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Winter and Geocaching Activities


YooperSnowman
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I live in northern Michigan and winter has descended upon us. Over the next few months, we will have up to three feet of snow on ground which limits hunting for caches. There are a few winter friendly caches in the area, but I found them during the snow-free season. With winter coming to the northern hemisphere what geocaching activities are you planning? Here are few things I plan to do during the "off-season":

 

*Work with a local non-profit land preservation organization to develop content for several Earthcaches for next spring.

*Research new equipment, i.e. re-chargeable batteries/charger, field packs, new maps, etc.

*Re-stock swag inventory.

*Prepare cache containers for placement next spring/summer.

*Get permission from land owners where I would like to place few caches.

*Correspond with fellow geocachers.

*Plan several weekend geocaching trips for next summer (perhaps even a winter trip somewhere warm with my bride).

*Attend any meet & greet events within a couple hours drive.

 

I'm sure there are many other things as well to help us through cabin fever season. Other ideas?

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I continue to geocache. Winter is my favorite time of the year to do it. Granted we usually only have no more than a foot or two of snow on the ground most of the time, but I do some caching in Vt and western NY too and there can be 3 - 4 or more feet of snow on the ground in those places.

 

They don't have to be winter friendly. You can find many caches under snow using cache sense and a little luck.

 

And when I'm not finding, I'm hiding caches. Hiding in the winter is a great way to find winter friendly spots that might not be obvious without snow on the ground.

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This will be my first full winter and I am looking forward to getting out in the woods again, confident that the deer ticks are dead or hibernating. Like Briansnat, we do not get too much snow here usually (last winter was an exception).

 

If it gets too cold or the snow too deep, I plan to live vicariously through others by reading logs of caches in far off tropical lands. That and to work on hollowing out a log big enough to hold an ammo can. Maybe work on one of those cryptex things.

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We're in Alabama, so we're just going to keep caching. Then again, snow has not held us back before...

 

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Our first find in Austria, November 2007. 2 feet of snow on the ground.

 

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Logging a FTF in VA in 2 feet of snow.

 

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Looking back at my geotrail on the way to a 3/5 cache in the mountains, right before fresh snow began to fall.

 

We've also traveled to escape winter and do some warm weather caching. In January 2008, we took a trip down to Portugal to get out of Germany and cache in the warm weather. (We tried to do it again the next month, in Greece, but it snowed in Athens for the first time in decades when we were there.) In January 2009, we went down to Malta. So, there's always the snowbird option, if your budget allows.

Edited by hzoi
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I always hated the winter here in New Brunswick, until we started caching. Now we just get out the snowshoes and keep on caching.

 

Because winter tends to be long here and we usually gets lots of snow a lot of our caches are winter friendly. We had a "winter friendly hiding challenge" last winter and had over 400 caches hidden within a 40km radius of Fredericton, plenty to keep us caching this winter! Lots of trails with great series for snowshoeing. This winter we're having a "Come Out & Play" contest with tasks and points designed to get people outdoors and caching in the winter. The response has been great so far. Winter caching is what you make of it. :)

 

And no ticks, mosquitos or blackflies! WooHoo! :D

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I reliving my summer and warmth by reading my old logs on caches I found over the summer.

 

We have a foot+ of snow here at this point. So I won't be venturing out into the wilderness anytime soon. But I did go to an event last weekend (my feet were frozen but it was fun). And I'm working on my sig items.

 

I'm also plotting and planning how to find out the local store is selling ammo cans before the survivalist type people that live in the woods here get the news so I can get like 3 or 4. They usually buy them out of ammo cans as soon as they come in.

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Winter months are a good time to try solving some of those puzzle caches you have been avoiding as taking up too much time and effort... This doesn't mean you have to go out and find them right away... Spring will come.

Of course nothing stops you if you find a winter friendly one nearby... If you don't EVER mean to go find it there are some really fun ones in other places to solve... and you can THINK about going there to find them... you might even do that sooner than you think... You could also plant some winter type caches in your area... I'm guessing you aren't the only person there abouts... they could plant some for you... whatever the type.

 

Glad to hear winter is getting to someone else as well... was -34C here last week.

 

Doug 7rxc

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Living in Arkansas, we typically don't have snow ( or ice :) ) and if we do, it is just for a few days so we can go caching year around. The problem I find is with it getting dark so much earlier and the holidays looming it is harder to cache. I am hoping that after the first of the year I will have more weekend time to cache at least. :D

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I live in northern Michigan and winter has descended upon us. Over the next few months, we will have up to three feet of snow on ground which limits hunting for caches. There are a few winter friendly caches in the area, but I found them during the snow-free season. With winter coming to the northern hemisphere what geocaching activities are you planning? Here are few things I plan to do during the "off-season":

 

*Work with a local non-profit land preservation organization to develop content for several Earthcaches for next spring.

