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Everything posted by Stargazer22

  1. Welcome to the fun! Geocaching is a great way to spend time recreating outdoors with friends and family. A couple of years ago I took a friend, his wife, and his girls out caching for the day. He had 3 girls aged between 3 and 12, and they all absolutely loved it! We took them out to the local forest not too far from their home and found about a half a dozen caches, while hiking about 3 miles or so. One of them was located where an old stagecoach stop used to be, which is forested land now. He explained to the kids about stagecoaches and how it used to be before we all had cars to drive. He had no idea that his girls would enjoy being out in the woods and was surprised to see how well they behaved and stayed together. He took the opportunity to teach his girls a learning lesson in trading swag in the caches by being considerate of people to follow. Those kids had such a great time trading one little piece of swag for another and trading each other for the goodies they found, all the while with the older ones helping the younger ones to negotiate the terrain. It was a great bonding experience for all of them. He also had a nice quiet evening later with his wife as the kids were so tired they crashed out and slept through the night. Sorry you seem to be having troubles finding your first few. Sometimes it can be a good idea to go find a few first to make sure they are there, what the terrain in the area is like, etc... before you take out youngsters, depending on their ages. Then take them out and let them work the GPS (or phone in your case) and watch how much fun they have. In the meantime, you will know where the caches are hidden and will be able to help them find them if they get too frustrated. Kids don't have the attention span that adults do and sometimes if they can't find any caches, they can easily become disenchanted with the whole idea. If you know the caches are there and where to look, it can help to insure them a successful outing and an enjoyable experience, especially their first time or two. They don't have to know that you have already found them. You might want to start by looking for a few with low terrain and low difficulty ratings first as those should be easier to find. Be sure to look at the size of the cache on the cache page and try to stick with regular or small size caches at first. Micros can be incredibly difficult to find even for experienced cachers. They are also too small generally to hold any items of interest to kids, so even being successful at finding micros can be a big bore for children. Remember that your device will only get you to within about 20-30 feet of the cache, as the hider's device as well as yours has some error, which, when added together, means the cache may be some little distance away from where your device says it is. Most caches I have found were with 20 or 30 feet from where my GPSr indicates, but I have found them as far away as 100 feet. You can check on the new caches page for your area to see if there are any caching events planned nearby. Attending some events and meeting other cachers is just about the fastest way to get quickly educated on the game. There will probably be others there that also use a phone and can give you a lot of good tips about how caches are generally hidden in your area. Most cachers I have met and know are very helpful and friendly and are glad to help show a new person some of the ropes. You might just meet other cachers in a similar situation to yours and make some new friends to go out caching with. Good luck and most of all, have fun!!
  2. Thanks for hiding what I consider to be normal caches. It's all the PNGs and LPCs that seem like the chaff to me. I've seen plenty of guard rails, stop signs and lamp posts, thank you very much. I don't need geocaching to take me to those. I enjoy taking a nice long hike that shows me some interesting areas and some fun bushwhacking. I don't care if there's only one cache along the way, I'm good with that. I'm one of the guys Riffster talks about that looks for his hides as what I consider to be a premium hide - thanks Riff!! Sorry we missed your last CITO. I didn't see it until the last minute and couldn't get my act together quick enough. I've got one of my own that has been out since 4/26/08 that has only been found on 3 occasions, the first time by my friends Clan Riffster and Nativefly182. It's about a 6 mile round trip paddle, with the cache about a 1/2 mile up a little creek to a pond. You're welcome to come down and cache in our neck of the woods anytime. I think we have some caches down here you would enjoy. We'll just do it old-school and have a good time!
  3. As others have stated, as long as the cache is not uniquely camoflaged then it's usually not a problem to show a photo of it as long as you don't spoil the hide for others. If it is a unique cache you can always just take a photo of the log only, showing your signature on it. That way you don't show the actual cache container.
  4. Exactly! A concrete wall is not alive either, but if I see graffitti on it, I consider it to be defaced. This would include geocaching coordinates, containers, or mountings as well, whether on a living tree, dead tree, or any other object. Consider how people outside of geocaching would perceive it, especially land managers.
  5. You do not have to include the GC code number on your cache. I have found plenty of them without it. It is helpful to put it in there if you can, but it's not required.
