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How to prepare for a day of caching


3isamagic#
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My caching buddy Jpod and I get together and cache, but we seem to be missing some steps on how to plan a day of caching. Here is what we currently do.

 

First we decide on an area that neither of us has many smilies in. Then we create a bookmark based on fav points, recent finds, cache size etc. Both load to our gps and then....

 

we spend the day saying....

 

"How do people find so many in one day?"

"oh, we are backtracking again, we should have got this one earlier"

"maybe we should plan our route next time"

 

So how do you plan your day???

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So far it's been that my other half texts me before he leaves work asking if I want to go that day.

 

I hit the maps finding pockets of caches, typically between 3 and 6 because we run out of sunlight and we're new to this. I try my hardest to find a place to park and before we leave the car we try to get a general plan of attack, which sometimes means walking past all the caches and then turning around to cache the way back to the car. We have yet to be able to go full circle.

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Both load to our gps and then....

 

we spend the day saying....

 

"oh, we are backtracking again, we should have got this one earlier"

"maybe we should plan our route next time"

 

 

Sounds like me. After 10+ years I still haven't figured out how to plan better. :rolleyes:

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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

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I always start my planning by looking at caches on the map.

 

I have started making better use of the caches along a route feature, but that is after I've already looked at the map and gotten a rough idea of the area(s) I want to hit.

 

I'll then sort based on same things you seem to look for, size (bigger the better), favorite points and TBs (the more the merrier).

 

I don't do advance planning for the quantity so much as the quality. But advance planning can get you either one, just depends on what you do with the data you collect.

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I run a PQ of the area and load the GPX file into Streets and Trips. I select the caches I want to do and mark them as points in a route. I set the starting and ending points and then let it figure out the most optimal route. Once finished, I export this route as a GPX file, load it onto my Nuvi and pick the route and follow it. Precise directions, no backtracking and highly efficient.

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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

addis.jpg

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When looking for the caches I'm going to do I keep the route uppermost in my planning. As well as downloading the caches to my GPS I also call them up on the Geocaching.com maps and print off a map showing all the caches I'm going for and the footpaths. I find it helpful when out in the field to be able to look at the whole picture.

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You're already doing a lot right in planning, you're just missing the final step. Choosing the order in wish you go find the caches.

Try to plan a route that makes sense so you have as little backtracking as possible and get back to your car, home, hotel or train station at the right time.

Sometimes such a plan changes en route, but having one means you don't skip any caches you practically step on.

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When looking for the caches I'm going to do I keep the route uppermost in my planning. As well as downloading the caches to my GPS I also call them up on the Geocaching.com maps and print off a map showing all the caches I'm going for and the footpaths. I find it helpful when out in the field to be able to look at the whole picture.

 

how do I do this?

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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

addis.jpg

 

huh?? how do you know what is a trail and what is a road???

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I usually pick a few caches close to each other that I really want to try for because of favorite points, or I need to hit a TB hotel, or just because it sounds interesting. Then I do a PQ and head to the first one, and will hit "find next closest" when (if) I mark it found. When there seem to be only caches I'm not interested in left in the immediate area, I'll head to the next on the list, and so on. I also finally downloaded the official app because I so often stop "on the way home" when I haven't planned for it, and I got frustrated if I hadn't put that area on my GPSr.

 

Of course, I'm not hugely into #/per day; if I want to do those I find a power trail.

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I don't think I've planned a day of geocaching in years. If I'm hiking or visiting an area I'll see if there are any caches along my route and may, or may not seek them out as my mood dictates. On rare occasions I'll choose an area to hike or visit because a specific cache is there that I'm interested in. That's about as close as planning as I come to.

 

Mostly it's about loading the GPS with all of the caches in the area and if I feel like going after a few caches I read the descriptions to see if any look interesting. I don't worry about how many caches others are finding and if I miss a cache along the way, no need to backtrack, there is usually one ahead.

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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

addis.jpg

 

huh?? how do you know what is a trail and what is a road???

