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Has Geocaching Jumped The Shark?

Curious Joe

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For those unfamiliar with the term, "jumping the shark" was coined as the turning point where a TV show reached it peak and it was all down hill from there. It was named after the Happy Days episode where Fonzie jumps a shark while water skiing. A couple weeks ago, I had a conversation with a few cachers about geocoins and one complained about the flood of new coins and their prices on Ebay (like $1700 for a Moun10bike coin), and the fad they had become. I have heard complaints about new caches with no redeeming value, unlike the old days. I had noticed recently, how more often muggles were on to me and the sport as I searched for a cache. Noting how the GPS is becoming ever commonplace (as in phones, etc) I wondered to myself if and at what point geocaching will become a passing fad. I have seen a couple of local cachers with hundreds of finds hanging caching up from burnout and today, a cacher (with an ironic name) who disabled most of his caches because of his claim of threats and a broken car window by a local caching group. While I doubt the accuracy of his claim, I do worry about caching going from competative to combative (if not physically, at least verbally), and caching groups that can become cliques or who make caches that appear to be only for their own. Any thoughts?

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Gee - I hope it hasn't jumped the shark since I only found this game a little over four months ago and I am having so much fun.


I think that there probably is some degree of burnout for those who let their Geocaching become their identity rather than their hobby. I think the same is probably true of about anything anyone does though. Stepping back from caching for a time is probably just what these folks need.


I also think that the increased awareness of Geocaching publicly is probably a good thing generally speaking. Although part of the fun of caching is that you are "in" on a secret there is still going to be the constant necessity for fresh blood and fresh ideas to keep things unique and interesting.


Groundspeak is a business and as such, I'm sure they appreciate whatever awareness can be generated. Increased awareness equals increased revenue which equals enhanced features & functionality for us end-users. I am reminded of the old Yogi Berra quote... ""Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded". Crowding is a good problem for any business to have even this one.


Being relatively new myself, it is difficult for me to speak to declining cache quality. I think that you will probably seek what you find though. If you carefully seek out caches with some redeeming value, you will find them. Reading through logs and other info usually gives me an idea of the "quality" of a cache I am going after.


From those I have met on trail, the caching community seems to be made up mostly of gold folks. The only competition I have seen is for FTFs and that is all in good fun. I do see a bit of a clique-culture in some circles, particularly among the "older" cachers but again, that is true in anything, not just caching.


That's my two-cents. I don't see caching going the way of the Beanie Baby anytime soon.

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Geocaching really only has a few set rules about cache placement and maintenance. Pretty much everything else is up to the individuals on how you participate. If you read forums, you can get pretty cynical quickly but really, only a minute fraction of folks have anything to really complain to about and others like to "stir the pot" so to speak. For some geocachers, its about the numbers, or the hunt or where a cache will be and its surroundings. For us personally, its about the hunt or where the hunt will lead us. We dont seek out micros or geocoins, and are fine with swag being a fancy term for crap or McToys (we dont have kids) Once in the blueest of blue moons we'll run into another geocacher. And rarely do we particpate in geocaching events.

We cache a bit less than we used to and we havent hidden any new caches in a quite awhile. Because there are few "set rules" to this activity, it becomes what you yourselves make of it. We ourselves don't consider this a sport, we consider it a leisurely activity.


Check the postings on caches around the holidays and January. Alot of them are found by folks with a few finds under their belts. The reason: GPS were holiday gifts. I bet by spring or summer those same geocachers are hiding caches (quality caches are in the eye of the beholder)


Geocaching hasnt jumped the shark, but individual geocachers may jump the shark.


That our two cents about it.

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A hobby or interest can certainly take a nose-dive in aesthetics while it is making huge gains in popularity. I don’t think that Geocaching is there yet.


If geocaching were at the stage rock climbing is now IMHO, you couldn’t find a mountaintop 5/2 without a pair of whiny hipsters showing up with a group of paying customers who shelled out money to be taken geocaching. These gym-trained youngsters would complain about your style, safety practices, presence at their favorite cache, and make comments about your “unsound” practices.


