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Reading the cache page


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What's your process for preparing for finding a cache? Do you read the cache page? Logs? Hints?


Personally, I read the cache page for critical information to get me there (does it require bushwhacking? Should I not park in the residential neighborhood that's nearest to it?).


I then like to try to find the cache before reading any logs.


I use CacheBerry for paperless caching in addition to my GPSr, so if I'm having no joy, I look first at the last five logs for any clues. And only if that doesn't help, I check for hints. And if that doesn't help, I go to the web site to read any additional logs.


This usually works well, although in some cases, not reading the logs has meant I've missed key information like "looks like a homeless person has set up camp nearby" and "BEES!"


I'm conflicted, though, because I like the idea of finding caches based just on the cache page.


What works best for you?

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I either select a target cache from the PQ list or hit Find Nearest and go there. If I can't find it I read the cache listing on my Blacberry. If I still can't find it I read the hint. If I STILL can't find it I read the logs and if I know the owner, one of the last few finders or someone who knows them I call them for a hint. If I can't find it with a hint I call them back and ask them where the blasted thing is!

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We prepare a couple of lists of caches. This morning it is caches with puzzles we've solved, caches with a low difficulty but high terrain, and caches with Beaver in the name. Then I discard the micros from everything except the puzzle caches.


I skim the cache descriptions and fly down to the gallery of each cache to see the photos. I might read the log if the pictures are interesting or if it is someone whom I know writes good logs. I'm really not looking for clues. I'm trying to figure out whether the site is pretty and whether it has any of our instant turn-offs (dead animals, garbage) and whether we will need special clothing (swamp boots, etc.) before approaching. I also use the logs and cache page to try to estimate the length of the walk before we go so that I know how much water and food to pack. If we have any injuries (far too often) I also use the logs to try to figure out whether it is a safe cache for that particular injury.


We have an Oregon, so everything goes in that for paperless caching. This morning we will be trying out our new iPod Touch with a bird manual to help us identify birds as we go. Eventually I hope to find a fungus manual for the iPod Touch.


Once we're searching, we use the logs and hints if we're stuck and need them for clues.


When we return home, I write up our log and upload our photos. Then I leisurely look at everyone else's logs and photos, comparing our experience to theirs. For me the logs are one of the best parts of geocaching. It's like being a part of a grander adventure.



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What's your process for preparing for finding a cache? Do you read the cache page? Logs? Hints?
Varies widely with my first glance at the cache page. I will often have a quick look at the satellite view on the cache page. It's saved me a LOT of time more than once, especially as it regards water. I'll give you an example a recently published cache that I just looked at this morning (GC1XR5A).


Saw the 2.0 difficulty. No problems there. Then saw all of the water (creeks and ponds) surrounding the cache, and thought "Uh oh, access could be really tricky on this one". Truth to tell, there's only ONE way in to this cache that 1) doesn't require crossing private property and 2) doesn't require fording at least one active ditch... a trailhead at 75th and Hygiene Rd into a trail with no other exit. I discovered the trailhead entrance with a quick look at the satellite view from the cache page map. So I have saved myself driving around endlessly looking for another way in.


Obviously, I don't use the satellite view on everything, but another case where I'll use it is where I suspect I'm involved in large and convoluted parking lots or open space that is surrounded by a lot of private property and access will be an issue. I search for public paths between houses from streets into the green-space.


The idea is to spend more time looking for the cache than figuring out how to position myself in the vehicle to GET there.


So in typical sequence:


1) Check the difficulty and terrain ratings. Decide if difficulty rating matches the amount of time I can likely spend on the cache for a search (many are done at lunch). Sometimes on a weekend I'll tackle the really nasty ones. I'll rarely tackle anything over 3.0 difficulty at lunch. I also rarely tackle high terrain rated caches (above 2.5) in my street clothes during lunch!


2) Take a quick look at the recent logs to be sure there aren't a string of DNFs on a cache whose difficulty doesn't appear to warrant this. Probably abandon the idea for now if there's a string of DNFs w/o a find and difficulty 2.0 or less. (This explains my comment in the DNF/notDNF thread - I'm not alone in this behavior). An exception is made for a rare few hiders that I know who regularly underrate the difficulty of their caches vs the average in our area.


3) Check the cache's map local terrain and find some sort of nearby vehicle and/or pedestrian access if it's not obvious, using the satellite view instead of map view as necessary. Get a "driving route" in my head.


4) Head for the site and start the search. Time to be sure I've looked a second time at the size information and the name of the cache along with any information in the hider's description. Nothing worse than forgetting that you're looking for a micro when you recalled it as a regular! The name of a cache can also often provide a clue as to its location. I've felt like an idiot any number of times when not finding a cache, only to realize that it was, as the hider often notes "in the name".


5) If, in my very subjective opinion, the time spent doesn't match up to to the rating after some period of time, that period determined by difficulty rating, I'll check the listing for a hint. If it's there, I'll use it.


6) If, in my very subjective opinion, the time spent with clue in hand doesn't match up to the rating after some period of time, I'll start looking in detail at recent logs to see if anyone else reported this cache as more difficult than expected, or anything else peculiar that might explain my lack of a find.


7) I'll either find the thing or I won't. Note that numbers for lifelines/phone-a-friend do not appear on a cache page (see sig line!)

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My process involves running a weekly PQ of everything I havent found within 10 miles and loading it into my PDA. Then I'll look at them on the geocaching google map, decide on an area to go to then go. When I get there I look at the nearest caches on my list to see if I can get a route out of them and set off. I look at cache info when I'm within 100ft and if there's something like a cliff mentioned in the description or logs then I give it a miss.

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I usually plan my caching around going to a particular destination, like a park. I'll check out the caches in the park... note any that have lots of DNFs and head out. Usually after were done with the park we'll still feel like some more caching and then I just act as a navigator heading to a nearby icon. I'll find the GZ, we'll look for a bit and then I'll read the hint, then the description. Dang T400 put the hint at the top, so not much for it.

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