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The VanDucks

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  1. We still have to remind ourselves to check the difficulty rating! We were looking for a cache in a park that has many deep ravines leading down to a river. Our GPS led us from the parking lot at the top of the park, down the trails toward the water; but when we got to the nearest location to the cache, we were looking up at an almost sheer cliff. We actually stood there debating should we climb up? But what if we get stuck halfway up, or we fall down into the river (on the beach littered with sizable rocks)? Finally I thought to look again at my printout of the cache, and noticed it was only a one and a half difficulty rating. Wait a minute, that sounds like it might be way up at the top of the park, where we started from! And the cache was there, on a spur of flat ground that extended out over where we had stood far below and half an hour's hike away!
  2. Thanks, Larry, for posting your caching philosophy. It's always interesting to read about how someone else looks at this hobby. I think my husband and I would agree with about 80% of your caching observations! We're of retirement age, but not yet retired, and I think the value to us of geocaching is that when we're out on the hunt, we don't have time to think of anything else, whether it be job-related problems, or other concerns. It provides a wonderful break from the stress of daily life. It's great that you log your DNF's; speaking as a cache owner, those DNF's are invaulable in alerting the owner to provide a new log, fix a magnetic attachment, or just replace a leaky container. As far as caching by yourself; that's pretty common in our area too, and maybe everywhere. Not a problem, because in a way when you go out to find something that another person hid, you're communicating through the cache itself; you receive enjoyment from the efforts the CO put into that hide, and you post your log to let him or her know you liked finding it. That expression of appreciation is what keeps us putting out caches and keeping them going. Glad you are enjoying caching and reaping the health benefits of the outdoor exercise!
  3. Yeah, I've seen a number of forum topics about the scarcity of good logs! I really haven't noticed much change in the quality of logs in the six years we've been caching. We sometimes forget that not everyone is comfortable with writing anything! I worked with several young women (in their early '20's) at my last job, and I was amazed at their poor writing skills. One of them was actually taking classes towards her master's degree. Even though I live in an area with supposedly good schools, I don't think everyone learns how to write coherently or logically. Expecting every log to be a work of literature is useless. It's best to just enjoy the rare funny or clever logs that you do get!
  4. I like your idea of honoring your grandfather! We always enjoy finding caches with a unique story behind them, and appreciate learning a bit of history along with the fun of finding a new cache. You received a lot of useful advice from the first few posters, above. As one mentioned, you might want to start with a simple cache close to home, which would allow you to add swag that might be meaningful to the story behind the cache. If you place a number of caches with the same basic theme, you can use the same title with numbers after it to show that it's a series. I do agree with the earlier poster that making them regular caches will bring more people to seek them; our multicaches are much less visited than our basic simple caches.
  5. We see you've already gotten some very useful information, above! You've already found just over 60 caches, but my guess is after the first 100 or so finds you will find your experience will make the search a lot easier and more fun, and less frustrating when you do encounter the more difficult caches! There is no substitute for going out and caching, since each time you see a new container or a new method of hiding you'll know to consider that technique when you look for the next cache. If you live in an area with a geocaching club, do consider attending an event. Talking with other cachers is a great way to gain more knowledge, and going caching with other cachers will also help you gain confidence. Good luck, and enjoy the hunt!
  6. Several of our smaller caches seem to get moved slightly out of position over time. One of them is hidden in plain sight, and cachers often think it should be hidden where it can't be seen! I don't mind replacing them. I think it's the responsibility of the CO to place caches so they can be found and enjoyed. If we noticed that one of ours was always being put back incorrectly, that would just tell me that we need to change the hide to make it user friendly! I'm sorry to hear that some CO's get angry at cachers trying to let them know about a problem with a cache. I have also had to email CO's a few times to let them know about caches left out in sight of muggles, and I always try to re-hide the cache so it won't be muggled. If I have to move it a foot or so away to find a better hiding place, I send an email to the CO (not in the log). We ourselves don't try to get caches that are hidden in such a way that we would have to climb up a tree or dangle from a bridge abutment, because we're in our '60's and don't want to risk our bones to get some of the difficulty 4 or 5 caches!
  7. We've put a watch on some caches for two reasons: 1. We couldn't find it but want to try again and are hoping someone will leave a new log that might give us a good clue! 2. We logged a DNF and sent a note to the owner mentioning a problem, and didn't hear back from the CO so added a watch to see if it gets archived or disabled.
