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Geo Quest

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Everything posted by Geo Quest

  1. Well I certainly have fewer finds than just about anybody but conversely, I've been caching since Clinton lifted the GPS built-in error so I think I have the right to chime in on Geocaching. When Geocaching.com first came out I was absolutely ecstatic! You know, once upon a time there was no such thing as a "premium member". We were ALL premium members! Anyway, like you I've had my share of adventures. I've discovered an abandoned mine, a cathedral-like waterall, a sweet tomb/cave, and a bunch of awesome, out of the way places I NEVER would have found without Geocaching and for that I am eternally greatful. I have descended a steep canyon only to find myself stuck and unable to either cross the river or climb back up (that was a fun one!) I have actually sat on a stump pondering the location of a cache only to discover the stump I was sitting on WAS the cache! I've climbed fire lookout towers and sat overlooking a draw waiting for enough light to drain out of the sky before a timed light illuminated the cache I was after. I have solved a puzzle that took watching a movie, assembling a 3-D "decoder", and re-learning binary to figure out. I've had most of these adventure with my family and we have all gotten closer to nature in the process. I've had a land manger contact me and tell me to remove my cache due to the damage that finders were causing. I couldn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes so I can thank Geocaching for opening my eyes to humanity's impact on nature. I even went geocaching with my mother-in-law once and came to the forums to complain about how miserable it was. Little did I know those memories would come back to me in a fond way. She died of cancer earlier this year. So despite the little niggles I have here and there Geocaching has impacted me and my family in a far more positive way than not. Thank you for starting this thread!
  2. On a different note: I had no idea my avatar looked like an elephant to people! HA! HA! (That's my old fashioned way to LOL)
  3. That's a great question and I actually thought about re-phrasing it before submitting the post because it made me look like a moron. I keep my swag in a waterproof pouch within my caching pack. The pens, pencils, flashlight, and batteries are in a seperate compartment within the pack. So when I took off on my bike (which has a small seatbag) I removed the swag pouch from the pack intending to trade but left everything else as it wouldn't all fit inside the seat bag. It's my fault and I've had time to cool off. I was just angry at myself and needed to vent. This has always been the nicest forum on the internet and it's nice to see that that part of Geocaching has not changed. Thanks for the replies everybody, it was very theraputic.
  4. I do it to find new, interesting places I would not have found otherwise. Finding the cache is actually secondary to the location so I don't care about stats at all.
  5. I think you're right. I've noticed a huge proliferation of lower-quality drive-by type caches that seem to be custom made for people who are after numbers and not a true adventure/treasure hunt. I got into geocaching BECAUSE I like to hike, not because I wanted a new way to measure my success/failure within a peer group.
  6. I haven't gone geocaching in a long time. Over a year, in fact. So long that I forgot why I stopped. That all changed last Friday. My little girl asked me why we hadn't gone geocaching in a while and I really couldn't come up with a good reason. I mean, after all why wouldn't you be geocaching if you value family togetherness, the outdoors, finding treasure, and all things high-tech? Ok, let's go! I figured with gas prices the way they are we could hit some local caches on our bicycles so I downloaded some waypoints and clipped my little yellow E-Trex onto my handlebars and off we went. The first cache was right on the side of a backroad. In a hollow tree stump. Surrounded by blackberry bushes. I immediately remembered why I quit caching. This area was supposedly historic but there was absolutely nothing at the cache site to demonstrate this fact. To me, it was just a friggin' stump in the middle of the stickers, with cars whizzin' by. There was a semi-quaint little dirt road nearby that went under a rustic train trestle that was safely off the side of the road but was the cache there? Oh no, it was right by the road. I hate these drive-by caches with nothing interesting. My disappointment continued once I opened the cache. No pen? No pencil? How am I supposed to sign the log book? I didn't have one because I didn't have my caching pack with me and I figured what cache wouldn't have a pen or pencil? Oh, look someone put a bottle of bubbles in here that leaked out all over this wallet chain which is now a useless, rusty piece of garbage. Oh yeah, that's right, if you're not the first to find all you get is crap. I guess we're keeping our trade goodies for ourselves. Our next cache was in town but we didn't even look for it very long because it just looks too suspicious to be poking around in town nearby businesses and private property. It was my fault for not researching the caches better. I selected them based on proximity to my house, not quality. When properly researched, hunting geocaches can still be a worthwhile activity so I might hit some more this summer but at least now I remember what I don't like about it. This website has changed a lot over the years but what does the "stealth required" icon mean? Sanctioned tresspassing? I was going to go after another cache in my hometown until I realized that it was on private property in an active worksite. It had a "stealth required" icon. What is that supposed to mean? Hit it at night while wearing your ninja garb and having a get-away car parked nearby? What has Geocaching become?
  7. I have had a Hennessey Hammock (Ultralight Backpacker Asym) for three years now and I will never go back to a tent. I can't recommend them highly enough.
  8. I've found that the greatest frustrations in life are when we try to make others behave as we want them to.
  9. I just wanted to chime in (five months late) and thank Chubbyforestmonkey for adopting my Phantom Cache. I'm glad such a cool location didn't go to waste.