*Research new equipment, i.e. re-chargeable batteries/charger, field packs, new maps, etc.

*Re-stock swag inventory.

*Prepare cache containers for placement next spring/summer.

*Get permission from land owners where I would like to place few caches.

*Correspond with fellow geocachers.

*Plan several weekend geocaching trips for next summer (perhaps even a winter trip somewhere warm with my bride).

*Attend any meet & greet events within a couple hours drive.

 

I'm sure there are many other things as well to help us through cabin fever season. Other ideas?

 

Oh, come on!!! Stick a hot pasty and a thermos of coffee into your backpack and head off into the bush and find some caches. You're a Yooper... act like one! :)

 

Seriously... I like rubberized gardening gloves for digging in crusted snow. I know some folks that bring a broom with them, and some others that pack a small shovel. I just wear the gloves and dig like a dog. You can do it... get caching!

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Winter is the best. With all the leaves, bears, and bugs gone, those off the beaten path caches are much easier to get to in the early winter. In mid-winter, all those previously mentioned island caches are way to go. In late winter, the extremely remote caches deep in the mountains are easy to drive snowmachines to for those of us who are not into a 20-mile walk during the heat of summer.

 

Oh yeah, and winter is also the best time to curl up in front of the fire and work on all those Puzzle Caches!!!

Edited by SSO JOAT
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I've never had a problem living in South Carolina. We had the most snow I remember last year. That snow maybe stayed on the ground for 24 hours. I could almost gurantee that at some point in December it will be 80 here. I love winter caching. The bugs, spiders, and snakes are nnot around. Less brush to go through, and hikes are a lot easier when it's not 105 with 100% hummidity. :)

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Knowschad, Packanack,

 

Yeah, pasties and local beers are traditional winter favorites--perhaps we can share some sometime. In my OP, I said winter "limits" caching, not eliminate it. I will still get out there. We found GC1QA18 last winter--check out the photo gallery and the winter shots I posted.

 

Also, there was a new series placed last summer on the Keweenaw Peninsula along a snowmobile trail designed specifically for winter and snowmobilers. It about 14 caches spread over 20 miles. Should be fun. Thanks for your ideas.

Edited by yoopersnowman
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Winter is the best. With all the leaves, bears, and bugs gone, those off the beaten path caches are much easier to get to in the early winter. In mid-winter, all those previously mentioned island caches are way to go. In late winter, the extremely remote caches deep in the mountains are easy to drive snowmachines to for those of us who are not into a 20-mile walk during the heat of summer.

 

Oh yeah, and winter is also the best time to curl up in front of the fire and work on all those Puzzle Caches!!!

 

Rattlesnakes are my main worry. Particularly after spotting a very large one a couple weeks back as I reached for a plastic bottle to CITO. They'll be in burrows, digesting the former inhabitants.

 

Yep, great time to sit inside and solve those puzzles!

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I began exactly one year ago, so my first 5-6 months of caching were in the snow. My first FTF was in a blizzard. I was surprised to find on the weekend that I still have over 400 winter-friendly caches to go after. My biggest help as I began last year was to depend on the "Found in last 7 days" search attribute. I never had any lack of finds.

 

I did find on the weekend that my DNF rate went up significantly as it was last year. Part of that was visits to previous summer DNFs hoping that lack of foliage would make them easier. Unfortunately wind and driving snow removed that advantage.

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It only got to 67 degrees here today with a brisk 2mph wind gusting to 5mph. But I still had the wherewithal to brave the elements and has a sucessful hunt on a tough 1/1 in a nearby shopping center parking lot. I neither expect, nor want kudos for my efforts. I just wanted to show that winter caching is indeed possible. No thanks necessary.

Edited by Azisbest
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It only got to 67 degrees here today with a brisk 2mph wind gusting to 5mph. But I still had the wherewithal to brave the elements and has a sucessful hunt on a tough 1/1 in a nearby shopping center parking lot. I neither expect, nor want kudos for my efforts. I just wanted to show that winter caching is indeed possible. No thanks necessary.

 

I just looked and it turns out we did that very same cache in June of last year. As I recall the tough part was finding parking in the shade. That's sometimes the trickiest part of caching in Arizona.

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We have snowshoes and walking poles. Any cache is winter friendly if you're willing to put in some elbow grease. :D

 

That sounds like a lot of fun actually. I'm really jealous. Plus, you Ottawa folks can have Beaver Tails and hot cocoa at the end of your caching victories...

 

you know all those "boat only" caches you passed up before? now they're park'n'grabs!

