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Frustration Abounds


Spicoaster
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So we saw an episode of Texas Parks and Wildlife on PBS regarding Geocaching. A father and his children were off promoting how easy this is to do. It showed them finding an ammo box right along side the trail exactly where the GPS said it would be!

 

My wife and I, after watching this show, thought this would be fun to go and do. We joined this site, read the stuff about getting started, downloaded the FREE IOS app and went out last evening to find what was suppose to be, easy to locate items.

 

Absolutely no luck! The app is pretty useless giving poor info on how to get to any of the locations. And when we stumbled upon the correct area (while looking for a different cache), while standing still, it would show, we were within 3 feet, the 15 feet, then 23 feet, then 32 feet all the while the compass pointer would move in different directions (all of this within seconds of each other - really?).

 

We went to the shopping center where you are suppose to be able to hone your skills - there is suppose to be a ammo box there, should be easy to find - well it isn't there. Looked for 2 other items that are suppose to be there as well - and still no luck. That's when a security guard ask us what we're doing and then asked us to leave (I said we were on a scavenger hunt).

 

So feeling dumber than a stump we went home, ate dinner and then tried again on a full stomach. No better luck, although this was the time that we stumbled across the Fenn's Park area where the Fish Fenn cache is supposedly located (see above note on app).

 

Oh, and we didn't find the cache location we were looking for when we stumbled across the little park.

 

Again feeling defeated we went back home and posted that we can't find the items and read more forum posts (seems like there is a code here that no one is suppose to help new folks get the hang of this - and telling me to look where I might hid something doesn't help).

 

Our conclusion is that the TV show didn't promote reality and we came away with only frustration after 2 hours of getting no where.

 

I also noticed that no one talks about there first time experiences unless they were happy ones - maybe because they give up and go away?. It would be interesting to know how many others have had our type of experience.

 

Cheers

 

SPICoaster

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My first time experience..... boy was I dumber than a post.

 

I went after a cache in a local park, figuring it should be fairly easy to find. What I found was exactly as you.... my gps jumped all over the place and I had no idea where to really look. After a 30 search I left. I talked with a couple of people that had found this particular cache and they explained the D and T ratings as well as the size icon in better detail. And that is where I had made my error. I was looking for something larger than a micro, and the micro was way smaller than what I was expecting.

 

Several months, and a lot of experience later, I went back and quickly found what I had overlooked previously.

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The app is pretty useless giving poor info on how to get to any of the locations.

I'm pretty sure the iPhone has great navigation abilities (street routing). The Geocaching Apps don't do routing, you'd click “Navigate” to open a map App.

 

My first cache was an ammo box in the woods. I wandered for an hour, trying to decide where the GPSr was pointing, and eventually figured out that the compass screen is what I wanted. After 4 years finding 500 caches, I'm beginning to realize I've gotten a little worse at it :yikes:. But most people claim to have improved their finding skills over time.

 

When a security guard asks what you're doing, say “We're Geocaching”. The guard probably knows where the container is, and may offer hints, or at least point and laugh while you search.

Edited by kunarion
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Well, first, that show was misleading. I saw it too and that show never goes into detail about anything. It is entertaining and gives highlights, but it is not terribly informative as to details.

 

The behavior of your phone at GZ is not unusual. The main thing to keep in mind is that no GPS is going to be all that accurate most of the time to begin with. On top of that, some phone GPS's are much worse. So you want it to be your guide, not the definitive answer. When you start getting close to GZ, you need to start looking for hiding places and stop relying on the GPS.

 

The cache listing will generally not tell you much, if anything, about how to get to GZ. Some may give you coordinates for a trailhead and/or parking, but most often you have to figure all that out on your own. In many ways, this is part of the challenge of the game - finding your best access. FOr your first few caches, spend a little time looking at prior logs and looking at maps online to get some sense of the area and how to get there.

 

Start out looking for easy caches until you get the hang of it and start developing your "geosense". The things to look for are the type (stick with "traditional" caches at first), size (you should look for "regular" size to begin with) and the D/T ratings (difficulty and terrain)....

