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Earthcache Spacing

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Hi,

 

I think the "GEOAWARES" need to develop a spacing guideline of identical or similiar ECs. Certainly, there can be more than 1 sinkhole EC in the USA - or even one per state. But how about 1 per county? How far away should we expect people to drive to see some different earth science lessons? Some rough guideline on distance or time of travel would be useful. If the nearest oxbow lake is an hour away can you point out a second one? Can 2 creek erosions be as close as 20 miles? How far should you drive to see a spring. There's a bunch of ECs near Logan, OH - no spring EC as far as I know - but I know of that least 1 spring there. I guess they have to drive to yellow springs to see one...

 

Frankly, I don't see the harm in many, many more earthcaches. I'm not sure why springs/ glacial erratics are "retired". Why not publish more. Now I've seen my share of glacial erratics and I probably would not go out of my way (much) to see and log another. But if I did - what's the harm? It's just like traditional caches - some folks are into the numbers and will do PnGs. Some of us only spend our time on ones that sound interesting. Why not folks do the same with ECs?

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Great post. This has been hashed out many times but one more time wouldn't hurt (much). Frankly I would agree that perhaps there should be a published (to us) radius around a cache which dictates when a similar cache could be placed; perhaps have differing distances:

 

Cave EC (assuming you could get one published): 75 miles

Spring EC: 100 miles

Erratic EC: 150 miles

Oxbow Lake EC: 200 miles

 

But....there are so many types of caches this could get difficult to manage as even the same feature might be approached in a different way; a spring which talks about the water purity vs one which talks about the unique formation of the spring itself or a cave which was formed by a shift in the Earth vs a cave which was formed by carbonic acid dissolving the limestone. There would be lots of what-ifs involved in a blanket radius scheme(s).

 

I'd be interested to see if there is any new thought on this matter from the powers.

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Great post. This has been hashed out many times but one more time wouldn't hurt (much). Frankly I would agree that perhaps there should be a published (to us) radius around a cache which dictates when a similar cache could be placed; perhaps have differing distances:

 

Cave EC (assuming you could get one published): 75 miles

Spring EC: 100 miles

Erratic EC: 150 miles

Oxbow Lake EC: 200 miles

 

But....there are so many types of caches this could get difficult to manage as even the same feature might be approached in a different way; a spring which talks about the water purity vs one which talks about the unique formation of the spring itself or a cave which was formed by a shift in the Earth vs a cave which was formed by carbonic acid dissolving the limestone. There would be lots of what-ifs involved in a blanket radius scheme(s).

 

I'd be interested to see if there is any new thought on this matter from the powers.

 

If someone could point me to the previous conversation - I'd be happy to read up on the other views. Specifically, to your examples above. If there was a spring 10 miles away in another park from the one you were at - what's the harm in listing it? It would be you the cacher to decide if it was worth the drive and hike to see it - knowing it might not be much different learning experience. I've found my share of ammo cans in woods, but I still enjoy a hike in a new woods I've never been in before - even if the total experience isn't much different than I've had before.

 

Oh, BTW don't anyone EVEN mention "challenges" as a substitute! :-)

Edited by cache_n_out

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If someone could point me to the previous conversation - I'd be happy to read up on the other views. Specifically, to your examples above. If there was a spring 10 miles away in another park from the one you were at - what's the harm in listing it? It would be you the cacher to decide if it was worth the drive and hike to see it - knowing it might not be much different learning experience. I've found my share of ammo cans in woods, but I still enjoy a hike in a new woods I've never been in before - even if the total experience isn't much different than I've had before.

 

Oh, BTW don't anyone EVEN mention "challenges" as a substitute! :-)

I would be hard pressed to point you to specific threads...many of these conversations took place within threads of different topics...for this reason I think it is a good thing to readdress the situation.

