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Just Wanted To Say Hi

Mindy and the Boyz

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Hello my name is Mindy and a SAHM of 4 boys. We did our first Geocache today and found it the hard way without a GPS. At the moment we just can't afford one but I ran across the Geocaching site and thought the boys would love doing this with me and they did so more caching in the future for us. My question is there any sites that could help us locate the caches or give us more of an idea where the caches might be? This gets us out of the house and doing something as a family the boys seem to like it and were excited to see what the cache we got today was we also left other stuff for someone else and they were even happy about giving something up just to have an adventure. Thanks for any input any of you guys give. :blink:

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I don't know what your budget is, but if you use eBay and look carefully and often, sometimes you can get a GPSr really, really, cheap.


Many people start out with the basic Garmin Etrex "Yellow", which is fine for caching. My brother-in-law after a lot of searching on eBay was able to get one for $50.


The Lowrance iFinder GO retails for about $70 normally and if you're lucky to find a used one on eBay (not too many are on there) you may get one for less. It is a decent unit, however, if you do extensive caching you may want to avoid this since you can only manually enter waypoints and do not have the ability to interface with a computer to download them.


Sometimes you can find an old but good discontinued Garmin model like the GPS 12 for really, really cheap on eBay. I know someone who got one there for a little over $30.


Good luck!

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Howdy, and welcome.


A lot of folks geocache without a GPS unit. They use the coordinates listed and online maps to ID the general location of the cache. Google maps will give you a combination of a traditional map, as well as satellite overhead view, which may help you pinpoint the hide site. I'm sure others will pop up shortly with more info - good luck!

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I've seen the Garmin Geko 101 selling for as little as $49. You may have to shop around online but you can get a workable GPS fairly cheap. The Garmin 12 that was previously mentioned might be an inexpensive alternative.


As far as finding caches without a GPS, I think the Topozone maps and Google maps with the sat photos can really be helpful. If the Google sat photos are clear enough in your area sometimes you can even figure out what tree it is hidden in.


Also you might want to consider letterboxing. Its similar to geocaching, but no GPS is required.

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Hi Mindy – WELCOME to geocaching!


I would certainly first recommend saving up and purchasing one of the various GPSR's mentioned in the above replies if possible.


I remember trying to find my first cache with my daughter without a GPSR (global positioning system receiver). We never did find it. After purchasing one of the "basic yellow" Garmin eTrex units we tried a second time and found it within minutes.


Granted, now I understand with your four strapping young helpers it should go a lot better for you than it did for me because they probably won't be afraid to venture deep into the weeds or turn over a rock (Eeew – there might be a spider!) like my daughter was. :ph34r:


LostOutdoors.com is one of my favorite websites where you can look at satellite photos or alternately at topographic (topo) maps. You can also select different zoom levels and print copies (no, I'm not "paperless"). LostOUtdoors uses a different photo database (USGS?) than Google Maps does so theirs aren't in color. I know that occasionally the map I look at is way outdated and instead of a field there is now a shopping mall – but that happens to some extent with all photo and mapping sites.


My technique in case anyone's interested:

I use my mouse to highlight and copy the cache (aka waypoint) coordinates all at once directly from Geocaching.com description page and paste them into the "Latitude" window of the Map Maker portion of LostOutdoors.com. Then, in the Latitude window of LostOutdoors.com I highlight all the numbers BEHIND the west ("W") coordinate letter and drag & drop them into the "Longitude" window. Go back to the Latitude window and delete the north ("N") letter (alternately, it's easier if you don't even copy the "N" when you first copy the coordinates on Geocaching.com). Then click on the Create Map button and your image will appear and the coordinates you entered will display as a very accurate dot. You can even type in a title for the dot, such as "Cache". This may sound tedious, but after you've done it a few times and become familiar with it, it will only take about 2 seconds. My slow, old dial-up internet connection can handle LostOutdoors.com images quite a bit faster than Google Maps because there is less data transfer to get their respective image.