 

Awesome!

 

Being in lower Alabama, the weather doesn't get cold enough to freeze the lakes. All the paddle caches are still paddle caches, but I just bring extra clothing and wear a spray skirt on the kayak to keep dribbles out.

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Although it was a freak winter last yr, here in Md with over 4 ft of snow in some areas in under a wk between the 1st dump of 2+ft & the balance over the next several days I found a couple of caches. Just jumped out of the truck between plowings & made the grab, after climbing over the snow hills.

 

The snow is just a challenge but it can be great if someone else is also out & got there before you, geo geotrail.

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Our winter normally includes lots of rain - heavy or light. If it is intermittent we'll go for the short hikes to get us a cache or two; raining like stink and we'll go the P&G route. If we get snow, we'll give it a whirl too. We found a cache at our local Costco on New Years' Day a couple of years back. The only day the store was closed and we had the cache in hand quickly...thanks partly to a cacher's trail in the snow.

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Wow, you snow cachers are tough! It's 64 degrees here and I'm all bundled up and whining about how I'm freezing.

 

I don't cache in anything below 69. However, that does mean that I can continue to cache through most of the winter here!

You wouldn't do much caching if you lived in the Seattle area. We only have three months when the average high temperature is more than 70 degrees. All About Seattle

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Winter caching can be an awesome experience.

 

Gazing upon acres of virgin snowfall.

 

Marveling at Ice-covered trees glistening in the sunlight.

 

Seeing all the tracks of birds, rabbits, deer, and whatever.

 

Astonished to see spiders and insects crawling atop the snow!

 

The deafening silence of a windless morning.

 

The satisfaction of finding a cache under 3 feet of snow.

 

The satisfaction of the adventure, even if you don't find the cache under 3 feet of snow.

 

Darn, it's not snowing in Detroit yet.

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We cache year round. We tend to go out more in the winter as our German Short hair loves the snow. Go figure a dog with not much insulation prefers the snow over hiking on a nice summer day. If we know that the caches we are going after could be inaccessible in the snow we carry a small collapsible shovel.

 

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One tip for making Winter caching more enjoyable:

 

If you don't have a snowsuit, take along the pants from a rainsuit. That way, you can stay relatively dry as you tramp through the snow, and kneel at the cache site.

Plus one to that! That's what I use. One thing about winter caching that is different (for some of us, at least) than many other winter activities is that it isn't unusual to be out in the snow and cold, then hop in the heated automobile for a drive to another cold, snowy park. Insulated snowmobile suits will be too warm when you're in the car, and possibly even while climbing up that steep hill. Once you get sweaty, you will get cold. But a pair of thin nylon rain/snow pants will keep your jeans dry, which will go a long way to staying warm!

 

One other huge tip: Drop the bucks on a pair of good quality WOOL long underwear. Merino wool is not itchy and will keep you warm even when you do break a sweat. Take care of them and they will last for years.

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One tip for making Winter caching more enjoyable:

 

If you don't have a snowsuit, take along the pants from a rainsuit. That way, you can stay relatively dry as you tramp through the snow, and kneel at the cache site.

Or a good pair of gaiters & carry something in your pack to kneel on.

 

The gaiters might end up being tougher against thorns, and will keep snow from finding its way into your boots & icing up your laces.

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44589e38-c318-40ec-8aab-c82f537973f9.jpg

 

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These three shots were all taken while caching. I could have been home, watching TV, and never even realized that I missed this beauty!

 

Great snaps guy. It is beautiful! They dont get stuff like that here in Eastern Md. (except last yr but that was a freak winter) although being a Chicago gal I loved it. :)

Edited by Mother Wolf
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I began exactly one year ago, so my first 5-6 months of caching were in the snow. My first FTF was in a blizzard. I was surprised to find on the weekend that I still have over 400 winter-friendly caches to go after. My biggest help as I began last year was to depend on the "Found in last 7 days" search attribute. I never had any lack of finds.

 

 

Although there isn't an attribute for it, if you can search for caches which have been "Found since the last snow storm" the geotrail leading to/from the cache (follow the footprints leading *from* the location) can make it much easier to find some caches in winter.

 

In heavily wooded areas, gps recently can be much better after the leaves have fallen and much of the lush underbrush may be all but gone in winter.

 

In some cases, finding geocaches during the winter can be much easier than any other season.

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We started caching in the winter in Denver, and that didn't deter us! Now that we live in Oregon though (Willamette Valley specifically) we don't get a lot of snow here. We've had about 1 inch so far this year. Rain though... we get lots of! I actually prefer caching in the cold and wet to the hot and sticky myself... no mosquitoes this time of year!

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