 

I do agree that it is up to the cacher to do or not do a cache and as a cacher I'd love to see many, many more ECs....that said, it is quite time consuming for the reviewers to review ECs. Reviewing several of the same topic near to one another can seriously slow the reviewers down and waits of a few days for a review of a submission could turn into a few weeks...and for what, the same information at two nearby locations? Don't get me wrong, ECs are generally my favorite type of cache to find...but there is additional work behind the scenes on these and few reviewers to do the work.

 

I'm not sure what the answer is....but I'd like to see it discussed again.

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It is almost impossible to have a distance limit like those you suggest. However, the rule of thumb is that a cacher should not be presented with the same lesson in a hour of travel. That said, the same feature can provide DIFFERENT lessons and it is the duty of the developer to make sure that their submission is really doing that.

 

Glacial erratics is a good point. In my part of the world every boulder is an erratic. So allowing every one become an EarthCache is just crazy. However, having a few that cover the topic that have different lessons - and not the old 'how much does it weigh' task - is quite acceptable and even encouraged. The distance between them is therefore someone irrelevant.

 

Two features with the same lesson within an hours traveling time are probably not going to be published.

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I remember participating in this debate before and I agreed with the looking at earth caches in a given area instead of the blanket "lets make getting springs, waterfalls and erratics harder to publish and have to have different logging tasks than the ones that exist somewhere but no in this particular geographical area" thing.

 

Around here we have a lot of earth caches that deal with mining and particular kind of rock. Lots of them. I would venture to guess these caches are not common everywhere but they are common here. Should they be made more difficult to publish in say Maine because it's something common here? No. That's silly.

 

Here we don't have any spring, water fall or glacial erratic caches. Since I don't travel particularly extensively I have done a waterfall/river cache which actually had very little to do with the river or waterfall from what I remember they were just used as the logging tasks on site.

 

So if I were to try to publish and earth cache on an erratic or spring or really a waterfall at this point, having no extensive experience with those earth caches, I would imagine some of my information on the page would be similar to others. Now how the heck would I know? I haven't done them. So I'm being told I have to teach a different lesson than lessons I've never seen. It kind of seems like a game of chance there. And have different logging requirements.

 

While I know it's redundant for the reviewers to see the same erratic page over and over again and same questions over and over again my argument before that just because the reviewers are jaded and burnt out on seeing those cache pages doesn't mean it's not still novel to the rest of us. And for me where I've now looked at a lot of black rock out croppings it would be really novel thing to have a spring or erratic nearby. I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

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So if I were to try to publish and earth cache on an erratic or spring or really a waterfall at this point, having no extensive experience with those earth caches, I would imagine some of my information on the page would be similar to others. Now how the heck would I know? I haven't done them.

You're probably right, but that most likely will be only the general part of your cache, were you in broad generic terms explain springs/etc. The part in your description on the local geology and the details of this particular location most likely are different from existing Earthcaches.

 

The 'problem' with the 'widely used topics' is the write-ups most of the time don't go into details of the particular location and therefore end up being similar (or even identical) to existing earthcaches.

 

So I'm being told I have to teach a different lesson than lessons I've never seen. It kind of seems like a game of chance there. And have different logging requirements.

Yes and no, you are asked to come up with a different and unique lesson if your writeup is not already unique by itself, which -as i already said- tends to be the case as most new listings only cover the basics and don't go into detail of the particular location.

 

Part of your research when developing an Earthcache -especially when it comes to those widely used topics- should include looking at similar Earthcaches on the geocaching website, to make sure you are developing a unique Earthcache. Ie. you should have seen those other caches, even if you did not visit those.

 

I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

I agree with you, even though I've only started reviewing Earthcaches a few months ago, I've already come across way too many of these erratics/springs/etc which all are the same ol' copy-and-paste from wikipedia and all got the same ol' size/flow-rate/etc questions.

 

Cheers,

 

GeoawareGBL / Global Earthcache Reviewer

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It is almost impossible to have a distance limit like those you suggest. However, the rule of thumb is that a cacher should not be presented with the same lesson in a hour of travel. That said, the same feature can provide DIFFERENT lessons and it is the duty of the developer to make sure that their submission is really doing that.

