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3 strikes I'm out


jmflecha
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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

Can you tell us the GC number so we can give you suggestions? You should start with regular size caches as these are easier. What type of GPS are you using?

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I started a few months ago, and it took me a while to find my first one. Look for caches that have larger containers, and 1/1 difficulty/terrain.

 

When I look for a cache, I read all of the past logs to get clues, and when I am in the field, I look for anything that is different, or "one of these things is not like the other"

 

Keep in mind that once you find a couple, you will start finding them easier and easier. It takes a while to develop your "geo senses"

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

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Using Nuvi's, iPhones, and all of those multi-purpose devices is a big strike against you as a beginner. There is a good reason that we seasoned vets use handheld GPS receivers that were designed for offroad use.

 

What were the size and difficulty ratings of the 3 that you didn't find? I'd strongly suggest that you begin with regular sized containers and 1 or 1.5 star difficulty ratings until you get warmed up.

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

 

Haven't used it, have spoken to others that have. Those that are successful with it have previous experience with standard handheld devices, and even then report that it is slow to respond. Yes, you can drive a screw with a hammer.

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Using Nuvi's, iPhones, and all of those multi-purpose devices is a big strike against you as a beginner. There is a good reason that we seasoned vets use handheld GPS receivers that were designed for offroad use.

 

What were the size and difficulty ratings of the 3 that you didn't find? I'd strongly suggest that you begin with regular sized containers and 1 or 1.5 star difficulty ratings until you get warmed up.

 

I looked for level 1/1 up to 1.5/1.5. Maybe since we were all brand new to this we did something wrong.

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Stick with those levels and also be sure that you stick to Regular or larger caches at first instead of micros.

 

Remember that you will use the GPS unit to get you to the general area of the cache and then you will use your own senses, observation skills, etc to find the cache location.

 

Look for general hiding places (under things, holes and crevices, etc) and things that look out of the ordinary (piles of stick, piles of rocks, etc).

 

Keep at it and once you've found a couple, you will increase your confidence in what to look for.

 

Good luck and have fun. :)

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bear in mind that there will be a LOT of caches you won't find.

 

think of it as being about the looking, rather than the finding and you'll be happier.

 

but, oh, i envy you! i remember how i looked and looked for my first caches and how awesome it was to find that first cheap rubbermaid box filled with stupid junk.

 

there never was any sweeter find than that first one.

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My family and I just started. We've been using the iPhone and app just to see if the kids (10, 5) are interested enough to invest in a Garmin. I think that's a definite yes. They have hit me up every day this week when I get home from work to go search for the caches in our neighborhood. So far, we've stuck with the 1-1.5 rating caches, and have had really good luck. Found four so far in five trips. iPhone map did not have a creek on a particular hunt so we got stuck. The iPhone gets a little jinky under trees, but it is workable. The nice thing about it is you can read the hints and logs right there at the spot to help find. And as someone else said, once you find a few, it begins to get easier. Hiding places sort of jump out at you as you get close.

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I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

 

And I'll back the claims that it's not accurate enough. :)

 

I own a Garmin Nuvi 200W, Garmin Colorado 400t and the Apple iPhone 3G with the Geocaching app.

 

I mainly use the iPhone for newly published listing and checking logs/status. I find the accuracy to be very poor for finding micros...probably fine for regulars.

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yes i too use the iPhone for geocaching started about a week ago and i am 21 for 21 so far with it but im sure my day is comeing when i cant find one

 

 

 

 

 

 

I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

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My advice is don't go looking for micros on your first few.

 

I don't have a lot of finds (under 50 I think), but the micros are so much tougher! I have a 1/1.5 that is a micro I've gone and looked for THREE times now, today with my 16 yr old we looked for an hour and still did not find it. People who found it after I'd been there said it was an easy find. :)

 

Don't give up, once you start finding them it's addicting and so much fun!

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think of it as being about the looking, rather than the finding and you'll be happier.

My personal opinion is: That's nonsense, especially for a newcomer. In all fairness, I find the search as interesting as the find now, but it took me quite a few finds to get that way. If I'd had a long string of DNFs early on, I doubt I'd still be caching today.

 

As for caching with an iPhone, I think my friend put it best: They work ok if you don't have a dedicated GPSr. He originally boasted that his iPhone was as good as any GPSr until we swapped for an 11-cache run (he used my Oregon 400t and I used his iPhone). That evening he went to REI and bought his own Oregon.

