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A geocache in the 1950's?


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In April 1998 my parents bought a copy of the Cumbria and Lake District magazine, in the Readers Letters section (Postbox)there was a letter sent in by a Mrs Helen Grundy of Sussex, it goes something like this...

 

"We have been visiting Cumbria together for 30 odd years now, and regretfully decided this past summer had to be our last. All of us are 80, or nearly so, one is partially sighted and one lame, which means we find the mechanics of travel too much now.

 

There was a fourth member of our party who died 20 yrs ago - Miss Winifred Vaisey, who was for 19yrs Diocesan Sunday School Organiser in the Carlisle diocese in the 1930's and 40's. One year we stayed at Howtown. Winifred came straight there after a trip to Iona in Scotland and with her she brought some small sea shells, which as a sort of token, she hid them in the church wall of Martindale Old Church. We love Martindale and have always visited it when we were up there. Each year we have checked that Winifred's shells were still there......"

 

Mrs Grundy goes onto explain where exactly the shells where hidden.

 

These are the shells in the video....

 

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In April 1998 my parents bought a copy of the Cumbria and Lake District magazine, in the Readers Letters section (Postbox)there was a letter sent in by a Mrs Helen Grundy of Sussex, it goes something like this...

 

"We have been visiting Cumbria together for 30 odd years now, and regretfully decided this past summer had to be our last. All of us are 80, or nearly so, one is partially sighted and one lame, which means we find the mechanics of travel too much now.

 

There was a fourth member of our party who died 20 yrs ago - Miss Winifred Vaisey, who was for 19yrs Diocesan Sunday School Organiser in the Carlisle diocese in the 1930's and 40's. One year we stayed at Howtown. Winifred came straight there after a trip to Iona in Scotland and with her she brought some small sea shells, which as a sort of token, she hid them in the church wall of Martindale Old Church. We love Martindale and have always visited it when we were up there. Each year we have checked that Winifred's shells were still there......"

 

Mrs Grundy goes onto explain where exactly the shells where hidden.

 

These are the shells in the video....

 

 

Sorry that wasn't a geocache. :D

 

It was certainly a 50+ year old cache of shells, but caching itself has existed since the stone age. :P

 

I hid MY first caches in the late 70's & 80's and I hid quite a few in the 90's in favorite spots in the Sierras and many of those are now geocaches. B)

 

The closest thing that I know of that has coords, a container, and a log are registers left behind during mapping surveys in the 1920's. I read about backpackers finding them following the unmarked Sierra High Route in Backpacker Magazine. ;):D

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From Wikipedia;

 

The origin of letterboxing can be traced to Dartmoor, Devon, England in 1854. William Crossing in his Guide to Dartmoor states that a well known Dartmoor guide (James Perrott) placed a bottle for visitors' cards at Cranmere Pool on the northern moor in 1854. From this hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail (sometimes addressed to themselves, sometimes a friend or relative)—hence the name "letterboxing". The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and mail them. In 1938 a plaque and letterbox in Crossing's memory were placed at Duck's Pool on southern Dartmoor.

 

The first Dartmoor letterboxes were so remote and well-hidden that only the most determined walkers would find them, allowing weeks to pass before the letter made its way home. Until the 1970s there were no more than a dozen such sites around the moor, usually in the most inaccessible locations. Increasingly, however, letterboxes have been located in relatively accessible sites and today there are thousands of letterboxes, many within easy walking distance of the road. As a result, the tradition of leaving a letter or postcard in the box has been forgotten.

 

Sound a little bit like Victorian geocaching, no?

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From Wikipedia;

 

The origin of letterboxing can be traced to Dartmoor, Devon, England in 1854. William Crossing in his Guide to Dartmoor states that a well known Dartmoor guide (James Perrott) placed a bottle for visitors' cards at Cranmere Pool on the northern moor in 1854. From this hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail (sometimes addressed to themselves, sometimes a friend or relative)—hence the name "letterboxing". The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and mail them. In 1938 a plaque and letterbox in Crossing's memory were placed at Duck's Pool on southern Dartmoor.