Back in 1992, my friend Joe predicted that we had hit the golden age of mountaineering. “We’ve gotten as safe as we’ll get, but the sport will get more popular and crowded.” Either he was right on, or I have gotten old.


So here’s my prediction: Geocaching might be at its quality zenith. Parking lot micros with no character might replace all the great scenic caches of our youth, and a new breed of young tough punk “do it the way we make the newcomers at the gym do it or else” cachers might scare the real cachers to Alaska. Perhaps not.

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Burn out happens at any stage. I've had several geo friends burn out, one of them 3 years ago, when the sport was still new. It just depends on how hard and fast you go, and your tempermant. It may seem like more people are burning out, but that's just cause there are more people playing! B) And people can go through stages just like any other thing....I have some friends that haven't cached for over a year that are just getting back into it again! Yay! :lol:

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A hobby or interest can certainly take a nose-dive in aesthetics while it is making huge gains in popularity. I don’t think that Geocaching is there yet.


So here’s my prediction: Geocaching might be at its quality zenith. Parking lot micros with no character might replace all the great scenic caches of our youth, and a new breed of young tough punk “do it the way we make the newcomers at the gym do it or else” cachers might scare the real cachers to Alaska. Perhaps not.


Hrm... food for thought.


Okay, do I sometimes do areas and increase my count? yes. Do I enjoy those areas? Yes.


For me, I spend a lot of my life behind a desk, and I need something to focus me on spending time outdoors. I think geocaching is a great way to do this. Am I a tad obsessed? yes.. I think you have to be a bit obsessed in something though, and I get to geo-cache with my daughter, KidAce, and sometimes Mama Cita and Danger Boy as well. Did I use my SDE skills to write an automated parser/home page generator for our stats and where we have cached? Yes. Do I know when to stop and take a break from caching? Yes... most of the time.


I think the point about burnout is valid though. For me, hiking, exploring and geocaching are hobbies. I would still do the first two, even without the last one... but the last one allows me to find places that I probably wouldn't have found on my own.


On the quality of hides issue, that is a mixed one for me. Personally, we waited until we hit cache 200+ before planting some, and then we decided to try for neat hides or neat places. Quality is in the eye of the beholder. I liked KGEO so much that one of our hides is like it. Was that a stupid hide? Nope. But will I ever hide another one like that? Probably not. Will I search for ones like that? I won't go out of my way, but I won't shun away from them either.


Social events for us are also fun. For us, it adds a nice dimension to a sport that we love. Its nice to meet other people that are as insane about a FTF as you are... sometimes. Its nice to sit down and exchange war stories. And for KidAce and DangerBoy, it means other kids to play with which is always cool.


When it boils down to it, if you had to ask me, Poppa J, and my caching buddy KidAce, we like the ones where you need to do a good hike. Okay, KidAce (being 8 years old) also likes any where these is a playground near. When a new Elves cache popped up last night, did I go out of my way to do it? Nope, but it was on my way home from the Kent train station, so why not? When we are visiting some friends this weekend, are we going to do the Olympic peninsula on the way there to finish some DMC pages? yuppers... but we are also going to see some amazing sites that we chose specially for that purpose.


As with everything in life, what you get out of geocaching is what you put into it. If geocaching becomes your life, when your interest fades, so will your zest for life. If geocaching is becoming too commercial, a lot of cachers I know also do terracaching, which is less commercial.


Live and love life people, according to your own rules... that's all anyone can ask.


*stepping off soapbox now*

Poppa J

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Burnout can happen at any stage at any time by anyone, particularly by those whom go into complete immersion. There is a fine line of when a hobby turns into an obsession and obsession will ultmately lead to burnout. As with everything, you have to learn to pace yourself so your family and friends don't feel left out or abandoned, this hobby can carry you a lot further.


