja samasta aiheesta." I think this is supposed to mean: "I have combined two threads/discussions about same topic." But it is in bad Finnish: "I am was combined two discussion about same topic."
  10. I have a question. If I make a personal/vehicle trackable, can I only make it visit/dip caches I find after activating it? Is it against some rule to dip/visit a cache I've found before getting the trackable without revisiting the cache itself physically? I have one thing that has been with me at almost all caches I've found and I would like to "make it official". At the time I've mentioned it in my logs sometimes or put a symbol after my nick in the logbook in the container.
  11. I've cached a year and found 63 caches. I think 2 or 3 of them have been archived. + 2 I never logged so they are not in my founds.
  12. I've tried to train my rough collie to find caches but I have been slack with the training and she isn't very motivated to find them. At this point she'll check pointed holes and indicate if the cache is there or not. She though makes false alarms sometimes because she thinks I want her to indicate any hole. Collies are very sensitive to disappointment in their handlers. I mostly look for caches that are 'under the rock' and such are common in the area and thus my dog is adjusted to that. She already knows that many caches are in holes. So she looks in them at first. And she is pretty visual. I would like to make her use her nose more and encourage her really search instead of just guessing to please me. Caches above her nose level are difficult for her. I want Alva to indicate by laying down. I don't want to raise attention by barking. I don't want her to fetch the cache because I fear erosion and that I could not return the cache where it was. Thus I don't want her to scratch either. I think that if I ever train another dog to find caches I'll pick a command that is quite nonsense. So I can tell my sniffer to search even in front of muggles and they only think that it has found the scent of Fido from next door. Alva's command is 'find cache' and that could raise attention. What the dog might be sniffing when it searches a cache: - an item that has been touched by humans lately. Problem: does the dog still indicate if the cache has been unhandled for many weeks or even months. - smell of typical contents of a cache. Problem: the content varies. But they might learn to look for combinations of these: plastic, silica, paper, pen, duct tape. - tracks: where did people who have visited this place, go and what did they touch. I live in Finland and we have dog sports that include sections where the dog must find items hidden in a marked area in given time. Finding a recently found cache should not be difficult for a such trained dog. Breeds common in these trials are shepherds like German shepherd or Belgian shepherds. Rottweilers, Airedales, Dobermanns, collie breeds, Labradors and Golden retrievers for example have been seen there too.
  13. About mail boxes. I found one plastic mail box in the woods while searching a cache. The box was not the cache but it contained the guestbook of a nearby stone age grave. I logged that one too. The mail box had holes in its bottom and it was attached to a pole so if any water got in, it should not soak in there. I don't remember the notebook acting as the guestbook being in any bad condition and it had dates from years ago. But it was dark and rainy so I didn't really spend much time observing it. I've found one cache that hadn't that good box, it didn't seem very tight and the lid was broken. I and someone else mentioned it in our logs and the cache was repaired. The worst case? A big film canister in a traffic pole (the cache is actually presenting this crossing because many accidents have happened there). It was probably supposed to hang inside the pole from a wire hook attached to it somehow. But it was broken, or at least I don't think it was planned to be like that. The only way to attach the wire to it now was to leave it between the lid and container. So it was not waterproof at all and it was exposed to snow and rain. The log is wet. I and many others have mentioned it in our logs but the CO has posted no information if they are going to do any maintenance at it. I found it in winter and the last log is dated last week. NM has been posted in April. I haven't visited the cache since my found so I don't know its current state.
  14. I was looking for a cache when I saw beams of flashlights rushing through the darkness. I wondered, if they were cachers. Then I thought that what if they are just some crazy nerdy joggers. I fleed. Later I read their online logs and they reported something like "We saw someone near GZ and thought it was a cacher but it seemed to be some random dog walker with a flashlight". My disguise is too perfect. I returned later to find the cache 10 meters from where I had looked for it. I wish I would have stayed there, I could have had a nice chat with those other cachers. Well, you cannot spot me with a GPS device or a too new mobile phone or mobile computer. I don't have one. I use maps. And don't count on paper in my hand. I try to memorize the map in my head or sometimes use notes with more tricky caches. Like those in the woods. I wonder if I saw a caching couple once. Their direction was towards a cache I had found and they seemed to look for something. But I don't know. Maybe they were just after a shortcut and found no trail there.
  15. I'm pretty sure there was another thread recently here and I answered there. But I can do it again. I am a huge dog enthusiast and I am very interested in their behaviour and how to train them. When I took my first steps, or should I say clicks, on internet, I joined a Finnish speaking pet forum and I had to pick an username. I ended up with Belgiter which contained my favourite dog breed (at least at the time) Belgian shepherd dog Tervueren, which was also the breed of our two dogs then. Later I found international forums. I soon discovered that my old nick might be confusing since I have nothing to do with Belgium. Both of our Tervuerens were also gone. Then, what brought me to geocaching? Alva, my rough collie, who can not do agility and I decided we need a hobby. I remembered something I had found interesting but had not officially tried yet... Geocaching offers us destinations for walks and everyday adventures and Alva can use her nose to sniff and find caches with me. I saw the light in Alva's eyes. I'd be known as Alvater in this community. Alva from Alva, 'ter' for the memory of the Tervuerens.
  16. I've only found 52 caches. 4 of them are not on the map since thewy are about 150 km away.
  17. When I registered my first username on a Finnish forum I picked Belgiter for BELGIan TERvueren (or, well, in Finnish we often shorten 'belgianpaimenkoira' into 'belgi') which was (and probably still is) my favourite dog breed and thatforum was for dog enthusiasts. But later I joined international forums and learned that people can get my nick a bit wrong since I am not from Belgium and have never been there. Thus I decided that any new international forum I join I must pick a name without that Belg part. And neither of our two Tervuerens are no more around though I plan to have a Belgian shepherd dog again. Some day... So, when I started caching I looked at my old nick, said I have tho modify it or pick something else and then I looked at Alva who is my rough collie and my loyal ally in finding hidden little plastic containers I decided I'll include her in my username after I had rolled it on my tongue. So Alvater it is.
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