  10. I pretty much have to take my kids. I can't find anything without them. During my last geocaching excursion my son was up in a tree goofing around (or so I thought). I was ready to go log another failed attempt when I told him to come down so we could go. "Shouldn't we at least sign the log book first, dad?" he said as he pulled the container from a hole in the tree. I can get us to the general location but it takes my kids to find 'em for me!
  11. I know exactly what you mean about introducing new people to geocaching. I introduced my wife's teenage cousin to geocaching by taking him and a friend on a hunt. We found the cache and everybody seemed to have a good time. I learned a few days later that they went back to the cache and stole it just for kicks. He told me was going to become the "GEOBANDIT" or something similarly weird, pointless, and stupid. What a punk. I was able to get the cache back and re-hide it.
  12. Thanks a bunch! That's exactly what I needed.
  13. Does anyone know if there is a website where a person could input a street address and get the lat/long for said address?
  14. While I realize the guy you are talking about probably did have a nefarious reason for his purchase (based on his history with drugs) I would like to point out that there are ligitimate reasons for buying fuel line de-icer when it is 80 degrees outside. I use Heet brand fuel line de-icer as fuel for my homemade backpacking stove. Now I know why I get weird looks sometimes when I buy it during the summer. I'm totally ignorant when it comes to the drug world. I have no idea what a "death bag" is either.
  15. Am I the only one who finds it disturbing that there are people policing the activities of fellow geocachers and then trashing them on the forums? "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  16. I am opposed to all emoticons. So there. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  17. The greatest thing geocaching has done for me has been to introduce me to awesome places right under my nose that I never knew existed. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  18. I'm glad my geocaching misadventure caused a few smiles. I can assure you I was not smiling at the time. In all honesty I love my mother-in-law but I am hyper-sensitive to her quirks and habits. You see, she has only recently moved out of our house. I lived with her for ten years and during that time I went from adoring her to wondering why God hates me so much. Now that she's moved out I have a little better perspective but she can still touch a nerve with me. Thanks for letting me vent by posting this poll. Will I take her again? So far she hasn't asked. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  19. My mother-in-law has recently started walking for health reasons. She walks for about an hour every day and now fancies herself to be in pretty good shape. She felt she was ready to geocache! She knows I go geocaching and one day she asked me why I hadn't taken her. You see, in her mind geocaching is just walking with a GPS. That's all there is to it. She said that it sounded like a great way to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. I didn't have the heart to tell her why I'd never taken her. Some kids you tell not to stick the butter knife in the wall outlet and they never do. Other kids have to light themselves up and blow every fuse in the house a few times before they realize you know what you're talking about. My mother-in-law is a fuse blower. I caved in and told her I would find a few nearby caches to hit. After downloading the waypoints and printing out the cache pages my wife, kids, and dear 'ol mom piled into the family truckster and we headed out. We arrived at the first cache site, a small rural park by a scenic pond. We started down a trail through a field of tall grass that skirted the water's edge. Soon, we realized that the cache was on the other side of the pond. We began talking about how to get there. At this point mother shrieked like a banshee and pointed into the grass. "A spider!!!", she wailed. She refused to walk past the spider so we went back to the car and drove around the pond. It looked like there might be a back way in but it was much longer. We pulled off the road and I got out of the car. She just sat there. She rolled down the window and said: "See if there's a trail to the cache this way". Up goes the window. I'm left standing there absolutely befuddled. I don't profess to be a geocaching guru but I know you stand a better chance of finding the cache if you get out of the car. So I amble off in search of a trail. It turned out that there was no way she could have made it this way, the spider danger was much too high. So I went back to the car and we drove back to our original starting point. I delivered a short motivational speech and promised to lead the way in and massacre every spider on the trail for her. We found the cache but it was under some sticks and foliage. (Imagine that!) She didn't want to bend down and stick her hand into the bushes to get it so I did it for her. Off to cache number two. This one is in a small town park in a residential area. Should be easy. No trails to navigate. The GPS pointed us towards some bushes bordering a stream. She began poking around the bushes in one direction while I poked in the other. Suddenly the soothing sound of the nearby creek was shattered by a shrill noise similar to the sound a wiener dog might make if it got stepped on by a horse, then burst into flames. I jumped three feet in the air while clutching my heart to prevent it from leaping out of my chest and falling in the stream. I looked at dear old mother and she was standing like she had to pee really bad, making Sasquatch-in-heat sounds, and pretty much causing an embarrassing ruckus. I asked her what was wrong but she kept on squealing. You may think I'm exaggerating but I don't care. She squealed for a good five seconds. All the while I kept saying: "what's wrong!? what is wrong!!". Finally, she was able to semi-shriek out a word that sounded like "sSsnaaAAke!". I walked over to the bushes and searched in vain but I didn't find it. I'm sure it had squirmed off somewhere as fast as it could, had a heart attack, and died. "I'm done here! I don't like snakes!" she said as she backed toward the safety of the merry-go-round. My wife wound up finding the cache while mother simply sat and shivered. Our