 

Difficulty relates to how hard should the cache be to find once you get to GZ.

Terrain relates to how hard it should be to get to GZ.

Neither of these are always accurate. I've seen many caches both under- and over-rated in both regards. But start with lower ratings first. The higher the ratings, the harder they get. A terrain rating of 5 means you need special skills and/or equipment (scuba, kayak, mountain climbing, etc.)

 

Look for events in your area and go to them, introduce yourself and ask for help. Look for someone that will take you out and show you the ropes a bit. Also look for your regional online groups. Given you were watching TP&W, I think I can safely assume you are in Texas. For a list of Texas sites, check out THIS FORUM POST.

 

Come on back if you have more questions and if you have any that are Texas-specific, hit up th elocal groups or the SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST FORUM SECTION, but be aware that there is not a lot of Texas-oriented discussions that go on there,

 

Good luck!

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Not all geocaches are ammo boxes. So in addition to looking for large caches with a relatively low difficulty and terrain rating, you should make yourself familiar with the type of containers and common hiding spots used in your area. Drop an email to some of your local cache owners and ask for help or try to attend a local event.

 

Also, make sure the GPS ability of your phone is actually switched on. I've had a few mishaps where I couldn't find a cache because my phone thought I was 30 miles away.

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As others have said GPS/phones will rarely take you to on top of the cache and will bounce around if you around buildings or in woodland. You can also get teeny tiny ammo boxes... Beginners caches are highlighted in green when you search and I would suggest you start with those first, even after 500 finds we still sometimes fail to find the cache when all the logs say "quick and easy find!" :)

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Whoa, slow down a bit. Just because a TV show made it look easy don't mean it's easy. There is quite a bit to learn.

 

First, not all caches are ammo cans. Did you read the cache description before going out? Caches range from tiny micros that are about the size of the tip of your pinky all the way up to as big a box as you could imagine and everything in between. Make sure you at least know what size container you're supposed to be looking for.

 

Second, you say you went looking for some caches that were "supposed to be easy to find" and "they weren't there". Why, exactly, do you assume they would be easy to find, and how do you know it's not there? Just because you couldn't find it doesn't mean it's not there. Caches are not left laying about in the open....they're hidden or camouflaged in some way, sometimes fiendishly so. That's part of the challenge. An ammo can at the base of a tree in the woods doesn't always have to be hidden so well...in fact,they may have "pre-found" that one before rolling the cameras to make sure they came up with it right away (the magic of television :). ) in an urban setting, however, caches have to be carefully concealed so random people dont just stumble across them, and are usually much smaller.

 

Finally, no GPS is a magic pointer that will show you where the cache is. They are not accurate within inches, more like a few yards. The advice you read about "think about where you would hide a container that size" is valid. Once you get within 10-20 feet or so, stop staring at the screen and start looking for likely hiding spots.

 

Like any new hobby or sport that you've never done before, Geocaching takes a little practice and study to learn how to do it. There's a lot to learn about GPS navigation beyond the turn by turn, "take me to the nearest Starbucks" automotive variety that most people are familiar with.

 

The game is meant to be somewhat of a challenge. It wouldn't be much fun otherwise. Once you find a couple you'll start to understand how they are hidden, and you'll develop an eye for potential hiding spots.

 

Oh, and at that shopping center, did you find yourself near a light pole in the parking lot by any chance? Those metal skirts at the bottom lift up, you know (hint, hint...)

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In addition to what others have said, geocaching is meant to be fun. You will discover places you wouldn't otherwise know exist. When I was interested, but not at the point of purchasing a gps, I searched for one particular cache with my phone and didn't find it. I became very frustrated and gave up for a while. Thankfully, I got over it and started searching for other caches and got a gps. Eventually I went back to that one cache and found that even with the gps, the coordinates were pretty far off but I found the cache. That's a long way of saying, if you are interested, don't give up. You might move on to some other caches and go back to the tougher ones later. Also, I've found that usually my gps gets me closer than my phone. Last, it helped me to do some reading online about the many ways caches can be hidden. Have fun and enjoy yourself!