 

 

This sounds like a reasonable spacing guideline. Could the traveling time include driving and hiking? Not sure why they would need to be unqiue lessons once you are so far apart.

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I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

I agree with you, even though I've only started reviewing Earthcaches a few months ago, I've already come across way too many of these erratics/springs/etc which all are the same ol' copy-and-paste from wikipedia and all got the same ol' size/flow-rate/etc questions.

I'm not sure what's wrong with that. I doubt there will be as many springs as there are LPC. Is there a harm in having several springs in one county that aren't unique? I might want to see them all. Sounds like no burden to review since they are simple.

It is 'wrong' because the earthcache program is about teaching earth science lessons and highlighting unique features. Having the same or similar earthcaches (in one county/area) simply does not provide that.

 

Cheers,

 

GeoawareGBL / Global Earthcache Reviewer

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I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

I agree with you, even though I've only started reviewing Earthcaches a few months ago, I've already come across way too many of these erratics/springs/etc which all are the same ol' copy-and-paste from wikipedia and all got the same ol' size/flow-rate/etc questions.

I'm not sure what's wrong with that. I doubt there will be as many springs as there are LPC. Is there a harm in having several springs in one county that aren't unique? I might want to see them all. Sounds like no burden to review since they are simple.

It is 'wrong' because the earthcache program is about teaching earth science lessons and highlighting unique features. Having the same or similar earthcaches (in one county/area) simply does not provide that.

 

Cheers,

 

GeoawareGBL / Global Earthcache Reviewer

 

Yet we already and continue to have same/similar earth caches in areas they just happen to not be erratics, springs or water falls. I would venture to guess that various areas have their "pet" earth cache. I have also seen earth caches hardly a mention of anything local other than "here is where you are" most of it being broad discussions about the geology in general.

 

I'm not arguing against different lessons in a small saturated area. However, it appears that the smaller area thing is not being taken into consideration at this point. Just broad sweeping blanket guidelines pertaining to all caches of a specific type.

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That said, the same feature can provide DIFFERENT lessons and it is the duty of the developer to make sure that their submission is really doing that.

 

I'm not sure that's being implemented across the board. I tried submitting an earthcache on a glacial lagoon in Iceland, Fjallsárlón. (For the reviewers who can see the archived listing, it's GC2C337.) I'd visited the earthcache at Jökulsárlón, and I made an effort to draw distinctions between the two lagoons and to teach different lessons. The reason I was given for it not being published focused on proximity: because it was six miles down the road from another glacial lagoon cache, it would not be published.

 

This is not a gripe or an attempt to resurrect a dead issue -- the cache is dead, I got it. I'm not trying to backdoor an appeal or anything here. But I do want to bring this up for discussion purposes so that I can get a better picture of what the guidelines or rules of thumb are among the reviewers. That way I know when I should spend a few hours researching and developing an earthcache, and when I shouldn't bother because even though it focuses on a different aspect, it's just too close to another and it isn't going to pass muster.

 

So in answer to the question "how close is too close," we have one rule of thumb: one hour's travel between listings that pretty much cover the same thing. Got it.

 

I guess I'm looking for clarity on "how similar is too similar" if they are within the hour's distance. I understand it's hard to set up an objective rubric to cover all earth caches, because the topics earth caches can cover is pretty vast. But if there are general rules of thumb you can share, that would be helpful.

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I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

I agree with you, even though I've only started reviewing Earthcaches a few months ago, I've already come across way too many of these erratics/springs/etc which all are the same ol' copy-and-paste from wikipedia and all got the same ol' size/flow-rate/etc questions.

I'm not sure what's wrong with that. I doubt there will be as many springs as there are LPC. Is there a harm in having several springs in one county that aren't unique? I might want to see them all. Sounds like no burden to review since they are simple.

It is 'wrong' because the earthcache program is about teaching earth science lessons and highlighting unique features. Having the same or similar earthcaches (in one county/area) simply does not provide that.