 

Pete

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

 

Haven't used it, have spoken to others that have. Those that are successful with it have previous experience with standard handheld devices, and even then report that it is slow to respond. Yes, you can drive a screw with a hammer.

 

I'm going to have to agree with Jchaager, as I use the iPhone as my exclusive geocaching device. I have never even held a traditional handheld GPS. I don't find every cache, but I do find most I look for. It is a little slow, but unless you are on a power cache trip, it shouldn't slow you down much.

 

 

Remember that you will use the GPS unit to get you to the general area of the cache and then you will use your own senses, observation skills, etc to find the cache location.

 

 

It sounds like people that use a traditional GPS have similar issues with "accuracy."

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

 

I've got both an iPhone and a Garmin 76Cx. I've found a couple of caches using only the iPhone. I've also found several more than that without looking at a GPS at all. I've tried using my iPhone for finding caches....but I'll stick to using my Garmin as it's much more efficient. My Garmin is waterproof (and it floats). My iPhone is not.

 

I will occasionally use my iPhone to discover caches that I haven't downloaded to my Garmin, then will enter the coordinates in my Garmin to find the cache. The iPhone is also useful for access to the complete cache page listings.

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I have to state that, in my opinion, any GPS (or non-GPS that can use GPS signals) is good enough for geocaching, as long as you understand that the cache will almost never be at 0ft. My first few caches were difficult, because I didn't understand how to look for one.

 

I remember my first cache, which was an ammo box in the stump of a fallen tree. It took us 15 minutes to find it. Now, with my experience, I'd find it as soon as I reached the general area. All geocaching takes is a little time for you to develop a sense for where to look. I feel the need to reiterate what others have said...start easy, and start big (i.e. no micros). Find a couple ammo boxes, start getting the feel, and go from there.

 

Good luck, and welcome to geocaching!

 

Mike & Kate

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I think you should just quit before things go crazy. I started off myself with my old Garmin 12CX and found one after searching a while. Found probably 15 more and some DNFs before things got out of hands.

We, my girlfriend and i, decided it was time to upgrade to a GPSr that had maps. So she bought a used Vista CX with topomaps on it. Used that for a while and then i got tired of printing everything before going for the hunt, so Oregon 300 was ordered.

And now we are close to 200 finds in just two months time. But the spending doesn´t stop there, no, now we have to get a better car for our trips as the caches nearby are getting scarce. See my point? Get out of this before you start spending an large amount of money on this silly game.:)

 

No, to be honest. Don´t give up yet, try other caches and then go back to the ones you did not find, maybe you will find them next time.

About what equipment to use, use what you have for now. You will know when the time has come for a dedicated GPSr.

Good luck and welcome to our "world".

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I think you should just quit before things go crazy. I started off myself with my old Garmin 12CX and found one after searching a while. Found probably 15 more and some DNFs before things got out of hands.

We, my girlfriend and i, decided it was time to upgrade to a GPSr that had maps. So she bought a used Vista CX with topomaps on it. Used that for a while and then i got tired of printing everything before going for the hunt, so Oregon 300 was ordered.

And now we are close to 200 finds in just two months time. But the spending doesn´t stop there, no, now we have to get a better car for our trips as the caches nearby are getting scarce. See my point? Get out of this before you start spending an large amount of money on this silly game.:D

 

 

Glad you said that, not me!

 

True tho. Is like that beautiful boat -- a hole in the water that you through money into :):):P:D

 

What the heck....... forget the money, you'll have more. Go out and CACHE!

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It sounds like people that use a traditional GPS have similar issues with "accuracy."

I don't care what someone uses to find caches, there comes a time when it's necessary to put the gizmos away and use your head. My GPSr has led me right to several caches that I couldn't find until the 2nd or 3rd visit. They were very clever hides which no level of GPS accuracy would reveal. It ultimately took a combination of plain old detective work and geosense to find 'em.

 

I've only been caching for about 3 months, but I'm only 3 finds shy of 600 and I'll eclipse that mark this morning. At first it was a struggle, but now a hide has to be pretty unique (or the coordinates off by quite a bit) for me not to find it quickly. One of the things which improved my find ratio and speed was I quit dwelling on my GPSr once I was reasonably confident that I was near the posted coordinates. From that point on, a GPSr is just a distraction. I should repeat that posted coordinates are frequently off; usually by a little but frequently by quite a bit. That's another reason why a GPSr can be more of a distraction than a benefit once you reach GZ.