 

A question or three here also! I see one cache only in that complex maze of streets, alleys & paths. Is that why your planning "won't be difficult"?! ;)

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I rarely get a whole day for caching, but when I go out for more than a few, I don't do a whole lot of planning. I have tried agonizing over the perfect route and I find it sucks the fun out of it.

 

But I do prepare. This involves:

 

downloading fresh pocket queries

picking an area, checking for disabled caches, and going through and reading logs if I feel inclined

packing water, food, extra batteries

restocking the backpack as necessary: micro logs, towel for wiping caches, swag, pens, diaper wipes (for hands and caches), dessicant

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

 

:laughing: I'm not sure you'll have time for lunch!

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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

addis.jpg

 

Ha! Maybe not, but you better be sure you've figured out how to navigate all those crazy roads to actually get to that one cache! With my sense of direction that one cache could turn into an all-day trip. :lol:

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I rarely get a whole day for caching, but when I go out for more than a few, I don't do a whole lot of planning. I have tried agonizing over the perfect route and I find it sucks the fun out of it.

 

But I do prepare. This involves:

 

downloading fresh pocket queries

picking an area, checking for disabled caches, and going through and reading logs if I feel inclined

packing water, food, extra batteries

restocking the backpack as necessary: micro logs, towel for wiping caches, swag, pens, diaper wipes (for hands and caches), dessicant

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

 

:laughing: I'm not sure you'll have time for lunch!

 

Well, a "day" of caching would be a hike, not driving around the city grabbing micros. I get bored after about five urban micros, so if I decide to go after some, it's really not a lot of planning.

 

For a day of hiking, I'll get a PQ of the area, put it in GSAK and look for any that may have problems just so I have a heads up. If I'm hiking by anyway, I'm going to give it a shot. I then export the caches to Google Earth and look for visible trails, then using the Path tool, draw my route out. If it is a loop, I'll right click on my new path and choose "Elevation profile" to see what elevations are involved and decide which direction may be best to do the loop. Also, if I can see that half of it is exposed and the other half canopied, I'll do the exposed part first so I can be in the canopy later when the sun is hotter. Finally, I'll save the path as a KML file and then use GpsBabel to convert it to GPX, load the GPX in Mapsource and send it to my GPS so I have a track on my map that I can try to follow. Since I don't have a paperless unit, I'll send the caches to my Nuvi as well and then stash it in my backpack in case I need to read up on any particular cache. I will also print a one or two page cheat sheet from GSAK that tells me the basics, including the hint. Many times, all I need to know is who hid the cache to narrow down what I may be looking for and how it's hidden.

 

Edit to add: Oops! I meant to post this as general reply, not as a response to any particular post, including the one it is attached to.

Edited by Don_J
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It definitely helps to look at the cache map through Open Cycle map - a lot of times trails will be mapped there that don't show up on the Google maps. That makes it waaaay easier to plan a loop and *know* which caches are actually on the trails you're walking.

 

Also definitely helps to have the trails loaded on your GPSr. Depending on the make of yours you can find a lot of great free maps with trails online.

 

Here's a screen shot of the OpenCycle map of an area in which I might be geocaching in the beginning of May. It doesn't look like my geocache planning will be very difficult.

 

addis.jpg

 

huh?? how do you know what is a trail and what is a road???

 

A question or three here also! I see one cache only in that complex maze of streets, alleys & paths. Is that why your planning "won't be difficult"?! ;)

 

Yes. There are two other caches within 10 miles or so and only 10 more in the entire country (4 of them have not yet been found). I might try and find one of the others nearby but that will depend on my schedule works out. I was in Addis several years ago when there was only one cache in the city (and only 3 more in the country) and never go a chance to find a cache.