 

Cheers,

 

GeoawareGBL / Global Earthcache Reviewer

 

Yes I've come to understand that now. As a scientist though - it seemed like it would be interesting information to have many more earth features cataloged by location. That, and my experience with geocaching generally has me in the mind set of "more the merrier". I've enjoyed and learned so much from ECs it was difficult for me to accept the idea of the constraint. I've appreciated all the comments and think I have a better understanding of your goals. I think the spacing discussion has been useful. My sincere thanks to everyone on this thread.

 

cache_n_out ( a platinum earthcacher BTW...)

Edited by cache_n_out

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What's funny is as of a publishing 45 minutes ago, we now have two earthcaches in my city for the same feature.

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What's funny is as of a publishing 45 minutes ago, we now have two earthcaches in my city for the same feature.

I assume you're referring to the two EarthCaches located near the Reversing Rapids/Falls. The key is that they have different lessons. One discusses tides while the other discusses the movement of continents.

 

From the guidelines:

 

Multiple EarthCaches on the same feature should be avoided and content, rather than proximity, will be the guiding principle of EarthCache reviewers.

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There is no need for spacing guidelines. The 'unofficial' guideline of how far can you travel in one hour is also arbitrary. Why arbitrary? Well just think about it. Doesn't that depend on where you are? Back in the mountains on some muddy forest service road versus a 70 mph interstate highway means covering everything from 15 miles to 70 or 75 miles not to mention only using a difficult trail.

I agree with the proposition of different lessons if listed by the same cache owner otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to limit the number of like earthcaches.

The above example given by hzoi is exactly what we mean. There was no reason to turn down the cache. This 'lession' and 'distance' business is getting out of hand. Frankly, some of us believe those newly imposed rules are totally unnecessary. Remember your middle or high school educational experiences in something like math? Was it forbidden to repeat a lesson or give a similar problem? Heck no, repetition is one of the most fundamental ways we learn! As with earthcaches, why the need for the limitations? Are they so elite that they must stand above all other caches? There are already built in limitations like finding and researching the area geologically!

One last point......are two waterfalls or springs really alike? Are two eratics or lagoons really alike? We don't think so! God or the forces of nature are more creative than that!

Thanks. :ph34r:

Edited by Konnarock Kid & Marge

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One last point......are two waterfalls or springs really alike? Are two eratics or lagoons really alike?

 

I certainly do not want to see every glacial erratic turned into an EarthCache. I live in Canada where every boulder is likely a glacial erratic. By your logic, there could be hundreds of similar EarthCaches in my area. You'd have to really filter them out to come up with something new and interesting. Although two erratics may not be alike, the lesson on how they got there would be the same.

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One last point......are two waterfalls or springs really alike? Are two eratics or lagoons really alike?

 

I certainly do not want to see every glacial erratic turned into an EarthCache. I live in Canada where every boulder is likely a glacial erratic. By your logic, there could be hundreds of similar EarthCaches in my area. You'd have to really filter them out to come up with something new and interesting. Although two erratics may not be alike, the lesson on how they got there would be the same.

 

I agree with your point of view because the lesson is important for me. I would be bored by being told the same story over and over again. Also in school I never liked repetition.

 

However, there are many Earthcachers who primarily regard Earthcaches as pointers to geological locations and for whom the educative part is something they could easily do without. From this point of view, it is certainly true that hardly two any waterfalls or erratics will look exactly the same and the trip to the locations can also be a different experience.

 

Many creators of ECs are not really interested into the educative component and feel more and more that it becomes a burden for them to own or create ECs. I just came across a thread in a local forum where people complained about the request that logs for ECs where not all answers are correct should not deleted, but rather support should be offered to the loggers in order to improve the learning process. The complaining cachers argued that they are not teachers and do not want to be asked to act as teachers.

I guess if there existed a geological cache type, it would receive much more attention than ECs and many cachers would move over to that cache category and leave Earthcaches aside as they are not happy with the strenghtened educational focus over the years. Many people just want to visit geological places and just look at them and enjoy them without any further obligations.

