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Can we reinstae virtual caches, please ?


Hummingbird & Blue Jay
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Dear Groundspeak,

 

Virtual Caches are fun!

 

I am hoping that others feel the same way and that my voice, joined to theirs, will result in virtual caches being reinstated or, at least, somehow be given a proper home.

 

Not all of us geocachers feel that the joy of the hunt needs to be capped off by finding a box full of trinkets. Virtual caches are a great way for travelers (or even long time residents) to discover neat little tidbits about local history or topography. My wife and I have always enjoyed doing them.

 

I recently decided to create my first cache because I thought it would be a fun way for people to get a little flavor of one of my favorite vacation spots – Cedar Key, Florida. We live in Tennessee, so we obviously cannot maintain a traditional cache on Cedar Key. I created the virtual cache and submitted it to geocaching.com and was advised that virtual caches are no longer being accepted and that I might be able to find a home for it at wayfaring.com.

 

After browsing the wayfaring.com website, I was disappointed to come to the conclusion that wayfaring.com, although it is really a clever concept, just does not seem to the appropriate vehicle for most virtual caches.

 

To me anyway, a great deal of the appeal of virtual caches is the mystery generated by a clever title, which does not actually give away the uniqueness of the final destination. The problem with wayfaring.com as a virtual GEOcache vehicle is that you would have to be searching for a specific category to run across it. What if a virtual cache covers more than one category?

 

I am somewhat hesitant to bring up the specifics of my rejected cache for fear that you might think that my reason for this email is to simply vent frustration over said rejection. That is not the case. I really liked the idea of virtual caches as a geocaching concept. But . . . as a good example of what I am writing about consider my cache. I really don't see how it would really fit into the wayfaring.com format:

 

My title is “Sit and talk with Big Ed” - formulated to keep the geocacher guessing as to what he is really looking for. The GPS coordinates are in the old Cedar Key cemetery. The searcher is directed to use clues to locate two headstones and a huge anchor. Then he is directed to search for a really unique gravesite which he is to use as the point from which he lines up the 3 previously found landmarks to form a navigational range pointing to the final destination, which is the water tower in the center of the island.

 

So what does the cacher get out of his search? A chance to visit a really unique cemetery that he would have otherwise have probably passed by without noticing. A really heart warming and unusually decorated marker for a fireman named Big Ed. There is a bench next to Big Ed's marker with the inscription “Sit and Talk With Big Ed”. While sitting on that bench, your gaze will line up the 3 landmarks and point to the water tower. It is necessary to get to the water tower to get the answer to the final question which must be answered to claim the find. It has to do with the nature of the building which sits next to the tower – the public school which is “the home of the Sharks”. The cacher must also answer questions related to the landmarks in the cemetery. Puzzle & riddle solving skills must be employed.

 

If you are interested in viewing the cache – which the reviewer placed into archive status, go to cache GCZ3T6

 

There are a lot of geocachers that enjoy this sort of thing. Please seriously consider my appeal for a reversal of the policy on banning virtual caches.

 

Sincerely, Hummingbird & Blue Jay

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I don't just want to throw Waymarking.com back in your face. But I was one of the biggest supporters of virtuals and locationless. I have since fallen in love with Waymarking, and I'm one of its biggest supporters now. I believe that it is bigger and better than virts and locs ever were.

 

I guess to address your specific question, the closest waymark would probably be "Best Kept Secrets". They created this category to fill the kinds of needs that you are talking about. :laughing:

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I'm right in the same camp as Ambrosia. I have my favorite virtual caches linked in my signature line at the bottom of this post through a bookmarking list dedicated specifically to them. I love Waymarking and have about 10 to write up. Give it a chance and peck around on the site. It is getting more streamlined as waymarkers help Groundspeak with what they like and don't like about the site.

