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The VanDucks

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  1. We cache with our grandkids when we can (they don't all live very close by.) They have enjoyed it at all ages, but when they were three or four, they would get tired if the hike/walk was too long. Kids have plenty of energy, but not so much stamina. So my suggestion would be to start out taking them to easy caches you've already found, so you know what to expect. Those which are near a playground are usually good ones for kids. If you set their family up with a geocaching membership, you can help them log their finds. They are going to prefer caches with swag, so look for the larger caches to begin with. You can always have some extra kid swag in your pocket in case there is a fuss over who gets to keep the best things they find! (One of our grandsons insisted, at age three, that he only wanted to find Thomas the Train in any caches we looked for!) As a responsible nanny, I'm sure you will remember to ask the parents' permission for this activity, and to bring along the children's insurance cards in case of any injuries. You'll teach the kids to avoid poison ivy and bee or wasp nests, and you'll want to have a sting stick in case of insect bites and some bandaids for scratches. Also, until they become seasoned cachers, keep your caching trips short, maybe only two or three caches per day; it takes SO much longer to cache with little kids than with adults! Mostly - have fun! Don't stress over whether you make the find, and don't rush the kids if they want to spend time watching ants or throwing rocks in a creek. They will have happy memories of their time outdoors with you!
  2. If you want geocachers to come and enjoy your view of the valley, see if there's a place to hide a cache on that side of your street - guardrail caches are popular around our area, although some local highway departments are no longer allowing them. If the valley side of the road has vegetation, maybe a bison in a tree? I don't know if you live in a suburb or a more rural area; if you have a long street frontage and no neighbors nearby, you could place a cache under some rocks or on a post or something and say "placed with owner's permission." (Maybe you don't need to say you are the owner, unless you're hoping to meet the finders as they come.) You do want to be sure it's located so cachers wil feel at ease about grabbing it, so not right near the front door of your house, or where any neighbors would be upset and call the police!
  3. We have hidden almost every style of cache, except those "extreme" ones involving rappelling down a cliff or crawling a mile through a sewer. We don't want to hide ones we couldn't find ourselves! Some of our multicaches are in parks where we want the finders to enjoy a good walk and a fun search, maybe with a little history lesson thrown in. Some are "puzzle" caches that are extremely simple ones that anyone can solve right away - we placed them in a good natured protest against all the very difficult puzzles in our area! But I have to admit our most found ones are the easy cache and dash types in some of the shopping areas around town. These are often logged by visitors to our area who are probably looking for a little diversion between business meetings. We're glad to help them get a "smilie" for a find in our state! Our goal is that each of our caches, whether easy or difficult, be as original and fun as we can make it. We've tried to never duplicate our method of hide, although sometimes we've had to replace the original container with something less exciting because the "landscape" around it changed.
  4. I know .... "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" .... (Charles C. Colton, 1780-1832) So we are sort of flattered that a cacher in our area put out a cache very, very similar to one of our most popular ones. Ours has been in place for several years and the new one was just published about a month ago. We kept getting logs on our cache that said, "I just found another one like this a few minutes ago." It turns out that the new cache is just a tenth of a mile away and in the same shopping center as ours! I don't mind that he used our style of hide, which is original, as far as I know, but why does it have to be right "next" to ours? (I guess my pride is hurt that finders will think we copied from his cache!) Have any of you had this situation come up before? We would never think of complaining to the other cacher; he has a perfect right to hide whatever he chooses. Just looking for a little sympathy, I guess...
  5. Well, we've also noticed the swag in caches has gotten worse or non-existent in the seven years we've been caching. The other problem I've noticed in the last couple of years is that caches are often left out in the open, or the top isn't put back on correctly. The big change I think that's affecting the sport now is that everybody with a smart phone can "be a geocacher." Maybe they've heard about caching from a friend or read something on line, and when they go out and find a cache they know nothing about "cache etiquette." They don't know they should trade for swag, rather than take everything in the container. They find a geocoin or TB - "hey now it's mine!" They don't understand that the cache owner put a lot of effort into placing it there. They don't stop to think leaving the cache exposed may result in it being stolen. They don't bother to log their finds; maybe they don't even know about geocaching.com. Using the phone to find a cache is just a little diversion, maybe a chance to find a cool keychain or a coupon to McD's. It's all about having fun, not being responsible or caring about fellow cachers.
