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Circles and circles...


mgbmusic
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Ok, so I'm kinda a newbie and I've been curious, how long can one expect to actually look for a cache once in the vicinity as defined by your GPSr. I figure it'll vary depending on what the difficulty rating is. But there are times I'll look down and bam, there it is. Then there are times I'll wander around in circles over and over for an hour plus and just nothing. Is there any rhyme or reason to this? Is there a time a cache owner (or seeker) has to say "Ok, this is ridiculous" and make adjustments? I dunno, maybe I need a more accurate GPSr, but I don't know there are times my GPSr (rhino 110 BTW) says I'm standing on top of the thing, and nothing.

 

Thoughts?

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There's no rhyme or reason...it all depends on how clever the hide is, how accurate the coordinates are, your satellite reception, as well as many many other factors.

 

I find that after about 45 minutes to an hour, it ceases to be "fun" for me, so I leave, and then come back at another time. But I've probably put about 3 or 4 hours total at ground zero for my longest find, but I'd have put longer if I didn't find it. I'm stubborn that way.

 

If you don't find it, expand your search radius.

Edited by ThePropers
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I generally walk up to within a few feet of GZ and then start looking for places the cache might be hidden. As mentioned above, signal varies for many reasons. I'll have to admit you have WAY more patience than I...45 minutes looking? Wow!

 

When all else fails, pull your face out of the GPSr and go with your geosense!

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Is there a time a cache owner (or seeker) has to say "Ok, this is ridiculous" and make adjustments?

 

I say that pretty much every day :blink: but make adjustments? nah...

OK, here's the secret method I used with my first gps, an eXplorist 200, the most accurate and dependable unit I've owned: I walk to GZ, put down my backpack, and walk expanding circles out to about 30 feet. Then, if I haven't found the cache, i go back and look under my backpack. That's where it usually is :unsure:

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I'll have to admit you have WAY more patience than I...45 minutes looking? Wow!

 

When all else fails, pull your face out of the GPSr and go with your geosense!

I'm a life-long Cubs fan - patience goes with the territory :unsure:

 

Anywho. Being the competitive person I am, I hate, _H8_ giving up and walking away empty handed. I'm usually good at locating the places "I'd hide it" but man oh man. Sometimes, it's just crazy talk...

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In my case, it's "selective patience". In the past, I've spent less than a minute looking for certain micros and left. On the other hand, I've spent over 2-1/2 hours in a single trip looking for a regular-size cache in the woods. I've been known to go 45 minutes before ever pulling out the hint.

 

Then again, maybe it's more "stubborn" than "patience". :unsure:

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As mentioned above, I'll search until it's no longer fun. Then I'll find a different cache to hunt. Most handheld GPSr's boast a 3 meter accuracy, which in practice is typically closer to 9 meters. Once you get within 20' of the cache, your handheld is often just a paperweight. Usually I'll hoof to within 50', then stop, give my 60CSx time to settle, then pick a landmark roughly the same distance/direction indicated by my GPSr. At about 20' I'll do the same thing, then put the Garmin in my pocket. I'll work outwards from the landmarks, looking for social trails and blatent hiding spots.

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It is a challenge not to return to a chache that you DNF. They can have you lying awake at night getting more irrate about where it could be (stupid really coz you are never going to find it in your bedroom!). There is a micro near where I live that I went to 3 times, 3rd time with 6 helpers and a metal detector to find it. Total searching time about 2 1/2 hrs, 3/4 hr with the metal detector!! I learnt my lesson though. It is best not to wind yourself up and don't go looking in the first place for the type you don't like (MICROS). What you don't know doesn't hurt you.

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applying standard hunt technique:

 

1. Use the compass screen versus the map screen. Tells you where to go and how far left to go.

2. Rather than trying to get to the 0 point on your GPSr (basically standing on top of the cache) stop about 50 feet from the expected location. Then stop looking at your GPS and start looking at your location. Look for the obvious clues to the cache location. Piles of sticks, rocks, dead hollow tree, or stump in plain view. Don't forget to look at the size of the cache you are looking for. Nothing like thinking you are hunting a regular sized cache, when it is actually a micro-cache.

3. Start out with the easiest dificulty caches (D/T). So go for the 1/1 to 2/2 caches first.

4. Have fun and enjoy

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Depends on the difficulty and the thoughtfullness of the location/appropriate size but I generally will give in after 30 - 45 minutes of fruitless searching on any thing 3.5 or less difficulty. My wife will go as much as as an hour and half. Depending on a number of factors I may or may not come back to try again.