 

I can say almost certainly that they won't be brought back and as a reviewer I hope they are not. The existing ones out there are great but the quality of submissions were really going downhill. There were far more topics regarding angst than I care to remember. As a reviewer, I would not have listed what you described. It is perfect for the Waymarking site though.

 

(psssttt... its Waymarking.com and not wayfaring.com :laughing: )

 

Search the forums for "virtual". You will see that this has been discussed quite a bit.

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Hummingbird & Blue Jay

 

Virtual caches are fun. Many people really like using there GPS to be taken to an interesting and could care less if there is a container and log to find there. Waymarking is really set up to do that.

 

Quite frankly, many virtuals take you to pretty boring mundane place and there is no way to filter the good virtuals from the bad. Because of this, virtuals had a rule that the place they took you to had to be unique or spectacular enough to make you go "Wow" when you got there. The volunteer cache reviewers were given the task of determining it the location was "Wow" enough. This cause all kinds of problems with virtual caches being turned and generated lots of forum posts like yours of people using the forums to appeal that their virtual really met the "Wow" requirement.

 

I doubt that your idea would have been approved even when Geocaching.com allowed virtuals.

 

First of all, many people submitted a virtual cache when they found an interesting place while on vacation and knew that they couldn't maintain a physical cache in the area. Groundspeak eventually extended the no vacation cache rule to virtual caches. One reason is that you need to do maintenance even on a virtual cache. What if something about the area changes? Even the landmark itself could disappear. Groundspeak wanted the cache owner to be able to check out the situation and either make changes to the cache description or archive the cache. A second reason for no vacation virtuals was that it was unfair to local cachers who might be able to hide a physical cache in the location.

 

Secondly, there is no guarantee that your suggestion would have passed the "Wow" test. Grave markers (even unusually shaped ones) might be considered to common to qualify as a virtual.

 

It was intentionally made hard to get a virtual approved, because the intent of geocaching was always first to find a geocache. A virtual was a way to allow geocaching in places where it is impossible to place a physical cache. Waymarking is designed from the start to be a way to bring you to an interesting place. There are no vaction rules, no proximity rules, and instead of a "Wow" requirement, the requirements are specific to the category and usually not as subjective.

 

Waymarking categories are set up with the idea of grouping waymarks into categories that different groups of people have an interest in. Some people like to go to historical locations, other like things that are weird or unusual, still others might like to see a natural landmark. The idea is to pick the categories you are interested in so you will be taken to an interesting place. Some places will fall into more than one category. A separate waymark is listed in each category so that the location can be visited all the people who might be interested. Of course some ideas for waymarks have no category which is appropriate yet. In these cases, a new category can be suggested. The process for creating a new category takes from several days to weeks. It depends on getting a group together to sponsor the category and taking it through the approval process.

 

Some people found virtuals fun because you didn't know what you would find until you got there. A cryptic title and description would grab your intererest and you would be suprised when you got there. I sponsored the Best Kept Secrets category (Thank you, Ambrosia) for just this reason. To give virtuals that offfer a suprise a home. This is not meant to be the only category to support interesting concepts that don't work as traditional waymarks. There is no category for multi waymarks at present. It sounds like your idea is for a multi or puzzle type waymark. Go to first location, see the object you want people to see there, then have them line up some landmarks to take them to the final location where the can get the answer to a confirmation question. I would like to see a Waymarking category for this. I think it would be fun.

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why not provide cross compatibility. By that I mean being able to look up Waymarking locations on the geocaching.com website?

 

I for one do not venture to the Waymarking website, but would be interested to see waymarks listed with geocaches (as an optional veiw of course).

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Waymarking is Waymarking. It's not caching.

 

Good point. Virtual caches aren't geocaching either.

 

Well said.

The geocaching community doesn't agree. A virtual cache and a waymark are two different things.

 

Either you screwed up ever treating them like a cache so that people enjoyed them like a cache, or you were brilliant to create something that captured a certain cache magic that was different than waypoint.org. Waymarking is waypoint.org Version 2.0.