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Oh, and by the way, there isn't any "code" here about not helping newbies. That statement is frankly a little insulting. Most people on the forums are more than happy to help. But you have to be willing to accept the advice ("and telling me to look where I might hid something doesn't help"). That is a bit of useful advice, you should take it as such.

 

Have you actually viewed the cache listing on the website, or just hit "Find Nearby Geocaches" on the phone? If you go to the actual cache listing, the owner's profile can be accessed by clicking on their name. Find a cache owner who appears to be active in your area and you can email them through their profile. Tell them you are new and having trouble with all this and they'll probably be more than happy to give you a hint or a push in the right direction. Some may even be willing to meet with you and show you the ropes.

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Thanks for those that offered some insight into the process and offered suggestions.

 

Per the info we had read here, we picked a few caches that were rated at 1.5 to 2.0 for both difficulty and terrain.

 

The ammo box is suppose to be located behind a Home Depot store which has nothing behind it but a retaining wall (which is 12 feet tall and butts up against a fence which is owned by Oncor Electric), no hiding places against the building (its clear as can be) and is just a driveway between the building and the retaining wall - sorry no lamp posts etc. that could be used to hide something When we placed our comment that we couldn't find it we noticed others have stated it appears to no longer be there.

 

Another item listed in the same shopping center directed us to a flower garden - but when we were looking around security chased us off the property.

 

We looked at one of the green highlighted items and it was rated more difficult than the items we picked.

 

Yes we did look at what the different containers could look like.

 

Yes we understand that GPS devices will only get you close and no we didn't expect it to drop out thin air and say here it is!!

 

Sorry that one replier back to us felt insulted by our comment about a "Code" - although it was reading other posts by you to others regarding the same types of beginner issues that made us feel that way. Maybe that is just your nature to be naturally condescending to others and if so I'll look past it.

 

Cheers

 

SPICoaster

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Thanks for those that offered some insight into the process and offered suggestions.

 

Per the info we had read here, we picked a few caches that were rated at 1.5 to 2.0 for both difficulty and terrain.

 

The ammo box is suppose to be located behind a Home Depot store which has nothing behind it but a retaining wall (which is 12 feet tall and butts up against a fence which is owned by Oncor Electric), no hiding places against the building (its clear as can be) and is just a driveway between the building and the retaining wall - sorry no lamp posts etc. that could be used to hide something When we placed our comment that we couldn't find it we noticed others have stated it appears to no longer be there.

 

Another item listed in the same shopping center directed us to a flower garden - but when we were looking around security chased us off the property.

 

We looked at one of the green highlighted items and it was rated more difficult than the items we picked.

 

Yes we did look at what the different containers could look like.

 

Yes we understand that GPS devices will only get you close and no we didn't expect it to drop out thin air and say here it is!!

 

Sorry that one replier back to us felt insulted by our comment about a "Code" - although it was reading other posts by you to others regarding the same types of beginner issues that made us feel that way. Maybe that is just your nature to be naturally condescending to others and if so I'll look past it.

 

Cheers

 

SPICoaster

 

Wow. If you'll read my post again I did try to offer you some constructive advice. Don't worry, I won't do it again. Have a nice life.

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Also note that once you stand still, the compass/GPS in your phone might get a bit confused - most of them need you to be moving in one direction to figure out how close you are to where it's trying to navigate to. Once you stand still, it loses that ability and will often jump around, pointing you in different directions and giving different distances for how far away you are.

 

A lot of folks recommend that once you get within 20 feet or so, start relying more on your eyes and less on your GPSr. Look for suspicious piles of rocks or sticks, around the base of trees or in natural holes in trees... basically the idea that if you were going to hide something out there, where might you think to hide it so that geocachers might find it but it won't be noticed by passers-by?

 

If you want more use from your phone/GPSr to narrow down the possible "ground zero," keep backing up 50-100 feet and approaching the area from different directions, watching your GPSr. Doing this will help you narrow in on a potential search area (assuming the coordinates are relatively accurate!). This helps especially in areas where tree cover/building proximity might be making it hard to get a good lock on satellites.