 

The first Dartmoor letterboxes were so remote and well-hidden that only the most determined walkers would find them, allowing weeks to pass before the letter made its way home. Until the 1970s there were no more than a dozen such sites around the moor, usually in the most inaccessible locations. Increasingly, however, letterboxes have been located in relatively accessible sites and today there are thousands of letterboxes, many within easy walking distance of the road. As a result, the tradition of leaving a letter or postcard in the box has been forgotten.

 

Sound a little bit like Victorian geocaching, no?

 

Ummm, no. :D It sounds like letterboxing.... ;) Letterboxes are no doubt caches though.

 

A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates. The survey registers from the 1920's utilized coordinates wayyyy before GPS existed. Letterboxes don't.

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That's a great little story about the hidden shells. :D

 

I bet the owners of that nearby cache, Fall'n Tree, THE SMILEYS, would like to know about it. I was thinking that it would be an interesting thing for them to mention on their cache page... but on second thoughts, maybe not, as it might encourage too many folk to start searching around in that dry stone wall and unintentional damage could be done.

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

MrsB

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I am going to disagree with the others. By the original definition of what geocache means, that is a geocache. Not the first, but definitely a cache of shells. Not the current definition, but no log book would be required. Just get to the base words geo and cache.

 

Thanks for sharing. :D

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Here's a few examples of even older cacheing (Lewis & Clark):

 

June 3, 1805

The mouth of the Marias River is reached. Camp Deposit is established. Cached blacksmith bellows and tools, bear skins, axes, auger, files, 2 kegs of parched corn, 2 kegs of pork, a keg of salt, chisels, tin cups, two rifles, beaver traps. 24 lb of powder in lead kegs in separate caches . Hid red pirogue. Indians did not tell them of this river. Unable to immediately determine which river is the Missouri, a scouting party is sent to explore each branch, North fork (Marias), South fork (Missouri). Sgt. Gass and 2 others go up south fork. Sgt. Pryor and 2 others go up north fork. Can't decide which river is Missouri. Clark, Gass, Shannon, York and Fields brothers go up south fork Lewis, Drouillard, Shields, Windsor Pryor, Cruzatte, Lepage go up north fork. Most all in expedition decide North fork is the Missouri. Lewis decided north fork is Missouri and followed that fork.

 

June 27, 1805

cached - desk, books, specimens of plants and minerals, 2 kegs of pork, 1/2 keg of flour, 2 blunderbusses, 1/2 keg of fixed ammo.,and other small articles.

 

June 22 - July 9 1805

Construction of iron framed boat used to replace pirogues. It was floated on July 9 but leaked after a rain storm. The boat failed and was dismantled and cached July 10.

 

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A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

 

Actually that's just a cache. As I said earlier caching has existed since the stone age. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the term GEOcache didn't exist before Dave Ulmer hid the first one.... :D

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Thanks everyone for your replys - I'm enjoying reading them!!!

 

Mrs B it's good to see you reconise the cache - pretty amazing compared to the numbers of caches out there!!!

 

Yep the Smileys know about the shells and help maintain them with me - I wrote a little article in the log notes for the Falln tree and the a photocopy of the article has been lamitated and set in the cache as a non swop item. It's fairly obvious from the instructions of were the shells are but to be honest I dont think many people go to find them (from their lognotes)

 

Funny enough I reconise your caching name from my hols in the Lake District - it's a small world.... ;)

 

I love hearing pre geocaching caches (or whatever you want to call them!!) :D

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A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

What if I don't use a GPSr when I find a particular item listed on a website as a geocache? I (and I suspect lots of us here) have found quite a few geocaches in parking lots without the aid of a GPSr. Were we really geocaching then?

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A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

What if I don't use a GPSr when I find a particular item listed on a website as a geocache? I (and I suspect lots of us here) have found quite a few geocaches in parking lots without the aid of a GPSr. Were we really geocaching then?

 

It's all hidey go seeky right? :D

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A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

 

Actually that's just a cache. As I said earlier caching has existed since the stone age. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the term GEOcache didn't exist before Dave Ulmer hid the first one.... :unsure:

GEO has been around way before Ulmer. Besides the term geocache came along after Ulmer.