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why not provide cross compatibility. By that I mean being able to look up Waymarking locations on the geocaching.com website?

 

I for one do not venture to the Waymarking website, but would be interested to see waymarks listed with geocaches (as an optional veiw of course).

You can, in a way. On a cache page, just go down to the "Find..." section on the lower left side. Click the link that says, "...all nearby waymarks on Waymarking.com". It will send you to the Waymarking site with a list of nearsest waymarks to that cache.

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The geocaching community doesn't agree. A virtual cache and a waymark are two different things.

 

Either you screwed up ever treating them like a cache so that people enjoyed them like a cache, or you were brilliant to create something that captured a certain cache magic that was different than waypoint.org. Waymarking is waypoint.org Version 2.0.

So how do you really feel about the subject?
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It's nice having virtual caches at National Parks.

This can still be done with Earthcaches. They are basically virtuals, but with more educational and geological related guidelines-- perfect for National Parks! :D

And ever so much more limited than a virtual cache.

Like I said... perfect for National Parks!

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This has and will go on forever. I loved virtuals also, and have had a hard time getting used to waymarks. I think this is in great part due to limited tools etc. on the waymark site. It is getting better now and when gpx files download, PQ's etc are finally running it will improve more. I am getting used to the idea of waymarks.

 

That being said, I still wish there was integration between the sites. I wish it had been built into the geocaching site instead of an entire separate place.

 

There are people here who insist that the two games are separate and need two different web sites. I think that many people that get involved in Waymarking will also continue to geocache, probably at the same time and with both waymarks and geocaches on their gps'r when they go out. Those of us that do that will need to work on both sites to get the data offline and then use 3rd party tools to get mesh it back together for our outings. I guess it is not a big deal, just a few extra steps. I think the test will be to see if the Waymarking site takes off once PQ's and gpx files become readily available like they are at geocaching.com.

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I actually think that the Earthcache compromise is a good one. It allows for non-physical caches in denied areas, but makes the requirements for them sufficiently stringent that the lousy ones are excluded. I think TPTB made a very wise choice here.

 

Don't tell Jeremy that I said that, though. And Waymarking still sucks.

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Just now I took a look at the Waymarking topics to see about new features and saw that the waymark discussions are moved to a new site. It appears that we need a new account, login, avatar etc. My initial impression is that this just further drives the wedge between the two activities.

 

I was able to sign in at the new location using my Groundspeak account, but have no permissions to post or reply to topics, so there must be some further verification of our Groundspeak status required before we can use the new forum at Waymarking the way we use this one here. Or maybe we need to set up a new posting account for the new site?

 

It just seems to get more confusing all the time. Maybe it's just my impression, but it really seems that the goal is to really, really, separate the two activities. I may be wrong to hope to integrate the two into my outings. I hope not though as I really can't see us doing one or the other. Waymarking needs to be part of our geocaching outings if we are to use it.

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Earth caches will be one of the only tools for the national parks a cacher can use. It is a bit more complicated to set up, but at least it will be properly listed and the land owner will know it is there. I know some of the virtuals were going way off tangent. I could just imaging the numbers of virtuals comming in to the revewers, and the numbers of them being listed would have over grown the servers so fast that gc.com would of gotten slower than ever. lol At least this way, Waymarking is kept seperate, the PQ's will be smaller, the servers will be faster, and the waymarkers have there own place. Don't get me wrong. I really enjoyed the fact of the virtual caches, and i wish they were still available for special circumstances.

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Just now I took a look at the Waymarking topics to see about new features and saw that the waymark discussions are moved to a new site. It appears that we need a new account, login, avatar etc. My initial impression is that this just further drives the wedge between the two activities.

 

I was able to sign in at the new location using my Groundspeak account, but have no permissions to post or reply to topics, so there must be some further verification of our Groundspeak status required before we can use the new forum at Waymarking the way we use this one here. Or maybe we need to set up a new posting account for the new site?