 

And the general rule is that the +/- accuracy of GPS units is about 30 feet. So even when your GPSr says you're AT the cache, make sure you search a wider area.

 

Hope that's useful! :)

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Per the info we had read here, we picked a few caches that were rated at 1.5 to 2.0 for both difficulty and terrain.

 

Good choice - although 2s can sometimes be tricky. If there are any 1 difficulty caches then they make excellent caches to start with. You should probably also make sure you're looking for something reasonably large if possible - regular is good although a "small" container" might be OK - just make sure it's not a "micro" or one of those annoying "not given" types.

 

The ammo box is suppose to be located behind a Home Depot store which has nothing behind it but a retaining wall (which is 12 feet tall and butts up against a fence which is owned by Oncor Electric), no hiding places against the building (its clear as can be) and is just a driveway between the building and the retaining wall - sorry no lamp posts etc. that could be used to hide something When we placed our comment that we couldn't find it we noticed others have stated it appears to no longer be there.

 

Interesting. Did you read the previous logs as well? I'm not sure if you said you had - I find that can sometimes be very helpful and contain all sorts of useful information. And there might be photos you could check out as well which can sometimes totally give away the answer. It's probably easier to do the looking at those sorts of things on the website rather than on an app maybe.

 

You'll also find there's a link towards the bottom of the cache page that let's you see the cache location in google maps (underneath the description - by the small map). I use that all the time to work out where something's likely to be - more than 90% of the cache's I've found are done using that in some form. If there's street view close by then that might also be useful to take a look at to narrow down the area the cache might be in. It's not always accurate but it's a good starter for ten.

 

Then it's probably a case of looking for something that looks a bit odd. Sticks in a straight line for example are a dead giveaway.

 

Another item listed in the same shopping center directed us to a flower garden - but when we were looking around security chased us off the property.

 

Ah, yes - this is why I tend to avoid caches around shopping centres!

 

Good luck - you'll get there.

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Sorry that one replier back to us felt insulted by our comment about a "Code" - although it was reading other posts by you to others regarding the same types of beginner issues that made us feel that way. Maybe that is just your nature to be naturally condescending to others and if so I'll look past it.

 

I was also taken a bit aback by your "code" statement in your first post while also wanting help from the same people you are slamming, but I decided to overlook it. But then you come back wqith this jewel after several people offer their assistance. Classic. I'm out.

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Again thanks to everyone for offering suggestions and replying to us.

 

Chief301 - I had my wife and a few others read your replies regarding this post and they thought, as I did, that you were being arrogant and condescending in your tone. Again maybe this is just your way and we should over look it. Or maybe you really think you are so much better than us "Newbies" as you like to call us beginners in so many of your posts. Remember you were a "Newbie" once as well.

 

Semper Questio - We never intended to slam anyone. We just stated how we felt after reading many a post that never answered a beginners questions. After reading posts that were along the lines of "tell the "Newbie" that they have to figure it out on their own" and stating that they should be told there is a "Code" to adhere by, we started getting the feeling this was a closed activity not wanting new folks to become active. I have to ask, is the fact that your nose, and Chief301's as well, got bent out of shape about the "Code" issue a testament to how you really feel about beginners? If so then please stop offering assistance to beginners since it is counterproductive.

 

Please note that telling every beginner the same thing using cut and paste from previous posts isn't helpful. Most people that have found this site aren't dumb should have already searched and read the beginning 101 stuff, so please answer their questions out right. Rehashing the same stuff that they have already covered makes them feel like you're talking down to them and isn't helpful.

 

Again I thank everyone who offered up suggestions and didn't just repost old stuff for us to reread - It was great that some folks even did some research on why we couldn't find one of the items. And yes there were a few good items from Chief301 and Semper Questio.

 

Cheers,

 

SPICoaster

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Once you get experience, it isn't that hard. Maybe the main problem is with your phone.