  6. For us, it depends on the area at GZ when we get to the cache. We usually make a search first to see if we can find it without the hint. It it appears that there are plethora of places the cache could be, then we will read the hint. If it appears that there are only a few places the cache could be hidden, we'll make more of a search in those areas first just to see if the hide may have been cleverly camoflaged and difficult to locate, despite limited places to hide it. These are my favorites - caches that are hidden in plain sight but seem to be invisible. If we are looking for a small or a micro and the area looks like there are a bazillion places to hide it, I'll read the hint right away. Part of my cache searching parameters include not damaging the area where the cache is hidden. If I feel that an extended search in the area is going to put too much wear and tear on the surroundings, I'll read the hint to shorten the hunt and minimize my impact to the area.
  7. Your complaint is that there are too many caches saturating your area. So you want to saturate it even more? Seems like that's just adding to the problem. As others have said, go for quality, not quantity.
  8. I've done most of the items on your list and am definitely not into numbers. For me it's all about the fun and the cool places to go. Here's another one for you: If you have found more than 30 caches, signed your name in the phyiscal logbook, but never logged them on the website. You might not be into numbers.
  9. One factor that limits the usefulness of silica gel that is commonly overlooked is it's capacity to absorb water at higher temperatures. At temperatures of 77 degrees F and below, it has good adsorbtion properties. Above 77 degrees F it's capacity to absorb water drops rapidly and eventually it will reach a temperature where it releases more water than it absorbs. This is why silica gel can commonly be "recharged" by putting it into a 200 degree oven for a period of time. The acutal amount of water that can be absorbed by silica gel is pretty good for sealed containers, but remember that caches aren't going to stay sealed up. They will be periodically opened up which lets more moisture back in again. Typically at about 40% relative humidity, 100 grams of silica gel will absorb about 35 grams of water. Given the densities of the 2 substances, that means that to absorb about 5 ounces of water you would need just over a cup of silica gel. After several openings of the cache, you would then need to remove the gel and recharge it to get any more drying effect. Silica gel is best used for sealed containers in moderate temperature environments that will seldomly be opened.
  10. I usually use Google Earth for this. Once you have the unzipped version of the pocket query file (.gpx format), you can drag and drop it on GE and it will show you the locations of the caches on the map. Then you can adjust your zoom level and area and print that if you like. GE has been very helpful for us. Once you have the caches showing on the map, you can also draw a path on GE that follows the correct trails and goes in the order you want to follow to find the caches. This is especially helpful if all the trails in the area are shown on GE. You can then take that path, convert it, load it into Mapsource, and load it onto the GPSr. This give you a projected path line that you can expect to follow in the field that will take you to any caches and any other areas of interest you see on GE and incorporate into your path line. Luckily in our area GE seems to be pretty accurate and usually puts us within a few feet of where we expected to be. We can also vary from our path on a different trail when in the area and still know how to get back on track and back to the caches again. Good luck!
  11. I don't generally do anything about what I perceive as an incorrect attribute for a cache. My interpretation of things could be just as incorrect as the COs. The example you give of the 24/7 for a cache in an area with posted hours would be more likely to get a response from me with a very polite email to the CO stating that I saw signs at the area with posted hours. I would never contact a CO about their cache if I did not personally go to the cache myself and form my own opinion. I certainly would not bring up cache listings I had not visited to "police" them. As far as your other example, it is a judgement call as to what is safe and what is not. Where kids are concerned I expect their parents to decide what is safe for them and what is not. When they get to the cache site if they don't feel it's an appropriate environment for their children, they should leave regardless of what attributes the CO has on the cache page. This can vary depending on specific parents and their progeny. Something like that is a judgment call that the parent should make, not me. It's not so black-and-white when judgment is involved. What some people see as acceptable might not agree with the beliefs of others. In those cases I'm sure not going to act as cop, judge, and jury. Especially not about what attributes are on a cache page. I don't feel the need to control the actions of others that much.
  12. 1) What's the best time of day to go Geocaching? Any time you have some spare time on your hands. 2) What's the best weather to go Geocaching? I prefer to go when it's not raining just because I don't like to get the inside of caches wet when I open them. 3) What's the best trade item to bring while Geocaching? I like to take ponchos, little flashlights, carabiners, etc... 4) Is it best to bring a pen or a pencil? (I've heard that some people have "stickers" for Geocaching. Where do I get one of those?) I prefer a gel pen. They write on just about anything, even damp paper. I don't like stickers because they take up more room in the log and can come off. 5) Should I bring my 11 month old puppy with me? (Maybe he can sniff out the cache... LOL) Yes! Just be sure that the area you are going to allows dogs first. Not all trails are dog friendly. A couple of years back we were out with a group finding caches and noticed that the dog that belonged to one of the group members kept going to the caches first and patiently waiting there until someone came over to find the cache he was sitting next to. Later in the day we discovered that they had been present when the caches were hidden so he knew where they all were. No wonder he kept sitting there looking at all the humans stumbling around in the bushes like they were nuts! Have fun!