 

Hm...you prompted me to try this for the first time. I signed in, and then replied to a thread, and had no problems. So I'm not sure what was wrong in your case.

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Wow.

 

Nasty, mean, vicious and condescending.

 

A waymark based on a personal attack. And it got approved.

 

I'm pretty surprised by that, Lep. Goes against everything I thought I knew about you.

 

On the other hand, I'm sorry to say this, but that waymark pretty much perfectly sums up the experience I have had with waymarkers.

 

So maybe you are right. Maybe that waymark does say it all.

Edited by fizzymagic
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Wow.

 

Nasty, mean, vicious and condescending.

 

A waymark based on a personal attack. And it got approved.

 

I'm pretty surprised by that, Lep. Goes against everything I thought I knew about you.

 

On the other hand, I'm sorry to say this, but that waymark pretty much perfectly sums up the experience I have had with waymarkers.

 

So maybe you are right. Maybe that waymark does say it all.

Wha? :D:D

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Ummm, the "cache" is entirely fictional. As is the account holder, "Toynbee Fan." The text is an adaptation of the form letters which Geocaching.com reviewers use when explaining listing guideline violations to cache owners.

 

The point of the the first waymark is to illustrate the difference between the many listing guidelines in effect at Geocaching.com vs. the customized standards applicable to waymark categories. The second waymark explains why I personally did not like locationless caches, but like waymarks.

 

So, no personal attack here. Unless, of course, Fizzymagic knows of someone who lives on Jupiter and once tried hiding a pair of virtual caches 40 feet apart in downtown Pittsburgh.

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Just now I took a look at the Waymarking topics to see about new features and saw that the waymark discussions are moved to a new site. It appears that we need a new account, login, avatar etc. My initial impression is that this just further drives the wedge between the two activities.

 

I was able to sign in at the new location using my Groundspeak account, but have no permissions to post or reply to topics, so there must be some further verification of our Groundspeak status required before we can use the new forum at Waymarking the way we use this one here. Or maybe we need to set up a new posting account for the new site?

 

It just seems to get more confusing all the time. Maybe it's just my impression, but it really seems that the goal is to really, really, separate the two activities. I may be wrong to hope to integrate the two into my outings. I hope not though as I really can't see us doing one or the other. Waymarking needs to be part of our geocaching outings if we are to use it.

A careful read of Groundspeak's announcement of the new location-based forums reveals that Waymarkers are, in fact, getting a sneak preview of the integrated Groundspeak Portal site that will include Geocaching, Waymarking and, errr, that other thingie I'm not s'posed to talk much about. So, in other words, rather than Waymarking splitting off into a separate forum, that smaller community will use the new forums as a beta test group, and eventually the Geocachers will come on board.

 

Personally, I think it's quite cool to be able to start a forum topic that's associated with coordinates, so that people in that area can search for discussions of local interest. It eliminates the arbitrary geographical boundaries imposed by state lines and the regional forum hierarchy. What a cool new feature! Seems like something worth freezing usernames for.

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A careful read of Groundspeak's announcement of the new location-based forums reveals that Waymarkers are, in fact, getting a sneak preview of the integrated Groundspeak Portal site that will include Geocaching, Waymarking and, errr, that other thingie I'm not s'posed to talk much about.

 

Is this another example of my money going towards things I don't care for?

 

I'm paying for geocaching, not projects that have nothing to do with geocaching.

 

Additionally, it appears these new features coming up are more for the online community and less for getting folks out into the field--something that geocaching appealed to for a lot of folks and that's getting out for some fresh and out from in front of the computer.

 

Sorry, I'm not impressed.

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When I first started Geocaching, I completed some virtual caches that were grandfathered (which I did not know at the time), so my first cache I tried to submit was a waymark--not a cache and was soundly rejected. It took a couple of emails to explain the situation to me. After doing both for awhile (geocaching and Waymarking)--here is my insight (for whatever it is worth).