  8. We think our team can proudly claim to hold the title of "Most Rubber Duckies Left as Swag in Geocaches," since we have been caching for five years, and for most of that time we have left our signature swag of cheap rubber duckie toys ordered from a certain overseas trading company in all the cache containers that could hold a prize of that size. We even branched out into miniature duckies to be sure the smaller caches had the honor of hosting a VanDucks duckie. Since I notice in my most recent copy of the company's catalog that they have expanded their line of rubber duckies tremendously, I think we can even claim to be providing employment for a sizable group of Chinese citizens! I know that my fellow geocachers will be impressed by our achievement, but we are very modest people and don't want to brag!
  9. The C&O Canal is a national park, and placement of geocaches is not allowed on NPS property. However, there are some virtual caches along the canal or nearby. You can look at the listing for "Aquarius", GCFB54. The cache description page includes a bookmark list for "C&O Canal" by Kordite. (for some reason my computer doesn't let me add in links, sorry!) To locate caches along a trail in PA, try choosing a Zip Code nearby the trail on the Hide and Seek a geocache page; then you can select the google geocaching map and find caches near or on the bike trail. Someone may have made up a bookmark list that will show you other caches on that trail.
  10. I'm not a "horse person" so would never want to geocache by horseback (!) but I did want to mention that in northern Virginia, where we live, there is a horse trail running most of the length of the W&OD Trail, which was converted from a railroad right-of-way to a paved bike path alongside a dirt and gravel bridal/pedestrian trail many years ago. There are many, many geocaches hidden along the trail, which runs 32.5 miles from Alexandria, Va to Purcellville, VA, so you could certainly use it for horseback caching. We own one of the caches along the trail, GCYE86, and the cache page includes a bookmark list of "Bike Trail Caches" by our friend 2Wheel'in. A link to information about the W&OD Trail and its horse trail can be seen at: www.wodfriends.org/trail
  11. Always glad to welcome a new geocacher, and in our home state of Virginia, too! There are so many great caches waiting for you to find them! It's a good idea to plan your caching trips to have a few easy ones mixed in with the harder variety, since success will keep you enjoying the game! And it does get easier, as you gain experience with more types of hides and containers. If you live near a geocaching club, try to sign up on their website, because it's good to meet other cachers and to occasionally go to geocaching events, where you can talk to other people who share your enthusiasm. (Actually, I see that you are probably in the area covered by NoVAGO, so please visit the free website at http://www.novago.org/wp/ ) Happy caching!
  12. We own several micro/nano caches that are often found, because they're near local motels, and geocachers passing through our area on business or vacation trips do seem to like being able to get some quick finds without a hike involved. I do find that we have to maintain those hides frequently because the logs get filled up. In our suburban area, we are somewhat limited in locations nearby that can hold larger cache types. I like finding nanos or micros that are unusual, either in their placement or in a unique kind of container. I don't mind finding a cache in a shopping center or near a building in a busy area. Also, there are times when due to physical limitations, a cacher may only be able to look for those small 1/1 caches, so I'd hate to think that they weren't going to be placed anymore!
  13. We had a similar thing happen to us; we went to find a cache and saw pieces of it in a creek nearby. Obviously, it had been muggled between the previous finder and our visit. We sent an email to the owner telling him what we found. It didn't occur to us to log it as found, because it wasn't exactly "there" anymore (and the logbook had washed away)! If you get a e-mail back from the cache owner saying you can log it as found, do so. Otherwise, if you log a "find" it may cause other cachers to go looking for the cache which is no longer there. As stated above, you can't just adopt a cache without going through the required process. You can't assume a cacher is no longer active in the sport unless he tells you so, since he may just be busy with other activities in his life. I suggest you put a "watch" on the cache so if it does get archived by the reviewer, you'll have a chance to try to place another cache there in the future.
  14. Unless you are the luckiest geocacher in all of history, this sort of thing will happen! We've had to drop all sorts of planned geocaches when we realized our proposed location was too close to another cache. It takes a while for a new cacher to realize that it may seem like "all the good spots are taken!" Just suck it up and try placing your cache somewhere else. Those of us who have had similar experiences with the cache saturation rule are not going to be too sympathetic to your reasoning that you are more entitled than others to place your cache wherever you want it.
  15. Where we cache (northern Virginia) most of the local counties have rules regarding cache placement in their parks, and our local reviewer does link to lists of how to get permission; it can take a while so you have to be very patient! It is quicker than it used to be, since there are so many new geocachers joining the hobby now. For placement on private land, I think you'll have more luck if you approach an independently owned business or church, where you can explain geocaching directly to the person who owns the property. There are a few of those type caches around here; one is at a religious center, another at a vet's office. (Expect to be a "ambassador" for geocaching and to spend a lot of time selling the benefits of their very own geocache to the business or church!) We've placed a few caches on public property without getting actual permission; one's at a library, another on town property along a utility easement. I think getting permission from a management company for a big shopping center will be impossible; they will tell you their insurance doesn't allow it, or some such objection! We have a puzzle cache that requires the cacher to get clues from two shopping centers, but the actual cache is on a road easement; something like that might work if you can't get permission to hide the actual cache at a particular location.