 

Assuming it is really still there, About 75% of the time I find it quickly on a second visit and leave myself wondering how I missed it the first go round.

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How long I will search b4 giving up varies widely by a number of factors. For some, I see the light pole in the parking lot at GZ and don't even park the car. For others, i get an absolute OBSESSION for the find and will spend several hours and several trips (even if HUNDRED MILES of travel to get there) till I FIND the silly thing.

 

I usually start active looking when I get within about 60 feet of the GZ. I have found that my GPSr has a tendency to zero in much more slowly than I generally walk. Oftentimes I spot the cache right off just by looking for "cache sign" (out of place things like piles of sticks, non-indigent wood or foreign objects, horizontal lines, hollow logs, etc).

 

I generally don't do the circles thing. (well, not intentionally :D ) I find GZ and then search all likely places nearby for about 75 - 100 ft or so. Often I set the GPSr down on a log near GZ and just wander around the area. (One of these days I'm gonna lose a GPSr)

 

When it ceases to be fun, I call it. Then I generally give it JUST ONE MORE TRY... That's when i generally find the cache.

 

I wonder? If I get to GZ and give up immediately and then give it JUST ONE MORE TRY....? Maybe a good technique, ya think? :D

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Try this.

 

Use the GPS to get near GZ. Find a location with clear overhead if you are in the woods. Stop and watch the BEARING TO TARGET screen. Don't move. It will probably be changing slowly. Keep waiting until it stabalizes. This might take a few minutes. When the BEARING stabalizes then transfer that bearing to your cumpass and take a sightng. You can be pretty sure that the cache is somewhere on that line. The distance to target scale will tell you how far. Normally you will be able to spot the location. If you do not see a likely spot for a cache to be hidden then change to a location a short distance away and repeat. The intersection of the two bearings will be the exact location of the cache.

 

I started using this method after the first time my GPS lead me back and forth across a creek. In dense woods the signal will fade in and out and give false readings. It sort of guesses based on the last good signal.

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Last Sunday my daughter and I went to the top of Mt. Vaca to find 3 caches, found the first 2 and spent over an hour looking for the last one, finally gave up it got to hot, and marked as DNF this really bothered both of us all week, come to find out the owner post the wrong coordinates they were off by 45' so back up the mountain (Elev. 2,655') bright and early this morning, we got out of the truck her with the GPS V and me with the 60CSx we walked for 2 min. and both needles spun on our GPS's there was an undercut at this big rock and there it was, we were both kind of disappointed because we found it so quick, and it was such a nice sunny day and a great view.

Edited by Jim W
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Sounds like you do what I do---Get a more accurate GPSr is #1 on my list.

I really don't think it is an accuracy issue. When I find them, I usually have a reading well under the posted accuracy limits of the GPS. Typically I will show <10 feet AFTER letting the GPS set at GZ for a few minutes whilst logging in.

 

Basically I think it is just understanding the equipment and its limitations, one of which is SLOW response (at least on my Magellan). I have not used any other units except much older ones (which would be like comparing model T to Corvette) and I don't have much to compare against in the speed or accuracy.

 

I have learned to slow WAY down and start looking for cache sign when I get within 100 feet if I am walking steadily toward the target.

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Try this.

 

Use the GPS to get near GZ. Find a location with clear overhead if you are in the woods. Stop and watch the BEARING TO TARGET screen. Don't move. It will probably be changing slowly. Keep waiting until it stabalizes. This might take a few minutes. When the BEARING stabalizes then transfer that bearing to your cumpass and take a sightng. You can be pretty sure that the cache is somewhere on that line. The distance to target scale will tell you how far. Normally you will be able to spot the location. If you do not see a likely spot for a cache to be hidden then change to a location a short distance away and repeat. The intersection of the two bearings will be the exact location of the cache.

 

I started using this method after the first time my GPS lead me back and forth across a creek. In dense woods the signal will fade in and out and give false readings. It sort of guesses based on the last good signal.

 

You sir are a steely eyed missile man!

I swear by all the gods of geocaching you are da miz-zan! Found two previous DNF's right in a row, in under an hour using that. Never would've thought of that! I'm telling you my friend...You RULE THE SCHOOL!!!

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