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Newbie Question


RusticOvertoneJD
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So I have just discovered geocaching and I am already in love with it, even though I have not yet found a single cache. I grasp that starting this hobby a few days after the biggest snowstorm in the past 35 years here in New England is probably poor timing but I just couldn't wait to check it out. Unfortunately after trying a dozen or so locations I still had not logged a single find, again, I'm sure a big part of that was the snow but one thing I kept coming across was "this is in a geo-obvious location". Unfortunately, this being my first day geocaching, I have no idea what "geo-obvious" is. Could someone provide me with some examples of a "geo-obvious" location? Also, if it helps, I was seaching in fairly populated areas, assuming that they would be most excessable with the snow situation. For example, I went to a few different Dunkin Donuts that were sapose to have caches in "geo-obvious" places but since I didn't know what those may be and i didn't want to look like a creep lurking around the outside of Dunkins, i took a quick look and moved on. Anyways, thanks for any help you can provide, i can't wait for the nice weather so i can really dig in to this new hobby!

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Ok - I'll just be blunt - if you found yourself in a parking lot near a lamppost of some description - the plastic/metal skirts near the base will often slide up. One of the most overused cache locations in many urban areas. Nearby areas are also common targets as the obvious lamppost gets focused on too much sometimes.

 

Otherwise...

 

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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Many micro-sized caches are magnetic. You may find them attached to street signs, park benches, etc. This may mean that they are above the snow level as well, caches are not always on the ground. This becomes second nature after awhile, but it might not occur to a newbie.

 

Also, check those lamp post skirts....very common hide but very unexpected and devious for the uninitiated 😎

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I would say that the key to getting used to geocaching is to get out of the urban environment. Concentrate on caches in parks or open spaces, and look for "Regular" or "Large" caches with a lower difficulty and terrain rating. Don't bother with the micros until you get used to the simple act of following your GPS pointer to as close to "zero" (or "Ground Zero/"GZ") as you can get. Put your GPS in your pocket, and start looking around. Look for places you might hide a container in that setting. Look for what might be out of place: a pile of rocks, a stack of sticks, etc.

 

If you concentrate on small/micro sized caches in urban settings, you are going to miss out on the finds that are going to be a little easier, and certainly more in line with what many geocachers think of in terms of what this game is all about.

 

Once you get the hang of it, you can head back to town and look for some of the tougher and (unfortunately) more common lamp-post hides, etc.

 

Good luck!

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I definitely agree that I would rather be out of the urban areas but as I mentioned, we are under more than two feet of snow!! I just could wait for it to melt to start geocaching! I definitely appreciate all of the advise you guys had, I went back out, this time with 9 new locations, all that had been found within the last few days, most with bigger caches. I still kinda failed but at least I found one, I'm headed in the right direction. I also realized that if i am going out at night, like I just did, I should not only bring a flashlight, but i should make sure there are batteries in it so I don't get to the first location just to find out i can't see, lol. Also i realize that i just need practice searching, I am positive that i was in the right area for a few of them but i just couldn't see it, most likely it was right in front of me. Anyways, thanks again, i cant wait to head back out, maybe tomorrow!!

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...have no idea what "geo-obvious" is. Could someone provide me with some examples of a "geo-obvious" location?...can provide, i can't wait for the nice weather so i can really dig in to this new hobby!

People are drawn to things.

 

One tree in a field? That's geo-ovious.

An island in a pond? Obvious.

The lamp post (as mentioned).

 

Also one persons "obvious" is another persons challenge. The stars don't always line up. I have the worst luck with 1 star difficulty caches and the ones that say "even my blind grandma could find it tapping around with her walker".

 

Snow ups the challenge for anything hidden at ground level.

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i found urban caches really hard at first (now they're easier then others) i suggest that you should have a look at some caching shops at their caches. it'll give you an idea of the types of caches that are used.

they can be signs and screws to fake rocks and logs

 

when i cache in urban areas i am suspicious of everything and anything.

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I appreciate all the comments because I am new as well. Because I don't bend well anymore, I just bought a telescoping mirror and magnetic retriever (2 tools). I think I have missed some obvious P&G just because I wasn't willing to get my face on the ground!! What I want help with is how to look for caches in bushes---do I use the magnetic retriever? Thanks!

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I appreciate all the comments because I am new as well. Because I don't bend well anymore, I just bought a telescoping mirror and magnetic retriever (2 tools). I think I have missed some obvious P&G just because I wasn't willing to get my face on the ground!! What I want help with is how to look for caches in bushes---do I use the magnetic retriever? Thanks!

Gloves.

caches in bushes can be really tough. And pine trees. Colorado has way too many pine tree hides. If the owner or last finder was nice the cache will be near the edge of the bush or near a corner of some sort of landscaping. I have found larger caches in the middle of bushes.

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