 

A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

What if I don't use a GPSr when I find a particular item listed on a website as a geocache? I (and I suspect lots of us here) have found quite a few geocaches in parking lots without the aid of a GPSr. Were we really geocaching then?

 

It's all hidey go seeky right? :P

I don't care what you use to find a cache. A GPSr isn't required. A geocache is a geocache.

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Here's a few examples of even older cacheing (Lewis & Clark):

 

June 3, 1805

The mouth of the Marias River is reached. Camp Deposit is established. Cached blacksmith bellows and tools, bear skins, axes, auger, files, 2 kegs of parched corn, 2 kegs of pork, a keg of salt, chisels, tin cups, two rifles, beaver traps. 24 lb of powder in lead kegs in separate caches . Hid red pirogue. Indians did not tell them of this river. Unable to immediately determine which river is the Missouri, a scouting party is sent to explore each branch, North fork (Marias), South fork (Missouri). Sgt. Gass and 2 others go up south fork. Sgt. Pryor and 2 others go up north fork. Can't decide which river is Missouri. Clark, Gass, Shannon, York and Fields brothers go up south fork Lewis, Drouillard, Shields, Windsor Pryor, Cruzatte, Lepage go up north fork. Most all in expedition decide North fork is the Missouri. Lewis decided north fork is Missouri and followed that fork.

 

June 27, 1805

cached - desk, books, specimens of plants and minerals, 2 kegs of pork, 1/2 keg of flour, 2 blunderbusses, 1/2 keg of fixed ammo.,and other small articles.

 

June 22 - July 9 1805

Construction of iron framed boat used to replace pirogues. It was floated on July 9 but leaked after a rain storm. The boat failed and was dismantled and cached July 10.

 

 

They left food and dangerous weapons in their caches. Tsk tsk.

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Geo means earth and cache means to store. You don't need to use a gps. I hear there are cachers out there who use maps and a compass to figure out where geocaches are. They do not use GPS units.

 

I think to be considered a goecache though, it would need to be in a container and have a log and be posted on the geocaching website.

 

As well originally it was going to be called GPS stash hunt, So when Ulmer hid the first one, he didn't call it a geocache.

 

It may have originally been intended for GPS users, but now it is not limited too gps users. As long as you can find it, and you sign the log, then log it on the site, you have officially found a cache. Heck, you can use google maps to find a cache. The first cache I found, I found with google maps. I didn't have a gps yet.

Edited by mchaos
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Here's a few examples of even older cacheing (Lewis & Clark):

 

June 3, 1805

The mouth of the Marias River is reached. Camp Deposit is established. Cached blacksmith bellows and tools, bear skins, axes, auger, files, 2 kegs of parched corn, 2 kegs of pork, a keg of salt...

Uh, 1805! I can beat that!

The first multicache. A three stage multicache, navigated by a star themed on preciouis metals, year 0000:

nativity%20scene.jpg:unsure:

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Here's a few examples of even older cacheing (Lewis & Clark):

 

June 3, 1805

The mouth of the Marias River is reached. Camp Deposit is established. Cached blacksmith bellows and tools, bear skins, axes, auger, files, 2 kegs of parched corn, 2 kegs of pork, a keg of salt...

Uh, 1805! I can beat that!

The first multicache. A three stage multicache, navigated by a star themed on preciouis metals, year 0000:

nativity%20scene.jpg:unsure:

 

Brilliant - that's my favourite - the ultimate cache too!!!!

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A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

 

Actually that's just a cache. As I said earlier caching has existed since the stone age. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the term GEOcache didn't exist before Dave Ulmer hid the first one.... :P

GEO has been around way before Ulmer. Besides the term geocache came along after Ulmer.

 

This is becoming quite comical. :unsure: Thanks for the entertainment. ;)

 

I never debated the term "GEO" or it's origin. Why would I? :D

 

I also don't have the fact of whom it was who first coined the term "geocache" burned into my brain cells. I was merely pointing out that the term "didn't exist before" the wonderful activity we all now enjoy was started by Dave. ;)

 

A GEOcache uses GPS technology to find specific coordinates.