  6. I'm feeling a little guilty, because, as the cache owner, I just deleted two pictures posted by finders of one of our caches. I did not delete the logs, just the photos. The pictures were both taken a while ago, but unfortunately, although I do read all the logs posted by finders of our 32 caches, I do not get any notification that a photo has been posted. What alerted me today was that a new finder said in his log that the photos were spoilers. This cache, like many of ours, has an unusual, hand-crafted container. It is also hidden in plain view, but camoflaged to be "invisible" to the average muggle. The photos both showed the container itself, and that really spoils the fun and the surprise of finding it. I didn't take the time to e-mail the photo posters, although maybe I should have, because I've found that lately e-mails seem to go un-answered by so many cachers. I would not have deleted their logs, but I was happy to see that I could delete only the photos, and I added a brief note as to why. I really hope everyone who wants to add a photo to his or her log will stop to consider if that picture will give away so much information that other cachers will not have the same fun finding the cache that they did!
  7. One of our caches went missing (it was just a bison hanging on a fence). The next geocacher found the log on the ground and e-mailed us to let us know the cache was gone. He left the old log stuck on the fence, so when I went to replace the container, the old log was there. I didn't really want it, but I appreciated his thoughtfulness!
  8. I looked at your cache page and it looked very interesting, but I wonder if the rather isolated location and your comment about vandalism may scare some people away? Maybe you would attract more finders if you placed some other caches nearby. I usually plan our geocaching days to visit several caches in the same general location to avoid lots of time in the car. With our own caches, I notice that the ones which require a bit of a hike don't get as many visitors. Some cachers just want to get a large number and go for the easier, quicker ones.
  9. We have enjoyed finding caches on several college campuses. My son is a professor at Colgate, and the campus has a number of caches placed by their Outdoor Adventure Club, as well as some others placed by individuals. I do suggest that, due to the shortage and restricted parking regulations on many campuses, you include a waypoint for visitor parking on campus so cachers won't be ticketed!
  10. These keychains sound really neat; I'd love to find something like this. I agree you should put them in baggies with a note attached that you made them. How big is this item, by the way? Not a complete antler, I assume?
  11. I also read all the logs on our caches (we own 36, all within 10 miles of home). If there's a problem, such as a full logbook, a leaky container, or some other problem, I hope the last person to find, or DNF, the cache will be specific in their log. That tells me whether it needs to be a top priority to rush right over to the cache, or whether I can do a maintenance run the next time it's convenient. Like everyone else, we have obligations and duties not related to geocaching, so we can't always fix the problem immediately, but we do try to fix it quickly. Sometimes the container may be missing and we have to temporarily disable the cache till we can get a new container. If someone simply posted a "needs maintenance" log we wouldn't have any idea what we needed to do. Information in the logs (or via a private e-mail if the problem would give away too much about the cache) is the best way to let the cache owner know about a problem!
  12. Make it be the main attraction at a your local geocaching club picnic; find it with a big group of cachers to attract maximum atention from muggles. (Or have it be the focal point of a flash mob geocache event.)
  13. Ooooo - I would be furious if someone took one of our caches to this type of event! It would violate quite a few of the geocaching rules and upset every geocacher in the local community!
  14. It seems to me that the two major reasons for a cache owner to consider "retiring" or archiving a cache would be if the cache hasn't been found in a year or more, indicating that just about everybody in the local area has already found it, or if the CO owns so many caches that he or she needs to cut back just to keep current with the necessary maintenance issues of all the caches owned. Since new cachers are constantly coming into the game, and wanting to hide caches of their own, it would be a nice gesture for the CO retiring a cache to let someone else take that space and have the fun of coming up with a creative cache different from the first one.
  15. First I checked your profile to be sure the bad cacher wasn't near my town - whew - about as far away as can be! If you have a local geocaching group, I wonder if you could get a few members together to plan a sort of "intervention." Talk to him on the phone and ask him and the children to meet up with a small group of local cachers, perhaps with a few of their own children along. Then take him to a few local caches that he hasn't found yet, and show him how cachers should behave. Maybe he's just ignorant and not aware of the damage he's causing. Then offer to help him and his family set up a cache of their own. Work with him through the whole process, giving lots of positive feedback, and see if being a cache owner will give him a better perspective on how to play the game. It does sound like he wants to spend time outdoors with his children, so there's one positive thing he's doing already! He may respond better to friendship than to criticism - that's true of most of us, I guess! Good luck!
  16. Wow! What an original idea - that must have been so much fun to find! I'm sorry you had to archive it, but at least you found out about it before the airplane was taken away. Did the family member who e-mailed you say where they are taking the airplane? Wouldn't it be great if they put it on display nearby and let you keep a cache inside? Too bad that the forest is being cleared away! I hope you can find another good spot to hide another cache, although it won't be the same as this wonderful one, of course!
