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Being Discovered!


dartymoor
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I had hoped to reach 100 caches before anyone asked me wtf I was up to, rummaging around. Now I'm up to 159 and still not been caught in the act. I'm actually quite nervous about this...

 

How far did you get before you were you first "caught"? (Strange looks alone don't count) What was your response?

 

Do you answer with the truth and try and explain geocaching? (From my friends, I know many look upon this as a silly thing for a grown man to be doing)

 

Or with a plausible excuse? (The best I've heard was: "I'm looking for my dog's ball." "But you don't have a dog?" (Looks around - "Oh bloody hell!") )

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I don't remember how many caches I had found - I think in the 100-200 range - when some asked me "Are you doing that GPS game"? In that case I said yes and we talked about geoaching.

 

I remember one time where the land manager where a cache was hidden aggressively challenged me saying I should not be where I was. In that case I apologised and left immediately, didn't explain anything. It was a shame as I could see the cache but could not get it.

 

There have been other times where a muggle has asked something like "are you looking for something"... sometimes I make something up; sometimes I say something vague but true (like I'm playing a game where I need to find something), and sometimes I ask them if they have heard of geocaching. It depends on how I feel and how friendly the person appears to me.

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I had hoped to reach 100 caches before anyone asked me wtf I was up to, rummaging around. Now I'm up to 159 and still not been caught in the act. I'm actually quite nervous about this...

 

How far did you get before you were you first "caught"? (Strange looks alone don't count) What was your response?

 

Do you answer with the truth and try and explain geocaching? (From my friends, I know many look upon this as a silly thing for a grown man to be doing)

 

Or with a plausible excuse? (The best I've heard was: "I'm looking for my dog's ball." "But you don't have a dog?" (Looks around - "Oh bloody hell!") )

 

I was challenged once for being on a patch of land that someone didn't think I should be on. The odd thing about that was that I crossed a fence using a stile attempting to follow a sign that said "public bridleway". She said something about me not being insured if one of the horses (in a wired area that I wasn't in) bit me, and was far enough away on the other side of a river that I wasn't interested in saying that insurance or no insurance if her horse bit me I'd sue.

 

I've been approached by police twice and asked what I was doing. Both times I was with other cachers, both times I explained what geocaching was, what it was about and the police officers were satisfied and went on their way.

 

Once I was quizzed by a couple of anglers who were curious why I was taking such an interest in a particular view down a canal. The view was nice but not spectacular. So I asked if they had heard of geocaching and explained it to them, and then retrieved the cache from under the bench they were sitting on.

 

When I've been pretending to fiddle with my bike to cover the fact I'm looking for a cache I've sometimes had other cyclists check to see if I'm OK. And a couple of times I've had people curious about why I was looking so intently up a tree, but none of those really count as being "discovered".

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Another thought, as long as you're in a public place you've got as much right to be there as anyone else. It's easy to think of what we're doing as being something furtive, something a bit underhand and all that.

 

If someone approaches me and appears curious I may explain geocaching, I may come up with some other excuse. If someone takes a challenging stance and demands to know what I'm doing then my response is likely to be more curt. I remember one person demanded to know what I was doing so I told them I was minding my own business.

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I've explained about geocaching to several people who have shown an interest over the years. I don't recall ever coming across anybody unpleasant, perhaps I've been lucky.

 

I prefer caching out in the sticks though, where there are obviously fewer people about, and poking about in a hedge is a lot less suspicious than poking about in an electricity cabinet on the high street.

Edited by The Patrician
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Funnily enough, the first (and only so far) time we have been asked what we were up to was on our 100th cache and we were looking for a clue rather than the container itself as it was a puzzle cache with several stages. We were obviously looking a little lost and a couple of men nearby asked what we were doing. We went with the 'vague but true' response that we were playing a game that was a little like a treasure hunt and trying to find a clue to lead us in the right direction. They seemed to accept that, although one of the men said he'd look out for a story in the paper about 2 skeletons being found in the woods with a gps! That did worry us a little!

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If it's the police, I explain I'm on a sort of treasure hunt. If they want more details, I explain about geocaching. If they want my name and address, I give it.

 

Anyone else - they're part of the game. And if they want my name and address, I offer to exchange with them - they give me theirs, and I'll give them mine. No-one has ever taken me up on the offer.