  16. And here I clicked on this topic thinking some cacher had seen a lion at a cache!
  17. We had some "business" style geocaching cards made, when I worked at a print shop, and the cards cost me nothing! They just have a photo and our caching name on them. Sometimes we remember to leave them, if the cache seems dry inside; and I do like seeing other cachers' cards. When I'm doing maintenance on our own caches, I throw out any sort of advertising material left in them, including business cards that are not geocaching cards. For the original poster: if you made up geocaching cards with a pretty design, related to your jewelery, and with your gecaching name, you could include a link to the webpage for your business; that way anyone who is interested can see a bit more, but you won't be throwing an ad right in their face!
  18. I just noticed the new Favorites feature today, since due to a busy work schedule and the impending holidays, I hadn't been on line since the last upgrade. I like the new system very much! Since we've found slightly over 800 caches, in four and a half years of caching, we had about 85 points to use. I went down the list of all the caches we'd found and realized that the ones I remembered the most clearly would be the ones to mark as favorites. There were some from our early days of caching that were not particularly difficult, but I remembered how excited we had been to find them. There were others that reminded me of our planned geocaching trips, where we went to some new location and dicovered interesting parks and old buildings. Some were caches in beautiful mountains and woods, where the hike in and out was the best part. There were others that challenged us physically, by crawling through a culvert, sidestepping through poison ivy and ticks, or creeping out onto a scary overlook. Some caches were memorable because of the people that were with us when we found them. And some were funny adventures in outwitting muggles and having a clever "cover story" as to what exactly we were doing there! The caches that were my favorites were often ones that took us several tries to find, or required us to use a lot of mental agility to understand. Many of them were variations on a familiar type of hide that went off in an unexpected direction so we saw something we hadn't seen before. I realized that for us at least, hard is more satisfying than easy, and caches that took a long time to complete were usually well worth the time! I expect that if 100 cachers who had all found the same 100 caches were asked to mark their ten favorites, we would all have different answers, because our choices reflect our unique personalities. What conclusions can you draw by thinking about your favorites?
  19. The only sure way I've found to know what sort of physical effort is involved is reading the cache description and also looking back at a number of logs; if the difficulty/terrain ratings are high, I look back at more logs! Sometimes if the cache description is lacking in detail, previous logs let you know if you need waterproof boots, a hiking pole, bug spray, etc. For our own caches, I do add notes on the cache page if I think the cache will present any unusual challenges. We are cachers in our sixties, and have to make sure we are up to the physical effort involved, so we are careful about terrains rated three and above!
  20. We saw an article in the local newspaper about geocaching, back in 2004 or so. We had a car GPS we had bought several years before to use for driving our daughter back and forth to college, and we also had gotten a hand held unit. When we looked at the geocaching.com website, we saw a cache only about two blocks from our house. We went to try it but couldn't find it, after a very long search. At that point, we didn't try again till a year or so later, when we had a better, more accurate handheld GPS, and also the satellite coverage had been improved to allow for more accuracy in locating coordinates. At last we were able to find a few caches, and we were hooked!
  21. I like to leave small magnetic bookmarks (heavy paper with a thin magnet strip), ordered from an online store; they come in a few sizes, lots of designs, and fit almost every cache container (except micros); they are pretty cheap when bought in bulk so I order them two or three times a year.
  22. Seveal years ago, we sent out two travel bugs, named for our two elderly cats, Cleo and Mimi. The TBs were keychains that looked similar to the cats themselves. Both TBs enjoyed good long runs, and continued travelling on for a while after the two cats themselves had passed away. Now, though, like so many TBs and coins, they are both in the infamous "unknown location." I hadn't thought of doing a memorial cache for the cats, but if I did, I think I'd just name it something like "Cleo's and Mimi's Cache". I would enjoy having it remind me of our pets, but I wouldn't necessarily want to emphasize that it was a memorial.
  23. We do have several caches with unusual containers. I've only had two occasions where I had to ask a finder to delete a photo or alter a log so as not to give away the surprise for the next finder. Both finders were pleasant and did as I requested. I think you should try asking first, and if no reply, you, as the cache owner, can delete the log, or perhaps edit it? (I'm not sure if that's possible)
  24. Wow, how I wish I WERE going to the Galapagos Islands!
  25. Goal: Have fun! My husband and I love having geocaching adventures together. We're a bit older than the average geocacher, therefore perhaps more aware of how precious free time is in all our lives! Delons, I've seen so many posts from you on these forums; I admire your enthusiasm and hope you'll continue to enjoy the game!
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