next glorious fiasco had been planned as the grand-finale' to our caching day. It was a quarter-mile hike on a well-maintained trail with lots of interesting sculptures. The trail crossed a bridge and then forked. It was a loop that was designed to be hiked counter-clockwise so we turned right at the fork but mother went left. The GPS made it look like left was the shortest way to the cache. But the GPS doesn't know that the left side is also the steeper side. We let her go her own way because quite frankly I was getting sick of her at this point. So, my wife and I walked hand in hand around the quaint little loop, found the cache at the top and started back down wondering where mom was. Ok, only one of us was wondering where she was. The other one was considering the purchase of a pet snake. We found her sitting on a rock near the fork in the trail. She hadn't made it more than 20 yards past the fork! I asked her why she didn't hike to the top and she said the gravel was too loose and she didn't want to risk falling. OK, so why did I tell you all this? I know that geocaching involves spiders and snakes. Loose gravel comes with the territory. Sometimes you even sweat! Some people just do not have any concept of what it means to pursue an outdoor activity. Why hadn't I taken my mother-in-law before? Because I knew her and I knew geocaching but I couldn't simply tell her "you're not the geocaching type". She would have taken it the same way a rebellious little two year old takes it when you tell them not to play with mouse traps. So she got snapped and the fuses are blown but what do I do if she wants to go geocaching again? I don't think she has learned her lesson. She's the kind that can't take a hint and doesn't know her own limits. I know she's going to want to go again. Do I take her? [This message was edited by Geo Quest on August 10, 2003 at 03:26 AM.]
  20. Ahhh, bicycles! A topic I love to talk about. I agree with most of what has already been said except for a couple little niggles. 1. Buying a fifty dollar bike at K-Mart is akin to flushing the money down the toilet. I could go into the technical details but I don't want to make this very long. I'll just say that the phrase: "K-Mart fall apart" applies in spades. 2. Componants are what matter. Yes and no. The most important componants in a quality bike are: "Frame", "Wheelset" (includes hubs), "Bottom Bracket", and to a lesser extent the "Headset". Most everybody else will tell you the shifters, derailleurs, crankset, etc. are the most important because those are the componants that everybody sees. But the componants that house bearings are vitally important to a reliable and safe bicycle. And don't forget that everything rides on the wheels and the wheels spin around the hubs. Manufacturers cut costs on the most important parts because they are less visable to the consumer. But for a grand you'll be able to get a high quality bike all around so I wouldn't worry. I'm thinking about getting a new bike too and am really looking hard at the Cannondale T800 "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  21. This topic was inspired by this thread. The pursuit of this game known as geocaching has sent many people delving deep into the forests and fields of the world. Many of these neophyte explorers are unprepared to deal with realistic emergencies that can happen either through inexperience, ignorance, or improper equipment. Obviously, I'm not talking about the average 1/1 walk in the park but rather, the caches with terrain ratings of 4 or 5. So, my question is: What skills/equipment do you feel are necessary to posess before embarking on a cross-country geocaching adventure? I'll start. 1. Know how to use your GPS. (seems obvious but I guess it's not) 2. Carry extra batteries. 3. Carry the "10 essentials". Know how to use them. Again, this seems like common sense but how many people carry a magnesium fire starter but have never tried using it? How do you know it will work if you've never tried it? 4. Know what it's like to spend the night in the woods. Get some camping/backpacking time under your belt. There's more but that's all I time for. I'm sure people will be able to add lots of good stuff to this list. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  22. i don't understand how it is possible that he didn't know where he was. "He said I have no idea where I am except the (GPS) coordinates on a Web site." Are you telling me that this guy was out geocaching in a swamp and did not even know how to read his current position? Thank goodness he's proficient at cell phone operation. I feel bad for him but c'mon! Who are these people who think they can ignore common sense because they have a cell phone? Depending on technology to bail you out of a survival situation is asking for trouble. Suppose his cell phone didn't have any reception? Suppose the batteries went dead, or he dropped it and lost it? The bottom line is this guy made a mistake but got very lucky. This is a good lesson for all of us to heed. Technology is only as good as the operator and old fashioned outdoor skills are still valuable to a modern-day explorer. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  23. I think an avatar should be simple, colorful, and pleasing to the eye. Most photgraphs do not translate well into such small images and lose their definition. When I first saw majicman's avatar I thought it was a grisly crime-scene photgraph. Others are well-defined images but lack color or any kind of quality that sets them apart from the rest. I cast my vote for joefrog. It's clean, colorful, and pleasing. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  24. I was there about 14 years ago and it was pretty cool. They mix in some carnival trickery along with the natural phenomenon of the vortex (which does seem real). A cache placed outside the vortex would just be another normal cache but if you could get permission to put it inside - now that would be cool. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
  25. akind: Yes, you take the road that goes to Valsetz from Falls City to get there. It is kind of hard to get to though. Valsetz is gone and so is the lake. I stopped by the BLM office is Salem and picked up directions to it. They have a free pamphlet available. "Wise men talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something." -- Plato
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