Jump to content

newbie and having no luck


Recommended Posts

i have been out five times with my 2 kids and husband and had no luck. i am not sure what i am doing wrong. are there any "groups" that meet regularly where they can give us a "lesson"?? other than not finding anything it was a fun way to get up and out of the house. i purchased a garmin gps and a book and :laughing: i am defintaly looking forward to more weekends of hiking and excercise. thanks

Link to comment

A few tips:


Don't expect to find the cache right at "ground zero" - the point your GPS says it is at. The accuracy of most handheld units averages around 20 feet. Add that to a possible 20 foot error of the hider and you should search a 40 foot circular area for a cache.


Put the GPS away when you are 15 - 20 foot away and start thinking like a hider - "where would YOU hide something?


Look for unusual piles of rocks, sticks, grass, sand, leaves etc. These often hold caches.


Think Vertical - not all caches are on the ground.


Stick with caches rated at 1 or 2 for difficulty for your 1st few hunts. Also look for regular and small sizes not micros for your first few hunts.


Check, check and re-check to make sure you have the coordinates correct in your GPS.


Look for anything in the area that just looks a little out-of-place - Geocaching is often the art of hiding things in plain sight.


Look for event caches in your area and attend those to meet other cachers.


Always try to have fun!! You will get discouraged quick if it isn't fun. You will never find 100% of the caches you try to find so learn to walk away sometimes.


Oh - and Welcome Aboard!!!!!

Link to comment

Click on your "region" in the forums. Always someone around to help you out. You'd probably be surprised that someone just-down-the-road is a cacher. (May have to feed them .) :laughing:

OR: look for an event coming up in your area. Folks usually go out in "packs" for caches afterwards, join in and they will give you pointers.

Soon, you'll be showing someone else the ropes.

Good luck. Cache safe.

Link to comment

We're new, too, and we have found that putting the coordinates into Google Earth often gives us a good visual of where we should look. For instance, our very first search was in a wooded field. By going to Google Earth first, I was able to remember that the cache was stashed at a bend in the trail, after a clump of trees. Having had a bird's eye view of the location before we left really helped us once we arrived.


Don't give up! I know that it's frustrating not to find the cache but I've told my children... an outing is a success if we take time to appreciate the scenery, learn something new and enjoy our time together. :rolleyes:

Link to comment

I would add to find easy caches 1 to 2 stars that are regular sized AND have been found recently. That way it will help ensure that your target is there. If you want an idea of the error of your gps on hiding/finding stuff. Hide a cache yourself, mark the coords then come back the next day to find it using those coords. you'll know where it is so you can see how the gps works on both the marking and finding side to get an idea of how you need to search (i.e. not just ground zero)

Link to comment

Your first cache will be your hardest. Your first 10 will also be a challenge.


After that, it becomes easier.


I agree with the above suggestions ... stick to :


TRADITIONAL caches, not multi caches


REGULAR caches, not small or micro


DIFFICULTY LEVEL 1 caches, with a low terrain rating as well




READ the clues (decrypt them)


READ the logs. There is often a lot of info in the logs left by other geocachers.


CLICK on the link GOOGLE MAPS or GEOCACHING.COM GOOGLE MAPS, zoom in, then switch to satellite view for a pretty darn accurate image of where your cache is! Some people actually have searched for caches just off this image, without a GPSr! (By The Way, I find Google Earth to be a much less accurate third choice)


PRINT the cache page and take it with you. The satellite image too if you can. In the future, look into paperless caching.


LOOK for anything out of place. Piles of sticks on the ground. Piles of sticks or tree bark against tree trunks or fallen trees. Look inside hollow stumps. Don't always look on the ground. Many smaller caches are hung at eye-level like ornaments in pine trees.


REALIZE, these caches are HIDDEN and maybe CAMOUFLAGED. See this link for extreme examples:




REMEMBER, the GPSr only gets you within about 30 - 40 feet of the cache. Go to where it takes you, then search an ever expanding circle out to 40 feet. If it takes you directly to the cache, that is just coincidence. Go back tomorrow, or even later today, and it will take you to a different spot within that 40 foot circle.


Good Luck. Don't give up.

Edited by michigansnorkeler
Link to comment

Not to discourage, but since you seem to roughly be in our area (since I presume "Mineola" means the town in Long Island), I'd also say maybe wait now until the snow and ice that just fell all melt. The snow cover can make finding much harder and the sub-freezing temps and ice may mean that the cache is frozen in place and hard to get out (when it did briefly thaw last weekend we did maintenance on some of our hides here in the Bronx and southern Westchester Co. and they all were "stuck" like this).


Keep in mind that the first weekend after the thaw it might be rather muddy on the trail (I don't mind it but my wife and kids sure do) as it was last weekend, though if you read carefully, some hides are on mostly paved trails with just a brief walk into the dirt to the cache.


Alternatively (even in the snow cover), you may want to try out some virtual caches to start out, where you use the coords to get to a location where you read something or other that you email to the cache owner for a "find" (look at the listings and you'll see). It will get you used to the idea of the GPS pointing you to the final area without having to do a lot of searching. I know that our part of the area doesn't have too many of these, but there are a LOT of them in Manhattan and (easier for you) Queens (and perhaps even right in Nassau County itself as well, but I definitely know that those two boroughs have quite a few).


Good luck and have fun! If I'm guessing your location right you are in a very "cache rich" area (more so than this neck of the NY area) and you will have lots of enjoyment very soon! Good exercise and great family activity (if you look at our profile you'll see that 95+% of our cache hunts are with a 5 and 3 year old in tow!).

Edited by HaLiJuSaPa
Link to comment

Hey I went to Google maps. Is there a way to put in coordentants to pinpoint a location on the hybrid map?

Google is quite flexible about how you can enter waypoints - generally just go to the "search" box and type in the coordinates you want to see - hit enter. The map will center on the coordinates and mark the spot with a sort of green pointer blob thingy.

Link to comment

I had the same problem for the first few caches.


turns out the settings on my GPSr were wrong. Usually you should be able to go into some sort of an "options menu" and make sure you have it set to hddd mm.mmm and you should be using map datum WGS 84 with "true" north reference.


I know that this was my problem when I 1st started. It usually made me off by between 40m to 13KM. I would try mapping with google maps(or the map it feature) to see if I seem to be close to whatever it is I'm looking for.


Hope this helps!!

Edited by bassmig
Link to comment

All the above suggestions are great. Another idea is to post a message to those that hid the cache or those who have found it to see if anyone is willing to take a new cacher under their wing until you get some experience or at least give you hints on where to find the cache.


Also besides the local groups here, do a net search to find other geocaching groups in your area.

Edited by skyfire97
Link to comment

Practice playing with the GPS first so you understand how it works. Create a waypoint on your GPS for your home. Walk or drive a half mile away and see if you can get home with it. Resist taking the route you know is correct, follow what the GPS "suggests" is the best way to go. Soon you will learn you can't take a straight line, but you will understand what the GPS is telling you. While I only have a dozen or so finds logged I do geocache my own way. Say I need to go somewhere I have never been before, could be in the neighborhood or a couple hundred miles away. I use Delorme software to find the coordinates, create a waypoint and off I go. No I don't go the fastest way, but I do see parts of town,or the state I have never seen before.


Geocaching is mainly learning to use the GPS. Just practice, then like the others say, go for easy finds in parks. Normally they will be just off the path. Good excuse for a walk in the park. Once you have confidence in yourself and the GPS info and if you are so determined start looking for caches that can take a couple hours to hike to.


just have fun!



Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...