 

 

Cezanne

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My point is if there are tons of glacial erractics listed around you - don't visit them. Like any other geocache type - there's nothing to compell you to visit any repeaters.

 

However, 1 sinkhole per public park doesn't seem too bad. If you get someone new to do their first EC it might spark the interest. The rest of us may not drive 20 min out of wat to see another sinkhole, but if I'm in the park already - I might.

 

Moot point. This ain't no democracy - the EC folks have spoken. Unique lessons at each site, duplicates have to be pretty far apart. We'll just have to work harder at coming up with unqiue angles. At least this thread has clarified in my mind what the goal is.

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I would argue that we need to put the focus back on what would benefit finders of these caches versus what reviewers are sick of reading.

I agree with you, even though I've only started reviewing Earthcaches a few months ago, I've already come across way too many of these erratics/springs/etc which all are the same ol' copy-and-paste from wikipedia and all got the same ol' size/flow-rate/etc questions.

 

 

I guess that it is not communicated widely enough to creators of Earthcaches that a good EC write up and strong questions requires typically more than looking up wikipedia and asking the same type of questions that are routinely found in hundreds of ECs. I guess that this lack of information creates frustration on both sides, both the reviewer side and the side of potential creators of ECs.

 

In any case, as a side comment I want to let you know that I am deeply impressed by the positive impact your review work in recent months has had on the type of questions asked in Austrian ECs. As I am familiar with the type of questions that have been typical there, I am sure that you have to invest quite a lot of effort, time and patience into your work, of course not only in Austria. I am only mentioning Austria because I am not watching the ECs worldwide.

 

Cezanne

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Well, maybe soon glacial erractics and springs will be banned in Europe too.

 

I do not think that they are banned anywhere in the world. It depends on the geological lesson and not on the type of location.

The reason why I like good Earthcaches is that the provide me with knowledge that I cannot find myself on wikipedia or in easily accessible similar sources.

 

I guess that what many people wish are not earth science lessons, but rather a catalogue of geological locations like it could be provided on the Waymarking site. On such a site it makes perfectly sense to collect for example as many spring locations as possible.

 

For a Waymarking type of site it does not play a role whether information is provided for spring A that differs from the information provided for nearby springs B and C. For ECs, however, it does make a difference. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying visiting many springs and just having fun there. It is not the EC program that is the best medium for this sort of activity.

I would not mind to visit 10 springs in the same area and I would prefer each of them to an urban micro cache. I would not enjoy however to visit all the 10 springs in connection with ECs that all teach the same lesson. In ECs for me, the lesson is the key part, not the object.

 

 

Cezanne

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Well, maybe soon glacial erractics and springs will be banned in Europe too.

 

I do not think that they are banned anywhere in the world. It depends on the geological lesson and not on the type of location.

The reason why I like good Earthcaches is that the provide me with knowledge that I cannot find myself on wikipedia or in easily accessible similar sources.

 

I guess that what many people wish are not earth science lessons, but rather a catalogue of geological locations like it could be provided on the Waymarking site. On such a site it makes perfectly sense to collect for example as many spring locations as possible.

 

For a Waymarking type of site it does not play a role whether information is provided for spring A that differs from the information provided for nearby springs B and C. For ECs, however, it does make a difference. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying visiting many springs and just having fun there. It is not the EC program that is the best medium for this sort of activity.

I would not mind to visit 10 springs in the same area and I would prefer each of them to an urban micro cache. I would not enjoy however to visit all the 10 springs in connection with ECs that all teach the same lesson. In ECs for me, the lesson is the key part, not the object.