 

Another thing which helped me dramatically was I started reading the cache title and description carefully and parse them for clues about the nature of the hide. More often than not, those two items include information which could make the difference between an easy find and a struggle (or DNF). The hint can also be helpful, however I typically make an earnest effort to find a cache before I resort to reading the hint. My biggest exception to that rule is for caches in a muggle-rich environment when a protracted search could compromise the hide.

 

What it all boils down to is being able to think like a geocacher, and that's something which can only be accomplished through experience. That, and it's important to distinguish the difference between a love of gadgetry and a passion for geocaching. :)

 

For what it's worth, 20-30 of my finds were found without the help of a GPSr. When push comes to shove, a Google Maps satellite view works just fine too and with that in mind, perhaps it's a valid argument that a map works as well as an iPhone. :)

 

Pete

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Excellent advice here! We found our first 50 or so with the iPhone. It'd doable. No, it's not as accurate as a handheld GPS in our experience. But it will get you close enough to be successful.

I think the advice you most want to pay attention here is that your GPS, whatever form it takes, will only get you so close. The rest is up to you - using your eyes and your head to figure out the hiding spot. Look for little worn paths off the main trail (if you're in a park). Once you get close to the cache coordinates, start using your eyes. Look around. Look up. Look down. Look under. Look inside. Look on top of. Look on (caches can actually be attached to trees and the like.) Look for something that's just a little bit off. A mound of bark or leaves that could be concealing something. Something that looks newer or older than everything else. Too perfect. Too imperfect. Slightly artificial. Imagine you're an international jewel thief on the run from interpol. Where could you stow your treasure so it would be safest? In that little hidey hole in the tree? Inside that hollow log? Inside the foliage of that dense evergreen tree? Still not having luck? Learn the art of the gentle tug. If something looks permanently in place, give it a gentle tug. If it doesn't budge, move on. If it moves, you may be on to something. Just remember to be gentle, because we want to leave the cache area at least as good as, if not better than, it was before we got there. Most of all, don't give up. At some point, it'll click for you. Geocaching isn't just about following an arrow on a GPS unit. That's only part of it. The rest is your "geosense," which will develop with practice. The more you find, the easier it will become. You just have to get over that hump. Geocaching is about seeing things differently than you did before. It takes time to change your view. Good luck!

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

I've used it too, and given the choice I'd use my 60Cx or Colorado every time over my iPhone.

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www.geosnippits.com really helped me when I started out, and didn't know anyone else I could ask for advice. I wasn't haven't having much luck until I saw exactly what a nano, micro, small, regular, 'under the skirt,' etc. was. The short videos are really well done. Once I knew that a micro was about the size of a 35mm container, small was the size of a sandwich container, etc., I really took off, have quite a few finds, and just placed my own caches. I found the site through a chance hit on Google. I now have the geosnippets owner's blog site bookmarked!

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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

I too am a newbie, under 10 finds! I use a Garmin nuvi in left hand and an internet -capable phone in my right. I slide my hands into my pockets when muggles appear! when I finally stop looking at either my left or right hand... I sit down and look around - and it is a BINGO every time - so far. I think it comes down to thinking about the clues and awareness of one's surroundings. I am beginning to believe my brain is my most valuable device while on a hunt!

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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

I too am a newbie, under 10 finds! I use a Garmin nuvi in left hand and an internet -capable phone in my right. I slide my hands into my pockets when muggles appear! when I finally stop looking at either my left or right hand... I sit down and look around - and it is a BINGO every time - so far. I think it comes down to thinking about the clues and awareness of one's surroundings. I am beginning to believe my brain is my most valuable device while on a hunt!

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I have to state that, in my opinion, any GPS (or non-GPS that can use GPS signals) is good enough for geocaching, as long as you understand that the cache will almost never be at 0ft. My first few caches were difficult, because I didn't understand how to look for one.

 

I remember my first cache, which was an ammo box in the stump of a fallen tree. It took us 15 minutes to find it. Now, with my experience, I'd find it as soon as I reached the general area. All geocaching takes is a little time for you to develop a sense for where to look. I feel the need to reiterate what others have said...start easy, and start big (i.e. no micros). Find a couple ammo boxes, start getting the feel, and go from there.