 

I can understand the split between geocaching and Waymarking. I cannot understand the animosity!! Folks, this is supposed to be fun.

 

With both, there is the challenge of using ones GPSr. With geocaching, there is the challenge of the puzzle to find the cache. With Waymarking ,there is the love of learning history. However, many geocaches are tied to historical locations and do tell the story of those who came before us. There are also many places that do not allow caches. So do we just blow these off because there is no way to place a cache? I thought the real fun of the GPSr is exploration and learning?

 

My issue is that Waymarking.com makes it rather difficult to start new Waymark categories--some that are very logical (for instance, every state should have a historical marker category since every state has historical markers). The flip side is that Waymarking (like Geocaching.com) is run by a small staff and does not have time to verify the waymarks, so they "recruit" volunteers who are Premium Members to "run" these specific waymarks. New Waymark categories have to be voted on by Premium Members. Why? To provide validity of a subject. (Personally, almost all subjects are valid.) Until at least 3 Premium members sign up for a subject, there is no folder for that subject. It is hard to get the "word" out that categories are looking for members; so a category just "hangs" in limbo.

 

Suggestions:

 

Geocaching.com needs to make it clear about the current division between geocaches and waymarks in very simple terms for a newbie! (Note my initial confusion as a newbie because of grandfathered virtual caches.)

 

There could be clear links between Geocaching.com and Waymarking.com sites to let each other know about the other. I would not merge the two sites, however.

 

Waymarking.com needs to rethink the process to accept new categories OR find better method to explain to all Waymark users that they need to help manage various waymark categories or those categories will not exist.

 

Waymarking.com has made it very easy to create new waymarks into existing categories. I have added probably 10 of them in just the last few months. If you enjoy Waymarking, add new locations for others so the site will continue to grow!

 

Finally, I would like to thank Geocaching.com for providing all the support and forum space to Waymarking.com. I don't mind that a small portion of my Premium fee pays for Waymarking.com. I am grateful that both sites exist so I can have fun with my GPSr, enjoy the puzzles of caches and learn about my state, country and world!

 

Take care,

Outspoken1

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Is this another example of my money going towards things I don't care for?

 

I'm paying for geocaching, not projects that have nothing to do with geocaching.

While I don't feel quite as strongly about it as CR does, I do think the point is a valid one. While the signup page clearly refers to it as a Groundspeak premium membership and not a Geocaching.com premium membership, it does lead people to believe that the money they give will go towards the improvement of the geocaching experience-- not to other hobbies. The page clearly explains all the geocaching related features (no other hobby mentioned) and even specifically says "Not to mention, you’ll be contributing to the support and maintenance of the Geocaching.com site. Thanks!". In my opionion, the honest way to word that line would be "Not to mention, you’ll be contributing to the support and maintenance of Geocaching.com, Waymarking.com and other Groundpeak related sites. Thanks!" At least this way it's clear that our membership dollars are going to support activities other than Geocaching.

 

Let me be clear-- I'm not saying that TPTB are trying to pull one over on us PMs. IMHO, a Groundpeak Premium Membership is worth well over $30 and a private, for-profit organization like Groundspeak is free to use their money however they see fit... but I do think they could be a bit more candid in regards to what exactly we are paying for. It would certainly help avoid the type of reaction that is coming from users like CR.

 

...the integrated Groundspeak Portal site that will include Geocaching, Waymarking and, errr, that other thingie I'm not s'posed to talk much about.
What? What is it? I wanna know!!! :D:D:D
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Ummm, the "cache" is entirely fictional. As is the account holder, "Toynbee Fan." The text is an adaptation of the form letters which Geocaching.com reviewers use when explaining listing guideline violations to cache owners.

 

The point of the the first waymark is to illustrate the difference between the many listing guidelines in effect at Geocaching.com vs. the customized standards applicable to waymark categories. The second waymark explains why I personally did not like locationless caches, but like waymarks.