Also, I would mention that all the various satellite/mapping sites are pretty picky about how you enter the coordinates so you may have to experiment a little to see what works. For example, neither LostOutdoors or Google Maps recognizes the coordinate letters N and W. LostOutdoors will accept several numerical variations. Google Maps requires a format such as: 41° 01.158, -095° 53.196.


I've rattled on long enough. Welcome again and Good Luck!

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Hi Mindy and welcome to the family :lol: I was curious where McCook is because your first option might be to team up with a fellow cacher who already has a gps that you can use together.

Another option until you have your own unit is, of course, to look for local monument type caches and use your online map (just zoom in). Together with the descriptions, you should have quite a few to work on for a while yet. Does anybody else know a quicklink to finding cachers near you?

Anyway, welcome aboard, hope to see you out there! Happy Caching F&tH :ph34r:


oh! forgot to mention... I just got another REI catalogue in the mail and they had some entry level units brand new for about 69 bucks plus shipping. The auction place is a good bet but check around online for discounts and outdoor equipment places.


just checked, they're out of that particular unit, but the next one up is available for 10 bucks more. also look at epinions.com or one of the other shopping search engines for a good deal.

Edited by fox-and-the-hound
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Thanks all for the great welcome!! I found my second cache today right after the boys got out of school. Brandon (age 6) asked are we going to go now to find something LOL. It was really cute. Thank you also for all the great advice looks like I'll be saving up since we plan to do more in the summer that are further away.

McCook just south of North Platte about 70 miles and Kearney is to the east about 100 or so and it's along the Kansas border and about 90 miles from the Colorado State line. So far there are only 3 caches in McCook two regular caches and one micro which we found today now all I have is the one of the regular caches to find which I have the general location but think I can find it pretty easily.

I did look in to letterboxing looks like there is only one in Colorado that I could do for now none around McCook area but maybe I'll email a few people or talk to a few and get something started here.

I also wanted to know if any of you do online scavenger hunts and if you know of any sites that do that? (something to do when the weather is bad :laughing: ).

As for other cachers in the area so far I only know of one but he's the one that has hidden the three caches in the area but I don't know if he's done any of the ones that are 25 miles out or better. I am going to email him after I get the last cache he has so maybe we could team up I think he's a kid but not for sure he may be out of school but not sure. But I'll ask him if there are others in town. Thank you all again and I'll let you know how we are doing without a GPS until we get one. :anitongue:

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Mindy, I just want to note that you really really have to spend some good time on eBay to find these auctions. Bidding tends to be fierce for GPSr's. When my brother-in-law got an Etrex Yellow for $50, he lost many previous auctions before getting lucky with that one and I think it was an auction that ended at an odd day/hour.


But the following 3 links have GPS-12 eBay auctions that end within the next day that are currently running at $40 or less:








Good luck!

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Hello msspatz! I am a SAHM, too. We have three grown children (college or above) and two still at home. The youngest is my best cache finder! We found our first 8 caches without a GPS unit by using the TopoZone maps and knowing the surrounding area. So it is possible to do! Then, for the next 5 or 6 caches, we borrowed a unit to see if this activity was one we wanted to continue. After four months, my husband bought me a little yellow eTrex for my birthday. We have used it for over 130 additional finds! It may not be the most accurate unit, but my record speaks for itself. :anitongue:


By the way, our oldest introduced us to geocaching when she was a student at Penn State. She found caches without a GPS unit either, being a poor college student. I have recently purchased a Magellan Explorist 100 that I will eventually send to her (she is doing grad work in Ireland - and has found some caches there, too).

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I was introduced to it two nights ago while online a friend on another forum was telling us about it and I went to the link she provided and that's how I begun LOL. Anyway my boys are ages 3, 4, 7 (He just had a birthday so I still am putting age 6 LOL) and 14. My 7 and 4 year old are the ones most interested in it. I wish my 14 year old was but he's into racing, football and paintball. There are few of his friends that I know that would be interested in it so I'm going to have him give them a call and see if they want to join with my boys so maybe that will start a spark in him to maybe do some more with this as well.


Thanks Hairymon for the links I'll check them out!!! It's actually kind of rewarding finding them without a GPS for now but I know I'll need one for the ones that I have no idea about the terrain and location.