 

Good luck, and welcome to geocaching!

 

Mike & Kate

 

This is probably the best advice I have read here. I started caching just over a week ago. I only had an iphone but have gone 18/18 in my attempts. We were within 2 ft of a micro, and with the success we have had another 10 of our friends are now hooked, all in our first week! Once you are within 10 feet or so you have to start trying to understand the hints and think like the person that hid the cache (and subsequently wants you to find it!) and the adventure will go much more smoothly.

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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

I went out for the first time yesterday but couldn't find anything.

 

I'm using a Nokia phone which I'm sure isn't as good as a proper GPS device, but until I see what all the fuss is about I'm not going to buy one.

 

It's not the technology which let me down (I'm sure I got within 15ft), it's my way of thinking, and that's worse.

 

Also the fact that I felt like an idiot rummaging about in plain view of a row of houses.

 

If I don't find anything the next couple of times I don't think I'll continue.

 

But the comments here are helpful...

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I feel like I have to step in as well. I have been geocaching for 7 days and have 10 finds and 4 locations that I know one is there but have not been able to locate yet. I am using my iPhone 3G primarily but I also have a Garmin nuvi750 which I have found helpful only for getting me to my general location. My iPhone usually gets me to within 1-5 feet. My problem is that I still don't know what I'm doing. I have no idea how the compass thing works and I do not seem to know how to get my blue dot (me) to the green dot (geocache). I try to walk in the direction that I think I should but invariably end up going wrong. Then my blue dot seems to be in a location that I know I'm not. I've read 2 short books on geocaching and I'm reading the second edition of the Idiot's Guide and I know my problem is that I don't know how to use the technology properly but I'm having trouble finding a resource. The user's manual for the iPhone was no help. Sorry for the long read but I'm hoping someone may have some suggestions for me. I have not yet found anyone in my area that is as addicted as I am so I am working by myself but I am fortunate to live in a very rich GC area.

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I used Magellan for most of my finds, but a couple of months ago I lost my last one. It hit the road at about 70 mph!! (Road 1-GPSr 0) I have used my iPhone to find a couple of caches since then, It works, but I need a new GPSr. The battery life in the phone is good for about one cache, if it involves a short walk.

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A big turning point in my geojourney was when a CO invited us to attend a local geocaching event. We were *shy* for less than a nano second and found the group to be incredibly welcoming. They invited us to join them in a hunt and we watched and learned a lot from them. The wise geocachers in the room answered questions and showed us how to use our GPSrs. We learned about how to read and interpret the cache descriptions and the logs. We also began to appreciate the different characteristics of the CO that were also reflected in their caches, which then helped us find their caches. They helped us develop our geosenses and geoeyes, and all things geo. I also appreciated the advice they shared about geocaching ettiquette (nothing with forks and knives or extended pinkies with tea cups) like how to write a good log and and how to carry extra zip locks & logs to replace a soaking wet log.

 

So, I highly recommend that folks who are new to geocaching to attend local geocaching events that are posted on the home page of Ground Speak at the bottom of the page. :cool:

 

I have an iPhone with the Geocaching app installed and I love it for everything but the compass. How can an iPhone with that has access to 3 satalites compete with a Garmin Oregon's 11 satelites??

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I feel like I have to step in as well. I have been geocaching for 7 days and have 10 finds and 4 locations that I know one is there but have not been able to locate yet. I am using my iPhone 3G primarily but I also have a Garmin nuvi750 which I have found helpful only for getting me to my general location. My iPhone usually gets me to within 1-5 feet. My problem is that I still don't know what I'm doing. I have no idea how the compass thing works and I do not seem to know how to get my blue dot (me) to the green dot (geocache). I try to walk in the direction that I think I should but invariably end up going wrong. Then my blue dot seems to be in a location that I know I'm not.

 

Don't focus on the map, don't focus on the distance. Once I get within 100 feet I start scanning the horizon, looking for piles of sticks/rocks/leaves or a log or a stump. The closer I get the less I look at the gps. Once I hit 20 feet I usually stop looking until I've searched all places around me. Urban searches are slightly different, but look for metal or lamp post skirts. Always make sure you walk around in many directions, sometimes the hide can only be seen from one way.