 

So, no personal attack here. Unless, of course, Fizzymagic knows of someone who lives on Jupiter and once tried hiding a pair of virtual caches 40 feet apart in downtown Pittsburgh.

I accept your apology.

 

:D

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Personally, I think it's quite cool to be able to start a forum topic that's associated with coordinates, so that people in that area can search for discussions of local interest. It eliminates the arbitrary geographical boundaries imposed by state lines and the regional forum hierarchy. What a cool new feature! Seems like something worth freezing usernames for.

Not to me, I would rather be able to change my username, but it is Jeremy's choice.
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...There are a lot of geocachers that enjoy this sort of thing....

 

100% positivly true. There are a lot of cahers who have always hated them and were vocal about it and now there are a lot of cachers who like to point at waypoint er... Waymarking.com and say 'em r vertuals' Including the TPTB.

 

I apprecaite your appeal because it lets those of us who do recogize reality to point it out. Apparently it's not so obvious to everone that virtual caches were caches because somehow they captured some part of the hunt that people enjoy. Not all people, but then again, neither does Waymarking capture all people who liked virtuals.

 

Waymarking seem to me close to locationless caches than anything else. One feature request for locationless caches was to be able to easily go visit them even if you couldn't log them. There were some intersting locationless catagories that would be worth a look or useful. Logging a waymark is a hybrid. Not quite virtual, not quite locationless. Something else again. Then again what do I konw I found one waymark that I could have posted but just never got around to it, just like all the locationless caches I had one my list that I never got around too.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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A careful read of Groundspeak's announcement of the new location-based forums reveals that Waymarkers are, in fact, getting a sneak preview of the integrated Groundspeak Portal site that will include Geocaching, Waymarking and, errr, that other thingie I'm not s'posed to talk much about.

 

Is this another example of my money going towards things I don't care for?

 

I'm paying for geocaching, not projects that have nothing to do with geocaching.

 

Additionally, it appears these new features coming up are more for the online community and less for getting folks out into the field--something that geocaching appealed to for a lot of folks and that's getting out for some fresh and out from in front of the computer.

 

Sorry, I'm not impressed.

Probably another case where you and I will need to agree to disagree. I won't hound you in every thread about this, however. :D

 

If the Groundspeak Premium Membership cost had gone up every year, like everything else I pay for, then the point would have more validity. Or if lots and lots of dollars weren't being poured into new Geocaching.com developments and developers -- like Raine's work on Caches Along a Route -- then the point would have more validity.

 

But the cost of a premium membership is $30, just as it was when I bought my first one in 2002. Ask yourself, what has changed for premium members since 2002? Is it worth $30 all by itself? For me, the answer is yes. So, I don't mind that some of the money goes towards other harmonious site improvements like Waymarking. Waymarking took something that was broken on Geocaching.com and fixed it by moving it to a site better equipped to deal with the subject matter. Viewed in that light, it's an improvement to the Geocaching.com site, in my book.

 

I also think that location-based forums will help to increase communication at the local level. Searching on coordinates to find forum topics, it will become easier to organize group cache hunts or to draw folks' attention to caches or waymarks of local interest. A locationless forum, like the Off Topic forum, is less in line with getting people outdoors than a location-based forum. Yet even the OT forum keeps people happy and involved in the activity, like when they can't get outside.

 

I've already done the legwork for seven waymarks today. There are no caches within easy walking distance of my office, so I'm happy for the opportunity to have gotten outdoors on a nice fall day. :D

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...There are a lot of geocachers that enjoy this sort of thing....

I apprecaite your appeal because it lets those of us who do recogize reality to point it out. Apparently it's not so obvious to everone that virtual caches were caches because somehow they captured some part of the hunt that people enjoy. Not all people, but then again, neither does Waymarking capture all people who liked virtuals.

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

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