 

The question about the difference between a road and a trail is a good one. When I was last there in 2011 all of the major roads were paved and in pretty good shape, but most of the lines you see on that map were not, and many of the of the unpaved roads were not much better than a trail. Of course, on the real map you can zoom in. If you look at the area where that cache is on google satellite view you can see a 4 lane one-way paved road that goes by the hotel where it's located but the entrance to the hotel parking lot is a road and that quality of roads deteriorate significantly off that one.

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For me the map is key.

Sometimes it is a specific cache which brings me to the area. Other times I choose the area then look for caches.

In the UK we are lucky that someone has written a plug-on to use Ordnance survey maps. These show footpaths and lots of detail. Here is an example

 

8550492599_e72925b089_c.jpg

 

When I'm in other countries I find the Open Cycle Maps seem to provide the best detail of paths.

Edited by redsox_mark
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When looking for the caches I'm going to do I keep the route uppermost in my planning. As well as downloading the caches to my GPS I also call them up on the Geocaching.com maps and print off a map showing all the caches I'm going for and the footpaths. I find it helpful when out in the field to be able to look at the whole picture.

 

how do I do this?

 

Open the cache page for one of the caches in the area you're visiting.

Click the Geocaching.com map link under the Online Maps section.

When the map opens drag it around, zoom in/out until you can see the area you're going to visit at the biggest zoom level where it will all fit.

You should see something like this:

 

370ce3e8-f5f5-4168-a11f-f9a5faeab3d4.jpg?rnd=0.6954463

 

 

then print using which ever method you prefer.

 

so for this I would probably park in Kings Somborne (top left) and walk round the circular route.

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When looking for the caches I'm going to do I keep the route uppermost in my planning. As well as downloading the caches to my GPS I also call them up on the Geocaching.com maps and print off a map showing all the caches I'm going for and the footpaths. I find it helpful when out in the field to be able to look at the whole picture.

 

how do I do this?

 

Open the cache page for one of the caches in the area you're visiting.

Click the Geocaching.com map link under the Online Maps section.

When the map opens drag it around, zoom in/out until you can see the area you're going to visit at the biggest zoom level where it will all fit.

You should see something like this:

 

370ce3e8-f5f5-4168-a11f-f9a5faeab3d4.jpg?rnd=0.6954463

 

 

then print using which ever method you prefer.

 

so for this I would probably park in Kings Somborne (top left) and walk round the circular route.

 

geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

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geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

 

Are you using the Google Maps option? You need to use the Leaflet maps option.

 

On the left of the map screen open up the sidebar (if it's hidden click on the arrow down the left).

then click the "Set map preferences" button, then click on the Leaflet maps.

 

this should change the maps from google maps to OpenStreetmaps although that may not show all the trails, it kind of depends on how well covered your area is.

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geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

 

Are you using the Google Maps option? You need to use the Leaflet maps option.

 

On the left of the map screen open up the sidebar (if it's hidden click on the arrow down the left).

then click the "Set map preferences" button, then click on the Leaflet maps.

 

this should change the maps from google maps to OpenStreetmaps although that may not show all the trails, it kind of depends on how well covered your area is.

 

actually in my area its Google Maps that has the trails on it and others that dont. i think it mainly depends on your location.

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So how do you plan your day???

I focus mainly on having a good hike. Like you, I pick a place to walk with lots of unfound caches. I'll normally scout on the maps to get the basic idea of where the walk will go, typically looking for some kind of loop to follow, but for the most part I trust the caches will lead me around in a fun way. That's not because I expect the COs to plan it that way -- although sometimes they do -- but just because I've found that caches tend to be laid along routes that previous cachers have enjoyed.

 

Then I go out and enjoy the walk and treat the caches like gravy. For example, if the trail I end up on doesn't actually lead to the cache I thought I was going for, I'll normally just forget about that cache instead of trying to "fix" the problem by aborting my route. But that doesn't mean I won't consider bushwhacking or going down a side trail and doubling back when a cache isn't precisely on the route. It just means I don't feel the need to get every cache in the area if it detracts from the hike itself.