 

Sometimes I explain "I'm counting the slugs" (I have a British Slug Survey badge and identity card - you'll be able to get the same thing soon).

 

Sometimes I explain "I'm looking for God". If they're still there, I offer them a leaflet. If that doesn't do the trick, I give them the leaflet.

 

Sometimes, if I'm in a good mood, and they've asked nicely, I'll explain I'm on a sort of treasure hunt. And very occasionally, I'll give them a proper explanation of geocaching.

Also, if someone is sitting on a bench that I want to crawl under, I'll explain "I'm on a treasure hunt, I'm looking for a clue, do you mind it I ...?"

 

When someone told me that I was acting suspiciously, I told them that they were mistaken, and I wasn't.

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I had hoped to reach 100 caches before anyone asked me wtf I was up to, rummaging around. Now I'm up to 159 and still not been caught in the act. I'm actually quite nervous about this...

 

How far did you get before you were you first "caught"?

 

Still haven't been caught, so don't know what I'd say if I was. Possibly "wibble", and start drooling. Unless it was the boys in blue, in which case I'd pretend to be slightly more lucid and tell them I was looking for my marbles...?

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I was approached by the police outside Euston Station early in my caching days. When I explained geocaching he said, "And why would you want to do that, sir?" to which there wasn't really a reply. In the end I convinced him I wasn't a terrorist and he apologised for approaching me.

 

I have had a couple of people approach me and then help me find the cache when I explained what I was doing and I once muggled two muggles who had just found the cache I was about to look for. They were highly amused that they had just found a strange box in he middle of nowhere and then a minute later someone appears and explains what it was all about.

 

The strangest occurrence was when I was photographing a TB beneath Thelwall Viaduct to complete its mission. It was dusk and absolutely pouring down and I guess I looked quite odd taking a photo there. A lady drove up and asked me for my name- I told her and asked her for hers. Then she asked me what I was doing and I told her I was taking a photo and asked her what she was doing. She said that there had been horse rustlers in the area and that I might be one of them. In practise, it would have been a tight squeeze to get one in the back of my Audi A4.

 

She spotted the logo of the company I work for on my coat and wrote it down, and the next day I got a call at work through the switchboard from my brother... which is odd as I don't have one. When I took the call they hung up so I guess she was checking up on me!

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I had hoped to reach 100 caches before anyone asked me wtf I was up to, rummaging around. Now I'm up to 159 and still not been caught in the act. I'm actually quite nervous about this...

 

How far did you get before you were you first "caught"? (Strange looks alone don't count) What was your response?

 

Do you answer with the truth and try and explain geocaching? (From my friends, I know many look upon this as a silly thing for a grown man to be doing)

 

Or with a plausible excuse? (The best I've heard was: "I'm looking for my dog's ball." "But you don't have a dog?" (Looks around - "Oh bloody hell!") )

 

I think this one is still my favorite muggle encounter:

Feel my roots

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Caught by other cachers - Yep and I've discovered a caching police GeoCoin for the privilage

Stopped by police - tick

Stopped by armed police - tick - near Windsor castle, well actually in the deer park late at night.

Stopped by border control abroad - tick - thank heavens for the free geocaching app to explain.

Stopped by traffic police - nope and hopefully never as I might be in the wrong spot.

 

As for muggles - I don't think I have ever been stopped though I have used a few to assist in many different ways.

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I was challenged on my first, second and about 200th caches.

On the first two, I must have just looked plain stupid standing in the middle of car parks trying to suss why it might be on the armco barriers around the edges. The 200th was a classic case of being not really near anything, so spending longer looking and the police got called by the person in the nearest house.

I was just honest and one of the two policement had heard of caching so no problems.

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A few months ago I was doing a local series, one was magnetic on a bridge

and parked right across from it was a police car with 4 policemen in it.

 

I spotted the cache as I approched, bent to retrieve it, opened it, signed it, replaced it.

 

I was quite disapointed when they didn't even ask what I was doing.

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Anyone who's done the R.E. HEDGES 1973 cache in London will know it needs you to do something a little out of the ordinary (and potentially dangerous). After replacing the cache I realised I was being observed from further along the Embankment.