 

 

Cezanne

 

I would agree with you onthe Waymarking comment if GC.com made them as easy to use as caches (pocket queries, storing on GPS devices etc) since they aren't - ECs work nicer. I agree locating a physical cache near a neat spot would work. Most folks do that, but it is not always possible. Your point about visiting ECs - 10 springs. That's sort of my point - why not list them. You or any other EC'er can always chose not to visit the site. You could read up on it and decide not worth the visit. Just like I do when a see a traditional with a 1.5/1.5 rating on the side of the road with the word "guard" in the name! :-) BUT if you were hiking in a park and a non-unique spring was .1 away - would you detour and visit? I would! I would agree 50 glacial erratics in a county would be overdone. It does make it easier on us finders - we know most every EC we find is unique - and we don't need to filter them much.

 

I guess the bottom line is EC is a supply-side system.

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I would agree with you onthe Waymarking comment if GC.com made them as easy to use as caches (pocket queries, storing on GPS devices etc) since they aren't - ECs work nicer.

 

Yes, I know. This is one of the many reasons why people appreciate and visit ECs that are completely different from the reason why the GSA came up with the EC program. The EC program is not Groundspeak's program, even though they support it.

 

Other non-intended (from the point of view of the GSA) reasons are: ECs count on gc.com, no maintenance required, vacation ECs are possible, there exists no other type of virtual caches on gc.com and many others. None of them is however a good primary reason for an EC.

 

I agree locating a physical cache near a neat spot would work. Most folks do that, but it is not always possible.

 

I am fully aware of this. Even in those case where placing a container is possible, it is often not the best solution.

 

Your point about visiting ECs - 10 springs. That's sort of my point - why not list them. You or any other EC'er can always chose not to visit the site. You could read up on it and decide not worth the visit.

 

I might even decide to visit all 10 springs. The point is not that I do not want to visit 10 springs or any number of whatever object. The point is that Earthcaches are about the earth science lesson which should be taught at the Earthcache location and not about just leading people to locations with earth science background.

 

For providing a catalogue of geological locations it neither would be necessary nor efficient to invest quite some money and a lot of time on the side of the EC reviewers and GSA officers dealing with the program. It is the educational and pedagogic ambition behind the program that makes it most worthwhile.

 

Just like I do when a see a traditional with a 1.5/1.5 rating on the side of the road with the word "guard" in the name! :-) BUT if you were hiking in a park and a non-unique spring was .1 away - would you detour and visit? I would!

 

Yes, I would. I would probably even walk 2 miles to see it if I have the time to do so.

I just think that ECs are not the proper way for categorizing and listing these locations except all of them are connected with a unique and local lesson.

 

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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There is no need for spacing guidelines. The 'unofficial' guideline of how far can you travel in one hour is also arbitrary. Why arbitrary? Well just think about it. Doesn't that depend on where you are? Back in the mountains on some muddy forest service road versus a 70 mph interstate highway means covering everything from 15 miles to 70 or 75 miles not to mention only using a difficult trail.

I agree with the proposition of different lessons if listed by the same cache owner otherwise, there is absolutely no reason to limit the number of like earthcaches.

The above example given by hzoi is exactly what we mean. There was no reason to turn down the cache. This 'lession' and 'distance' business is getting out of hand. Frankly, some of us believe those newly imposed rules are totally unnecessary. Remember your middle or high school educational experiences in something like math? Was it forbidden to repeat a lesson or give a similar problem? Heck no, repetition is one of the most fundamental ways we learn! As with earthcaches, why the need for the limitations? Are they so elite that they must stand above all other caches? There are already built in limitations like finding and researching the area geologically!

One last point......are two waterfalls or springs really alike? Are two eratics or lagoons really alike? We don't think so! God or the forces of nature are more creative than that!

Thanks. :ph34r:

 

I would really like to see someone visit my waterfall EarthCache over in Dennis Cove within an hour. :lol: You logged that listing yourself KK, and we both know that it takes about a half hour to get back to the high water trail after visiting the falls, then about a mile walk back to the parking area. :) I have never seen two waterfalls that are alike and really enjoyed logging one of yours on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Too bad that Waymarking is not used in our area because there are categorys for waterfalls and springs, and I find both to be interesting. :D

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