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Desperate Moments


Flux Vector
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I was just wondering if anybody ever gets approached by a bystander, land owner, or law officer and if so what did they do or say? I was just wondering, because I see the day when my stealth has been breached and perhaps somebody may say "WTF are you doing here?". Is there somewhere on this site for appropriate responses?

 

Dazed and Confused

//Flux

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I was just wondering if anybody ever gets approached by a bystander, land owner, or law officer and if so what did they do or say? I was just wondering, because I see the day when my stealth has been breached and perhaps somebody may say "WTF are you doing here?". Is there somewhere on this site for appropriate responses?

 

Dazed and Confused

//Flux

If it's the law, tell the truth. If it's someone else and they say, "WTF are you doing here?", you say, "WTF is it to you?" and keep looking. :(

 

The truth will work most of the time though.

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Desperate Moments?

 

Well, most cache locations allow you to be there. Enjoying the flora and fauna. etc, etc. A Law Officer asking you "WTF are you doing here?", then you better have a good answer.

 

Some thug asks you that question, then you have bigger things to worry about than being caught geocaching.

 

 

edit: then/than

Edited by BlueDeuce
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I accidentally wandered into some heavy equipment operator guy's backyard about two weeks ago. The "road" going in looked like part of a trail. When I realized the blunder I made, I was headed back to the car when the owner of the property and his two weiner dogs started coming towards me. He asked what I was looking for and I shouted back that I thought the trail head was nearby or could he tell me where it was. He kept signaling me that he could not hear what I was saying as he was getting closer. He reached into one of his excavating machines (at this point he was about 100 feet from me) and came out with a sledgehammer that was cut off at the mid handle level! He just stood there with it behind his right leg and started asking odd questions. He was saying things like, "hey sweetie, tell me where you are from" and "what town are you trying to find??" weird stuff like that. I beat a VERY QUICK path outa there stating that my friend was waiting in the car. Needless to say, it scared the S**t outa me and I promptly came home and ordered a pepper spray "beeper" to wear for my future outings off the internet. I try to think positive that the guy was just preparing to fix one of his excavating machines, but my faith in going alone has been seriously shaken. :(

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Scene one: Strange town, evening, near a barrier on a road, not finding the cache. Police car slows down, stops, gets out, lights us up with his flashlight and says "Good evening folks"--We explain geocaching, offer him a pamplet on it, and tell him that we can't find the thing. He uses his maglight to find it in about 30 seconds. We try to get him to sign the log for his first find, but just then another police car pulls up, hears the story, doesn't seem impressed by caching, and asks the first officer if he wants to go get something to eat. All in all a nice experience. We told them we would be finding some other caches in the area, and they wished us a good night.

 

Scene two: Daylight near a waterpark. The cache was new and had only one log on it. The cache is off to a side of the park but the employees and owner seem to be on the lookout for someone near the cache and descend on us moments after our arrival demanding to know what we are doing. I explain geocaching, offer them a brochure (which they won't accept). I show them the most harmless looking empty cache container I have with me (an orange matchbox with the official gc tag on. They ask if I have found the one there yet, I admit that I hadn't (Hey, they saw me pull up) and they tell me that want me to find it and get that thing off their property. I tell them the owner is a young person and surely didn't mean any offense. it). I offer to tell the cache owner to remove it, but they insist that I find it and get it away from there right now. I apologize for the cache owner not contacting them for permission, find the cache, let them know I have it, and get out of there fast. Funny thing is, they seemed mildly interested in geocaching--they just did not want it there.

 

Scene three: Late night in the local town. Old stone building with wide open doorways near a park along the river. An obvious party spot over the years, based on all the broken glass around. My husband has gone there alone to drop off a TB. He is lit by the flashlight, comes out with hands over his head. The voice asks "What are you doing in there?" and he starts to explain, "Well, you see..." but gets interupted by a more demanding "What are you doing in there" ---"Geocaching"---"Oh, why didn't you just say so?" Backup arrives and are told "It's one of those satellite game people" and everything is all better. The local police know all about geocaching. They wish him a good night and go on.

 

Scene four: Summer day at a creek out in the boonies. We are deep in the search when we find ourselves surrounded by pre-teen to teenage kids wanting to know what we are doing with those funny cell phone thingies. Since we are invading their swimming hole, we decide to tell them. That involves showing them how to use a gps and explaining geocaching. Some of their friends pull up just as we are in the middle of that, so we start all over again. We hand them the gps units and they figure out where the geocache is. We get them to sign the logs and tell them how they can log them online. We hope they won't muggle the geocache, and they apparently didn't (five more people found it in the next few weeks). They never logged it online either, but hey, I got kids to learn something on summer break, so it's not all bad!