  13. Welcome to the fun! It's hard to start out looking for micros. They are very small and due to their small size, they typically present many hiding places when you get to where your GPSr takes you. The normal range of error may be 20 feet when hiding the cache, plus another 20 feet or so error in the person looking for the cache, so it is not unusual to be looking in a circle with a 40 foot radius. If my math is right (area = pi * r squared) that is about 5057 square feet to scour for an object that may be the size of your little finger. Also keep in mind that many players in this game have been playing for upwards of 10 years and some of them will be placing hides intended for players that have been doing this for a long time. Some of them will be very devious hides intended to challenge players that have found thousands of caches. Don't feel at all bad if you can't find some micros, especially if you are just starting out. Some micros are very easy to find once you have an idea of the kinds of places they are hidden. Difficulty on micros varies a lot. Sometimes finding one of the hard ones can give you a great feeling. A couple of years back we were searching for a difficult micro hidden in a forested area. There was a team of 6 cachers there prior to us that looked for the cache and failed to find it. Some of them had several thousand finds to their names so the group as a whole had over 10,000 finds. We thought our chances of finding it after they failed would be nil, but we enjoy spending time in the forest anyway so we went to look for it. After about 45 minutes of searching, we finally found it just as the sun was setting and we were running out of time. That was a great feeling considering that at the time we had only about 300 finds. Finds like that are worth the time and effort they take and the experience you gain finding them. So keep looking and have a lot of fun in the search whether you find the cache or not. Don't feel bad having a hard time finding some micros. Heck, I have had to go back on some caches just to find an ammo can. Have fun!
  14. Definitely use a container that the critters can't chew their way into. I placed several caches in wooded areas using lock and locks. The bears used them for chew toys. Now the ones where the bears were active are ammo cans and they'll be going to the dentist if they chew them again. Interestingly, I was wondering what was attracting them to the caches since none of them had any food items or any items that were scented. Apparently the big attraction for the bears were the rubber balls I had put in them for kids. Most of the other swag was just strewn around the caches still unopened in their original packaging, but the rubber balls were chewed to bits.
  15. I think online translations are entirely sufficient for the purpose of cache logging. In my opinion, forcing others to log in a specific language or languages is just another ALR. I don't need to control the actions of others that much. I'm not so anxious to delete someone's log that I would delete it if it's not in the language I want it to be. We're talking about cache logs for a game, not legal documents. I would find it rather charming to get a log in a cacher's native language. I am intelligent enough to get the idea of what they are logging by using an online translator, at least for the purposes of monitoring a cache listing.
  16. I sure don't consider it rude not to include swag in a new cache. Swag is optional and as you noted, it usually goes down in quality rather quickly, especially in caches with easy access. Don't let anyone's log about swag get you down. We have a couple of finders locally in our area that always complain if they don't like the swag in the caches they visit. I feel sorry for any cache owners who get logs like that from them. They've been playing this game long enough to know how it normally goes with swag but they continue to complain. All I see is they have a giant sense of entitlement whenever they moan that the swag was not good enough for them. I once saw a log from them stating they took a 7 LED flashlight from the cache and left a ceramic cup. The next finder posted that the cup they left was broken.
  17. OK. I tried the bookmarking and it worked fine. I then turned the entire 7 caches into a PQ and that worked just fine. But how the heck do I get the PQ into my Garmin eTrex? I must be doing something really wrong because it sounds real simple. So I must be missing one little thing somewhere. Can you give me a step-by-step from a PQ to the download to the Garmin? I'd certainly appreciate it. Thanks, Rick You can use Easy GPS or GSAK (Geocaching Swiss Army Knife). I have used both and they both work just fine on my ETrex H. I prefer GSAK because it has many more features and can do a lot of different things. You can download it and evaluate it to see if you like it. You can use it for 30 days (if I remember correctly) and then after that you get a nag screen that makes you wait for a minute or two, depending on how many days you have used the program. I went ahead and paid for the registered version since I thought it was well worth it and have not been sorry since. There is a lot of support for GSAK on the internet including advanced types of scripts and a lot of helpful users that can answer questions.