I've learned to maintain that balance so when I suggest going on a walk or hike and toss in geocaching, I'm not burdened with groans of "not again!". I'm three years into this sport and under 200 finds. I tried the numbers game by participating in one cache machine and decided this was not the variation for me. I don't like parking lot micros and rarely go after any micro at all. Puzzles will gain a passing glance. I'm in it for the fun. I'm in it for the end result. I define that end result as the experience; not the find or the DNF.


Jumping the shark? I hate grabbing hold of something I can't easily let go of, so the rise, peak and decline of a game doesn't matter much to me. It only matters what I can do with it.

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Pet Rocks were a fad. Geocacing is a Recreational Activity/Sport Hobby. Every kid can buy a ball and a bat, but baseball didn't go away. Everybody has legs but hiking is still popular.


The popularity of geocaching may wax and wane but it's here in one form or another until something so tramatic happens to the world that it's the least of our worries.


Ditto on geocoin. Ignoring the market woes they are still one of the better trade items and many cachers aspire to be able to make their own coin even if they never intend on selling them on the open market. Geocoins are here to stay in one form or another as long as geocaching is viable.

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You get out what you put into it. I have been caching for 6 or so years, have around 150 finds. I would say that I burned out a few years ago. Not for immersion factor.. but for my other interestes. The cache "uniqueness" had worn off, and I lost interest. I felt I didnt have a unique interest in the game.


Then one day I was pulling my sprinkler system from my yard, and wondering what to do with all the PVC I had laying around. I then had a weird idea for a new type of cache hunt using this PVC. It would be a 1 day cache, where I would make people do insane things to solve this weird device I made from the PVC piping. I called it the APPARATUS. It was weird, crazy, and totally fun. I got TONS of good feedback in my event logs. Check it out in my archived events... the people were stoked.


Suddenly, it was like I was re-geoborn. If that is a word. I immediately saw that there was a HUGE need for ultra creative, ultra weird, fun events. I loved getting everyone together and just to see their joy.. I was hooked again, but for a different reason all together. I learned that another local cacher (fractal) had just as much creative energy and we immediately became pals. Since then, we have put on some VERY creative events for our caching friends. We spend 8-9 months working on a 1 day event. It sounds like a lot of work, but to hear every one cheer for you, and to see your friends have a blast is worth every late nite I spend working on this stuff. Also, check out fractals archived events or search for fractalsoup for details.


Geocaching has come a long way, and I have taken a turn for the fun. I put into it what I want to get out of it, Fun. I now see that I can enjoy the sport again by adding my own special touch. Now, everything from our fractalSoup events, to my newest travelbugs, to our unique, brand new shiny decoder-geocoin (check out www.champoeg.com for details), I have reinvigorated my enthusiasum for this sport.


I wouldnt say caching has "jumped the shark", but that does sound like a fun cache event to create..

:lol: Hmmmm.. B)

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My husband geocaches--I don't--He actually hikes and incorporates it into his walks and hikes, he does no park and grabs anymore. Almost a year ago I suggested it was a fad I even used the term Jumped the Shark, for which I got a lot of blast mail. My husband called me to tell me to look at the thread. He said that most of the old time players here in NE are gone and the activity level has really dropped off--# of logs and finds. He says that some of the caches he has hit recently are no longer maintained by active cachers. He said he hit a great one last week, but the owner disappeared after placing the cache in 2001. So it probably has hit its peak, but you will always have a few diehards to keep it going.

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I am yet to jump the shark, but when I do it will probably look like this.




Seriously, I think I officially joined up right before the huge explosion of popularity. I lurked the site for about a year and did some caching before joining to see if it was worth my time first. I really enjoy it, and also enjoy the variety of things that you can do. I am kinda tired of urban micros and any lately I only do them with the kids when we go to the big city (Spokane), and only if they take us somewhere interesting. I only have 12 caches within 15 miles of the sprawling metropolis of Ritzville WA, 2 of them I have placed. My total is about 65 finds. Any caching we do involves either a drive to go do them or trying to work them in when we are somewhere doing something else. Doesn't always happen but we take the info with us when we go places anyway. If my son and have the itch but aren't headed out of town we'll do local benchmarks. Last summer we also set and reset an ammo can around town for each other to find, usually with some sort of snack food or a joke item. My son got one of his friends hooked on it in the process. I also sent in my application for volunteering for the National Map Project the USGS has. I would have had no clue about it without seeing it on the forums. I have learned alot from more seasoned individuals by crusing the forums. Good stuff this caching.