 

As I left the scene 4 policemen came racing along on bikes (pedal powered, not the other sort). Convinced someone had reported me I though it better to "surrender" rather than have a search party looking for someone in the river.

 

"Are you looking for me"

"No Sir, what have you done?"

 

Turns out they were just on a routine patrol, but fortunately one of them knew about caching.

Edited by MTH
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I was once squatting on the ground in a grave yard with my arm stuck between a grave and a wall (the container had slipped down and was very hard to reach) when two men walked around the corner. I had to pretend to be examining the wall until they left and I could free my arm. They didn't say anything but I can't imagine what they thought I was doing.

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I was once squatting on the ground in a grave yard with my arm stuck between a grave and a wall (the container had slipped down and was very hard to reach) when two men walked around the corner. I had to pretend to be examining the wall until they left and I could free my arm. They didn't say anything but I can't imagine what they thought I was doing.

 

Funny given your caching name...

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Haven't been challenged yet, though I was asked if I was lost once. I'm not sure that counts. I'm constantly surprised that no one asks what I'm doing.

 

I've had 15 encounters with cachers 'in the field' (just added them up). They knew what I was doing!

 

I have been asked if I am lost to which I reply, "No, I know exactly where I am to an accuracy of about 10 feet" and then show them the screen of the GPS. Sometimes I scroll the map on the screen with my finger. In all cases so far they have been so amazed by the kit that any further thoughts of what I might be doing has gone.

Edited by C0lin
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When I'm doing drive bys I sometimes get asked if I've broken down or am lost. I just explain that I'm on a long journey and it's good to get off the main road and take a break every so often. I usually have my flask to hand and pour myself a coffee to emphasize the point. Then they go away and leave me to get on with poking around in the ivy or turning over every stone in the vicinity.

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Always bring an 8 year old or a camera.You cant go wrong!

 

Sometimes, maybe. You try walking way to the secluded back area of a local park and disappearing into the woods with an 8 year old kid, see how long it takes for the cops to show up.

 

It's a shame that's the kind of society we live in today, where a parent and child can't go for a walk in the woods without arousing suspicion from some bystander with a cell phone, but it's true...

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In the almost 7 years I've been caching, I've been asked several times what I'm doing...

 

Sometimes I tell the truth - I'm on a "kind of" treasure hunt, sometimes I like to just make something up - well.... it passes the time, and gives me a giggle.

 

If I'm in Chester, I say I'm a Channel 4 location scout for Hollyoaks, anywhere else in Cheshire I carry my Council ID Badge (I work for the Council) and I tell them I'm doing some survey work. That's worked nicely.

 

I was approached by the Police at a particularly dodgy part of the Wirral, and asked what I was doing. Of course, I told them the truth, the GPS with the cache details on, and they took my details and said they would investigate said cache. It was archived shortly after following the Police interviewing the cache owner!

 

However, the best was at a camping event in Oxfordshire, I was caching along a canal with Pengy and Tigger, and anyone who knows them, knows they have a wicked sense of humour...

 

We were approached by several kids, and asked what we were doing. Becky piped up that we were carrying out a survey of rare tree snails, and that several had been spotted in trees along this stretch of the canal. She went on to tell the wide eyed kids that every Sunday we had to go along the canal and count them, then report the numbers and locations back to the Council.

 

We were certain the cache wasn't around the tree we were currently searching, and so Becky told the kids they could see if they could find any in and around that tree... It kept them occupied, and allowed us to go "count" at the next tree....

 

Of course, we found the cache, but sadly no rare tree snails!!

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I've been asked a few times. Once, on the way to London I pulled off the A303 to do a few caches on some local roads before rejoining the A303. There was a cache tucked behind a road sign, and just as I finished putting the cache back and getting into my car, an Army Landrover pulled up, and a soldier asked what I was doing. I explained that I was geocaching and shown him the GPS. He accepted my reason, and just said that if they see anything suspicios, they need to check it up, and then said he had heard about geocaching.

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Bizarrely, I think I've only been asked ONCE what I was up to... until last Friday, when I was asked FOUR separate times, by FOUR separate people what I was doing IN ONE DAY. I quite happily told each one that I was playing a "treasure hunt" game, and was looking for clues. Most people can comprehend the idea of a treasure hunt, and I was on a timed challenge so didn't really have the time available to go in to geocaching in depth.