 

Every time it happens, you have to go with your gut instinct about how to handle it. If the person doing the asking are the police, or the property owner, they best thing you can do it to be honest. It helps to carry the brochures or the folding cards that explain geocaching.

 

If someone really seems like they may harm the cache after you leave, you can always take it with you, hide it nearby where they can't see you, and let the cache owner know where you moved it. That's my backup plan at least. So far, I haven't felt like I needed to do that.

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I was a newby to caching last October. Tried for a cache in a small city park late in the afternoon. It was chilly, so I threw on my camo coat to stay warm. Now, this park is a shortcut for lots of kids on their way home from school, so I had lots of muggle traffic, and tried to stay out of sight, or if seen, act like I was using my "cell Phone". What I didn't realize was that it was "Trick or Treat" night. Well, I searched for a half hour, and finally gave up and went for the Jeep. When I got there, two cops had me assume the "position", patted me down,and started to interogate me. I explained about geocaching, but they'd never heard about it. I told them about geocaching.com, and that it was a family recreation because kids enjoyed it. One of them said, "oh, this is a kids internet site?" That's when I thought I was digging myself a hole to get buried in. :( Well, after they checked me out, (no, I don't have a record) they let me go. They said someone had reported an "old guy in camo lurking around in the park".

Always best to tell the truth to cops. "Making false reports" is frowned upon by policemen. :)

Now, I always carry at least one copy of the Let's go Geocaching brochure. It sure makes it easier to explain to a non-cacher.

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The scary part about this is, the trails and stuff that some of us hike on are very isolated. I don't live in a backwoods community by any sense of the word, and the incident that took place with me was right in a residential neighborhood. I guess I just take it for granted that I am safe and my community is safe with it being somewhat rural. It made me realize that I need to be more cautious and also careful no matter where I am.

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I had one bad experience at this cache. Here's my DNF log from our first attempt:

 

We only looked for about 90 seconds before a lady in a security uniform approached us and told me to get down. She told me that due to the problems they've been having with the lights getting broken and other problems that they now have a security camera on the sculpture 24/7. I apologized and said we'd leave. She asked me what I was doing anyway, and I told her it was a sort of scavenger hunt, to which she said not so nicely that I'd better tell whoever was responsible that anybody caught on the base of the sculpture would be asked to leave at a minimum, and subject to arrest at a maximum. So I thought I'd pass that along, as it seems they are cracking down on the activities near the sculpture and perhaps this should be archived or moved.

 

She was not pleasant at all. Before leaving, my 9 year old asked her where the camera was. When she pointed it out, he waved at it and yelled, "Hi, Dad! Hi, Grandma and Grandpa!". She freaked out and yelled, "Tell him to stop that!" I had to explain to her that my 9 year old was not trying to be a smarta**, but that he's 9 and has special needs and simply doesn't realize that by waving into the camera his family at home wouldn't see him on TV. Judging by her reaction, you would have thought that he threw a rock at the camera or something, instead of waving into it! Gheesh!

 

It turns out the cache owner was a former police officer and the cache itself was right in front of a station. He told me to let anybody who asked know that the cache was placed with the permission of the higher ups and gave me their names. Then he asked me to describe the security guard so she could be informed and chastised for the behavior that was so uncalled for.

 

My subsequent found log:

 

After our last encounter we were a bit nervous, so we took it slowly. I made Julian sit on the side while I took out my camera and started taking pictures, so I'd have an excuse if I was confronted again. Then I took the step up. Within seconds a police officer was making his way toward us, and Julian started to panic. I told him to play it cool, while I continued to take pictures. At this point we hadn't even started looking, still snapping pictures like it was the most fascinating thing in the world just to maintain our cover. I was hoping we wouldn't have to leave again.

 

The officer said to me, "It should be over on that side, if you're doing what I think you are." A happy surprise! Julian was awed -- "You know what geocaching is?" he asked. Officer Cool said, "the thing you do with the GPS, yeah I've heard about it. You wouldn't believe the weird things I've seen people doing trying to find that thing." I let Julian go over to the other side and find the cache. We thanked the police office and laughed with him about us trying to be sneaky.