 

There's a small number of hide types (LPC, sign post, fence post, pile of debris, under a log/stump, knot of a tree, etc) each time you find one you gain experience. This makes the next one so much easier. Even if you feel confident there are hides that will beat you the first time around. Don't be ashamed to walk away, and the next time you come back you may have a better signal, or take a new way in or something just clicks.

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I've not used it, but from what I've heard, the iPhone not what you want to use for geocaching. A dedicated handheld GPS unit will be much more accurate.

 

Bruce

 

I'm going to step in and defend the iPhone's honor. I use it exclusively for geocaching, and it works fine for me. So, unless you've tried it, let's not disparage it.

 

I've used my iPhone for caching but from a technical point of view, the chipset and also onboard processing (the dedicated units will use a lot of proprietary, predictive kalman filtering) aren't going to yield much precision or comparable accuracy. Though the iphone is fairly accurate, it's just not optimized for pure GPS use.

 

When it's a question of searching for probable locations within a 100ft radius and a 30 foot one, it's a pretty big difference; I've found that while the iphone might work for geocaching, if we're discussing what will make a bigger difference for someone newly trying to find caches, having a device that has hardware and software exclusively dedicated to optimizing a GPS experience would be quite an advantage.

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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

I went out for the first time yesterday but couldn't find anything.

 

I'm using a Nokia phone which I'm sure isn't as good as a proper GPS device, but until I see what all the fuss is about I'm not going to buy one.

 

It's not the technology which let me down (I'm sure I got within 15ft), it's my way of thinking, and that's worse.

 

Also the fact that I felt like an idiot rummaging about in plain view of a row of houses.

 

If I don't find anything the next couple of times I don't think I'll continue.

 

But the comments here are helpful...

 

Why not find a park and do some caches off nature trails. It's a lot less pressure with only the birds and squirrels watching. We've got 75 finds and urban caches still make me a little apprehensive.

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This is probably the best advice I have read here. I started caching just over a week ago. I only had an iphone but have gone 18/18 in my attempts. We were within 2 ft of a micro, and with the success we have had another 10 of our friends are now hooked, all in our first week! Once you are within 10 feet or so you have to start trying to understand the hints and think like the person that hid the cache (and subsequently wants you to find it!) and the adventure will go much more smoothly.

 

Its been a great new addiction and i'm 350 dollars poorer(garmin oregon 200) but so much richer in the good times I've been having with my wife and friends and our new hobby. Thanks Flintstone5611!

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We have "chased" a nano, hidden in ivy, and have DNFd 3 times. I have over 400 finds and Popokinui over 500. Don't give up...we didn't find our first nano for at least a year. Start with the regular caches, a 1/1 or 1/2 difficulty, and try thinking "where would I hide it." That helps, especially if you are evil like me!

We have had days when we just haven't done well at all, and others when we wish we had more caches loaded into the GPS.

Bear in mind that the GPS may not give you the exact spot, and widen your search area a bit. Just have fun, when you get those caches, you'll be just like us and say "how the heck did we miss that?" Only last Friday, I basically stood on the cache, decided it wasn't there, wandered off to check other areas while Popokinui bent down and said "Gottit!" and laughed at me.......... :D

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Here are some general hints:

 

Look for caches with a difficulty of 2 or less for your fist few caches. Stick with regular sized caches for your first few. Micros can be quite hard to find sometimes. Stick to areas you are familiar with. Look for anything out of place or unusual. Look for unusual piles of sticks, grass, leaves, rocks, sand, etc. Feel where you cannot look. Think vertical, not all caches are on the ground. Look up or at eye level. Look for traces of previous searches to zero in on the spot. Think like the hider - where would you put a container in this location? Look for things too new, too old, too perfect, not like the others, too many, too few. Change your perspective - a shift in lighting can sometimes reveal a cache. Keep in mind that many micros are magnetic or attached to something (via string, wire etc). Slowly expand your search area to about 40 feet from where your GPS says ground zero is. Bring garden gloves and a flashlight - they help! Be prepared to not find the cache more often then you think.

 

Most of all - have fun!!

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did you use the hints? ground zero isn't the same for every device so once you get close you have to fan out a bit a look its rare for my gps to zero right on in the woods.. have you first few be larger ones. DNF... they are not bad they are just part of th adventure.

 

oh i used my android based phone as my device (using geobeagle ) Its as good as some hand hand units if not better and paperless caching is the best.