  18. Maybe you should just have an event with your local rock climbing group instead of trying to make a geocaching event into a rock climber event. Remember that the people you invite are geocachers, not professional (or even amateur) rock climbers. With the price of gas these days, isn't it enough that cachers are willing to give their time and spend their gas money to come out and check out your event and activities? Are you really going to alienate possible caching friends just because they won't make the journey down the rock face?? You may just spark someone's interest enough that they get into rock climbing later on, even if they don't feel comfortable with participating in a big group event. Especially with your description of how some people can "crowd the ledge getting in my way of making the event safe", that doesn't sound like a good way to encourage a newbie climber to participate. I know that if I were to attend such an event and saw that the ledge was crowded or less than what I would consider safe, even if I were interested in the activity, I would probably prefer to try it at another time when the ledge was not crowded and more safe. I would still expect to be able to log the event as attended and not have my log deleted just because I made a decision to try the activity at another time when I felt more safe doing it. You may just even alienate a newbie climber this way as well. You don't want to make it come off as rock climbers are unfriendly and demanding of others. Why does anyone not participating in the actual climb "bring the event down"? Having more people attend the event and get some exposure to the activity somehow "brings it down"?? I think that speaks more to your feelings about it than others. Just because you can't force someone to try the activity you shouldn't delete their log for attending and checking it out. If you want to reward people for making the effort, put a cache there and delete logs from anyone who doesn't actually sign the cache log. Then you know they made the repell or climb. Do you actually have to see them do it for yourself (during your event) to be satisfied? That just sounds too controlling for me. Geocacing events should be fun to attend and be about connecting with other cachers. Activities at the event should be optional, especially if there is ANY safety aspect involved. I know that if I were to host such an event and REQUIRE someone to do a dangerous activity and they were injured doing it I would feel horrible. Such activities should always be OPTIONAL and at the participant's own judgment whether to do it or not. They shouldn't be made to feel unwelcome if they don't take the risk.
  19. Since you are a premium member, you have 2 options. One is to run a pocket query in the area you are interested in. This will yield a subset of caches which you can specify with the PQ settings when you run it. The other is to make a bookmark list of specific caches you are interested in and then create a pocket query from the list. Both options are on your profile page under the "Premium Features" section. One is noted as "Build Pocket Queries", the other as "Manage Lists". Happy Caching!
  20. Great advice for many situations! Don't let your desire to place your own cache in this spot make you lose sight of being patient and friendly with your reviewer. All the ones I know try very hard to please everyone, but you know the old saying about pleasing everyone.....
  21. If you want to try to see how accurate your device is, you need something accurate to compare it against. You could try looking for a benchmark. A benchmark is a point whose location is known to a high degree of accuracy, created and maintained by NOAA's National Geodetic Survey. On any local cache page, if you scroll down below the hint and additional waypoint section, you will find a link for Find....all nearby benchmarks. This will bring up a listing of the benchmarks closest to that cache. Look for one that states that it is "location adjusted". These have very accurate coordinates. You can tell by looking at the datasheet for the benchmark on the 2nd line under the coordinates. It will either say "location adjusted" or "location scaled". The "location adjusted" ones are the ones you want. The "location scaled" ones are typically located by someone estimating the position by measuring on a map, and can be 100 to 150 feet or more off. Some benchmarks are on private land, so you may need to look around a little to find one that is easy for you to access. The good news is that there are many of them and finding one you can get to is pretty easy. Good luck!
  22. Sounds like you are doing just fine. No need to try to make your coordinates more accurate at this point. Averaging coordinates is not always that helpful. If you are there on a day when the constellation of satellites is not too favorable for getting good coordinates, all you are going to average on those days are coordinates that are off by several feet. Continuing to include those coordinates in your averages only takes the average away from where you want it to be. Your best bet is to approach the site from different directions at several different times or on different days. Give the satellites a chance to move into a different configuration and check coordinates again. I've found that approaching from different directions yields me the best results when trying to pin down coordinates. Good luck with your caches!
  23. 7 of the 9 caches I have hidden have been chewed up by bears. Started out with lock and locks and had to switch them to ammo cans.
  24. Brian, we always knew you were a special guy. One in a thousand. Well, one in 979 anyway.... Don't you just hate it when that happens? Thanks for sharing your experience and showing the rest of us it's really OK if you have a DNF, even if it's the only DNF on the cache. Better luck next time!
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