Ummm. No.

 

Geocachers use a GPSr while geocaching. A geocache is just a store of items (which may or may not be hidden), somewhere on the earth.

What if I don't use a GPSr when I find a particular item listed on a website as a geocache? I (and I suspect lots of us here) have found quite a few geocaches in parking lots without the aid of a GPSr. Were we really geocaching then?

 

It's all hidey go seeky right? :)

I don't care what you use to find a cache. A GPSr isn't required. A geocache is a geocache.

 

My phraseology may have come off ambiguous since I used the word "find." My bad. I never intended to imply that one HAD to use a GPS to find geocaches. I've found quite a few without the help of a GPSr. I was pointing out however obscurely that geocaches must be linked to a specific set of coordinates. Moreover, a geocache is placed to be found by others as part of a global game/sport/hobby/activity/thingy. Just tryyy to post a geocache without coords. ;)

 

Absolutely. A geocache is a geocache if it's listed as such. Otherwise it's a letterbox or just a plain old timey cache of some other purpose.

 

Since it is mentioned in this thread, the nativity, for example, would not be a geocache.

 

Just because something is hidden (like the shells in the OP) it doesn't make it a GEOcache was the only point I was trying to make. :D

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Since it is mentioned in this thread, the nativity, for example, would not be a geocache.

 

However, The Snooglet-Tivity IS a geocache and quite coincidentally you don't reeeally need a GPSr to find it if you can read a map and follow the unencryped hints.

 

And in the Great Logbook it is written thus:

 

...Behold, three wise-guys from the East (HoustonControl, ohl hockey guy & WTT-B2) followed the GPS.

 

...And there lying in a rubbermaid tote (at the posted coordinates) was the Snooglet...swaddled in camo.

 

...And the three wise-guys brought gifts of great value including ammo cans, travel bugs and swag.

 

...and the Snoogans and the Snoogstress immediately placed a travel bug upon the Snooglet's wrist so that he might not get lost.

Edited by Snoogans
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Cool story! But I'm fairly sure that, though that is a cache, it isn't a Geocache. I found several definitions of Geocache and Geocaching online, and all but one mention the GPS. Sure, "Geo" and "cache" have both been around for a long time but the word "Geocache" is rather new. The ancient romans used the latin words "tele" and "vision" a long time ago, but the word television is modern. Besides, Geocachers place caches for other people to find, and a traditional cache is hidden so that the hider can come back to it. On another note, I haven't the slightest idea why I care about the outcome of this argument. I'm gonna go have lunch. :D

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...Actually that's just a cache. As I said earlier caching has existed since the stone age. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the term GEOcache didn't exist before Dave Ulmer hid the first one.... :D

 

Geocaching is a subset of the larger actvity of "caching" Certainly the attraction of the idea has existed for a heck of a long time or folks wouldn't hide seashells in the church and others try to find various hidden caches rumored to be hidden by yet others. Even time capsules are caches.

 

So I'm with Snoogans in part. I think logbooks and the GPS are optional but that the listing sites and online logs, that sprang up were the real innovation that led to geocaching taking off as an organized activity. No online component and "geocaching" wouldn't be popular enough. More to the point if the early listing site pioneers had been letterboxers we would be arguing if this was a letterbox.

 

Nuances aside, this particualr cache has a lot more intrinsic value than the typical cache (as we think of them) even though far less people knew about it.

 

My sig line sums it up.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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At the site in the video I have a 'private' cache for English friends (I live in Ireland) Does any have or know others that have private caches?

G

 

I have one private geocache in Recess Valley in the high Sierra backcountry and quite a few more regular caches of useful items along the JMT & PCT near favorite campsites I've visited and revisited for the last 22 years.

 

It's about a 10-17 mile hike from the West side of the Sierras depending on where you start out and a minimum 2 to 3 day hike from the East side.

 

Many of my other regular caches have been converted to geocaches over the years.

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