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I was a newby to caching last October. Tried for a cache in a small city park late in the afternoon. It was chilly, so I threw on my camo coat to stay warm. Now, this park is a shortcut for lots of kids on their way home from school, so I had lots of muggle traffic, and tried to stay out of sight, or if seen, act like I was using my "cell Phone". What I didn't realize was that it was "Trick or Treat" night. Well, I searched for a half hour, and finally gave up and went for the Jeep. When I got there, two cops had me assume the "position", patted me down,and started to interogate me. I explained about geocaching, but they'd never heard about it. I told them about geocaching.com, and that it was a family recreation because kids enjoyed it. One of them said, "oh, this is a kids internet site?" That's when I thought I was digging myself a hole to get buried in. :( Well, after they checked me out, (no, I don't have a record) they let me go. They said someone had reported an "old guy in camo lurking around in the park".

Always best to tell the truth to cops. "Making false reports" is frowned upon by policemen. :)

Now, I always carry at least one copy of the Let's go Geocaching brochure. It sure makes it easier to explain to a non-cacher.

 

My husband and I joke that when we used to see a guy lurking in the bushes in a park, we'd think "pervert". Now, of course, we think "geocacher".

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My husband I went for FTF. We parked our car on the side of the road not far from the cache. We were looking for about an hour and my husband went back by the car. I was in the woods still looking for the cache when I saw the police lights. I came out of the woods and my husband was talking to the cop. I told him what I was doing and showed him the GPS. He stated he had heard of geocaching but did not know people do it at night. I stated that people are out at all hours caching. He then informed us that parking was across the street. The office said how far away is the cache? Told him 135 ft in and I cant find it. I asked him if he wanted to help find it and he said no he had to work. He was very nice about it. I think he thought we a little nutty doing this at 1am.

 

But I found it easier to explain what I am doing to peopel then trying to beat around the bush. I have pulled a cache before and explained about caching. Other times I have just explained caching to people and then went on my way. I think sometimes we look creepy because we searching for a cache. We try to be cool but it does not always work. I know I have kinda lurked around trying to look for a cache.

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Oh yes. I have a story. This happened when I was looking for a cache in the downtown area of my city- at a museum. It was a Sunday morning, so I figured it'd be a nice time for geocaching. I had found a few caches in the area- came to this one first... had no luck, came back on my way back to my truck. I was still fairly new to geocaching at that point (roughly 30 finds). My log:

 

The first time, I looked through all the rocks, most of the planters, whereever I thought might be a good hiding place. No luck. The second time... well, I didn't get a chance to look much. I was looking around one of the windows when a police car showed up. I was asked to put my hands in the air and approach the officer. I complied, of course. I then put my hands behind my back as my pockets were searched and I explained what geocaching was all about. I was let go and didn't get into any trouble, but still not a pleasant experience. I don't think I'll be coming back to look for this cache again. I might even avoid all in-city caches from now on.

 

I was incredibly scared by the whole thing (as you could tell from the last few sentences). It didn't take long for me to go out geocaching again, though. Two months later, I went back and found that cache with no problem. I haven't had anything nearly as bad as that and haven't had to deal with any cops since (although I almost thought I'd have to at one of my caches- it's off the side of a road at a bus stop and I saw a police car go by, but they didn't stop).

 

It varies if I tell anyone nearby what I'm doing. Once, I was out hiking and a man walking his dog asked me what I was doing. He saw I had a pen in my hand and my GPS, but thought it was some sort of pocket computer. I went along with that and said I was a student at the university doing research on the plants in the area. There have been other times where someone came by and I explained what I was doing and had people help me find the cache. It just depends on the circumstances- if I think they're trustworthy, if I could actually explain it clearly so they can understand it, how long I might be around these people, etc.

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I can only think of two experience that I've had with LEOs since I started caching.

 

This is the log of the first encounter. State Troopers were guarding the state capitol due to drama over a proposed state income tax. Two approached me to make sure I wasn't up to know good. I explained the game and one joined me in the pic, while the other worked the camera.

 

The second time was on this virt. My GPSr had sent me into a median to find a virt. A couple of fine LA police officers rolled by in their squad car and told me to get off the median and back to the sidewalk. I complied, of course and he chased me right to the virt, which was back near the sidewalk.

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I've always told the truth. Even if I started out trying to be evasive I've found switching to the truth works better.