  17. Lots of "good" ideas there - but you have to replace the cache too! Hope the suggested methods or tools will work to do that! If all else fails, find a very tall geocacher to get it down for you, or someone brave enough to crawl out on the bridge if the container can be reached from the top of the bridge? I'm sure you'll be able to write an interesting log when you do get this cache!
  18. We bought some cheap WalMart walking sticks when we first started caching, but they never worked well; tended to get out of adjustment quickly. Then we splurged and bought Leki sticks on-line; not the most expensive, but the mid-priced ones with a camera mount on top, since my husband likes to take photos. They are great; well worth the price. He is 6 feet tall and I am 5'4" and the sticks work well for both of us; they can be extended to fit my 6'5" son-in-law also. The OP might want to check with local hiking supply stores and see if they ever get older sticks turned in or can suggest where to find used ones. I have some back problems and the sticks really help on rough ground or steep slopes; we just use one stick each,not a pair.
  19. We have read some great, funny, clever logs about some of our caches, even the rather simple ones. I think the quality of the log depends more on the person writing it than the quality of the cache. Some people are more articulate than others, and enjoy writing interesting logs. Don't take it personally if you get some short TFTC logs - it's not usually meant as a criticism. Just consider that the finder may not be comfortable expressing himself or herself verbally. If you like to read long logs, write them for the caches you find and maybe you'll be an encouragement to the cacher who finds that one next!
  20. We've also found two caches that featured bookcrossing. The problem I noticed with both was that the containers, in both cases large ammo cans, were crammed full. If we had wanted to actually exchange books, we cound not have done so. I think the CO should monitor the cache every few weeks to be sure it doesn't get too full. Also, you may want to request that finders only exchange books, not large TB's or McDonald toys!
  21. I'm kind of obsessive about carrying multiple writing utensils when out caching, so I don't understand why it's so hard to remember to bring a pen or pencil along! But then again, I'm a woman with a large purse, not a guy with only pockets! As a cache owner, I don't mind if someone can't sign the log for some reason and tells me so in their log - I'm NOT obsessive enough to go our and check the online logs against the paper copy in the cache! What did annoy me was the cacher who found our newest cache, a very simple bison in a park,clearly decribed on the cache page as a micro, who had the gall to complain that there "wasn't a pen inside" so he couldn't sign the log!
  22. We try to leave a FTF prize that has something to do with the cache name or theme, if we can. Several years ago, we hid a puzzle cache that related to high school musicals, since our daughter had been in many during her high school days. The FTF prize was a DVD of the recently released movie, "High School Musical." The FTF was a single lady, a school teacher, who wrote in her log that she loved finding the prize but would leave it for someone else; the second finder was a family with a young girl just the right age to be very excited at getting the prize! Another of our hides, a multi-cache which involved a rather complicated set of directions to follow, had as the FTF prize a $15 gift certificate to a local restaurant located very near the cache. We were happy that the FTF said it was his favorite place to eat and he would enjoy using the certificate. Most of our FTF prizes for less challenging caches are $5 gift cards, to Starbucks, or McDonald's, or Barnes and Noble, all of which are in the local area. Sometimes I leave as the FTF prize a new bison tube or a nano cache, especially if I've just reordered to keep spare ones in stock for our own caches.
  23. We found a cache near Cumberland, Maryland, a few years ago that we really liked; a pretty but not terribly strenuous hike in the woods, a fairly easy find with a scenic view nearby, and a big ammo box at the final. It's still there and still popular. It's one of the Cache Across Maryland series, this one is GC19X3Y, "Haystack Mountain." Cumberland is a pretty area and you could check out other caches nearby if you do Haystack. We haven't done any other caches in the CAM series, since we cache mostly in Virginia, but I would think all the CAM caches would be interesting.
  24. Sometimes ..... Muggles are what make a cache fun! We have been to many microcaches, very prevalent in our suburban area, where the challenge was not the terrain or difficulty, but outwitting the muggles to grab the cache. If you know in advance that muggles will be a factor, and most of our local cachers will tell you that on the cache page, then acting inconspicuous, or pretending to be taking a survey of the local trees, or making a extended "call" on your "phone", i.e. GPS, makes the cache a fun and memorable one. Yes, as others have commented, we always tell the truth to any lawperson or security person, and most of the time we explain geocaching to someone who asks what we're looking for. But most people don't really pay attention to what other people are doing. I have to admit that being friendly looking senior citizens also helps us to seem non-threatening, as though we're just wandering around aimlessly, so maybe that does give us an advantage in outwitting muggles.
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