Edited by blueberryice
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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

Keep trying and do not give up!!! My 1st find took me 4 trips (by myself) to find

 

Next one, I wanted to find I went 3-4 times, no find, went and found 4 or 5 more, then went back and found it in just a few minutes...

 

I'm working on one right now that I've been to 5 times (once with a friend) and I know I had to be standing within arms reach of it and still can not find it... I will re-attempt and eventually, I will find it...

 

Once you find one, the payoff/satisfaction will be worth it.... By the 2nd or 3rd, you'll be addicteed....

 

Pay attention to the logs also...

 

How long ago was the last time they were found???

 

Did many other people report having issue finding???

Edited by solo63137
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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

I read this whole forum thread and most of the advice here is good (just ignore the argument about the iPhone for now).

 

No one mentioned this: Don't get hung up on finding any particular cache. If you've looked for it, and didn't find it, go look for a different one. So you missed three. Oh well. Don't worry about those three until you get some finds under your belt.

 

Now...my experience with the iPhone 3G (not the 3GS) is that the compass is much too slow to respond.

So, for your first find, pick a 1/1 traditional at a fairly urban spot. Not downtown, but maybe a parking lot.

 

In the geocaching app, go into the listing (so the name of the cache and the little green box icon is at the top) read the description, and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Tap View on External Map. For this first time pick Google Maps and let it exit the Geocaching app to get to the map.

 

When the map comes up, click that peeled back icon in the lower right corner and select Satellite or Hybrid.

Wait for the map to draw and zoom in as far as it will go around the red pin. This will give you a general idea of where the cache actually is. Try to figure out the landmarks (bush, fence, light, payphone, whatever). Now go to the landmark and try to think of where you'd hide a cache (as the description describes it) and look there first. Repeat this last step until you find it.

 

Once you find a couple try the other features on the iPhone. If you have the Garmin, the compass on it will be much more responsive, but unless it has an electronic compass (it'll be mentioned on the package if it has one) then you have to be moving pretty quickly for the arrow to be at all accurate.

 

One last detail about the iPhone. In my experience with the current version (and there's one about to drop, so this statement might be wrong any moment), the app is not always quite accurate with the difficulty and terrain stars. It might drop a half. So the cache might be a 1.5/1 and the app will show 1 star for each.

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I have to disagree about making the first finds "regular" caches. Of my first 20 finds, 15 were micros, 2 were regular, 1 was a virtual and the other 2 were small. Of course, this was more out of necessity as I started in Chicago and did all the searches by bike. I'm no genius at it (and have DNF'd many that others said "easy find"), but didn't find it that difficult.

My suggestion would be to look for caches that have a lot of finds and very few DNFs, regardless of size.

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I spent an entire day geocaching and I didn't find anything. I searched 3 different sites. I think that I don't know what I'm looking for or how I should be looking. Anyone have any suggestions?

 

I went out for the first time yesterday but couldn't find anything.

 

I'm using a Nokia phone which I'm sure isn't as good as a proper GPS device, but until I see what all the fuss is about I'm not going to buy one.

 

It's not the technology which let me down (I'm sure I got within 15ft), it's my way of thinking, and that's worse.

 

Also the fact that I felt like an idiot rummaging about in plain view of a row of houses.

 

If I don't find anything the next couple of times I don't think I'll continue.

 

But the comments here are helpful...

 

I went back a second time once I learnt that the container could be magnetic... and found it within 5 minutes.

 

I understand the advice to stick with the 1/1s and avoid micros as a beginner, but where I live you have to take what you can get. Almost everything is a micro or it's up at 2.5...

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1) Practice, practice, practice.

2) Go out caching with someone with some experience. You'll pick up on 2 things - #1, their search technique. #2, even the veterans get stumped (a co-worker recently stumped a local cacher with over 6000 finds on his 1.5/1.5).

3) It's not just about the finds, it's about getting out there.

 

My personal numbers: 404 finds, 94 DNF logs. But that includes multiple DNFs on single caches too. Some days you've got it, some days you don't. It can be discouraging sometimes, you just have to keep at it.

 

Just yesterday I was out caching with a friend who only has made a handful of finds. We walked into a cemetery, got to GZ, and I started looking around at the bases of the trees, trying to find the cache. After about a minute, he just said "dude, there's an advantage to me being short. Look up."

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