 

We found our first couple of caches with our car GPS, which made things a little more challenging, but we persisted. After finding a couple and looking at the map on geocaching.com, I realized this is something I'd like to do more of, so I went out and bought a Magellan Explorist GC. A month later I got an Oregon 550 and haven't looked back. A good GPS makes all the difference.

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Under ideal conditions, a consumer GPSr will be accurate to about 3m (10ft). That applies both to your device, and to the cache owner’s device, so you may find the container 5-6m (16-20ft) from ground zero under ideal conditions. That certainly isn't what I would consider "exactly where the GPS said it would be", and under less than ideal conditions, both GPSr readings can be even less accurate. I'm sorry that you were misled.

 

Ultimately, this isn't a game of following the GPSr. It's a game of finding hidden containers. The GPSr (or the GPS-enabled smartphone) just lets you know when you're close enough to start looking around for places where the container could be hidden.

 

And of course, sometimes caches are missing, and you won't find them no matter what you do.

 

As far as my first geocaching experience goes, there were a group of us, and our leader had previously found a few of the caches we searched for that afternoon. Still, the first one we searched for took some time to find, even though it was a plastic footlocker.

 

When I introduce others to geocaching, I like to take them to caches that I have previously found when possible. Barring that, I like to take them to caches that meet Groundspeak's criteria for beginners caches. Specifically: traditional type, low difficulty, recently found by others, larger than micro size, and no recently reported problems.

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Semper Questio - We never intended to slam anyone. We just stated how we felt after reading many a post that never answered a beginners questions. After reading posts that were along the lines of "tell the "Newbie" that they have to figure it out on their own" and stating that they should be told there is a "Code" to adhere by, we started getting the feeling this was a closed activity not wanting new folks to become active. I have to ask, is the fact that your nose, and Chief301's as well, got bent out of shape about the "Code" issue a testament to how you really feel about beginners? If so then please stop offering assistance to beginners since it is counterproductive.

 

I still don't know what "code" you are talking about and, frankly it does not matter. Coming in with a chip on your shoulder and preconceived notions of how a community will react to your post is just not a great way to start. And THAT is the offensive part. You came in here just assuming you were going to be treated badly.

 

And who are you to question how I or anyone else feels about beginners? You know nothing about us. If I did not like beginners, why would I overlook your initial negative assumptions and write a long response offering advice and pointing you to other resources? I try to help n00bs as often as I can. I take time away from what little recreation time I have to take n00bs out and show them the ropes. When I host or attend events, I spend most of the time at events, both during and after, talking to n00bs and answering their questions or steering them to others who can. But if that is ot good enough for you, then perhaps I should stop doing those things.

 

 

Please note that telling every beginner the same thing using cut and paste from previous posts isn't helpful. Most people that have found this site aren't dumb should have already searched and read the beginning 101 stuff, so please answer their questions out right. Rehashing the same stuff that they have already covered makes them feel like you're talking down to them and isn't helpful.

 

First, I don't cut and paste responses here. If others do, I don't know and I don't care. Oftentimes the questions asked here have been asked countless times before. If people want to use cut and paste their replies to the same question(s) in other posts, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. On your next point, no one said anything about you being dumb, but how are we to know what you have read or know what you know? From your initial post, all you knew seemed to be what you saw on the TPW show which was, at best, misleading. If you read all the getting started materials, that's great. But since we don't know that, we have to start with the basics and go from there, especially since you related having had a hard time finding anything. You asked for help and you got it. Quite a bit of it, as a matter of fact.

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Did OP log their DNF(s)?

 

Many cache owners will offer hints/clues to n00bs when the n00b posts their DNF logs. I know I have done this several times. Most of us who place caches are doing it for the enjoyment of the community. Helping new cachers learn about caching helps our community.

 

Has the OP reached out to the cache owners of those caches they attempted? Have they tried reaching out to some of the previous finders of those caches for assistance?

 

There is some good advice for n00bs in the posts here.