 

It helps that my lovely assistant isn't really into caching, so if I pay more attention to the caches than the hike, she gets annoyed.

 

Often, part of my plan is to pick up one or more puzzle caches that I've solved in the area, and I treat those differently. I normally take more care to map those out and work out exactly how I'm going to get to them. Then most of the time, I get there no matter what it takes.

 

All that obscures two things I don't mention but consider very important:

 

1. Always get a fresh pocket query for the entire area so you can go off plan and visit caches you didn't think you were going to. In other words, don't assume you're actually going to follow the trail you thought you were. Despite my comments above about following my route, that route is not always the one I thought it was going to be when I left home.

 

2. Find the park map if there is one, and print out a copy if you don't think you'll be able to get one at the trailhead. I've found that park maps are far from perfect, yet they are still essential when you can find one.

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geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

 

Are you using the Google Maps option? You need to use the Leaflet maps option.

 

On the left of the map screen open up the sidebar (if it's hidden click on the arrow down the left).

then click the "Set map preferences" button, then click on the Leaflet maps.

 

this should change the maps from google maps to OpenStreetmaps although that may not show all the trails, it kind of depends on how well covered your area is.

 

actually in my area its Google Maps that has the trails on it and others that dont. i think it mainly depends on your location.

 

Google now allows us to edit the maps in certain areas. I actually added a street that had been missing in my area. More and more of our local mountain trails are starting to show up on Google Maps so someone in the area is actively adding them. The Open maps have a big head start here, especially in Europe.

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geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

 

Are you using the Google Maps option? You need to use the Leaflet maps option.

 

On the left of the map screen open up the sidebar (if it's hidden click on the arrow down the left).

then click the "Set map preferences" button, then click on the Leaflet maps.

 

this should change the maps from google maps to OpenStreetmaps although that may not show all the trails, it kind of depends on how well covered your area is.

 

actually in my area its Google Maps that has the trails on it and others that dont. i think it mainly depends on your location.

 

Google now allows us to edit the maps in certain areas. I actually added a street that had been missing in my area. More and more of our local mountain trails are starting to show up on Google Maps so someone in the area is actively adding them. The Open maps have a big head start here, especially in Europe.

 

True. You can edit Openstreetmaps. Last time I edited it, I looked at the geocaching.com map and my edits were there hours later. How cool is that!

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geocaching.com doesn't show me any trails....but I am in a city (with trails) but they don't show. What am I missing?

 

Are you using the Google Maps option? You need to use the Leaflet maps option.

 

On the left of the map screen open up the sidebar (if it's hidden click on the arrow down the left).

then click the "Set map preferences" button, then click on the Leaflet maps.

 

this should change the maps from google maps to OpenStreetmaps although that may not show all the trails, it kind of depends on how well covered your area is.

 

actually in my area its Google Maps that has the trails on it and others that dont. i think it mainly depends on your location.

 

Google now allows us to edit the maps in certain areas. I actually added a street that had been missing in my area. More and more of our local mountain trails are starting to show up on Google Maps so someone in the area is actively adding them. The Open maps have a big head start here, especially in Europe.

 

True. You can edit Openstreetmaps. Last time I edited it, I looked at the geocaching.com map and my edits were there hours later. How cool is that!

 

I have thought it would be interesting to create a puzzle cache that followed recently uploaded data to OSM. I haven't checked if someone has done it yet but you'd think that someone would upload the new alien head "trail" to OSM. Anyone know of any geoart in open street maps?

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I have thought it would be interesting to create a puzzle cache that followed recently uploaded data to OSM. I haven't checked if someone has done it yet but you'd think that someone would upload the new alien head "trail" to OSM. Anyone know of any geoart in open street maps?

 

I haven't seen any, but the temptation's there. I'm surprised, actually how well Openstreetmaps work. I mean, someone could go in there and royally screw around with it.

 

Theoretically, yes, you could use it for a puzzle cache, perhaps out in the middle of nowhere where nobody is going to look at the map.

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