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Finding caches without a GPS?

I have a hard enough time with one!

My yellow Garmin works well, but may go with something better someday.

Mostly it is a matter of buying the gas!

I know how you feel about the gas prices isn't it outrageous?!?!?! Everytime they go up I tell my husband that he needs to buy me a horse and buggy I know there are costs involved there too but corn is a lot cheaper than a gallon of gas :lol: .


I'm pretty good about finding things so even without a GPS I think I'll fair pretty well. I've had to find a single key in the grass at night in a field that someone dropped once and they had me look for it. It took me about an hour but I found it for them. :lol:

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Thanks Hairymon for the links I'll check them out!!! It's actually kind of rewarding finding them without a GPS for now but I know I'll need one for the ones that I have no idea about the terrain and location.

I was hesitant to mention it, but if you want a really cheap GPS that has mapping, expandable memory, and (slightly dated) points of interest, you could also look on eBay for the Whistler Galileo, my avatar shows a picture, they are often under $50 on eBay.


You will want to look at my entry in the below forum link though, because it is a little "unconventional" and has some features that if you end up doing a LOT of caching (like the people who average several every weekend or one per day) it will drive you a little crazy. But for occasional caching it works for me fine.




If you do look for it on eBay, you will want the "200/Elite" model that includes the mapping software and a small CF memory card, not the "100/GPS" model that is just the GPS itself.


Also, eBay erroneously lists most of these as having 18-channel capability (a waste anyway since there's never more than 12 satellites overhead) and WAAS; they are confusing it with the Cobra GPS 100 (which despite these features has really bad satellite reception/lock).


Again, you're welcome and good luck!

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Hi Mindy and welcome to the family  :lol:  I was curious where McCook is .....

I didn't look at your profile before but I did this morning. Talk about a small world!! I was born and spent the first 12 years of my life in Benkelman, NE.

Really wow it is a small world!!!! I'm actually from Wray, Colorado but have always loved Benkelmen and McCook areas! I do live in McCook now and have been here about 8 years now. Benkelman use to have the combine demolation that was fun and the funniest thing I ever seen I sure wish they'd have them again!!! If you ever make it this way again email me and we could maybe have coffee and do some caching with you!!!


So where are you at in Nebraska?

Edited by msspatz
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Since Benkelman, I've lived in Norfolk, Omaha and now Blair (for the last 25 years).


FYI - There is a state-wide, informal caching group called Nebraskache and we have a discussion board on Yahoo! Groups. There are quite a few active cachers and caches not too far north of you - North Platte, Kearney, Hastings areas and some really nice people. You can keep up with current activities by monitoring that board if you're interested. Good place to ask questions too, in addition to this GC.com forum of course.

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Nice avatar :lol:

Thanks now only if I still looked like that LOL. After 4 kids well you get the picture that's one reason I've decided to do the geocaching to help get back into shape.


BGunner01 I'd love to join the group on yahoo pm a link and I'll sign up!!!


Also I wanted to ask what anyone thought of the EXPLORIST 100 or 200 from Magellan? Are they any good? Has anyone had problems with them and would it be a good all around GPS unit? And would I need to upgrade later?

Edited by msspatz
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Hi Mindy, welcome to the obsession! :drama:


I don't have any kids but thinking back to when I was that age (a LOOOOONNNNG time ago!) I remember it was really important for me to always have something to do. With that thought in mind, if you & the boys ever get stuck indoors due to weather when you really want to be out hunting, maybe you could challenge them to make their own "signature items" to leave in caches. A sig item is kind-of like a calling card. Other cachers love to find those and it does give the "creative types" a way to add their personal touch to the game/sport of geocaching.


If you browse through the posts here or in the Geocaching Topics area, you should be able to find a thread that shows examples. (I will look around and see if I can locate one of those forum post threads... hang on....)


Edit: Some links to postings about signature items:







I like the little beaded thingies, shrinky-dinks, wooden coins (handmade using wooden disks bought at craft store), and stuff like that. Not expensive, but obvious that someone put some time & effort into making them :blink:

Edited by Kathi & the Grouch
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