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I think that I will geocache the rest of my life. As long as there are caches I will find them. Now how often I go caching will depend on what else is going on in my life.


Soup has some great events!!!


For some people it's the numbers, other people is where the caches take you, some it's the travelbugs/geocoins and for others it's the people. Geocaching is different for everyone.

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. . . a cacher (with an ironic name) who disabled most of his caches because of his claim of threats and a broken car window by a local caching group. While I doubt the accuracy of his claim, I do worry about caching going from competitive to combative (if not physically, at least verbally), and caching groups that can become cliques or who make caches that appear to be only for their own. Any thoughts?


I have many thoughts. The ironically named cacher has informed some, that the perpetrator of all the harassment he has received including nasty and threatening emails as well as a broken car window, was indeed caught, and booked yesterday and today was denied bail. The ironically named cacher first blamed some members of a "clique" of Seattle area cachers (we know who).


The person booked was not a TUS, nor was he known by any of the TUS, nor has any member of the TUS ever talked to this person ever. He is just some nut job. Ironically named cacher has not yet apologized for, or changed any logs that implicate, blame or otherwise point fingers at the TUS, even though he knows now that it wasn't any of them.


I and the other TUS empathize with the ironically named cacher. We would not wish this type of intimidation and fear on anyone. Hopefully the guy who did this should very soon be snuggling up to a hairy guy named Bubba after the inmates Prom. He is a criminal and should be punished.


Now, about the TUS, we have been accused of a lot of things and have for the most part been very quiet about these accusations. Instead we have communicated to those who seem to have problems with us in private emails. Those who actually know us, like us. It seems those who have the most problem with us are people most of us have never even met. It is always easy to hate those you have never met, and mock that with which you don't understand. I know quite a few cachers that are not "TUS" and I like every one of them, some more than others, but for cryin' out loud that is to be expected. You at home reading this don't like everyone you meet, no one expects you too. Next time you hear someone say they hate the TUS, ask them to name all of them by first name. If they can't, if YOU can't, maybe the opinion ought best be re-evaluated. Most of us will be at the CITO event in Kent next Saturday, come up and introduce yourself.


We ARE competitive and will bust chops occasionally. Some have interpreted this a being mean and ugly. It isn't. We are always happy to see and we encourage new cachers to start to compete with us. Hell, that is how most of us became members. The TUS are an inclusive group, not exclusive. If you want to compete go for it! If you don't, no biggie.


As far as "quality of hides" goes. It is always nice to have a few easy caches to nab, especially for the new folks just starting out. Sometimes I just want to go out and grab a few quickies because I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to one cache find. Other times I have been known to spend days working on a puzzle or even out looking for what I know is there but it is just well hidden. It takes all kinds of caches out there to make this game fun.


Is it about the numbers? dadgum right it's about the numbers! It is about the numbers for all of us. Why do we bother to congratulate each other in the Milestone area of the forums? If it wasn't about the numbers you wouldn't bother logging any of your finds. I only know of one cacher who it truly ISN'T about the numbers. That said, it isn't ALL about the numbers, I enjoy all kinds of hides but prefer urban caches to climbing mountains. No judgment, just my preference. I also prefer bleu cheese to ranch.


I have placed a number of caches that were meant to be quick and easy and were put out only to entertain myself and a few others, but oddly enough have been told by many that they had fun with them too. I believe that you have to do this hobby with a sense of humor, if you don't, you will go mad. It really is a geeks game and if you can't laugh about that, there is no hope for you, really. In history, when a group of people collectively loses its sense of humor, bad things happen. Don't forget to cache with a sense of humor.