 

The first time was April in Sun Valley. There was 3' of snow on the ground and we were in T Shirts coming off a hill wading through the snow. Some women in snowshoes were on a trail and they just stopped and stared. They waited while we plowed through the snow and got to the trail. Then they grilled us. We told them about geocaching and they were happy to hear about something that would keep them outside. We asked them about their midget snowshoes that were only good on trails and they said they were rentals. Go figure. Snowshoes for rent that you don't need becaus the trail was hardpack while the hill that we were on was soft all the way to the bottom.

 

The next time I was looking for a hiding spot with my daughter and we were walking up a hill into some burnt out woods. It was snowing and a little foggy. A guy in a Dodge Ram stops in the road and yells at us. I have to hike back down to answer. I give him some BS story about hiking and you can tell he's thinking "yeah right, hiking, in the snow, in burned out woods..." He's not buying it so I tell him I'm hiding a cache, show him the ammo can and now he buys it for some reason. Then he explains that what he saw was a guy heading into the woods on a snowy day with a young girl who likely wasn't coming back out. The light dawns on what it looked like. He left. We hid the cache, then I realized that I had locked my keys in the Bronco. That was a heck of day. Several guys drive by while we freeze in the snow, but the one who stops is a woman.

 

The next time is on a trail and we are digging around in a rock pile looking for a cache. A woman stops and ask what we are doing. I tell her "geocaching" and she's like wha'ts that? So I explain. She's not buying it. She asks what we are realy doing and I try to explain geocaching from another angle. She still isn't buying it and gives me a "yeah whatever YOU SAY you lying sack of s***" look and leaves. Oh well.

 

The next time we are on a trail in the middle of the woods doing some "night caching" since I was stupid and had no idea the cache was that far and it got dark that early. Two guys drive up in a truck. We split up and one of us stands on each side of the door. The driver talks to my buddy and the alcahol smell rolls out of the cab in a dense fog. He explains geocaching. The driver explains he's out gathering "Firewood" and splits. Yeah, "firewood" we didn't question it but probably gave him that "whatever you say" look.

 

The next time we were night caching in a large group. 20 cars or so. We head up a road that happens to be the way to a major party spot. The police follwed the cars until they stopped then got out and asked them what they were doing. He was suprised it was a bunch of 30-50 somethings looking for a geocaching. Relieved it wasn't a teenage party in progress he leaves. We were late getting to that encounter because of another one.

 

Earlier that night two rigs were lost. The Bronco in front hit's a deer. Great. We pull over and us drunk guys decide to talke the problem. The thirg guy who is barely walking heads for the bushes. The women who were sober just wait. The deer is wounded so we decide to put it out of it's misery. We find a 45 and cap the deer. The guy who went to shake hands with an old friend comes back and we see headlight coming too fast down the road so we dive in and hit the gas. Too late they pull into the spot were were in before we can leave and want to know what's going on. We tell theim the truth (part of it anyway) and say that it was a bathroom break. We leave. They start driving real slow where we were. Then we had the next run in with the police decscribed above. When we came back the deer was gone. Later I spoke with fish and game and learned what we should have done. We also learned that because they took the deer they became poachers. We were just dumbasses.

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A friend of mine shared FTF on this cache one evening,"Coord's were over 200' off which put us on neighbor's property. He wasn't too happy about it either but we talked him down by explaining what geocaching is all about. By the time we were done he was helping us look! He'll probably be alot friendlier to the next geocachers." We emailed our version of the coords to the cache owner and he ended up "adjusting" them.

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My only memorable encounter on the trails turned out to be another cacher. He was visiting New England from Illinois and was attempting to hit all six states. We were emerging from the woods on a failed attempt to place a new cache due to severe flooding in the area. The guy from Illinois had recently made his 1000th find and handed me his sig card. We chatted for a while and he introduced me to his BIL who is local to me and just starting in GeoCaching. A very nice guy!

 

About a week later I got an email from the Illinois guy. He had just picked up a new TB of mine across the state of NH from me (previously languishing in the first finder's hands for a few weeks). That was a strange coincidence for both of us. Small world. As this new TB had not seen many miles, he was kind enough to dip the TB in caches all the way back to CHI, where it now sits in his TB Hotel.

 

Cool enough.

 

About 3 weeks later, we were on vacation in RI near the beach about 200 mi from here. We chased a couple random caches near to where we were staying one afternoon. On the first cache we found I noticed this SAME guy had visitied this cache just 3 folks ahead of me, a few months earlier.

 

I sent him a mail explaining our paths had crossed again!

 

Very small world! :laughing:

Edited by markp99
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