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Hi K13 - Yes we did log our DNF's for the items not located. One we placed a note on because the coordinates took us to a location on a golf course behind private property. Turns out to be an issue with the Geocaching Intro App we obtained from the App Store (we've replaced this App with Geo Bucket and we are happy to say it is very reliable). The cache owner did send an e-mail telling us that he thought it was in a city park and not on the golf course (we stumbled across the location while looking for another cache).

 

So far no cache owner has offered up hints or clues based on us listing the item as DNF.

 

I did send a message to the owner of the above cache and ask if he was interested in providing any additional info which he did so today (maybe even to much).

 

Cheers,

 

SPICoaster

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I know exactly how frustrated you are and totally empathize with your frustration. Just 3 years ago I was in the same boat, angry that this game that people kept saying was so much fun had turned out to be a total bust, coming up with zero finds in five attempts on something that was called an LPC in the Hint that I decided to read once the 10 minutes of circling the same spot in a parking lot proved fruitless. It wasn't until the cache owner (after, in defeat, I emailed them to ask what their hint meant) informed me that LPC stood for Lamp Post Cache and that the little box surrounding the bottom of the lamp post could be moved that I was able to make the find. Reading an article (or in your case, watching a TV show) about Geocaching doesn't really give you all the tools you need to get out there and start finding them since they never seem to cover EVERY cache or container type. In that first cache, I was expecting to find ammo cans or Tupperware®, but the container turned out to be a rusted Altoids tin that wouldn't close properly and the log was the consistency of oatmeal. Luckily I had a notepad that I could improvise a new log with. Still, had it not been for the help of that CO, I would have quit before I even started. We, too, tried with the Geocaching Intro app first because we weren't going to spend money on something we might not even like, and we, too, found it maddeningly difficult to use as a newbie as our geosenses didn't exist yet (the "look where you would hide something" mentality you mentioned).

 

I will admit that I know where you're coming from, in regards to feeling like an outcast on here. Admittedly I only lurk these forums just because conversations can get extremely heated in a hurry. It's hard enough for accomplished authors to convey intent and inflection in written word, and doubly so when it's some Joe Schmoe behind a keyboard trying to be conversational. I had to re-read Chief301's post several times before I saw the inflection you were taking. I guess you have to be frustrated already to feel like someone is being condescending or hurtful because I saw it as extremely helpful, but that's neither here nor there. This forum can be extremely helpful, so long as you remain calm, cool, and collected, and offer as much information as possible when seeking assistance. Unless someone is coming right out and saying "Get a clue n00b" their intent is most likely that they are trying to help you. Some have been playing so long that they might not remember what it was like to be new and, worse yet, when they began playing there wasn't a huge community to help out. If you cut some slack, the favor is always returned.

 

The best advice I can give you is to read through the description first, then read through the last 10 logs or so, making note of the dates they were found. If you see a lot of blue frown faces on a relatively low-difficulty cache (or the last found date was 6+ months ago), there's a good chance this cache you are not finding is indeed missing. Sometimes the cache will go missing and another cacher will get permission from the CO to hide another container in its place to keep the cache going, but sometimes the container will no longer match the description. This can lead to confusion as the new container may just be a pill container or a 35mm film canister and look like trash. As you start getting more finds under your belt, your geosenses will start to improve, and before you know it, you'll be finding caches before you even properly begin the search.

 

I promise you, once you get the hang of this, Geocaching will be some of the most fun you've had outdoors. And when you think you're ready, start looking at some nearby event caches. If it wasn't for the community, I would have quit ages ago. Met some amazing people playing this game and they are now life-long friends.

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Thanks for the additional suggestions, help and offers to help!

 

We contacted 2 of the CO's and they provided some addition clues/info - never would have guessed what we were looking for and where we should have been looking for it (so the phrase look where you would hide something doesn't hold true, at least for us). Without their help we would not have gone back and taken an additional look (the log entries had nothing extra to help). And so far no two items have been in the same type of container, thus it is difficult to make the leap about what we should be looking for (maybe this will come in time).

 

We have found 2 on our own now, but if it hadn't been for other finders log entries giving additional hints (one even with a picture) we wouldn't have found them either.