As for "jumping the shark", the answer, to me, is no. I can say that there will always be those who loose interest after a time and leave the hobby. People who have done it a long time will just get bored with it all and decide to quit. Meanwhile, a new person will get their IRS refund and buy a GPSr and get started. It flows and ebbs. There will always be a ‘heyday’ and that time is now, and it was a year ago, and it was 2 years ago and it will be next year. In other words, it is fun to you when it is fun to you and it isn’t when it isn’t. The hobby has been around longer than me and will continue on after I’m done. It doesn’t need me. It only needs 2 people, one to hide, the other to find. That’s all.


I'm done. Thanks. :D

Edited by BHMP
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Oh dear! Well you know I (Ms. Wienerdog) have been around for awhile. Geocaching is constantly evolving. There are so many different personalities. I am not pretending to be a saint. I have been angry at people in the past and spouted out bad things on the forums. I try to remain calm and have been a good girl for a few years! :D But just a few weeks ago I let it out on someone and had to make apologies. I should know better.


A couple of you always sign off in "peace". I think that word is so powerful. I guess seeing all the changes in geocaching I (and my husband too) just try to go with the flow. Yes there are some obscure personalities out there, but so what! Doesn't that make life more colorful? But we must try not to degrade them in any way.


Yes, I have met most of the TUS group. I can call them by their first names! They are really a nice bunch of people. I have had to turn to them for help with some of their puzzle caches and I have to say they respond instantly and with friendliness and help. They want you to find their caches. And the ones I've met are downright sweet! I can't see them doing anything physically abusive to a person or their property. They are just trying to have fun!


Shark, oh my! You know Mr. WD and I like you. You have fixed up our caches and have come up with some great ideas for us. We still must get together with your "Dog" idea. I never liked the silliness a couple years ago when people were critisizing you for your grammer. I thought it was so funny when you came back with that Grammer Cache! We could give a crap how you spell or write. You are a hard working man and dedicated father. You try your best to put out caches for us to find and enjoy. And we will keep looking for those.


I just hate to see this division. It's just a darn waste of time and energy. I'm not trying to be a saint here. Those that know me would say... 'We know you can never be a saint Ms. WD, whatcha you talkin about girl?!"


I guess since we are so into geocaching, we may live in a dream world of everyone getting along. But you know.. if we try to (maybe some of can't unerstand each other) BUT we can accept each other for our shortcomings!!! Then things will go much smoother.


Let's just all grow up and go out and find some caches. Alright already!!!????


PS. My writing this will probably be overlooked if all of you choose to bitch and fight with one another. If that's the case .....so be it! We are still going to look for your caches, dang it!

Edited by Wienerdog
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Ah, now I understand the new GC.com logo:




LOL!!!!!!!!!! :D

Back to the topic: I had been going geocaching every weekend during the previous quarter, until I had almost exausted the caches within walking distance. Now I am organizing geocaching trips with some of my college friends, who are all newbees, and I find going caching with other people more interesting than going alone. I certainly will be organizing more trips in the future. I have found myself becoming an ambassador for the game and enjoy it. In fact, I will be giving a speech on Geocaching in my oral communication class tuesday. I doubt it has jumped the shark.

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For me it has been more about the people that any thing else. I have met some great people along the way. The best thing about the cache machines other than getting some numbers added is to go caching with people that you have never met before and after awhile caching with friends that you don’t get to see all the time. I went all the way to Colorado and went caching with some cachers that I had never even met before. They picked me up at the airport drove me to the camp out event, took me caching to some place that I would of never had a chance to see other wise. I know of no other group that is close to this. The months that I’ve spend over in Japan I’ve not been able to do a lot of caching and I’ve missed being able to do it, but even more so I’ve missed all the friends that I have met over the last two years. For me it is some thing that I enjoy doing with my wife, I enjoy going out and doing it alone, but it is even more fun going out with a large group of cachers and making new friends. Some of the highlight for me over the last couple of years were the Got Coin hike, the Boulder River hike, the Iron Horse Bike ride, and the most fun that I’ve ever had at a cache machine was the Wenatchee Cache Machine. I’ll continue to Geocache as long as there are caches to find and friends to find them with.

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