 

I was actually on a Church Micro hunt, doing the Church Micro Icon Challenge and had a clipboard with me (which I don't usually have) so perhaps they thought I was from the council surveying whether to knock their church down or something... it really was weird, though!

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I've bumped into other geocachers on occasions and one time on the way home from a trip to Devon we stopped at some services to grab a quick cache and although I thought we'd sneaked off without being seen, on returning to the car park a lady, sitting in her car with the family, asked if we were Geocaching as she used to do it with the kids. I had no choice but to confess. I'm obviously not as sneaky as I thought.

 

I've also been asked if I'm lost a couple if times and I just say 'No' and that's generally the end of the conversation.

 

One time, when trying to grab a few caches after finishing work, I was searching around some trees just off a footpath through a park when I heard voices so I hopped back out onto the dimly lit path, wearing my office clothes and holding the GPS. When the dog walking muggles came round the corner, one of the walkers stopped and asked if I was from the electric board. She thought I was there inspecting all the streetlights that weren't working! If I'd said 'Yes' I'm sure I'd have got an earbashing as she didn't seem too happy with the lighting situation!

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It was my 18th Cache and was questions by the Police ( in fact it was Armed police ) as to what i was up to - after I explained what I was doing I asked them if they wanted to help me locate the cache but they declined my offer before that I have had a few strange looks from passers by and dog walkers but many of the passing dogs like to come and say hello and sniff about what you are doing , wonder if its their way of asking can i help :)

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It was my 18th Cache and was questions by the Police ( in fact it was Armed police ) as to what i was up to - after I explained what I was doing I asked them if they wanted to help me locate the cache but they declined my offer before that I have had a few strange looks from passers by and dog walkers but many of the passing dogs like to come and say hello and sniff about what you are doing , wonder if its their way of asking can i help :)

 

Reminds me of one day I was out caching with a friend. We were both on our bikes and so we were both wearing hi-vis tops. We were approached by two police officers who were obviously looking for something more suspicious than a film pot, and who asked us a few questions (curiously, since both our bikes were clearly ours, they asked why we were wearing hi-vis jackets) and then went on their way still clearly looking for something.

 

Later on the same day we were hoping to find a cache under a bridge. It was the kind of bridge with a path under it and a path/road over it. As we were under the bridge we could hear what appeared to be someone being arrested for something drug related on the road over us, so figured perhaps we'd do that cache another time.

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As the OP - I got discovered somewhere just before my 200'th, by somebody walking their dog who turned out to be a friend of my wife...

 

And shortly after that by someone asking if I'd found it when I was trying /so/ hard to be stealthy. I was quite deflated that apparently I wasn't as ninja-like as I'd hoped!

 

So, my duck definitely broken, although I'm not looking forward to the time I get stopped by the police, angry landowner or the army!

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We have the perfect cloaking device that deters all mugglers.

001.jpg

 

I love this, mind if I copy it?

 

Re: the original question I've been discovered a few times;

 

Cops usually get told the full story (depending on how interested they are, one walked away looking confused after a brief explanation recently) or enough to get them to not arrest me!

 

Muggles, hmmm, tend to mix it up, I quite often tell people I'm going dogging, or looking for good places to go dogging, I've been mistaken for a tree surgeon and took down details from a member of the public about the overhanging branches on a nearby tree - occasionally actually just front up and tell people (vaguely) what I'm doing - but I do find that using Hi Viz generally makes you invisible, I'm now looking for a second-hand gray van - ex-BT would be nice!

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A few times but the most memorable was last year when the student demonstrations were happening in London. Loads of police around and there is a cache right near to New Scotland Yard. We retrieved the nano without problem but just as we were about to replace the container I dropped it and it rolled under the police van parked next to us. We had to ask the officers to move their van so that we could get the cache. Needless to say we got a "what are you doing?" but once we explained all was well and we were on our way.

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Thankfully we've never been discovered - yet. If(when) it happens, I expect my response will vary. If an "official" (Police, landowner etc), I'd just be honest. As for muggles, I think I'd follow in Rickardclan's ideas and get creative. Invisibility cloaks are going to be part of our caching pack soon, though, so hpefully we'll avoid any interaction.

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