 

Cheers

 

SPICoaster

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That's when a security guard ask us what we're doing and then asked us to leave (I said we were on a scavenger hunt).

 

 

Just wanted to add a bit of advice, although I know it was not requested. It is all right to be evasive when talking to casual passersby, when questioned by any form of LEO (yes, including mall security) always be completely honest.

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Try to find caches that say kid friendly.

 

Try to find caches that you can pretty much tell where they are from the cache page. i.e "T" intersection on a trail, or under/in the ONLY tree in a park (stay away from small/micros unless you want more pain!).

 

Read the cache page in it's entirety.. read the hint, logs, check out the pictures. If you don't have that "I know where it is going to be" move on to another for now.

 

After you find a few you get better at finding them. Then one day you will go for a SIMPLE one that you JUST CAN'T FIND!

 

That particular one took me 4 visits... uggh!

 

That is supposed to be the fun of it.. you aren't going to find every one.

 

Also, don't go looking for caches that are going to get you chased away.. if you run up to one location like that and you don't want the bad time.. go find another cache.. in a park.. or in some private place you can feel safe really looking in.

 

People here will bend over backwards to someone who requests help. They will also, however, condescend back to someone they feel is dropping insults in the forum because things didn't go as they planned.

 

Good luck!

 

Shaun

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We contacted 2 of the CO's and they provided some addition clues/info - never would have guessed what we were looking for and where we should have been looking for it (so the phrase look where you would hide something doesn't hold true, at least for us). Without their help we would not have gone back and taken an additional look (the log entries had nothing extra to help). And so far no two items have been in the same type of container, thus it is difficult to make the leap about what we should be looking for (maybe this will come in time).
Here's part of the advice I've offered other new geocachers. It seems appropriate, given your comments above.

 

"It may also help to look at some of the cache containers available online. For example, check out the cache containers sold by Groundspeak. Also, take a look at the Pictures - Cool Cache Containers (CCC's) thread in the forums."

 

I know you don't like copy-paste responses, so I'll let you use the forum search function if you want to read the rest of my copy-paste advice.

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Also, make sure the GPS ability of your phone is actually switched on. I've had a few mishaps where I couldn't find a cache because my phone thought I was 30 miles away.

 

Spicoaster,

Have you made sure the GPS function is switched on when you're using the geocaching app? When I first used a geocaching app on my phone, I couldn't understand why it was so far off from my handheld GPS. It seemed to be over 100' in difference, sometimes much worse. This was with both the official app and an unofficial one. It turns out that the GPS was turned off by default. When I turned the GPS function on, the accuracy of my phone was much closer to my handheld.

 

If your GPS is turned off, your phone has to rely on cell towers to triangulate your location. A GPS with good satellite lock will have a degree of error of about 10-30 feet. A phone using cell towers can be off by hundreds of feet. If you're in a parking lot and your GPS is turned off, you might be looking on one end of the lot and the cache could be on the other but your phone would be telling you that you're standing next to the cache.

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By thw way, it is possible that you hit an area that is like the little town near me, where 90% of the geocaches are missing. They were all placed by the same, now inactive, cache owner. Looking at the logs one can see DNF after DNF on what are marked as simple caches. One cache was finally archived by a reviewer because it was causing damage to a historical structure. (I don't know why the reviewers haven't canned some of those other caches.) Anyone trying to get into geocaching in that town is going to be sorely disappointed.

 

You might try picking some 1 and 1.5 level geocaches that aren't in the same area where you had been looking.

 

Unfortunately, there is no map of fellow geocachers in an area, to my knowledge. (Many folks don't put their area in their profile, too.) But if, somehow, you could locate an experienced geocacher in your area and go out with them I'm sure it would help immensely.

 

I was really lucky. I started out by myself; but I found a bunch of GCs that were sometimes physically challenging, but were not very high on the Difficulty scale (both in the listing and in real life, which don't always coincide). Also, fortunately, I didn't look for the GCs in that small town where they are mostly missing until I had gotten pretty far along in the game.

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